A celebration of a few Brave Girls around as we commemorate International Women's Week 2018.
Numerous studies indicate that as girls reach adolescence, their brave, forthright child selves often disappear, to be replaced by young women who are unsure of themselves and who hesitate to take the lead. At Girls With Roots, we’re working to ensure that our Caribbean girls develop into exemplary leaders of tomorrow in spite of their circumstances. We also believe that equipped with the right resources and skills, Caribbean girls have the power to transform their lives, their communities and their countries.
So, who is a brave girl? A brave girl remains true to herself and steers clear of the “I can’t” and “I should have…” She isn't afraid to take risks, to stand out from the crowd and ensure her voice is heard.
As we celebrate International Women's Week 2018, Girls With Roots presents: #ThisBraveGirl, a campaign that celebrates a few brave girls in Trinidad and Tobago who are not scared to stand out, make a difference or take risks by playing their role in the arts, media and social activism.
Show us your brave girl by sending us your photos, tagging us on social media and telling us how you display your bravery as we Push for Progress in 2018.
Andrea Carla McKenzie
This Brave Girl found her calling and continues to champion the cause of the girl who dreams of one day turning her passion into her career.
Born in 1984 with an active involvement in Carnival from an early childhood, Andrea’s creative expressions exploded with elements of a natural passed on from generations.
She has innovated the artistic technique of fusing acrylic and melted wax on canvas to reflect her Caribbean origins, artistic energies and passion.
With a unique eye for vibrant colors. Andrea regularly creates privately commissioned, color-inspired, electric upbeat paintings.Over the years, her works has been exhibited in Trinidad and Tobago, throughout the Caribbean, New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Australia .
Andrea was recently signed to one of the top Talent Agencies in Los Angeles California USA.
#ThisBraveGirl is determined to demystify epilepsy and will continue to be an advocate for all persons affected by seizures.
Embrace your greatness. Don’t shy away from your destiny. You were placed here for a purpose...discover it...embrace it. Live it! Don’t hold yourself back to make others feel comfortable. Hold your head high and walk in your truth.
Don't make excuses for those who continually wrong you. If they can't acknowledge and appreciate your worth, they don't deserve you. Let them go. Move on and surround yourself with those who are compelled by the very essence of YOU. In the words of Martin Luther king:
“Number one in your life's blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your own worth and your own somebodiness.”
Being an Artist meant more to me than anything I had ever done in my twenty-two years of living. For most of my life my artistic abilities had been stifled by the rigors of our Caribbean educational system and, the ideals and expectations of my parents. •
Over time, I decided to live for me, but also respect my parents wishes. I have studied Visual Arts for over fourteen years officially and I am currently pursuing a career in Makeup Artistry, hoping to one day become that role model I’ve always wanted to look up to when I was a little girl. Your dreams shouldn’t be stifled, remove the pressures of life that weigh them down and set them free...Watch your dreams come true.
My name is Chelsea Mark and I am #ThisBraveGirl
As a young, black, Christian female, I’m underrepresented in mainstream media. It’s for this reason mixed with my passion for words that I became a writer. I believe words are wonderful. Words can be simple or complex. It can make us laugh, cry, smile or even frown. Altogether, words make us FEEL. More than just feel, it can help us to heal. There are so many wounded women all around us, I know because I was one of them. Pain taught me how to write, and my writing taught me how to heal. Now I write in hopes that those hurting, voiceless or lacking support know they’re not alone. More importantly, know that they were BORN FOR MORE!
For me, the best decision I ever made was taking a gap year from school to figure out what I liked and was passionate about. Now I document my fun life experiences and share them with people on the internet, while still maintaining a love for content creation & marketing.
I post pictures and videos to Instagram and Youtube about hair, makeup and lifestyle related things and I have managed to gain a following while simply doing what makes me happy. As an introverted person, putting myself on the internet sounds crazy, but I don’t think I would have it any other way.
My hope is to use my platform to inspire upcoming creatives so that they don’t waste their talent trying to makes their parents or guardians happy.
My name is Meriah John and I am #thisbravegirl
This brave girl believes that every girl from any part of the world should see themselves represented on screen and paper. “Growing up, I felt like while I sa ome of me in book and T, I didn't see enough of m- and girls like me. Now, things are changing and I'm determined to add to that narrative."
Ariana is the Children's iterary estival Coordinator at Bocas Lit Fes, and Senior Performance Poet and Teaching Artist with The 2 Cents Movement.
She upholds uriosity, tenderness and trut in her storytelling, while explorin themes such a nclusion, ducation, Heritage, Childhood and Gende. A past finalist of the First Citizens National Poetry Slam, Ariana has judged local slams and performed both locally in Trinidad and Tobago and internationally in parts of the UK. Herbert is committed to contributing to diversity in Caribbean Children’s and Young Adult Literature and the development of Inclusive and Special Needs Education.
Most of my life I was bombarded with people who thought they had the authority to tell me what I could and could not accomplish in life. Thankfully, I was stubborn enough to do what I wanted to do anyway and now those same things people said I could not do, are what currently keeps me afloat financially, mentally, emotionally etc. So to any human out there, if there is something that burns in you, that you know in your heart is your destiny, just go for it, leap, and the net shall appear. People telling you that you can’t do something is them projecting their own insecurities onto you.
I am a 22-year-old film student/filmmaker. And I’ve worked as an actress, production assistant and camera assistant on numerous commercials and film productions. I direct, shoot and edit the Youtube Docu-series "Small Lime" which features young Trinis as they explore social issues affecting their society. My film Sorf Hair, which explores the natural hair experience in Trinidad and Tobago, has screened at several film festivals including the Pan-African Film Festival in LA (nominated in the Documentary Short Category), Caribbean Tales International Film Festival in Canada, The Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (where it won the People's Choice Award for Best Documentary), the Barbados Independent Film Festival and the Nouveax Regard Film Festival in Guadeloupe (Nominated in the Documentary Short Category).
This brave girl says "Never be afraid to take up space; to finally try that thing you've been thinking about. Life is too short for self doubt; too short for regret; but long enough for you to make a difference." Alexandra Stewart is 2017's First Citizen's National Poetry Slam 2nd place Champion. She has performed in Trinidad and Tobago, the US and UK. She uses her poetry to make people feel better or challenge them to be better. "I may be, #Thisbravegirl but I know that you're #Thatbravegirl "
#ThisBraveGirl currently serves as a School Principal on the island of St. Maarten. Taking up such a huge responsibility at a young age and with only a few years of teaching experience, she explained, was a difficult choice of faith that has proven to be more rewarding than she had ever imagined. She has a desire for educating young minds and believes that with the help of God she can help to influence the lives of her students to produce powerful citizens of tomorrow.
Her affirmation to young girls today, is to beat the status quo. To challenge yourselves to go above and beyond what you or anyone have set as your bar. The best time to accomplish your dreams is today. She believes that there is a leader in all of us and it only takes a step of faith to discover that leadership. She often recites the famous quote by Ellen G White, “ Don’t let allow anyone to despise your youth.” Her desire is to be a role-model to other young women and to continuously challenge herself to be better representative of Christ each day.
Her words to other young women is to begin pursuing your dreams today. You will never know it all, so NOW is the best day to begin that journey. Take up the challenge to be a leader in whatever capacity! Be that #BraveGirl
Deneka Thomas is a Caribbean writer, performer, educator, and Activist from Trinidad and Tobago. She is the Program manager and Lead Teaching Artist of Girl Be Heard TT and an artist with the 2 Cents Movement. Deneka was recently announced one of the 2018 Class of Women Deliver Young Leaders. She has been recognized locally and internationally for her work with youth and young women. Deneka's work is a mixture of advocating for women and girls , LGBT rights, environmentalism and exploring culture and diaspora. She has managed to marry her passion for Top 10 Artists in New York by Art 511 Mag.
#ThisBraveGirl is currently pursuing her medical degree at St. George’s University in Grenada at just 20 years old. Sarah has always been an achiever, placing 8th in Guyana for CSEC and landing a full presidential scholarship in 2016 to pursue her dreams as a medical professional.
Her advice to other young women: “Hard work and a little faith can go a long way. I’ve learned that trusting in the process instead of worrying about things you can’t control is crucial. Be relentless in the pursuit of your goals. There will be many challenges but when the reason for achieving your goals are bigger than just the pursuit of tangible things, it makes it worth it.”
We’ve come to the end of our #ThisBraveGirl campaign. We do hope that in some small way all of our amazing girls have inspired you to be brave - to dream dreams, to take risks, to be a voice for voiceless, to speak up for things you believe in, to pursue your passions relentlessly, to advocate for change where needs be, to do what your heart yearns to do, to live and finally to make our Caribbean region a better place. Be That Brave Girl.