Lighting the Flame: Highlighting Organizations That Inspire Women and Girls to Shine

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?

-Marianne Williamson

You likely heard it in Akeelah and the Bee. You’ve probably heard it in a random speech at some point. You have possibly even read it in an email signature or two (mine, included). It’s a quote that resonates with a lot of people. For me, it serves as a powerful daily reminder of the unique strengths that we have as individuals. Strengths that often have yet to be tapped into due to fears, insecurities, circumstances or other unfortunate reasons.

Every few years my family gets together for a reunion that takes place over the course of four days. This is a very special time as many of us come from all over the world back to the island of our roots so that we can reconnect with one another. One of my favorite parts of the reunion is the the last day when everyone gathers in a large circle with a candle in hand and we pass on the flame from one person to the next until every candle is lit. The message? When we go back to our usual lives, we should not forget to keep the family spirit alive. In essence: keep it burning.

That’s exactly what these organizations I’ll be featuring do: they keep families and communities alive by bringing out the light of women and girls.

It’s no longer breaking news that women and girls around the world are facing poverty and injustice at disproportionate levels. To many people’s surprise, girls in the US - even right in your own neighborhood - deal with unspeakable horrors that you might not imagine. Sheryl WuDunn, author of the book Half the Sky, even calls it “our century’s greatest injustice”.

Nonetheless, I’m encouraged by the number of organizations out there fighting for the human and civil rights of women and girls. Lately, I’ve come across so many, each of which is doing extremely exciting things. Most importantly, they are committed to bettering lives with the goal of ensuring that the flames of these women and girls are fully lit and prepared to shine as they begin to tap into their power within.

I hope you enjoy learning about the organizations as much as I do.

Featured Organizations: