While in college, I cultivated an in-depth passion for empowering young women. The core of my being believes that as women grow confident in who they are called to be and internalize how valuable they are to society, the world as we see it would change for the better. With this optimism in the power and influence held by women, I found myself interning at the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, which I would describe as a hub of intellectuals, leaders, community advocates, innovative minds, and investigators committed to seeing the girl. In short, this place is amazing.
I don’t take it lightly that there exists such a place – where the most intelligent, compassionate, and strongest of women collaborate to empower the lives of the other women around them. I don’t take it lightly that every day the status quo remains broken, that the atmosphere of the Policy Center is not one of jealously, ill intent, or catty behavior that so often is labeled upon women in society. I don’t take it lightly that the women who work at the Policy Center have become better mothers, sisters, mentors, friends, and individual advocates through the work they commit themselves to. I don’t take it lightly that there are sex-trafficked women in our community, as well as young girls being funneled through the juvenile justice system, who find solace in the resources offered at here.
What I have found is that the Policy Center is the epicenter of the kind of work more women should be aware of and involved in.
As women, so many of us have been coerced into believing that our strength and ability is somehow insufficient. So many of us have been led to believe that we don’t possess the gift of leadership that can change the world. So many of us are crippled by insecurities that hinder our capacity to be a shining light in the world. Here are a few ways that the Policy Center is reshaping the way women interact with the world.
Here at the Policy Center, reflective practice enables us to witness exponential growth, both corporately and personally. We make it our priority to reflect on what we know, what we need to know, what we do with what we know, and how our doing informs our being. In short, we are always making a careful examination of what we’re doing, looking for solutions, and aiming to understand how we can become better individuals through the process. Reflective practice has made me a better intern, and pushes me daily to understand how I can use my work to better the lives of girls and young women around me.
I wish that the Policy Center had a reality TV show. Why? Because when it comes to women, all we are really exposed to through media is division and lack of substance. We don’t see strong, bright women working together to create change in the world. What I can say about the Policy Center is that women know the value of their contribution and simultaneously understand the importance of working together. Synergy keeps our mission afloat. It magnifies the impact we have in the community and exemplifies the power of women who work together. This type of movement is what should be broadcasted to millions around the world.
We See the Girl.
Most of all, we see the girl. What does this mean? Everything we do, whether it is research, communications, development, operations, or model programming, centers on the story of the girl. We are adamant about making sure that in the midst of our work, we don’t depersonalize the girl or invalidate her story. She is the forefront of what we do. Our goal is to serve her, to understand her, and to respect her world. We believe this drives the authenticity of our work, and ultimately shows the world that the woman is not invisible – she is colorful, complex, full of promise, and a force to be reckoned with.
Sabreen Murray is a recent graduate from the University of Florida and current Communications Intern at the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center. She found a passion for seeing the development of women through WRAPS (Women of Respect, Achievement, Perseverance, and Service), and is currently a GirlSMART facilitator with Girls Incorporated of Jacksonville, Florida. Connect with her at sabreenmurray.wordpress.com, and on Instagram @sabreenjmurray.