Tibaria, a 2015 MYPF who was a senior at a Bellevue high school whose parents immigrated to the US from Iraq and Morocco, was engaged in a project to collect audio clips of immigrants sharing a variety of stories in response to her questions and personal interviews. This project evolved into a host of other efforts, including:
Amnesty International’s Annual Write4Rights Campaign:
December 2015 – January 2016
Every year Amnesty hosts a Write4Rights campaign in which they select a number of human rights cases which they’ve determined may be successful if given the proper amount of international attention and pressure. So they publish these 12 cases and for a set period of time (I think it’s about a month) they receive a flood of support and bring so much international attention on these human rights injustices. I chose 6 cases that were most relevant to my community. Because Write4Rights came in December we handmade Christmas and holiday cards to trade for signatures on these human rights letters.
Solidarity Bracelets following the Paris Bombing:
November 15th – 20th 2015
Following the Paris bombing’s I felt a mix of emotions. I think part of me was extremely upset and jealous of the global outpouring of support and solidarity with the tragedy in Paris. Paris was most definitely a tragedy. But bombings in every corner of the world should be considered tragedies yet we don’t show half the consideration, attention, or empathy to those regions as we gave Paris in November. That week I hosted an Amnesty meeting and bought a lot of string to make friendship bracelets in the colors of the flags of the various countries that were also impacted by bombing incidents within that same week. We got Mali, Nigeria, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and France of course.
#GiveRefugeesRest – FOR Campaign against Islamophobia:
I cut out letters spelling out the campaign hashtag “Give Refugees Rest”. I just taped those letters to my pillow and took it to school that day asking anyone and everyone to snap a quick pic with the pillow. That day I got home and posted it to my Facebook and twitter along with the FOR video against Islamophobia. I love that video. It gives me chills. I didn’t get this idea until much later but I printed the photos and wrote quotes of peace and welcome on the back. And I sent them to the suggested 31 governors that called for denying the entrance of Syrian refugees.
Unbound Beauty Fashion Show
March 2015 – June 2016)
The Unbound Beauty Fashion Show started out as an idea to get all our friends on stage wearing their various styles of clothing to challenge what it means to dress like a boy or like a girl. We wanted to incorporate cultural elements and essentially dismiss generalized or universal standards of what it is to be beautiful. Though our project changed the core idea remained: Beauty truly is something embodied, a state of mind, as opposed to any external definition or social standards of appeal. We only planned on targeting girls seeing as they’re the ones more disproportionately affected by media and other portrayals of unattainable ideals of beauty. This specific audience gave us a more steady ground to base our other goals off of. We incorporated a prom element to our fashion show which gave clearer guidelines for clothing donations. Originally we had planned to just collect lightly used clothing from a variety of fashion styles to supply girls in need for the summer but we really loved the prom element because we strongly identified with the struggle of wanting to take part in mainstream traditionally American festivities but not having the financial means or understanding to participate. So along with general clothing and accessory donations we heavily focused on collecting dresses to distribute before to local girls in need for their high school proms. There was a lot of paper work involved; bajillions of emails sent back and forth; reaching out to different high schools in the area, counselors, career centers, etc; tons of driving around Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, and Seattle to walk into independent stores and connect to store owners about our event; collecting donations; driving car loads of clothes from one location to another; and our most major issue was advertising – getting the word out to students in need that we had all these clothes they could get access to if they demonstrated the financial need.
The show itself was a blast. About 30 people came and both the models and volunteers had a great time. At the very last minute I squeezed in a loosely planned Q&A session at the end which turned out to be very great and sincere. We heard some thoughtful and eye opening responses from the models which really helped to wrap up the show and end it on a note of consciousness and empathy for the struggle of girls in finding their identity. It was cool. I was really proud of that tidbit.
Here are some quotes from the “models”/participants regarding what being beautiful” is really about.
Being beautiful is…
“Being beautiful is feeling comfortable in your own skin and not having to constantly compare yourself to others” – Charlotte (Interlake HS Senior)
“…personally I think beauty is a kind of glow. When someone smiles or laughs and their face “glows,” I consider that to be beautiful.” – Olivia (Interlake HS Junior)
“Accepting yourself because if you think you’re beautiful, it doesn’t matter what anyone else in the universe thinks… Being beautiful is finding a way to keep going despite all the challenges you face.” –Gunja (Interlake HS Freshman)
“Being beautiful is waking up in the morning and stumbling into the bathroom and realizing that you glow with life and love and the sheer power of being you” – Annie (Interlake HS Junior)
“Like I said earlier beauty has no size. Being beautiful should not have a size that goes along with it. Being beautiful is a matter of confidence… A WOMEN WHO KNOWS WHAT SHE WANTS AND IS CONFIDENT…THAT IS BEAUTY!” – Paige (Bellevue HS Senior)
“Being beautiful is the point when you are able to stand tall and proud, after suffering a lifetime of difficulties.” –Meghan (Bellevue HS Senior)
I’d estimate 30 or so people came to the show. We had 40 volunteers: about 20 models and 20 general volunteers. So in total 70 (give or take 10) were involved and impacted by our fashion show. Attention was drawn to the pressure we as girls place on ourselves to be pretty and conform, and look “like everybody else”. At our volunteer meetings we were big on engaging in dialogues around fashion sense, trends, how our sense of style has changed, and why we choose to wear the clothes that we do. Overall I would say our project did a good job on educating and creating awareness.