Ladies of Virtue Program Engages Them In The Political Process

Ladies of Virtue has launched a new program, Fannie’s Fight for Freedom, aimed at teaching young girls the importance of engaging in the political process. Photo provided by Ladies of Virtue.
Ladies of Virtue has launched a new program, Fannie’s Fight for Freedom, aimed at teaching young girls the importance of engaging in the political process. Photo provided by Ladies of Virtue.

Ladies of Virtue Program Engages Them In The Political Process

By Tia Carol Jones


The Ladies of Virtue have launched a program that shows young girls the importance of being part of the political process. Fannie’s Fight for Freedom is named after Fannie Lou Hamer and includes four parts that are meant to teach young girls about Hamer and her fight for voting rights.


Ladies of Virtue was founded by Jamila Trimuel in 2011 with the mission to instill purpose, passion and perseverance in young girls, ages 9 to 18. The participants are paired with mentors who prepare them for college, careers and teach them how to become change agents and give back to their communities.


Trimuel wanted to launch the civic engagement program because, as one of the leading mentorship and leadership programs for Black girls in Chicago, it was important that young girls were engaged in conversations about voting.


 The goal of the program is to encourage the girls to get involved in the electoral process, to understand politics and how to make a difference in their communities.

Fannie Lou Hamer was a voting rights and women’s rights activist, as well as a community organizer and a leader in the civil rights movement. She was active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Southern Christian Leadership Conferences (SCLC) and she helped co-found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.


“She faced so many obstacles to ensure that generations to come would have the right to vote,” Trimuel said.


Part of the program is a four-hour workshop with speakers Chicago Alderwoman Michelle Harris, Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, City of Chicago Staffer Ayana Clark and Sylvie Legere, founder of the Policy Circle. Trimuel described the women as Modern Day Fannies and said they were chosen because they are involved with Ladies of Virtue in some way, either by supporting the organization or participated in a program that the organization hosted. On Jan. 24th, the 27 girls in the Fannie’s Fight for Freedom Program went to Washington, DC.


Trimuel said it was important to get women who were Democrats and Republicans and added that it isn’t important who you vote for, but that you vote for. The overall goal is the girls understand the importance of making a positive change in their community. The participants in the program will have a social media awareness campaign that will be posted on the Ladies of Virtue’s social media platforms.


Trimuel said she hopes the girls who participate in the program understand that there were Black women who were leading the charge, who put their lives on the line so that Black women and girls in this era could have certain freedom – the right to vote, the right to speak up.


“What I hope they can take away is they see themselves making a difference and a true impact. I think so often, it’s easy to say, I’m young, I can’t make a difference, or my vote doesn’t count … I want them to know, they absolutely matter, they have a purpose for their life, they were born to change the world,” she said.


Trimuel also wants the young girls and teenagers who participate in this program to get the spark to know they have a purpose, what they’re fighting for matters, and they can change the world. Trimuel wants more partners and sponsors for the future to continue the program. She credited the Obama Foundation with providing the seed money to start the program.


For more information about Ladies of Virtue, visit lovchicago.org.

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