On Wednesday, the Circle de Luz Board of Directors begins it’s campaign to have at least 75 women sign up to support the education and development of at least 8 girls for the next six years. For those of you new to this blog, Circle de Luz is a non-profit inspired by what I learned as a little girl growing up Latina in the United States and then had reintroduced and reemphazied to me as a teacher, a college adminstrator, and the author of Hijas Americanas. Rather than waiting for someone else to do something drastic to help positively impact the lives of Latina girls, a group of dedicated women came together to create Circle de Luz. Our mission is to radically empower young Latinas by supporting and inspiring them in the pursuit of their possibilities through the extensive mentoring, programming, and scholarship funds for further education. We just completed our first year and our launching our efforts for year 2, where we will start working with our second class of girls. Watch the video to learn more about what inspired Circle de Luz and then read on below to learn how the organization works.
Throughout history, women have gathered together— in homes and churches, town squares and bodegas— to heal their communities. Galvanizing our inherent sisterhood, we bring children to life, nurture the sick or weak, and love in unrelenting measure. We change the world, despite—or perhaps because of— our understanding that the world has sometimes ostracized us.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that when we gather as women, we gather in a circle. And so it is only fitting, that when the news of the day is not good, when it steals our breath like a dimming force, that we issue the call to the circle, that we return to the space that holds, heals, and helps, and that we use that space as a tool to change the news.
This news regarding Latinas is critical. It dramatically changes the lives of not just everyone it directly impacts. It also changes the lives of all of us because suffering and disparity do not exist in a vacuum; they do not exclusively reside in a geographic place. They disperse.
Suffering, disparity, injustice, and vulnerability know no boundaries. They spread, like an infection, to all of us, weakening us all. We understand that we are no greater than the sum of our parts. We have to change the count to change the consequence. That is the Circle de Luz vision. Circle De Luz radically empowers young Latinas by supporting and inspiring them in the pursuit of their possibilities through extensive mentoring, programming, and scholarship funds for further education.
This fall, we will select the Circle de Luz Class of 2015 from the current seventh graders at Ranson Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina to begin the program. From now until the girls reach high school graduation, we will support them with mentoring and comprehensive programming to help them achieve their goal of graduating from high school and pursuing further education. When they graduate from high school and enroll in the educational opportunity of their choice, we will support them with a minimum of a $5,000 scholarship provided to them by women, we call them M’ijas, from all over the country who pool their resources in a giving circle for the six years the girls are finishing their secondary education. Our goal this year is to have at least 75 women enrolled as M’ijas in the Class of 2015 by August 15, yielding a minimum of 8 scholarships.
We need your help in radically empowering these young women to live the lives they have imagined. M’ijas can have any background and can live anywhere. As a M’ija, you make a commitment to donate a minimum of $90 a year for six years to the scholarship fund that will support the Class of 2015’s Hijas (our scholarship recipients who are selected as seventh graders). We ask that our M’ijas sign on by August 15th so that we can determine how many scholarship recipients we can choose in September. You do not need to make your donation for the 2009-2010 school year at this time. In fact, all we need right now is your Letter of Commitment. We then ask that ½ of your year’s commitment be paid by September 15 and the other half by March 15, 2010 (don’t worry, we’ll send you a reminder when the time comes!). All scholarship donations are placed in a CD account designated for our Class of 2015 Hijas so interest can begin to accrue and provide them with an even more robust scholarship by the time they graduate. The Letter of Commitment can be found here, and you are welcome to mail, scan and email, or fax it by following the directions on the form. Please take a look at our video to understand why this effort is so important.
You can also lend your support for the effort by purchasing a Circle de Luz necklace for yourself or a friend. Artist Mary Alice Mitchell has conceived a beautiful sterling silver necklace to celebrate the Circle de Luz effort. Each necklace is a handmade unique piece of art and all proceeds go to support the Circle. Check out the design and order information here.
Thank you for helping us radically empower the lives of girls!