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Celebrate International Day of the Girl with WIT Cultural & STEM Festival

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

Event will feature a Panel Discussion of Girls & Women of Excellence, food, fashion and dance from multiple world cultures and experiential learning activities from

Children’s Museum of Montgomery.

Women In Training, Inc. (WIT​),a youth empowerment organization that helps to end period poverty and develop girls into culturally aware global leaders, will hold its first WIT Multicultural & STEM Festival at the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University on Oct. 7, 2023. The festival, which runs from from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., is being held in honor of the United Nation's International Day of the Girl Child, and is free and open to all girls and their friends and family members.

Celebrated annually on Oct. 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.

Dr. Nandini Mahabir Ramroop of Trinidad and Tobago is Chairwoman of the International Day of the Girl celebration in Montgomery.

"This two-part International Day of the Girl event is very significant to our city, especially for the youth, as it provides 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."

Dr. Nandini Mahabir Ramroop

Alabama State Rep. Rolanda Hollis, Chairwoman, Women In Training Board of Directors, agreed.

“This International Day of the Girl celebration will highlight girls and women who have overcome challenges in their lives to make a difference in the communities around them,” Rep. Hollis said. “Girls and women have always been at the forefront of meaningful and lasting change on a national and international scale.”

"International Day of the Girl aligns perfectly with Women in Training's core values of Womanism, Global Citizenship, Intersectionality, Liberation and Decolonization," said Adeyela Albury Bennett, President and CEO, Women in Training, Inc. "We want to empower girls in our community to see the global possibilities for their future."

WIT President & CEO Adeyela Albury Bennett, with the organization's founders, Brooke and Breanna Bennett.

The International Day of the Girl festivities at Rosa Parks Museum will open with a Land Acknowledgement by Tori Jackson, a descent of the Indigenous Mvskoke nation.

Artist Tori Jackson, a descent of the Indigenous Mvskoke nation

Dr. Ritha Menon of India provided a special sponsorship to support International Day of the Girl Child operations and the distribution of Women in Training #WITKITS of menstrual, dental and hygiene products. Dr. Menon is Community Lead Director of Walk with Amal. The unity-building event takes place on October 13, 2023, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., at Five Points Cottage Hill near downtown Montgomery. Dr. Menon will sing the Indian national anthem at the International Day of the Girl event at Rosa Parks Museum on October 7, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.

Dr. Ritha Menon

The festival will include a panel discussion featuring international girls and women leaders. Ariel Lenise Dixon, Miss Huntingdon 2023 and Ms. Krischula McNear-Edwards, President of Mayor Steven Reed’s Young Professional Council, will moderate the Panel Discussion of WIT Girls and Women of Excellence. They are both members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

WIT Girls and Women of Excellence panelists include:

  • Dr. Caroline Abolade, a psychiatrist, proprietor of Aesthica body and skin care salon, and Medical Director Grace Point Behavioral LLC; from Nigeria

  • Breanna and Brooke Bennett, age 16, founders of Women in Training, Inc.; their parents are from The Bahamas and the United States

  • Dr. Mary Casals, Chief Medical Officer, Montgomery VA Clinic, Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System; from the Philippines

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

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

  • Priya Menon, PhD, a professor of literature at Troy University and Fulbright Scholar and Ambassador; from India

  • Dana Taunton, Esq., Principal, Beasley Allen Law Firm, and a Board Member for Women in Training, Inc.; from the United States

  • Clare Weil, community leader, entrepreneur and owner of Ms. Gotrocks LLC.; from the United States

  • 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; from the United States.

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

“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.”

During the International Day of the Girl festivities on October 7, 2023, girls can experience a display of Troy University's Rosa Park Museum exhibits on Rosa Parks and The Women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The exhibits are possible, thanks to a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

The Women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott exhibit features some of the unknown women in Montgomery who made personal sacrifices to desegregate America.

Transit Management of Montgomery is providing a replica of the Historic Rosa Park Bus for girls 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.

"Negroes in the back" was the policy in 1955 when Mrs. Rosa Parks refused to give up a seat to a white man on a Montgomery city bus. Her brave action ultimately ended bus segregation in the United States.

In the Children's Museum of Montgomery section, girls could learn about Ladies of #STEM, make their own slime, build star constellations, design rockets, construct a marshmallow house and more!

The International Day of the Girl festival will also feature classical Indian dance, traditional Chinese dance, henna decorating, a fashion show of Islamic clothing, a traditional African call-and-response song, food and drink from a variety of cultures and experiential learning activities from the Children’s Museum of Montgomery, among other exciting activities.

Participants in the cultural festivities, among others, will include:

  • Mrs. Salma Ali will choreograph a Middle Eastern fashion show and provide traditional Middle Eastern food and drink samples; from Pakistan

  • Kash Kinetics Dance, choreographed by Bella Kash, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Dr. Nandini Mahabir Ramroop of Indo-Caribbean heritage. Dr. Ramroop also sponsored Caribbean food samples.

  • Nana Nyoka Samuels-Gilchrist will lead participants in singing a traditional African call-and-response song; from Jamaica with Akan roots from Ghana

  • Shivalaya School of Indian Classical Dance, choreographed by Ms. Sudha Raghuram of India

  • Mrs. Kam Sidhu, proprietor of Avalon Montessori at Ray Thorington Rd, and her daughter, Rehmat, will sponsor henna hand paintings, along with traditional food and drink samples; from India

  • Yunmeng Dance Ensemble, choreographed by Mrs. Callie Yuan of China

International volunteers, dressed in their country's traditional clothing, will serve food samples from their region of the world. Below is a server, dressed as Aries, representing the Caribbean. The Caribbean food is being sponsored by Dr. Ramroop.

YellowHammer Fund is providing the Repro Raven bus, filled with supplies for babies and young women, such as diapers, period products and safer-sex kits. They will also provide water and ready-to-eat food.

The festival will also host a screening of the 2023 live action remake of Disney's The Little Mermaid, starring Halle Bailey.

from JustServe will distribute Women in Training #WITKITS of Always period products donated by Grant Thornton employees as part of their designation of WIT as a Purple Paladin. The WITKITS also include dental and hygiene supplies, a pair of fuzzy socks and a handmade bracelet decorated with the WIT butterfly logo and an inspiring word, such as love, peace and brilliance.

JustServe volunteer Sheralyn Belyeu organizing a donation of Always period products in the Women in Training storage room.

FamilySearch, the world’s largest free genealogy service, will help families sign up for their own FamilySearch account, make appointments for a free session with a genealogy consultant at the local FamilySearch Center and learn about genealogy webinars that can be accessed from home.

People who know their family stories have a stronger sense of identity, more self-confidence and better feelings of connection.

1977 Books will sell books by and about girls and women.

Sergeant Shantavia Peters of Maxwell Air Force Base is leading the volunteer logistical support for the 10:00 a.m. International Day of the Girl event taking place at the Rosa Parks Museum on October 7, 2023.

The following members of the Monarch class of the WIT Leadership Development Academy will serve in a leadership capacity during the Rosa Parks Museum event:

  • Kaylana Bazile, Freshman, LAMP Magnet High School

  • Breanna Bennett, Junior, The Montgomery Academy

  • Brooke Bennett, Junior, The Montgomery Academy

  • Amiyah-Sarea Goshton, Senior, LAMP Academic Magnet School

  • Gabrielle Johns, Senior, Brewbaker Technology Magnet School

  • Savannah Williams, Junior, Stanhope Elmore High School

Mrs. Sarah Northcraft Berg, Montgomery Catholic School Cheer Coach and Teacher, is providing student volunteers for the Rosa Parks Museum event.

Ms. Sarah Northcraft Berg and the Montgomery Catholic School Cheer team

Members of Women of W.I.L.L., led by Sheyann Webb Christburg, will also provide volunteer support for the International Day of the Girl celebration at the Rosa Parks Museum.

Members of Women of W.I.L.L., led by Sheyann Webb Christburg

Women in Training, Inc. is kicking off the day at 7:00 a.m. on Oct. 7, 2023, with the 4th Annual WIT 5K Run/Walk: Empowering Girls to Change the World! at Old Alabama Town in downtown Montgomery. The 5K race is a fundraiser for Women In Training, Inc.’s signature WITKITS ​Campaign to provide menstrual products and hygiene items to young, low-income people who menstruate.

“The race will offer participants a visual tour of several historic sites in downtown Montgomery,” said Laurie Edmondson, the WIT 5K race director. “All along the 3.1-mile course this year, participants will have the opportunity to learn about many important girls and women – many of whom are working daily to effect change right here in Alabama – and to understand why organizations like WIT are vital to our communities.”

Click to view the 5K commercial produced by WIT’s media sponsor, WSFA 12 News.

Sponsors for the two International Day of the Girl festivities are outlined below:

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