Jocelynn Avalos was the only participant from Oklahoma at last week’s Girls Up Leadership Summit, held in Washington D.C. [photo provided]
Oklahoma college student, Jocelynn Avalos, went to Washington D.C. last week to participate in the Girls Up Leadership Summit, a three-day conference for girls to focus on advocacy in different areas of politics and society.
For Avalos, the summit was an opportunity to meet like-minded students wanting to make an impact.
“I strongly wanted to participate in the Girl Up leadership summit because I believed they shared the same interests as me, such as women empowerment and the importance of women opportunities and advocacy,” she said. “I wanted to learn how to become a better advocate for issues I cared about and wanted to spend time with women that had similar interests as me.”
The summit was filled with students of all ages, encouraging a community of advocates focusing on the same issues and goals. It focused on the importance of inner peace, self-love, minority issues, becoming an authentic leader and empowering other women.
“The workshops were on women and minority group issues — how to become better allies to minority groups, and how to become better advocates,” she said.
The summit featured presentations by inspirational women such as the first lady of Canada, Ms. Sophie Trudeau, super model Cara Delevigne and role models such as business leaders, astronauts, journalists, lawyers and artists.
“I believe it was important to show the young women what possibilities and opportunities are out there,” Avalos said.
With advocacy as the underlining theme, each girl brought her own area of interest to the summit, wanting to learn how to best make an impact.
“I feel as if I have always been passionate about social justice, but I felt as if I needed help trying to make my beliefs into action,” she said. “I am very passionate about women and minority rights in addition to the importance of education and our youth.”
For Avalos, it was encouraging to meet other girls and women equally as passionate about advocacy and their chance to make a difference.
“My favorite part about the summit was spending time with empowering young women from around the world and listening to what they are passionate about and how they help around in their communities,” she said. “I enjoyed the opportunity to share opinions and learn more about minority issues that are a part of today’s world.”
It’s because of her passions and determination that Avalos ended up being the only participant at the summit representing the state of Oklahoma. The 20-year-old from Guymon is attending Oklahoma Panhandle State University, pursing a business management degree and is an intern this summer at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
Avalos said she plans on using what she learned at the summit on initiatives back in her home community.
“I plan to be more vocal about issues that are important to me and plan to bring more awareness (to them),” she said. “I also hope to empower youth in our community and encourage them to use their voices for those that are being oppressed in today’s world.”