Why I Love the YesSheCanCampaign!By: Arielle Gedeon

When I think about movements and campaigns that have such a positive impact on a multitude of young women’s lives I think about the YesSheCanCampaign. The YesSheCanCampaign was founded by Zaniya Lewis who has dedicated her time in the community since she was young. The development of this campaign stems from her passion to empower young women against all odds. Taking a look at the campaign’s motto gave me another reason why I love YesSheCanCampaign. The motto is, ” A place where YOU can inspire, encourage, and share YOUR story. And I believe that is such an amazing concept. The Five Pillars of this organization are Education, Service, Opportunity, Advocacy, and Empowerment. All powerful concepts that can really solidify the development of this campaign. I came across YesSheCanCampaign when I was scrolling through Instagram and saw my fellow PCI sister, Lycinda post about it.  After doing a little research on my own, I was so intrigued that someone not too older than me has started such an amazing thing. Also, if my fellow PCI sister was involved then I know it is a good thing to be part of. From there on, I was glad that a chapter was brought to my University where Jayla George served as our President. I also applied to become an ambassador for the program where I am enjoying the weekly assignments of learning more about the campaign. Being a part of the YesSheCanCampaign is a privilege that I am grateful to have, when I mention my involvement with the campaign I say so with pride and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Hopefully we can see the growth of YesSheCanCampaign all across the globe!


Hello everyone! My name is Avery Bowen, I am seventeen, I am based in Chicago, and love coconut paletas. You may recognize me from our Instagram as I am in charge of the newest YesSheCan Campaign project- our book club! Starting the YesSheCanCampaign book club is only a small part of what I do as part of the organization. Officially, I am the Sparkle Project Intern for the summer. My job is to think of and plan events and projects that the YesSheCanCampaign can create. I have a billion different ideas on things we can do to better our communities but decided to start small with our book club. 
    My idea with the book club was simple: host an Instagram Live book club discussion with a group of my friends at the beginning and end of each month with mini discussions/Q&A sessions every week in between. Right now we are halfway through our first novel, Michelle Obama’s Becoming. The novel has been a fantastic look into the life of one of the most successful women in the world, and I think I can speak for all of the members of the book club when I say that Becoming should become the newest guide for women. We have yet to decide what next month’s novel will be; however, as a group we decided that the remainder of the novels we read will be written by women, especially women of color. My goal with the book club is to encourage girls to read novels outside of school for pure enjoyment, especially novels that they would not normally be exposed to, hence the focus on female, WoC writers.  
    What I loved the most about being a part of the YesSheCanCampaign is the inspiration I draw from the overall message and ideals of the campaign. Before becoming the Sparkle Projects Intern, I had all of these different ideas about things I wanted to do and projects I wanted to pursue, yet never followed through with my plans. The YesSheCanCampaign has given me the nudge I need to make my ideas into a reality. That being said, I have tons more ideas of projects I want to implement this summer and am excited to go on that journey with the help and support of the YesSheCanCampaign. Stay tuned to see what other projects I cook up during the remainder of the summer!

The HATE U GIVE REVIEW BY: Christine Acquah

After drying my tears, I have successfully been able to gather up my emotions and form a solid review on this movie.  

Pause. I need a second.

Okay, I’m ready.

Emotional is not the word to describe the way The Hate U Give made me feel. The film effectively and efficiently touched on themes that are significantly impacting the black community today.  A close-minded individual may have thought the film solely focused on police brutality, but it covered multiple topics that are just as, if not more, relevant. Some topics touched upon other than the obvious police brutality are, inter-community violence in the black areas, interracial dating, positive friendships, and the effects of representation on the youth.

Starr’s navigation of her two lives is one that many young black girls can relate to. Often times, many young women feel as if they have to switch their blackness on or off depending on the situation they are in. The film does not shy away from showing the good and the bad of Starr’s journey to self-actualization. From witnessing the two murders of best friends, to her first relationship, and finally finding her voice, Starr comes out on top. She was able to navigate the adversities that were placed in her life with the support of her real friends and family.

The film also references the late Tupac Shakur’s album THUG LIFE. Before watching the film, I was familiar with the saying but was ignorant of its meaning. “The hate u give little infants f***s everybody.” The saying helped in narrating the effects that not only individuals, but whole communities have on younger children. Having witnessed all of the violence and corruptness in his neighborhood, Starr’s younger brother, Sekani, ends up turning to violence to protect his own family.

One of my favorite aspects of the film was the portrayal of the Carter family. The stereotypical view of a family with a parent that was incarcerated is often seen as dysfunctional or unstable. The Carters are a close unit family that is filled with nothing but love. The children’s parents instill in them at a young age that they are all gifted and must use those talents for good. This displays the importance of positive affirmations to children.

A conflict that often leaves murderers free on the streets is the street code of “no snitching.” Since Starr is the witness of the shooting of both her friends, the code is relevant to her case. When she begins to speak up about the situation the safety of her family is threatened. At the end of the film, she vows to end the cycle of violence in her community. With the help of the entire community, they were able to put away one of the most dangerous drug dealers in their community. Unity is power.

The Hate U Give gets 5 stars from me. I highly recommend the film to everyone as it focuses on relevant issues that occur in the U.S daily. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. The first step to ending injustice is to recognize it and this film helps with the process.

Advice for High School Students By: Christine Acquah

For high school students, college may seem scary and exciting. Being on your own, parties, meeting new people and taking classes that interest you are all things to be excited about. However, college is the first step to building a future for yourself and what you do there can affect the rest of your life. Seeking advice before you get to college will help you in many ways.

As a sophomore in college, I have a lot of advice for high school seniors about to partake in their first year of college. First, I would like to advise high school students to take advantage of scholarships. This was a mistake I made because I thought only students with 4.0 GPAs receive scholarships  students would receive a scholarship. However, I was wrong. A lot of my friends with a 3.0 or even lower received outside scholarships. College is very expensive and students should take every advantage to receive money. Members of the YesSheCanCampaign should also take advantage of the weekly emails that include scholarships.

Another piece of advice for high school students is to take advantage of your first year of college. The mistake I made was not getting involved and staying in my room all day. College is all about networking and you should start networking as soon as you get there. Instead of isolating yourself,, students should go to events on campus and join clubs. My school particularly sends weekly emails of events that are happening on campus. Take advantage of those emails and participate in some of the events. Joining clubs is one of the easiest ways to meet new people and get involved on campus. Joining clubs can also help you find purpose and allow you to network. You do not want to start writing your resume and have nothing to put on it. However, do not allow your involvement in these extracurricular activities to affect your grades. . Never forget the main reason why you are in college. Grades do not define you but are a big contribution to whether you get internships and if you are able to get into different majors. You do not want to be that person that can’t get into their desired major because your grades are not high enough. Freshmen in college often times do not take their General Education requirements seriously, causing their GPA to fall. Gen Eds is the easiest way to get your GPA to a good place. Freshman year is not easy but do not give up!

The last piece of advice I would give high school students is to be yourself and get to know yourself in college. College is the time where you can really get to connect with your true self, make friends that accept the real you and find out what your passions are. Don’t lose yourself trying to fit in. College is the time to be the real you!  Just remember to make the best out of college because college is the best time of your life!


Why I Love the YesSheCanCampaign! By: Jessica Hills

When I first found out about the Yes She Can Campaign I was an anxious and stressed out student worrying about my future. I was stressed out because I am from a suburb outside of Houston named Katy, Texas and am currently attending a University that I thought was the one for me. A university that I had soon to realize it was not the one for me. I knew deep in my heart that I belong in Washington D.C to which I had previously visited when I attended the March For Our Lives rally that was put on by the students of Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida.

Jessica attending The March for Our Lives in Washington D.C.

Late one night I was roaming through the George Washington University Instagram when I found Zaniya Lewis’s Instagram page and saw that not only does she attend GWU but she was a transfer, which is what I of course would be since I currently attend a university in the state of Texas. The next day I had messaged Zaniya wondering what it took exactly to get accepted to George Washington University and that’s when I found out about the Yes She Can Campaign. Zaniya had a lot of helpful information about what I needed to do to apply for this upcoming fall and then after told me about how the Yes She Can Campaign was looking for ambassadors! I knew after talking to her that I 100% wanted to get involved in an organization that’s main goal is to help women overcome their adversities while completing their education. I am a first generation college student with a single mother who has been a waitress as long as I could remember, and 4 older sisters who did not attend college. Having Zaniya help me and talk to me about what I needed was more guidance than I have ever gotten at home. That’s when I knew I wanted to apply for the ambassador program to be able to help other girls who were like me, a stressed out student wanting her dreams to come true. I will forever be thankful for Zaniya’s help and being able to be an Ambassador for the YesSheCanCampaign.

Jessica with her YesSheCanCampaign T-Shirt

Hurricane Florence: How YOU can help! By Madison Langrin

Earlier this month, Hurricane Florence became the first major hurricane to hit the United States this season, inflicting havoc on the Carolinas and those who call these states home. The storm has stolen not only infrastructure, business, and housing from the residents of the Carolinas, but for some even their lives, with a death-toll in the double-digits.

Flooding in areas such as Wilmington, North Carolina rendered the area inaccessible to rescue or aid according to CNN. The reality of flooding, due to the many rivers and water sources in these areas, is that Florence’s torment is not yet over. The effects have spread further than anticipated, resulting in major economic distress to the effect of millions to billions of dollars in recovery, as well as other environmental implications as a result of the large-scale flooding.

Now in the early recovery stages of Florence, these communities begin wonder how to regain that sense of normalcy and rebuild their homes. For those of you looking to help the efforts to benefit the Carolinas there a multitude of organizations in need of your help.

The American Red Cross is a non-profit organization that works in the area of disaster-relief. The Red Cross is accepting donations via https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-florence-donations.html/ to fund their efforts for those affected by Florence in the Carolinas. Donations can be made in a minimum of $10 through credit card or PayPal.

All Hands and Hearts is looking for both financial and volunteer contributions to fund their work and also to be on the field providing these resources to residents of the Carolinas. All Hands and Hearts has a mission of leaving each place better than it was before, and of building a relationship with the communities they are in through their volunteers.

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is accepting both monetary and food donations specified on their website www.foodbankcenec.org in response to Florence’s effect on the states. This food bank is doing amazing things for its community, providing over 160,000 meals to the residents in their area as a result of Florence.

A food truck company, World Central Kitchen, has responded to the disaster in the Carolinas by providing meals to the many victims and emergency responders in these areas. They are working locally with the communities to respond to Hurricane Florence, and to continue their work they are in need of monetary donations on https://www.worldcentralkitchen.org/donate to fund their costs.

As students it can be difficult to feel of value in this kind of large-scale event, but every effort you make is both felt and appreciated by the communities in North and South Carolina.  Do what you can with what you have, but do not feel pressured to make financial decisions that are unrealistic to you. Every donation is valuable.

In addition to these few resources, by continuing to share and trend the state of the Carolinas through social media, you are allowing their suffering to stay relevant weeks later. Continue to spread the word and seek ways to help in whatever form you can, and to encourage those around you to do the same.

Black Girls Rock! By Eureka V

This year’s Black Girls Rock award show took place in Newark, New Jersey at the Performing Arts Center Prudential Hall. The show gracefully highlighted the achievements of black women with the help of its lovely host, Queen Latifah.  The awards opened up with a fantastic performance by Fantasia honoring the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin. Fantasia’s voice had the entire crowd up out of their seats dancing with joy, demanding that they receive nothing but respect. The celebration of black female excellence began with the honoring of Lena Waithe with the “Shot Caller Award”.

Waithe was recognized for unapologetically changing the narratives that are common on television through her work such as, The Chi. Naomi Campbell was given the “Black Girl Magic Award”. After accepting her award Campbell stood confidently in front of the crowd and assured that “black girls are not a trend and they are here to stay”. The “Community Change Award” was rightfully given to the founder of the #MeTooMovement, Tarana Burke. For her continuous involvement and influence in the dance community,  Judith Jamison was awarded the “Living Legend Award”. Having graced the art of dance for decades, Jamison continues to teach dance to young women. One of the most gracious rock stars off them all, Janet Jackson, took the stage to accept the “Rock Star Award”. Lastly, Mary J. Blige was awarded the “Star Power Award” for successfully “capturing the emotions and humanity of black women in her music for decades.”   Throughout the night, young black women such as Naomi Wadler, Shanay Thompson, and Amanda Gorman were recognized as M.A.D Girls for their dominant roles as activists in their communities. The show also included capturing performances by artists such as H.E.R, Victory, Tamia, and Rapsody.

Due to the low voter turnout rates, the program also dedicated a segment about the importance of voting. Michelle Obama took over the show in a short video where she explained why voting matters. The former first lady states that women of color have the power to initiate real change and that begins with going to the polls.  Since the show opened with a short tribute to Aretha Franklin, it was only right that it ended with an even greater one. Ledisi, Jazmine Sullivan, Cynthia Ervio, Stephanie Mills and Yolanda Adams, sang their hearts out to Franklin’s greatest hits. The rendition including, “I Never Loved a Man”, “Ain’t No Way”, “I Say a Little Prayer”, “Until  You Come Back To Me”, and “How I Got Over”. The entire crowd honored Franklin by dancing and singing along to all of the songs. This year’s Black Girls Rock award show was a success. Even from home, the energy and emotions present in the stadium could be felt. The importance of honoring black women specifically, resonated with everyone in the audience. The show recognizes the achievement of black women in a positive light and will continue to inspire young black women to do good in their communities. While the media is constantly lacking representation for our little black girls, Black girls Rock does otherwise.

What is your “YES?” by Christine Acquah

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, raised in Irvington, New Jersey, Jasmine Metellus shares why she wanted to join the climb, the #YesSheCanCampaign.  “I started in this organization as an ambassador because I fell in love with the meaning of such a empowering group that was created by youth for the youth.. Also, when I joined the org, this was the beginning of getting really well-known, and I saw this as an opportunity to help it grow which I did!” – Jasmine Metellus


What is your major?

My major is Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing.

What are your strengths?

A few of my strengths include strong communication, people, and presentation skills, leadership, writing, resilience, super hard working, dependable, and a lot of technical skills with Photoshop, Microsoft office, and more.


Who is your inspiration?

My grandmother is my inspiration

How has the #YesSheCanCampaign helped you become a better person?

This organization has helped so much into making me a better person. Had taught me to be punctual, organized, more stern with deadlines, and networking skills. On our team, we all live in different locations, but we all have the same vision: to make the world a much better place.

What are your weaknesses?

Some of my weaknesses include over talking, sometimes I don’t let people talk and I’m not listening to listen, I just listen to respond. One of my worse ones was team work, I used to hate working on teams, but this team has taught me that you can’t do it alone all the time. If you need to achieve something, you may need some help on that task. Lastly I have a lack of patience, if I ask you multiple times, I shouldn’t have to you know?

How did you hear about the #YesSheCanCampaign?

My best friend Udochi told me about it, but I didn’t start engaging in it until I saw Zaniya and her in the news. Once she went in depth about the org, I decided to join literally the day after.

When did you get interested in leadership roles?

In high school I was very involved.. I didn’t want to just stop being involved, and also I feel like my organizations in general have all taught me different things, also leadership positions uphold a strong role. I believe I was always fit for being a leader.  

How do you deal with many tasks when you feel overwhelmed?

Usually I’ll nap and try again later or talk someone I trust, or I write out about how I feel.

When did you start being a member of the #YesSheCanCampaign

I became a member in February 2018!

What’s your “YES”? By Madison Langrin

Zaniya Lewis, the Founder, CEO, and Executive Director of the #YesSheCanCampaign.  Born in Newark, New Jersey, raised in Edgewater Park, the Founder shares her story of how her challenges and adversity has helped her flourish in the amazing woman she is today, and why she made the #YesSheCanCampaign. “My successes, adversities, and failures inspired me to create the  #YesSheCanCampaign, that is now a national 501 (c)(3) non-profit.” – Zaniya Lewis

I was born premature and had about a 75% chance of dying.  Growing up, My mom was unemployed for some part of my life and I was also a military kid.  As I entered middle school, I was bullied and during my senior year while applying for colleges, it was hard for me to attend the colleges that I wanted to go to.  On top of that, I have experienced racial discrimination a countless amount of times. Going through these different experiences made me feel lonely, made me think I wasn’t good enough.  In 2016, I decided to create a space where young girls and young women can share their stories about their experiences and obstacles while they were striving to complete their education. I have also been given so many incredible opportunities and I wanted to keep the door open give others the same opportunities I was granted. My story is all about the climb!

How has the campaign grown with you over the past few years?

The #YesSheCanCampaign started as an instagram that shared the stories of women who were overcoming adversity while striving to complete their education. Since then, we have expanded to 11 programs, we have two college chapters that started this fall and we have reached over 1,000 + students through our programming and social media content. We have 14 national team members from across the country working on different aspects of the organization in their homes and college dorms! All of the national team members are in high school and college.

What does your role in the campaign entail?

I am the Founder and Executive Director of the #YesSheCanCampaign. I am in charge of everything at the #YesSheCanCampaign. I ensure that each department is uplifting our mission! I do everything from social media, to recruitment, showcasing opportunities, I basically do it all!  I bleed the #YESSHECANCAMPAIGN!

What is one of your current or biggest goals?

As of now, I want to continue recruiting as many members for the #YesSheCanCampaign. While doing this, I attend the George Washington University studying Political Science. I hope to attend law school in the future. My goal is just to keep inspiring and empowering youth to change the world and to keep climbing!

Why is education, especially for women, so important to you?

Education is important to because education is a tool that cannot be taken away from you after you get that diploma. Education is the key to opportunity in this world. It is important that every girl and young women in this world receive a quality education so that they can achieve their goals and dreams.

How do you believe your experience with education (elementary, high school, college, etc.) has shaped the person you are now?

Education has given me the confidence to follow my dreams. I had so many incredible teachers who I still keep a relationship with to this day because they empowered me to keep following my dreams.

What role has your family/support system played in you achieving your goals?

My family is the reason I am here today! They have been an incredible support system. My mom and dad taught me to not be average and do something that is bigger than myself. They instilled in me that volunteering is your duty in life. My dad created the saying “KEEP CLIMBING!” for me when I was in high school, I decided to use that saying as the motto at the #YesSheCanCampaign because despite the obstacles that we may face, the climb is what we focus on! I truly thank my family for shaping me as a person!

How would you spend your time if you had a weekend free of any responsibility?

Definitely sleep!