Written by Sam Nower
“I’ve spoken in many places. There’s nothing so powerful [as] to be in the presence of all girls,” Dr. Tererai Trent said as she looked out into the faces of over 1,000 women in attendance at her talk at Clowes Memorial Hall.
On Monday, February 10th, Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis and Marianne Glick presented An Evening with Dr. Tererai Trent: Empowering the Next Generation of Women. Dr. Trent came to Butler University to share her incredible story and to advocate for empowerment and education of women and girls.
Dr. Trent spent the day learning about Girls Inc.’s programs, visiting Girls Inc. Indy girls, and signing copies of her new book, The Awakened Woman.
At 7:00pm, she gave a speech about her extraordinary story and the need to educate young women.
Dr. Trent said she thinks of her life and her struggles as a baton in a relay race. Growing up in rural Zimbabwe, the baton she was passed down from her mother and her grandmother was one of oppression, poverty, and violence. Women like Dr. Trent never got the opportunity to achieve their dreams through education, and as a result, Dr. Trent was a single mother of three by the age of 18 with little way to better her situation.
She knew she had to break this cycle. She wanted a better future for her children. Dr. Trent held that heavy baton of oppression in her hand, that “ugly” baton that represented so much sorrow and silencing, and she threw it as far away as she could.
She got her GED. Then her Bachelor’s degree. Then her Master’s. And finally her PhD. She came back to Zimbabwe and built 11 schools for children just like her who know education is the key to a better future. And in the Clowes Memorial Hall Monday night, she talked about why Girls Inc. matters to her.
“I know what Girls Inc. does,” she said.” They are redefining that baton.”
Dr. Trent said she resonates with Girls Inc.’s mission because they encourage girls to know their worth. Girls Inc. knows that educating women contributes to the greater good, and as Dr. Trent’s mother said to her when she was young, “Your dreams in this life have greater meaning when they are tied to the greater good.”
Dr. Trent specifically spoke to the Girls Inc. girls sitting in the front row. “This is our hope. This is our future. These are our young leaders. And they are going to change the world whether you like it or not.”
She concluded her speech by saying that women are the future, and educating women is the first step toward a better world.
“I want you to support Girls Inc. because they have what it takes,” she said.
It was an unforgettable evening that none of us are soon to forget.
About the author:
Sam Nower serves as Girls Inc. Indy’s Social Media and Marketing Intern. She is a current Junior at Ball State University and is the proud Editor-in-Chief at Ball Bearings.
*Photo credit to Sam Nower and Maria Meschi