Girl power: Southern Brooklyn schools team up to strengthen female voices

Gems: Southern Brooklyn students pose with panelists at the March 22 Girls Empowerment Movement event.
Brooklyn Paper
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Hundreds of young women from 35 Kings County schools gathered in East New York on March 22 as part of a monthly series on strengthening female voices.

The Girls Empowerment Movement, made up of elementary and middle schoolers in Southern Brooklyn’s District 19, aims to provide support and guidance to young women, according to organizer Abbe Berger.

“The program provides incredible mentorship. It gives these girls role models to look up to,” Berger said. “We want them to feel confident, to aspire to, and achieve self love.”

Berger volunteered to be the mentor for East New York’s PS 273 Wortman, where she has worked in various roles for 28 years. Currently serving as the school’s guidance counselor, Berger took on the mentoring role this year as a way to further help her students.

“Another teacher started as a mentor in our school last year, but she left, and nobody took over her position, so I decided to become a mentor,” she said. “I have a super busy schedule, but I take it all on because I am very interested in girls’ empowerment and I love my students.”

School mentors meet each month to organize performances, panels, and guest speakers for the monthly convenings, each aimed at the exploration of a different core value. The March installment of the program centered on the theme of individuality, featuring dance productions, spoken word concerts, panel discussions, and a keynote speech from educational and racial equality strategist Darnisha Amante, according to Berger.

“We had these different woman who explain their stories, and talk about their individual journeys,” she said. “It’s a vulnerable place. They share their personal stories, and many of them are from the inner city, so it can be rough sometimes.”

Past installments of the program have focused on beauty, strength, and confidence. The April 12 convening will be held as PS 202 at 982 Hegeman Ave., and will spotlight the concept of voice, aiming to provide young women with guidance for the future, according to Berger.

“It gives the girls good outlets. Promoting opportunities and visions for the future,” she said. “It’s like a sisterhood.”

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at or by calling (718) 260–4577.
Updated 2:37 pm, April 2, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Gerard from Brooklyn says:
May I ask when the Boys Empowerment Movement begins? Aren’t we forgetting about the other half of the population?
April 2, 2019, 2:48 pm
Gerard from Brooklyn says:
Us incels need a voice too ya know!
April 2, 2019, 2:54 pm
Nipsey Russell from Crenshaw says:
They gonna be protesting creepy Joe Biden?
April 2, 2019, 8:29 pm
Yolanda Vega from NY Bodega says:
Empower yourselves by not wh oring around and then running off to planned parenthood to ‘Fix’ the problem. They won’t teach you that. They lie to you. Don’t fall under their spell. Just say no.
April 3, 2019, 7:35 am
Wang Ho Chan says:
“We want them ... to achieve self love” says organizer. Are these girls too dumb to figure out how to masturbate by themselves?! Why do we spend tax money on teaching girls how to just wiggle a finger around?
April 3, 2019, 6:53 pm
Creepy Joe Biden from Hair smeller says:
Why do their voices need to be strengthened, do they have laryngitis?
April 3, 2019, 8:20 pm
Lindsay Deal from Texas says:
The responses above are ignorant, crude, and outright disgusting. I am utterly APPALLED and quite frankly disappointed that yall are being heckled, rather than celebrated. Shame on you all above- you are the reason we need these wonderful women to mentor our girls... thanks to ignorant idiots like you all. Please read a book and learn some manners. To Ms. Berger and all who are participating and mentoring these young girls, on behalf of Texans trying to do the same- THANK YOU!!! We appreciate you all and understand the challenges! Sending love and support from a fellow teacher and mentor!!
May 5, 2019, 1:28 pm

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