Women's Leadership Project
The Women's Leadership Project (WLP) is a feminist service learning program designed to educate and train young middle and high school age women in South Los Angeles to take ownership of their school-communities. Founded in 2006 by Sikivu Hutchinson, the project is sponsored by the L.A. County Human Relations Commission and the Gardena Healthy Start program. WLP has over 20 active students and alumnae and uses a humanist curriculum with a social justice lens to:
- Empower young women of color to develop their own voices
- Increase their self-esteem
- Foster healthy relationships
- Promote critical consciousness about and activism around race, gender and LGBT equality
- Prepare for college and careers
WLP guides young women through public advocacy projects of their own choosing, helping them develop and sharpen their critical thinking, writing, organizing and leadership skills.
"The advice that I would give to a young girl of color growing up in this community 100 years from now is to never give up and always keep fighting for what they believe is right. They should never give up because at the end of the struggle they might accomplish their goal. What I didn't know that I know now before I took this class is that women face a lot of challenges in their daily life, some choose to put up with it meanwhile others fight to hear their voices heard or to keep up with the rest of the world." – Karen Carrillo- 11th grade, Washington Prep.
"I think of Women’s Leadership Project (WLP) as the light in the darkness. As a senior at Gardena, I had no hope or desire to go to college before WLP. I used to think it would be impossible for me to attend college because I’m undocumented." – Liz Soria – Senior, Gardena High School
"Educating and mentoring young women became a passion of mine after joining WLP and participating in this retreat only reinforced that desire. The retreat was a success and I believe events and places like WLP give girls an opportunity at futures they choose instead of futures that are prescribed to them as urban young women of color." – Mayra Borunda – Cal State University Long Beach Student, WLP alumna
"Other young people of color, particularly women of color, I need you to believe that there is so much more to life than marriage, babies, drugs, and minimum wage. I’m living proof that we have access to that life if we choose to pursue it." – Miani Giron, Gardena High School
The voices of atheists of color tend to be drowned out and ignored by the overwhelming presence of white voices. Secular Woman is proud to partner with the Women's Leadership Project, its students, alumnae and leaders to help raise the visibility of these young women.