Senior Fellow Jalyn Radziminski-Smith noticed a lot of people at her university, and communities at large, often have great social justice initiatives, but don’t have a network of like-minded individuals or know the resources available to them. Inspired by a high school student who had a similar vision and came to her for help, Jalyn decided to serve local high schools and young professionals by creating a network.
Jalyn wanted young people to do more than talk about human rights, she wanted to see people get trained on how to take action or see examples of how people take action through their careers or personal initiatives.
To create this network, Jalyn constantly communicated with the high school Girl Up chapters, her sorority, and her university. “It took a lot of energy to strategically advertise to reach schools and professionals across Georgia.” Her consistent outreach paid off as she secured high caliber speakers to run workshops and give speeches, garnered funding for catering and decorations and secured a nice space to host her new network of over 100 participants.
The summit took place from 9am to 3:30pm. Workshops were centered around social justice and women empowerment; the seminars taught young women about how to start and run a club, about Planned Parenthood, the necessity of women in tech, UNICEF spoke about the rights of children, the importance of girls’ education, and of course, they all discussed advocacy in practice. At the end Jalyn gave an optional tour of Emory’s campus. Speaking about her own experience of “getting into a top 21 school as a low income, first generation college student that is a minority” many of the students during the tour and the students [she] worked with to plan the summit felt empowered to go on to college.
By spearheading the ATL Girl Up Coalition, Jalyn united universities, high schools and professional women across Georgia. “Now, there is a regional summit for us to come together to share our ideas to advocate for human rights and a network to execute them together.”