More than 90 girls of color from around the Bay Area gathered at the inaugural G.U.R.L.S. Rock Summit Saturday, eager to learn and to be a part of a larger community. While entering the summit, I noticed that many of the girls were chit-chatting amongst themselves. These girls of color were in short -networking.

The summit was inspiring to say the least. Not because the speakers were successful entrepreneurs like Sheryl Grant, Raye Mitchell or Aimee Allison. The summit was inspiring because of the future leaders in the room. The future young leaders who stood on their feet when they spoke and articulated their names before they shared their thoughts.

I sat in the audience with the girls, many of who were completely focused during the presentations. When the representative from Girls for a Change began to give a presentation about social change, I expected to hear an abstract discussion in which the environment or universe were the main focus. Instead, the girls provided concrete examples of violence within their communities like gangs and “set claiming.”

“What is set claiming,” the adult asked the girls.

“When people claim a street where they live or were born at,” one teen replied. The discussion continued with issues ranging from female unity, stereotypes and the sharing of personal stories.

Bravery is an adjective that best describes the stories I heard that day. Stories of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, fatherless homes, medical conditions and violence. After the deep, heartfelt discussion, it was
time to gain access to tools that can change their communities as well as help them become global leaders.

The stations – 45-minute circles, in which the girls receive information and a stamp for their “passport” – highlighted fashion, entrepreneurship, healthy living, how to get an iPad and more. From beginning to end, these young girls of color were learning and putting into practice key components of success.

Being able to access women of color that have power, concepts of networking and most importantly, self-love is the first step to making these young girls global leaders and “socialprenuers.”

On Saturday, the G.U.R.L.S. Rock participants took that step.