Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) is an intergenerational organization committed to the physical, psychological, social, and economic development of girls and women. Through education, organizing and physical fitness, GGE encourages communities to remove barriers and create opportunities for girls and women to live self-determined lives.
Urban Leaders Academy (ULA) is GGE's after-school program based in one junior high school and one high school in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. It is a holistic program designed to advance leadership skills, social justice principles and values, and self-determination within our young people. Staff and mentors view youth as catalysts for change to improve gender, race, and class rights for communities of color. Serving as many as 90 students at each location, ULA intentionally collaborates with each school to meet the students’ needs by filling in the gaps with enrichment programming that schools are unable to provide.
In GGE's ULA Photography class, students have been exploring different ways of creating the change they want to see in their community using photography. Our project will be displayed around the two schools, literally changing the landscape of the school's environment, adding self-made representation of the student body to the walls of the school, providing a platform for students to express how they feel when they come to school, and continuing the conversation about imagining and creating the school environment that students deserve. This will be an ongoing project which will grow over time, covering more of the school walls in future semesters, eventually growing to represent students of the past as well as the present. We can't wait to see how adding these portraits to our walls will change the way students, staff, and community members feel about their schools.