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South African, American group BRAVE to visit Ole Miss

BRAVE, a Cape Town South Africa-based organization founded by Ole Miss alumna India Baird, will bring 16 teenage girls from South Africa and the U.S. to the LOU community this Tuesday.

The girls will meet with student activists on the Ole Miss campus as part of a week-long civil rights road trip through the American South.

“BRAVE (was founded to) inspire and invest in girl leaders, train underserved girls ages 14 to 18 as journalists and activists and take them on road trips to interview other girls, meet women leaders from organizations working to improve the lives of girls, and produce digital stories and films to raise awareness about what they learn,” a news release from the organization said.

The group traveled across South Africa in July on the first leg of their BRAVE road trip. Now, they will journey from Nashville, Tenn. to Montgomery, Selma and Boykin, Ala., and on to Ole Miss and the Mississippi Delta. Their itinerary includes the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery; the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma; a visit with Gee’s Bend quilt makers in Boykin; meeting with student activists at Ole Miss and a tour of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center and the Sumner Courthouse.

After their Southern tour, they’ll fly to New York to share their findings about the role of women and girls in both the Civil Rights and Anti-Apartheid movements in high-profile meetings with Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and women leaders from UNWomen and the UN Girls Education Initiative, the news release stated.

The trip will culminate with the BRAVE Girl Festival on Oct. 6 in New York City. More than 100 girls from organizations such as Girl Be Heard, The Love Vote and Girls for Gender Equity will join BRAVE girls to celebrate the International Day of the Gir. Activities also include the opportunity to create an action plan to address some of the challenges facing girls and women today including gun violence, access to reproductive health, safety in schools, voter suppression, gender-based violence, racism and inequality.

Baird, who grew up in Nashville and graduated from Ole Miss and Emory Law School, said the tour of the American South is a meaningful homecoming. She served as a human rights lawyer in South Africa, and worked on the country’s new constitution and with the Ministry of Justice and National Prosecuting Authority.

Baird has spent the last eight years in Cape Town working with BRAVE to encourage youth activism, especially among underserved girls of color. She is devoted to reducing gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS rates among young people, as well as to inspiring increased civic engagement and political participation by girls, the statement said.

“Growing up in the South and then living and working in post-Apartheid South Africa, I’ve always dreamed of bringing together young women from both South Africa and the US to share their histories and unite over their ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles,” Baird said in the news release. “I hope that by learning about the role of women and girls in both movements, from Constitutional Court justices in South Africa to civil rights activists in America, these BRAVE girls will be energized and empowered to advocate for change in their communities and beyond.”

To learn more, visit http://brave-girl.org.