By Kharisma McIlwaine
Philadelphia native, author and public speaker Mya Kay is branching out into yet another endeavor. The prolific author has continued to see success as an author with books like “Before Empire,” “S.E.A.L” and the “Clover Chronicles” series. Kay’s writing caters to and tells stories about the lives of teens and young adults — a demographic often overlooked. Kay’s desire to reach the youth birthed a conference called Girls Anthem. Kay spoke with the SUN about the inspiration behind the conference and the significance of creating safe spaces for young women.
While attending Temple University, Kay started an organization called “A Step Into Sisterhood.” This was the one of first of many endeavors she would embark on in an effort to bring young women together.
“There were always signs from God that this was a passion and purpose for me, and that was before I picked up a pen to write my first book,” Kay said. “The books have helped me tell the stories of some of the youth that I met. Even though it’s fiction, a lot of these stories tie into what I’ve learned and what I’ve witnessed with people telling me their stories.”
Women’s empowerment has been a theme in the media, in music and in theory for quite some time. That ideal is often not as practical for young people — young women specifically — in the age of social media and constant distractions. While there are conferences and opportunities for adults to come together and encourage one another, those same opportunities are not as readily available for young people.
Kay explained what sparked the idea to create Girls Anthem.
“Growing up in a Christian household, I always remember there being men and women’s conferences. As I’ve gotten older, I still see the same trends and I wondered who was representing teenagers. You hear of lots of things being geared towards millennials, but our teenagers are not being reached,” she said. “The other reason is I felt there was a cry from a lot of teenage girls that was going unheard… especially from those who grow up in an urban environment in the inner city. This was the response to that cry.”
The tag line for Girls Anthem is “Pursuing destiny without compromise,” a theme Kay says will be at the heart of the conference.
“Girls Anthem is the inaugural event. It’s a movement for teen girls 13-19 who need to see that you can pursue God and not comprising your destiny,” Kay explained. “There’s a stigma surrounding being a woman of faith that says that you can’t have fun or follow your dreams. The movement is geared towards teaching teen girls how to pursue their destiny without comprising their values.”
Another theme for Girls Anthem is “I Got You,” a reminder to these young women that they are not alone.
“When I was growing up I heard things like “women don’t get along” and “that’s why I hang with guys”. What I see a lot times is, an ‘I don’t need anybody’ attitude in our society today. I feel like that’s false. There are women who have proven that when we link up in numbers, we are stronger together!” Kay added, “Women’s empowerment goes across the board. I know a lot of young women feel like no one has their back, and it can get lonely. More important than me, I wanted to let them know that God has them…. and that was befitting of the theme “I got you.””
Girls Anthem is an intro of sorts to the entire movement. The conference which was generously sponsored by Chick-Fil-A, will start with ice breakers, games and sponsored giveaways from Annie’s Nail Salon. Motivational speeches, testimony and prayer will immediately follow, and the evening will end with a dance party.
In addition to making Girls Anthem and annual event, Kay is looking forward to expanding this concept with “Girls Anthem Table”—- a talk show for teen girls that can best be described as a hybrid between Jada Pinkett Smith’s “Red Table Talk” meets “Super Soul Sunday”. More than anything Kay expressed her desire to create multiple safe places for young women to have intimate meet ups and open discussions about any and everything.
Girls Anthem will take place on Saturday, September 28th, 2019 from 6-9pm at 3244 North Front Street, 19140. Be sure to follow @writermya and @girlsanthemmovement on Instagram. Tickets are available for Girls Anthem at bit.ly/GirlsAnthemMovement.