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Pretty Brown Girl Program gives a voice and safe space to young students

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 12:31 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)- A national movement lands in Jefferson County. NBC News ranked it one of the top seven programs to know in 2017. It encourages self-acceptance while cultivating social, emotional & intellectual well-being. The Pretty Brown Girl program believes if you “empower the girl you empower the world.” It focuses on creating a space for girls to be as loud as they want on topics that may be silenced.

Your voice can be detrimental or powerful. You’ll never know the impact unless you get the chance to use it. Esme Jaquelinn Hernadez Alvarado is 14 years old and Deo Grace Kalala is 12. Both are in the program at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

“In the world I feel like I’m being overlooked,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado and Kalala are proud of their Mexican and Congolese culture and the base they found in the organization Pretty Brown Girl.

Both girls told WAVE 3 news why ‘Pretty Brown Girl’ and its title is need and what their life would be like without it.

“Most Brown girls they feel discriminated,” Alvarado said. “They feel pushed aside and feel like they aren’t given as much given attention as they need.”

“As a Black woman as a Black girl especially in America, especially where there’s a lot of racism and hatred,” Kalala said. “Especially being dark skinned as well, you also get overlooked and you get seen as ghetto hood and all that.”

“I feel like in this group you feel seen you feel heard you feel accepted,” Alvarado said.

They get all those feels once a week at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Their principal funded the program and Teela Scrubb leads these young women. They tackle topics they feel need to be addressed by all ages. Racial and gender inequalities, wage gaps, stereotypes, toxic behaviors, injustices and more.

“With liberty and justice for all...” Kalala said. “I don’t really feel I see liberty or justice for everyone.”

Youth service coordinator Ricky Owens said minority students make up 80 percent of the population but that doesn’t mean their voices do.

“Pretty Brown Girls this is for you,” Owens said. “This is something that can impact you this is something where you will have that freedom to speak your mind.”

Alvarado and Kalala said before the group they felt like outcasts. Now connected through the challenges they overcome they look at each other as individuals not groups. They want to be phenomenal women in their own mold instead of the world’s.

“Wow I’m not the only person who thinks this, wants this, or feels this,’ Kalala said.

The girls said one of the biggest take always is the power in your voice.

There are 25 girls expected in the fall program. The program is currently only hosted at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, but the program leader hopes it will expand to other JCPS schools.

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