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Girls & Women of Color Centered at Montgomery’s First International Day of the Girl Celebration

Updated: Mar 13

Photos and Video by Nystasha Kelly of Complexion Photography


Girls and women powerfully took center stage at Montgomery’s first-ever International Day of the Girl celebration on Saturday, October 7, 2023. The celebration was under the auspices of Women in Training, Inc. Board of Directors; Alabama State Representative Rolanda Hollis, Chairwoman.

Students, parents and teachers from The Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School provided major volunteer support for the WIT International Day of the Girl celebration at Rosa Parks Museum. On the far left is Ms. Adeyela Albury Bennett, President and CEO, Women in Training, Inc.

Alabama State Representative Rolanda Hollis, Board Chairwoman, Women in Training, Inc.

The International Day of the Girl celebration was a three-part event, beginning with the Fourth Annual WIT 5K Race: Empowering Girls to Change the World, managed by Laurie Edmondson, Race Director, with an exciting warmup with Karon White.

Dr. Nandini Ramroop, Chairwoman, WIT International Day of the Girl Celebration in Montgomery, Alabama.

Dr. Nandini Ramroop, Chairwoman, WIT International Day of the Girl, hosted the Multicultural & STEM Festival at Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University in downtown Montgomery. The celebration culminated at The White House at the Gender Policy Council's "Girls Leading Change" ceremony, hosted by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, on October 11, 2023.


"This International Day of the Girl event was very significant to our city, especially for the youth, as it provided avenues to celebrate young women leaders, as well as learn about various cultures across the globe that are represented in our very own Capital City," Dr. Ramroop said. "The global presence and the accomplished women of our community serve as role models for our girls."

A dancer from Shivalaya School of Indian Classical Dance. Choreographed by Ms. Sudha Raghuram.

Celebrated annually on October 11 International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address challenges girls face, promote girls’ empowerment and promote the fulfillment of girls’ human rights. President Joseph R. Biden officially declared October 11, 2023, as International Day of the Girl in the United States.

View this video that summarizes Montgomery's International Day of the Girl celebration!

WIT partnered with the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University to produce the festival.

Photo credit: AP

"Girls’ rights are human rights, and by helping to spark the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks demonstrated her philosophy of respecting the human rights and dignity of all people,” said Donna M. Beisel, director of operations for the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University. “That’s why the Rosa Parks Museum is honored to partner with Women in Training, Inc. for the 2023 International Day of the Girl Child festivities to continue uplifting and empowering young women.”

Ariel Lenise Dixon, Miss Huntingdon 2023 and Ms. Krischula McNear-Edwards, President of Mayor Steven Reed’s Young Professional Council, moderated the Panel Discussion of WIT Girls and Women of Excellence. They are both members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

The International Day of the Girl festivities at Rosa Parks Museum opened with a soul stirring "Land Acknowledgement" by Tori Nicole Jackson, a descent of the Indigenous Mvskoke nation.

Ms. Adeyela Albury Bennett, WIT President and CEO, on the far right, spend a moment with a few of The Monarchs, or WIT Young Leaders.

WIT Monarchs from the WIT Leadership Development Academy gave welcome remarks and the history of International Day of the Girl Child. From left to right: Gabrielle Johns, Savannah Williams and Kaylana Bazile.




Brooke and Breanna Bennett, Founders, Women in Training, Inc.

Dr. Mary Casals, Chief Medical Officer, Montgomery VA Clinic, Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System.

Mrs. Pauline Ford-Caesar, Founder and Immediate Past President of the Central Alabama Caribbean American Organization.

Namrata Goswami, PhD, an author, professor, strategic analyst and global consultant on great power politics, space policy and conflict negotiation.

Priya Menon, PhD, a professor of literature at Troy University and Fulbright Scholar and Ambassador.

Dana Taunton, Esq., Principal, Beasley Allen Law Firm, and a Board Member for Women in Training, Inc.

Ms. Clare Weil, community leader, entrepreneur and owner of Ms. Gotrocks LLC.

LeNetta Banks Williams, PhD, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, is the assistant dean of the Civilian Associate Degree Program at Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base.


Yunmeng Dance Ensemble, choreographed by Mrs. Callie Yuan.


Yunmeng Dance Ensemble, choreographed by Mrs. Callie Yuan.


Yunmeng Dance Ensemble, choreographed by Mrs. Callie Yuan.


Models from a fashion show of traditional Pakistani attire. Choreographed by Mrs. Salma Ali.








Dr. Ritha Menon sang a classical song in the Hindi language of India.

Dancers from Shivalaya School of Indian Classical Dance. Choreographed by Ms. Sudha Raghuram.




Dancers from Shivalaya School of Indian Classical Dance. Choreographed by Ms. Sudha Raghuram.


Ms. Sudha Raghuram, Choreographer, Shivalaya School of Indian Classical Dance.


Kash Kinetics Dance. Choreographed by Ms. Bella Kash.





Nana Nyoka Samuels-Gilchrist led participants in singing a traditional African call-and-response song.



Women in Training volunteers distributed 100 WITKITS of menstrual, dental and hygiene supplies at the International Day of the Girl celebration at Rosa Parks Museum. The Alabama State University Women's Soccer team packed the WITKITS, with support from Charlinda Walker of Brick and Board Real Estate Advisors.


Children's Museum of Montgomery provided hands-on STEM experiential learning activities.


Little -- and not so little -- girls enjoyed the screening of Disney's new "The Little Mermaid" film.


Volunteers from The Montgomery Catholic Prepatory School painted fingernails at Montgomery's first International Day of the Girl celebration at Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University.



Ms. Alison Mollman of 1977 Books sold inspiring books by and about girls and women.

Master Sergeant Ashley Marshall of Maxwell Air Force Base led the team of volunteers who served traditional African, Caribbean and Middle Eastern food.



Transit Management of Montgomery provided a replica of the Historic Rosa Park Bus, with a driver, for girls and their families to experience that moment that changed the course of world history when Mrs. Parks refused to give up a seat to a white man on a Montgomery public bus in 1955. Mrs. Parks' brave action started the modern Civil Rights Movement when African American children, women and men boycotted the city bus system for more than a year. Ultimately, the United States Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional.

YellowHammer Fund provided the Repro Raven bus, filled with supplies for babies and young women, such as diapers, period products and safer-sex kits. They also provided water, juice, frozen popsicles, granola bars, sandwiches, fresh fruits and healthy snacks to runners and walkers in the 4th Annual WIT 5K and at the WIT Multicultural & STEM Festival at Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University. Here is Ms. Jenice Fountain, Executive Director, YellowHammer Fund, serving snacks and girlie toys, such as fidget spinners, chalk, and jump ropes!


Drummer Duron Hale: "Everything's a drum!"

Sergeant Shantavia Peters of Maxwell Air Force Base managed the volunteer logistical support for the International Day of the Girl event taking place at the Rosa Parks Museum on October 7, 2023. She is enjoying a light moment of "Nirvana!"



Cheerleaders from The Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School welcomed guests attending the International Day of the Girl celebration at Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University.

Miss Huntingdon 2023 signs in for the WIT Multicultural & STEM Festival. She served as Co-Moderator for the event at the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University.

Ms. Sheralyn Belyeu and her daughters served as JustServe volunteers for the International Day of the Girl celebration.

Breanna and Brooke Bennett, WIT Founders, present an award to Dr. Nandini Ramroop, Chairwoman, WIT International Day of the Girl. Dr. Ramroop's daughter is in the red Carnival costume from Trinidad & Tobago.

Alabama State Representative Penni McClammy, in the middle, gave greetings from the State of Alabama at the International Day of the Girl celebration at Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University.

The Honorable Monet Gaines, District Court Judge for Montgomery County, Alabama, gave greetings at the International Day of the Girl celebration at Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University.

Mrs. Salma Ali, Choreographer of the Pakistani Fashion Show, in the middle.

Ms. Valerie Russell, Deputy Director, Veterans Administration of Central Alabama Health Care, and Dr. Saima Kanwal, also of the VA, on the far right.

Sergeant Shantavia Peters of Maxwell Air Force Base, was the glue that held together the logistics for the successful International Day of the Girl celebration at Rosa Park Museum at Troy University.

Ms. Sheralyn Belyeu, Communications Director, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Montgomery Stake, helped provide volunteers for International Day of the Girl celebration at Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University.

Representatives of Women of W.I.L.L. provided volunteer support for the International Day of the Girl celebration at Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University.

Ms. Sudha Raghuram, Choreographer, Shivalaya School of Indian Classical Dance.

Dr. Ritha Menon in the center.

Ms. Cubie Ray Hayes, in the center, was honored, along with Ms. Roschelle Tyus (not pictured) for the special role they placed in planning Montgomery's first International Day of the Girl celebration.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden invited Women in Training, Inc. founders, Breanna and Brooke Bennett. to The White House to celebrate the inaugural "Girls Leading Change" ceremony in honor of International Day of the Girl 2023 on October 11, 2023. Please read about it in The Washington Post or watch on WSFA-TV News.





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