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‘We now get to see ourselves in politics,’ says organizer who works with girls of color

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Posted at 10:12 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 23:44:33-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Watching our nation’s first ever woman of color Supreme Court justice swear in our first female Vice President of color, it’s a monumental moment in history that isn’t lost on Angela Patton and Genisus Holland.

“I’m overwhelmed, but I’m also proud and I’m in awe” Holland said.

Patton runs Girls For A Change, a local nonprofit whose mission is to empower African American and other girls of color in Central Virginia to discover their potential and visualize their bright futures. They’ve talked a lot about what this moment means to them.

“We know that what happened today is just building blocks for tomorrow and the next year and 20 years from now” Patton explained.

“This moment is so big, not just for the organization or black girls in general, but because of the idea that we now get to see ourselves in politics” Holland said.

Girls For A Change brings educational and cultural opportunities to participants. They also rely on community role models to help inspire the girls to be their best selves. Patton says what she wants every young girl to learn from Kamala Harris’ accomplishment is the idea that they can be the next change makers.

“We make sure that there is action behind the work that we tell our girls. Because it’s about making sure they believe it. We see people and we get motivated. We hear and we get motivated, but when we can do, we are so much more than motivated. Now they are the change” Patton said.

She and Holland, who has been a participant for several years, are excited that in this new moment in history, Girls For A Change is also set to inspire a new batch of young women through their Girl Ambassador Program.

The four year workforce development initiative prepares the girls for jobs in technology and other careers.

“We are making sure in our workforce programs that they are in a position to see how leadership evolves. That they are in the board meetings. That they see how decisions are made,” Patton explained.

Holland credits the nonprofit for helping to shape her. The George Mason University student has been a part of Girls For A Change since she was in high school. Now, she’s thrilled to be able to pay it forward and be a guide for some of the younger program participants.

“Let’s make sure we are uplifting them, building them up and letting them know what you see on TV today is something you can be. It’s something you have the capability of. Again, no one’s going to do it for you, but we will help you out. We’ll give you the mic and you are fully capable of doing it yourself,” Holland said.

For more information on Girls For A Change and the Girl Ambassador Program, contact them at 804- 405-2827 or go to www.girlsforachange.org.