This is the logo of Girls Can Create - an Eagle Rock High School Club for young women (and non-binary) founded in 2020.

Girls Can Create

Business Columnists Education Margaret Irwin

By Margaret Irwin

Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you | Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

When Tomiko Younge and Sidney Hament graduate from Eagle Rock High School next week, Girls Can Create will be their legacy.

Younge and Hament founded the new school club, Girls Can Create, in the midst of the 2020 pandemic lockdown. They dreamed of social justice and creativity co-existing in a space for their fellow students, also quarantined. With that goal in mind, their mission statement read,  “a club for young women (and non-binary) at Eagle Rock High School to learn more about themselves through art, conversation, and opportunity.” Hament calls it, “a creative outlet with a purpose.”

The idea for the club received the support and guidance of then Principal Mylene Keipp and teacher, Ana Mendoz. At the first virtual meeting on September 25, 2020, students Jaya Chuan, Ryan Rocio, and Jovan Guinea joined the board as officers. Using Instagram and school announcements, the roster grew fast to fifty members ranging from 7th grade to seniors.

On October 2, 2020, the club hosted Angela Muñoz, a local teen singer, as the first guest speaker. On October 20, 2020, they hosted the first virtual Q & A with a panel of guests. Subsequently, the guest speakers have included a dancer, a lyricist, an influencer, a model, and women of color in various fields, including Anjelick Hendrickson, a local writer and speaker.

Chuan and Rocio said the conversations and projects are facilitated from the premise that it is important to have a shared experience. Guinea said that the club’s members have bonded together because of their differences. Rocio expressed how much she loves the diverse cultures within the club and its speakers. She emphasized that if you do not fit into “society’s beauty standards,” as a young woman, you need a safe space to feel supported.

Cultural diversity and experiences among members and guests matter to the officers. Younge said that she founded the club because her parents have shown her how to be creative, to lead, and to always seek knowledge. When asked, Sherry Younge said, “I am very proud of my daughter Tomiko for inspiring a group of girls into various types of careers within the arts, politics, social activism, business and more.”

Rocio said that under extraordinary circumstances within her family, her mother taught her how to treat others and to work hard, no matter the hurdles.

Chuan said that her biggest inspiration has been the three generations of women in her family. Because her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother have led by positive example, she can achieve her own goals.

Guinea said that music and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspire her, so much so that she would like to pursue a law degree.

Hament said that she is inspired by strong women in politics and women in local roles. She said that the overwhelming support and opportunities provided by the female leadership at the school have given her the confidence to take chances. Her father, Oliver Hament, said, “Girls Can Create is a safe space for young women to get together; to learn, share ideas, and express themselves. As a co-founder, my daughter had the opportunity to experience the inner workings of creating and managing a club from the ground up. I am excited to see the idea come to life and look forward to seeing how this experience enhances her future!”

Younge said that the club has received emails from fellow students stating how inspired they have been by each panel. The seniors have encouraged the club to continue with the same ambitious standards established over the past two years.

Justice Ginsburg would be proud of how these young women in the midst of the darkness of a pandemic found their light to lead others to join the conversation and take action.

Margaret Irwin, the Elder Director of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, has collaborated with Girls Can Create to connect the young and old residents of Eagle Rock.

1 thought on “Girls Can Create

  1. Congrats to these creative, compassionate young women!

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