Standing up for girls

Sophia Kim , Asst. Sports Editor

Among the seemingly endless number of community service clubs at Diamond Bar High School, Girl-up has a different purpose: To educate. Meeting every month, members of Girl-up gather to share their ideas on current events that affect women in society.

“[Our goal] is bringing awareness to our student body because not everyone is aware of what is happening in these different countries to these girls,” junior president Charis Doi said. “We focus on girls, primarily on their education, health care, safety against violence and leadership opportunities.”

In lieu of offering structured activities, the club opts for open discussions, as it gives everyone the chance to share their beliefs.

“We all learn from each other about these specific things because those are the things we care about a little bit more because it affects us,” junior co-social activities director, Nisha Sandhu said. “It’s really interesting to see other people’s perspectives and grow together as we all learn more about it.”

Recently, Girl-up officers decided to take a step further in enacting change by encouraging members to write letters to their Congress members on issues that concerned them.

Last year, members wrote letters to congress about the importance of the Education-For-All Act and Girls-Count Act, which would allow girls in developing countries to receive any kind of education. Shortly after the letters were sent, both acts were passed into a law.

In addition, through fundraisers and sales, the club raised enough money to donate bikes for girls in Liberia, giving them easier access to schools. Every year, Girl-up offers members the opportunity to take part in a leadership summit in Washington D.C. or Southern California. At D.C., members can learn about the club’s mission, the process of advocating for various bills and how to become more politically involved.

In California, attendees can participate in different workshops and discussions, focusing on girls in modern society. Many significant figures such as former First Lady Michelle Obama, plus-size model Ashley Graham and “High School Musical” star Monique Coleman have spoken at the D.C. summit.

“Girl-up is about helping girls in third world countries who don’t have the resources or the chance to get an education,” junior co-social activities coordinator Iris Miao said. “At the summit, [the girls] learned more about what they can do with their knowledge.”

 Last year, the club attended the screening of the movie, “He Named Me Malala,” accompanied by the women’s U.S. national soccer team. Girl-up chapters from across the district were invited to support the film about Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager who has fought for the rights of women and their education.

As Girl-up is a fairly new club at DBHS, Doi stated that she hopes the club will reach a larger audience and make a great impact on campus. The club looks forward to pairing up with JSA or Brahma Tech to allow members to be more exposed to the STEM field and expand the number of women in STEM.

Although Girl-up consists mainly of females, Doi aspires to involve boys in the future and lead the club into becoming one of the dominant clubs on campus.

“Everyone thinks that Girl-up is just for girls and I want to help people look past the girl in Girl-up, that it’s open to boys as well,” Doi said. “We’re not only trying to advocate for women’s rights, but we’re also trying to bring awareness to different issues in our society.”