Every Wednesday at 4pm, a group of eight girls got together in a classroom at Chelsea High School to delve deeper into the issue of sexual health. The students, along with their GO Girls facilitator from Brooklyn Law School, engaged in discussions on consent, confidentiality, and relationship violence throughout the spring term.
Chelsea sophomores Alison Cegueda, Kimberly Cordero and Destiny Mercado pushed the group forward and took a lead in their Community Impact Project, a poster campaign that highlighted the words “NO” and “YES” in different languages. They created an Instagram account with the hashtags #NoMeansNo and #YesMeansYes to highlight the role of enthusiastic consent in relationships and to encourage their peers to share their experiences surrounding abusive relationships.
“Some girls are going through this and they don’t even know it,” said Alison. “It affects a girl’s life in every way and it makes me want to do something about it.”
The girls believe that encouraging others to share their stories will help them feel less alone. They created a “Secrets Box” in the guidance office at their school for students to anonymously submit their experiences or thoughts on sexual health issues and relationship violence. To kickstart this dialogue within their larger school community, the girls also spearheaded “Denim Day” on June 12th, a campaign where students wear jeans to promote education and awareness around sexual assault.
“It feels great to have ownership over something that’s helping other people,” said Destiny. “It feels great to be engaged because that’s what it’s about. It’s about breaking people’s mindsets and showing you’re committed to making a change in your society.”
RAP is excited to support these young advocates and see where they go next with their campaign!