Shaniya Darby Capstone
Belle’s mission is to enlighten young black girls on the potential that lies right inside them through practicing the love of self, character development, and emotional intelligence: self-awareness and social management. For many years, black women have been victimized by society by being projected as over-sexualized, aggressive, bitter, and angry. Still, little does everyone know, we are Belle’s. We are made with nothing but pure beauty, elegance, leadership, love, and empowerment. Sadly, nothing is understood about the effect of derogatory stereotypes on black girls and women. In the lens of the media, communities, and ethnic classes, a black woman is held to a high standard of staying strong, displaying little vulnerability, and still being pushed to the sidelines of everyone's issues. There is little known information on the impact of negative assumptions on black girls and women. How can we transform our communities’ opinions by sharing and acknowledging a black girl’s experiences and demand attention to our mental and emotional health? Throughout the Belle Program, there have been major gains and setbacks due to the delays revolving around the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the three girls I've worked with have shown significant improvement in their self-awareness and emotional intelligence despite the pandemic. The initial idea for Belle was for weekly Zoom meetings and a final in-person meeting to create vision boards and participate in other fun activities. Regrettably, it did not go as intended, and as a result, I created my own vision board showing the representation of what Belle is.
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