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Mid-City CAN Blog

In My Own Words: Sisterhood Rising across California

Alondra Vega learned about female leadership at The California Endowment's Sisterhood Rising event. Photo courtesy of The California Endowment
Alondra Vega learned about female leadership at
The California Endowment's Sisterhood Rising event.
Photo courtesy of The California Endowment

From July 23 to 27, about 50 young women from Building Healthy Communities sites throughout California gathered at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as part of an event called Sisterhood Rising to train youth leaders. Young men have a similar gathering called Sons and Brothers in Northern California. Both leadership camps are part of Building Healthy Communities, a 10-year, $1 million initiative to change the way that health happens in California. Mid-City CAN Youth Council members were vocal advocates for the idea that young women needed a place to come together and support each other as well as the young men. The goals of the camp included: developing a foundation for women to be lifelong leaders for health equity, building relationships across the state, and empowering young women around gender and racial-justice issues.

By Alondra Vega

Day 1: Today we arrived to UCSB. We had our first gather up. We shared an object that meant a lot to us, and there were a lot of tears and stories told. At the end, I felt like everyone felt relieved to know they weren't alone.

Day 2: After breakfast we discussed the day before, then we went to a rope obstacle course. We made timelines about events that impacted our lives in a positive way. Later that night we worked on some rain sticks with words around it that described us. Then in our sister circle we talked about letting go of things that cause us stress or pain.

Day 3: We had breakfast then discussed the things learned from the day before. We made a gingerbread house of cardboard with things that men thought women couldn't do. Then we destroyed it and made a gingerbread house of our own. We also had pool time and a sister circle.

Day 4: We discussed the day before, then we headed out to the beach. Later that night, we made some mirrors so we would all look in the mirror and see we are beautiful. Then we had our sister circle.

Day 5: It was our last day. We were all sad we were leaving. Even though we just met each other we felt as if we have known each other for years. We talked about what we liked about the retreat until the bus came. Then we said our goodbyes. It was a great experience

I wouldn't want to change anything about the retreat except it should be longer! It was great. And I would like to bring back to City Heights that women are as powerful as men -- or even more powerful. Never think less of yourself.

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