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We will be hosting our largest cohort ever for our 2019 Summer Institute! We still have a few slots available across our four sites in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Newark — if you are or know a young woman or gender-expansive youth who lives and/or goes to school in New York City or Newark and is entering 10th, 11th, or 12th grade or their first year of college and wants to explore leadership and activism, please apply now!

During our Summer Institute, we bring together dynamic young leaders like YOU to share ideas, reflect on experiences, meet amazing role models, and to help transform your community through direct action. During the summer you and your peers will have the opportunity to build community, critical consciousness, and college and career skills. We offer classes, workshops, mentionship opportunities, conversation with women leaders, field trips and opportunities to explore your own and others’ leadership.


* MANHATTAN: Bard Early College High School Manhattan, at 525 E. Houston St. NY, NY 10002 [now FULL - Waiting List Only]

* QUEENS: Bard Early College High School and The Academy of Finance and Enterprise, at 30-20 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City [priority for applicants who live and/or go to school in Queens but open to other NYC students]

* BROOKLYN Site: Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy (BELA), 125 Stuyvesant Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant [priority for applicants who live and/or go to school in Queens but open to other NYC students]

* NEWARK Site: Rutgers University - Newark

STIPEND: Participants can earn up to $300 for their participation based on attendance throughout the program. NYC Participants receive an unlimited metrocard for the duration of program.

PROCESS: Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis until we fill all the slots. We will prioritize applicants who can attend all 6 weeks of Summer Institute and contribute to the overall diversity of our cohort.

Questions? Contact Denise —




Sanctuary, Joy and Revolutionary Leadership

We're celebrating the power and vision of Sabrina Hersi Issa, the Petticoat Award Honoree for our 2019 Evening of Joy and Liberation. In 2018, Sabrina penned a FB post that went viral - asking people to give to Sadie Nash to support the leadership of black and brown girls - not just talking about important causes, but giving resources to support those causes. She asked her community to demonstrate the behavior that she saw modeled by her parents - what she calls integrity in action. Sabrina is committed to investing in sanctuary, joy, and revolutionary leadership and asking her community to join her.

We’re thrilled to be launching the Integrity in Action Fund in honor of Sabrina. All funds will go towards vital leadership programming for our Nashers in New York City and Newark.

We’re also still in awe of the amazing speech given by Sabrina Hersi Issa! Check out the full speech below from An Evening of Joy & Liberation, borrowed from her article on medium.

“I gave the following speech at the Sadie Nash Leadership Project event: An Evening of Joy and Liberation on June 12, 2019. The talk — on joy, gratitude and revolutionary leadership — was my acceptance speech for 2019 Petticoat Award, given in honor of bold leadership. I was introduced by writer Veronica Chambers and the evening also celebrated the leadership of Sandra Jackson-Dumont. It was a spectacular occasion.

Below are my remarks, slightly edited for clarity. Enjoy!

I want to start first by giving gratitude to all the wonderful souls powering Sadie Nash and I want to say thank you for all the work you do in the world. I also want to share my deep gratitude to Veronica for your really beautiful, touching words.

It is meaningful to me to have Veronica here. We are new friends but I am so proud to be in her tribe as her words have helped me feel seen in the world. A strong belief I hold is that we are all due sanctuary and we are all due peace and feeling seen is a path toward sanctuary and light toward peace. So thank you for all you do Sadie Nash and Veronica for helping us find sanctuary and peace.

The intention in my work is to create opportunities for others to feel seen and to own power. Feeling seen in a world that is often hostile to your existence, to your leadership and to your voice is a tremendous way to spread peace.

The world opens up for you when you let yourself be seen.

And that is what I am here to talk to you about tonight. I want to talk about owning power and what we need to do to build new worlds together. I haven’t gotten a chance to spend much time with all the beautiful souls here tonight but I know I want to build new things with you all.

We need to feel seen because we need to spread peace.

We are living through a revolutionary moment and precarious times in the world. Tonight marks the third anniversary of the Pulse shooting in Orlando and I want to acknowledge that. As we stand here tonight, activists in Sudan are undergoing brutal attacks from a ruthless regime and we need to acknowledge that because the world is not. We in America are living through an administration bent on unleashing trauma after trauma in our communities and I know a lot of you beautiful souls here tonight are also experiencing pain and I want to acknowledge that.

We are all due sanctuary. We are all due peace. We need revolutionary leaders committed to revolutionary love to show us that it is possible to achieve this.

And I know this because I needed this for myself.

This award came to fore through a series of painful events I experienced as a black Muslim woman working in America, being seen in the world as less than human, through serious traumas, through watching my colleagues, my peers and people in my community — some us also here with us tonight — also experience harm. Through all of that, I experienced fear of what would become of me if I walked away from what I knew — even if what I knew did not serve me.

How many of you can you relate to that?

Knowing I was seen, loved and valued created a break in the chaos and calm in the storm. It was through being seen in the world and experiencing revolutionary love that I was able to step into revolutionary leadership.

It is why, despite and in spite of so much, I am standing here today with all of you.

We are standing here today together.

We are still here.

Love did that.

We need to feel seen because feeling seen expands love. Feeling seen expands humanity. Feeling seen opens us up to joy.

Joy has been my life preserver.

I love that this event is called an Evening of Joy and Liberation because we need joy. We cannot live in the fire.

So I want to dig in on that — on joy.

On Joy

I believe that success is surrounding ourselves with people who see you, hold your humanity and bring you joy. When we feel seen, when we see one another we open ourselves up to joy.

Joy connects us to possibility. The people who bring you joy help you imagine bigger than you could ever dream for yourself.

Joy is a critical component to building a better world.

Joy is what brought me here tonight and I had some help along the way. Not just from my parents. Or from my awesome family who is here tonight (it’s my big sister’s birthday!).

Unburdening myself from walking away from joyless ecosystems including a process that involved talking about my experiences, talking my trauma and doing it with and in community.

As a human rights technologist, as a writer, as someone who cares about the world — I work to bring dirt up to the light. But I never realized how freeing it would be to toss my shame into the sun as well. And that has been liberating.

And I think this works with joy. So I turned to my community and I asked them — What brings you joy? And they shared some great examples I want to share with you tonight because I am also a tech nerd, a child of the Internet who is all about good crowdsourcing:

My friend Anita says, “For me it is the greatest joy sharing happiness with others.

Emma shares, “Being able to lift up and cheer on other women and colleagues in my life.

Isra, who is here tonight, brings the real: “The food my immigrant mom makes brings me joy. Holding space for others and making a difference in my communities brings me joy.

Now it’s your turn — I am someone who comes from an organizer background and I don’t think I should hog the mic for myself. So I want you to turn to the person next to you and share with them one thing that brings you joy and I’m going to set a timer and give you some time to do that…


Ok! Welcome back! Raise your hand and when I call on you, you can shout out your thing:


Sabrina! [from my family’s table!]
My best friends
Sadie Nash!

On Gratitude

Thank you for participating in this and indulging me because how do we share that? How often do we get to share with someone else not in our current bubble what brings us joy? How often do we speak our gratitude? How often do we tell our sources of joy in our lives that they bring us joy and light?

Gratitude connects us to community, to people who inspire possibility. I am going to tell you what I am grateful for: I am grateful for perspective.

I am grateful that I knew when I’ve walked away from trauma or terrible situations — when I walked away from what did not serve, I knew that my future is greater than my past.

Our future is greater than our past. And thanks to organization like Sadie Nash, this I know for certain. As soon as I came across this organization I instinctively knew that this was the exact organization I want to champion.

Revolutionary leaders thrive on gratitude.

So I want you when you home tonight to ask yourself what are you grateful for and who are you grateful for?

And I want us to share in a commitment and I ask if we can make this a commitment together tonight: Can we commit to telling someone who matters to us in the next 24 hours that we are grateful for them?

If you’d like to join this commitment, shout “I COMMIT” on my count of three:





On Trusting Your Dreams

I am going to tell you what I am grateful for, because hey — I have the mic and I can…

I am grateful that I know in my heart that a better world is possible and I trust that through letting myself be seen, experiencing joy and living in gratitude that life has directed me and is going to continue to direct me toward the people and communities I can build that better world with.

I did not always believe that. I did not wake up like this. Which is exactly why I am so grateful tonight. In trauma, one of the first things one of the first things to usually get destroyed is trust in yourself, to trust your ability to read a situation for what it is and respond and protect yourself and your loved ones accordingly.

But the perspective that I held, that my future is greater than my past, propelled me past this unease and pushed me forward.

It meant a lot to me to see all these fierce, vivacious young people through Sadie Nash not only trust themselves but also trust and support one another’s leadership as well.

Others in my community wanted to pass along words of wisdom to reinforce this trust in your leadership and I want to share some of their words with you tonight.

My colleague Anna shares: “Healing is living and healing is a form of citizenship.”

Anita says, “When you live free, you make room for others to live free too.”

Tracy passed along the words, “You are leaders and you get to decide what your path looks like.”

Deepa, who is here with us tonight, shared: “In seeking who can support you on this journey I think of this quote from the late Nipsey: ‘If you look at the people in your circle and don’t get inspired then you don’t have a circle. You have a cage.’

Isra, our friend, says, “Breathe deeply and trust yourself.”

I do not believe revolutions to be at odds with peace. I believe revolutions represent a shift, a recognition that there is a gap between the world we have and the world we deserve.

The core ingredients for revolutionary leadership are this: let yourself be seen, experience joy, dwell in gratitude, dream expansively and trust yourself.

This is what I believe we need to live in vision and not in circumstance.

A better world is possible. Let’s celebrate that.

Thank you for dreaming with me tonight.”

Sabrina Hersi Issa is a human rights technologist and investor. She cares about living her values and keeping brown and black people alive, well and thriving.

Nasher Spotlight! Brittany T. Paschall

“My vision is to combine my variety of experience in diversity, inclusion and equity with my passion for gospel-centered communities in which all students, teachers and parents are welcomed as their full selves. My top priority in the 2019-2020 academic year will be the creation of clear school culture metrics, increase cultural humility and the establishment of a student diversity committee.”

“My vision is to combine my variety of experience in diversity, inclusion and equity with my passion for gospel-centered communities in which all students, teachers and parents are welcomed as their full selves. My top priority in the 2019-2020 academic year will be the creation of clear school culture metrics, increase cultural humility and the establishment of a student diversity committee.”

We are so proud and excited to spotlight ELLA Fellow BRITTANY T. PASCHALL, who has been hired as dean of intercultural development at Lipscomb Academy.

Brittany was a 2017-2018 National ELLA Fellow at Sadie Nash Leadership Project and her project, Nashville’s Daughters, engages Young Women of Color through mentoring (femtoring), historical exploration, social-emotional learning and social action.

Brittany received her Bachelor of Science in sociology from Grand Canyon University and is a candidate for Master of Divinity at Lipscomb University. She currently serves as program coordinator for Lipscomb University’s ENGAGE Youth Theology Initiative.


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Meet Veronica Chambers! Born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, Veronica is a journalist, editor, and author who believes that each of us has the capacity to make meaningful choices that impact our communities for good. She is the force behind the anthologies “The Meaning of Michelle,” and “Queen Bey: A Celebration of the Power and Creativity of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.”

Veronica, you’re new to Sadie Nash. How did you become involved and what attracted you to our mission?
Well, my background is peppered with people who invested in me, exposed me to a larger world beyond my neighborhood, simply because they felt deeply it was the right thing to do. I’m aware of that, and I’m passionate about people and places that do that for girls today. I’m excited to attend Joy and Liberation and introduce Sabrina Hersi Issa who’s receiving Sadie Nash’s Petticoat Award for her work at the intersection of technology and human rights. I have deep admiration for her work. She and I intersect in values, but we create in really different ways, and I appreciate that.

Speaking of your creations, we think your book “Resist” is a great tool for talking to kids about leadership in hard moments. Based on your time exploring the stories of the 35 people featured, what advice do you have for us about making choices in our daily lives?
Yes! With “Resist” I wanted to write about the moment before someone finds their courage. We often speed past that and lose the nuance of that moment. We lose the questions we ask ourselves like Can I? Should I? What about all the mistakes I’ve made before? When I was a kid, I was a scaredy-cat! I heard stories about bravery, and I thought, “That won’t be me.” And I never saw anything that contradicted that idea; every story I read was imbued with the glory of triumph, but nothing else, and I couldn't find my access point. So I wanted to write these stories in a way that a kid could see themselves in. It’s really about listening to your heart and trusting that the little choice in front of you might mean a lot to a lot of people.

Leadership is very much about the choices we make and how we approach those choices. Can you tell us more about what you consider the traits of a great leader?
When I think of leadership I think of the ways people lead families, communities, schools, and work teams. What I admire about the leaders around me, who are often women, is that they are highly empathetic and humble. They have a willingness to change. They know that leadership is a process of evolution and they ask how they can serve.

Why should others join us at Joy and Liberation?
Nights like this are a B-12 vitamin for your soul! Come see old friends, make new friends, and have an important intergenerational conversation. Right now there’s a lot of bad news and things that need fixing. It’s really nice to have a night to celebrate women who are visionaries and creatives— and to celebrate the Nashers they support. There’s no better ticket in town.


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Why did you agree to be co-chair of An Evening of Joy and Liberation?

This is my third year attending An Evening of Joy and Liberation. The first time, I came as a guest and fell in love with the great work that Sadie Nash is doing to help young women of color find and use their voices. The mission resonates with me deeply, and you can immediately see the manifestation of the organization's work whenever you interact with the Nashers. Last year, I had the great fortune of being honored at the event. I was thrilled but honestly nervous about being interviewed by two Nashers live on stage because I know how smart, confident and tough they are!

What should guests coming to An Evening of Joy and Liberation be looking forward to?

They should look forward to an inspiring evening that leaves you feeling like you're ready to take on the world! They should also look forward to leaving with the feeling of assurance that the world is in good hands with this next generation of young women who are equipped and empowered to make a difference.

How did you discover Sadie Nash?

I was invited to attend the 2017 "Garden Party" on a rooftop (that was not a garden! :-) by board member Meera Marti. I love Meera, so I didn't really ask many questions. I just wanted to support her and trusted that she wouldn't lead me astray. But what a wonderful discovery it was. Once I saw the Nashers in action, I was hooked! I knew this organization would become a part of my life because the work they do aligns so closely with my personal values and vision for a life well lived.

Why do you think it is important to invest in the leadership of young women of color?

Studies show that young women of color are the most undervalued people in society. They bear the burden of sexism, racism, classism and many other -isms that if allowed to fester and take root in their psyche could prevent them from reaching their full potential. But they are also some of the most brilliant and resilient people you will ever meet. And when that brilliance is nurtured --  confidence, self awareness and self love are powerful enough to overcome any obstacles they may face.

What are the causes that you are currently most excited about?

I am always most excited about advocating for the advancement and enrichment of young people. As the founder of Moms of Black Boys United, an organization that works to change the policies and perceptions that impact how Black boys and men are treated and perceived by law enforcement and in society, I am dedicated to doing my part to try to create a more fair and just world for future generations. Girls and gender non-conforming youth also need and deserve advocacy around issues that impact them most, and they need to be trained on how to advocate for themselves. That's why I'm proud to support Sadie Nash!


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Meet Shelly Strothers! Shelly, a spoken word artist and educator, is a faculty member for Sadie Nash’s Sisterhood Academy and a site leader for Summer Institute. She believes unity and the collaborative efforts of the community are the only way that marginalized people will collectively liberate themselves. Shelly is looking forward to DJ-ing our dynamic Evening of Joy and Liberation.

How did you become part of the Sadie Nash community?
I crossed paths with Sadie Nash through poetry two years ago. I’m a part of the slam poetry community, and my teammate was a facilitator for Sadie Nash. She invited me to attend a class as a guest presenter.

And what was your first experience like?
I saw that it was a phenomenal program doing libertatory work with an amazing group of young people. I asked myself what I could give to them, and I also saw what they could give to me. It was nourishing and refreshing to see a reflection of myself in these young people.

How have you seen Nashers develop through Sadie Nash?
There’s a sense of belonging.  Young people want to tap into leadership, but they often don’t have a space where they feel comfortable, important, or valued. Once Nashers feel that they’re safe in siblinghood, I see how the community blossoms.

When you think of Sadie Nash’s community, what stands out?

Love stands out for me. In every Sadie Nash interaction there’s an unspoken standard of love. Even if I’ve just met someone here, within five minutes I feel there’s a real exchange. Whether it’s the love they have for this work or the feeling of being happy to meet someone.

Looking back, what advice would you have for your 16 year old self?
It’s okay to let go. If it is the end of one chapter, there are more chapters waiting to open themselves up. It will get bigger and more beautiful from here. Let go of anything that doesn't serve you and tap into what's next.

And what advice would your 16 year old self have for you?
Honestly, pretty much the same. Sis, you need to have a little bit more fun!

Why should others join us at Joy and Liberation?
You should join us because community is fun! It’s worth it to take a break and celebrate where we’re at in the work we’re doing. Come if you want to dance!


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Meet Marissa Tirona! Marissa, a new Sadie Nash Board Member, has experience in organizational and movement capacity building and speaks on and writes about issues related to design thinking, systems change, movement and field building, network and adaptive leadership, and strategy. She believes deeply in creating and holding spaces of Joy and Liberation.

How did you come to Sadie Nash?
In 2017 I moved from Oakland, CA to Brooklyn. We all move through the world in community, and as I began looking for my Brooklyn community, Chitra Aiyar’s name kept popping up. I attended a Leadership Lab where Nashers talked about Sadie Nash. I saw my daughter reflected in these young women, and I knew I needed to find a way to support the organization and be in its universe.

Why does Sadie Nash’s mission resonate with you?
The benefit of investing in young women of color is exponential in terms of capacity for change. Every year I revisit my “northstar”, my purpose as it relates to who I am in the world, and year after year it continues to be centering, amplifying, and nourishing leadership of black and brown women and girls. My experience has been that when you follow the leadership of young women of color, it leads to solutions that lift up everybody.

If we center the safety, strengthening, and leadership of girls of color it transforms individuals, families, and communities. People who sit at the intersection of oppressions have the possibility of imagining something different. The multiplicity of their lens shows that issues underlying social ills aren’t siloed, so they have creative, longer-lasting solutions to these tough problems.

Can you tell us more about what makes Nashers stand out?

Nashers have two things that make them more effective leaders: they have an analysis of power, and they have a unique depth of self awareness. They understand how power shows up in relationships, how they personally have power, and how they might build power with each other to disrupt power that oppresses others. And their self awareness is especially keen around the multiple identities they hold and how these identities can be fluid.

These insights make them better leaders, because I think good leadership interrogates power deeply. Where does it live? Who holds it? Power isn’t a bad thing, but systems of power should be questioned. Because good leadership also offers a vision for liberation and freedom —  for everyone.

You said that you see your daughter reflected in Nashers. What do you hope for her as she comes of age?
I hope she has an unwavering sense of value and self worth. And I hope this moves beyond herself and translates into collective action for others. I want for her to see herself as being deeply connected to other women.

If you could tell your 16 year old self something what would it be?
Expect judgement, do it anyway.

And if your 16 year old self could tell you something, what would it be?
Make time to imagine more.


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We first met Tsechu Dolma when she was a Junior at the Renaissance Charter School in 2008. As part of her ELLA Fellowship project at Sadie Nash Leadership Project, she worked on creating a cross cultural group for Chinese and Tibetan students to explore the roots of the Sino-Tibetan conflict. Since then, Tsechu has founded Mountain Resiliency Project (MRP) and is still committed to strengthening vulnerable communities like the one in which she was raised. Read more about Tsechu and her ongoing work to fight alongside farmers to develop sustainable livelihoods as a key step in the ongoing struggle to build climate change resilient communities for social and economic justice.


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Jasmine, a Host Committee member, is founder and co-director of Project for Empty Space, a non-profit dedicated to bringing socially engaged and participatory projects to a multitude of communities through the utilization of abandoned and unusual urban spaces.

How did Sadie Nash come onto your radar?
I first encountered the organization when a group of Nashers from Newark visited Project for Empty Space’s gallery several years ago to take in an exhibition about femme empowerment.

Why are you passionate about Sadie Nash?
Growing up, I wish I had a place where my nascent activism could have been fueled amongst other girls who looked like me and were like-minded! One that encouraged STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) over just STEM, and encouraged critical-,  intersectional-, and multi-centered thinking!

I see the impact Sadie Nash’s programs can have on today’s girls. They have confidence in being GoC and also in uplifting others. I hope others see the value in investing in girls of color, too.  Supporting young women is to all of our advantage and betterment!

What BOLD ask are you making of yourself in 2019?
My bold ask is to be accountable —  both to others and myself. I’m striving to uphold the promises I make to myself and to follow through on supporting organizations not just by saying, but also by doing. We're in a moment where the phrase actions speak louder than words rings deafeningly.


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Brian is a management consultant with over 15 years of top-tier technology and change management experience working for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He is a member of our Host Committee who is excited to provide mentorship advice to new leaders.

Why did Sadie Nash catch your eye?
The work that Sadie Nash does with young women of color is truly inspiring. Helping cultivate new young leaders, especially ones of color, is vitally important, and being able to assist in that process is fulfilling. Growing up I did not feel I had anyone that looked like me to help guide me into the next phases of my life, like college, internships, and early career experiences. We should all explore what we can do to help young people have chances to reach their goals.

What advice do you have for people looking to identify ways they can help develop young people into leaders?  
Recognize that you were in that young person’s shoes at one point in your life, and ask yourself what would you have benefited from learning or hearing. Using that as a baseline creates a sense of humility that can be a great starting point in creating a mentor/mentee relationship. And remember to tell about failures you’ve had in addition to successes. This gives young leaders a roadmap for upcoming challenges.  

If you could give your 16 year old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
Never be afraid to ask questions, and always keep humility as a core competency of yourself.

And what if your 16 year old self could give current day you some advice?
Take a moment to celebrate your successes and share them with the people close to you. As we move through life taking care of the necessities, we at times forget or overlook the accomplishments that we work so hard to obtain.

Meet Joy & Liberation host committee member Jamila Justine Willis!

Meet Jamila Justine Willis! Jamila is a corporate restructuring attorney, a long-time supporter of Sadie Nash, and member of our Joy and Liberation Host Committee.

How did you become involved in Sadie Nash?

I became involved after attending a showcase of nonprofits in 2010. Although I hadn’t been planning to join any junior boards that night, I was compelled by Sadie Nash’s mission and joined Leadership Council.

Tell us about a memorable moment you’ve had at Sadie Nash.
I attended an event where Nashers spoke about their time with the program to visitors wanting to learn more. During breakout sessions Nashers met with us in small groups. I was so impressed by their thoughtfulness and maturity, world view, and understanding of their own abilities. Teaching young women activism makes them unafraid of their own voice.

In other organizations, there’s often a distance between volunteers and donors and participants. They have very separate roles. But not here. I love sitting around talking and doing the same activities Nashers do to learn about myself and other New Yorkers. That’s an incredible experience.

What makes Sadie Nash special?
The amazing thing about Sadie Nash is the community. It strikes me how warm people are here. I had to take a step back from my involvement in 2016, but everyone was understanding and gentle. They trusted my decision. That was a lovely response.

What gives you hope?
In my line of work, I interact with people in some of the most distressing, problematic times in their lives. But I am constantly inspired by human resilience and compassion and the fact that people can and will get up and try again to defeat the odds.


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Nathalie is Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Montefiore Health System and a Host Committee Member who believes Sadie Nash’s strength is putting its beliefs into action.

How did you become involved with Sadie Nash?
I learned about Sadie Nash through my volunteer work at the New York Women's Foundation in 2016. I was a Team Leader for the Grand Advisory Committee overseeing the NYC Fund For Girls and Young Women of Color. I learned more about the work of the organization, visited the space, and spoke to some of the Nashers.

What makes the Sadie Nash community special?
The first time I visited Sadie Nash, I felt at home. I felt safe and welcome. This community is open, diverse, and extremely inclusive in action. It encourages young people, and all of us, to take a strong stand for what we believe. I think that is liberation. I think we need to practice what we preach, and that is what Sadie Nash does.

The organization is bold and fierce. It’s committed to transforming the conversation and role of young women of color in this society. It is bringing a chair to the table and making a space for young women of color to share their stories and voice their demands. Nashers are powerful, brilliant and unstoppable young women.

If you could give your 16 year old self a piece of advice, what would it be?

To live unapologetically, to be loud, to own her voice, and to step into any space knowing that she belongs there.

And, on the flip side, if your 16 year old self could give you a piece of advice, what would it be?

To never stop dreaming and believing that I’m just one step away from turning the impossible into reality.

Meet Joy & Liberation Host Committee Member Lubna Shamsi!

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Lubna is Administrative Director at Mount Sinai Health System and a member of our Joy and Liberation Host Committee.

How did you get involved with Sadie Nash?

Five years ago a friend brought me to a Sadie Nash networking event. I fell in love with its focus on community and its vision to uplift and empower young women to build identity together. I then joined the Leadership Council and served as a mentor to Nashers applying to college.

What makes Sadie Nash special?

Sadie Nash teaches young women to never take no for an answer. There’s a sense of purpose and a focus on giving back and improving your community. These things are fundamental. Sadie Nash develops leaders and asks them to think about the larger world and make sure the people around them are taken care of.

Why do you support Sadie Nash?

I believe fiercely in two things: healthcare and education. I believe these two things are fundamental rights that enable someone to be successful. I became the primary caregiver to my grandmother in my twenties and it made me realize how important access to quality healthcare and the ability to navigate its complex web are. I support Sadie Nash because it supports Nashers’ education in a crucial way and guides them in thinking critically about pressing issues like access to quality healthcare and education equality.

As the daughter of immigrants and a minority, I know how valuable a strong female presence is. I was lucky to have my mother who I strive to emulate. In turn, I would like to serve as a mentor, a role model, and an advocate for the brave, brilliant young women that participate in Sadie Nash.

Meet Joy & Liberation host committee member Lawrence Dunlap!

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Lawrence is founder of The Dunlap Group, (TDG) a global consulting firm that partners with socially thoughtful brands, and is a Host Committee Member for Joy and Liberation.

Why do you support Sadie Nash?
Sadie Nash’s work aligns with my values; I have dedicated a large part of my mission work to supporting and educating our youth, and Sadie Nash does much needed work directed in our neighborhoods to improve socio-economic and educational opportunities.

What inspires you about today’s young people?
They bring the truth to you, no matter if it’s good or bad. They will speak to you honestly and have you thinking about the decisions you make. We have to be direct in finding ways to engage them, and Sadie Nash excels at that.

What BOLD ask are you making of yourself and your community in 2019?
I just obtained my certification as a substitute teacher to effect direct change and serve as a mentor for our youth. I ask that we, as a community, try to find the best way we can contribute, whether it’s through financial assistance or being on the ground in communities and classrooms.

Why should people join us at Joy and Liberation?
Everyone should support Sadie Nash at the Joy and Liberation fundraiser to learn more about the exciting programs they have in place and to witness a grassroots organization effecting change directly in the communities they work in!


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Kimberly is a Sadie Nash Board Member, Joy and Liberation Host Committee Member, Stay-At-Home-Mom to four young children, and an advocate of meaningful spaces to learn and grow.

Tell us more about why you support Sadie Nash! Why are you passionate about our work?
I believe that learning to lead requires exposure to others who set a strong example. I am inspired by Sadie Nash’s directive to provide leadership lessons to women, particularly those young women who might otherwise not have been encouraged to think of themselves as leaders. And, as in a symbiotic relationship, Sadie Nash also has supported my own journey beyond my role as mother, helping me find my own voice and inspiring me to continue to improve myself and, by extension, the world around me. They’ve given me the confidence to know I don’t have to be perfect: I just have to be, show up, and take part.

What’s special about Sadie Nash programming?
You get to hear from the young Nashers directly about their experiences and concerns. They voice these things and don’t have to filter them. That’s part of the ethos of the organization. And it gives you insight into Sadie Nash in terms of showcasing how we should treat the girls we support. It’s empowering that they have this space. I wish I had something like it growing up.

Why should others join us for An Evening of Joy and Liberation?

The night’s format lends itself to understanding Nashers’ concerns, and in that way we get an insight into the minds of the young women that we serve. Come to Joy and Liberation and you’ll leave feeling inspired!



Interested in a just, healthy, and livable world for all? Then you may already know and love the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC). Since 1970, it has been working to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends—as a defining voice in the national and global conversation on responsible environmental stewardship.

NRDC combines the power of more than 3 million members and online activists with the know-how of some 600 lawyers, scientists, and advocates to ensure a healthy environment and a better future for all. The Wall Street Journal called NRDC “the most effective lobbying and litigating group on environmental issues." Worth Magazine echoes that sentiment, saying, “Even by environmentalist standards, this is a relentless group of lawyers and scientists."

Sadie Nash is proud to announce that NRDC has joined Evening of Joy and Liberation as a sponsor, because they believe in our mission as much as we believe in theirs. Here at Sadie Nash we see an intimate connection between the work we do creating space for young women of color to own their power and the work NRDC does ensuring that all people, not just some people, benefit from clean, healthy environments. For example, NRDC, in partnership with the ACLU of Michigan, has worked with the communities of Flint, Michigan to fight for the safe drinking water the residents deserve.

Here’s what NRDC has to say about how it aims to pursue this goal:

We put people at the center of our environmental work by taking a holistic approach. We fight for the right to clean air and water, healthy homes and food, green space and infrastructure, and efficient buildings and transportation. We foster the development of vibrant, healthy, and sustainable communities—especially working with those who have suffered from disinvestment and inequitable distribution of resources. We use policy, science, law, finance, and public engagement to change systems—at the neighborhood, city, state, and national levels—so that everyone can thrive.”

Environmental justice calls for the examination of systems of power. It is important to communities of color, to women, and to youth. Sadie Nash deeply admires the NRDC’s work and we are thrilled to have them as a sponsor of our 2019 Evening of Joy and Liberation.

We’d love for you to visit or find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Meet Joy & Liberation host committee member ISRA PANANON!

Meet Isra Pananon! Isra is a Captain in the United States Army Reserve, Special Advisor to the President at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Master of Social Work candidate at NYU. We’re grateful to Isra for recruiting the support of NRDC for our Evening of Joy and Liberation.


Tell us about your work at the NRDC and how your military background equipped you for your job.
I came to the NRDC in 2015 when my colleague (and mentor) Rhea Suh joined NRDC as its new president. As Special Advisor to the President, a lot of the work I do is executive team management. I conduct personal and professional check-ins to ensure we’re hitting milestones so we are accountable to our donors. We stay accountable by showing results, like moving along important organizational initiatives and policies. The military taught me how to bring it all together; to win, you have to synchronize and trust each other. I spend a lot of time asking myself how do I get people I work with to see other perspectives they didn’t see before. Synchronicity is huge piece, and military teaches that, along with lessons in the accountability of holding responsibility for a body of work.

Speaking of, what’s a project you’ve accomplished at the NRDC you’re especially proud of?
I’m proud of my work around diversity initiatives. In 2016, I helped champion a proposal that designates funding from the President’s Office for internal diversity initiative grants with the goal of catalyzing pilot projects across the institution to develop, replicate, and institutionalize models for advancing DEI. Some of these projects included anti-oppression training, increasing our language capacity to broaden our audience, and collaboration training that empowered staff to overcome cultural barriers to inclusive collaboration. Moving the needle on DEI comes in big and small steps.

Why do you support Sadie Nash?
SNLP’s mission is unique in the fact that you are teaching our young people real life skills and having conversations that don't normally happen during adolescence. Being able to express yourself and talk about your feelings and not be told it’s irrelevant is important. Right now I’m working towards my MSW with the vision that I’ll become a therapist or a diversity initiatives consultant. Wherever I am, I want to hold space for all women leaders, particularly women of color and lift and affirm the voices that will change the future. Sadie Nash does that, and that’s why I support this organization.

Why should others join us at Joy and Liberation?
Sadie Nash’s mission is incredible. And the program shows results. And if I’ve learned anything, it’s that we just gotta show up. Whether you give money or come take part as a physical presence. I mean, my brown face, standing in front of formation or in an all-staff meeting, that matters. Get involved!

Meet Joy & Liberation host committee member JENNIFER JOSEPHSON!

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Jennifer is a Joy and Liberation Host Committee member collaborating with Sadie Nash on marketing, market research, and corporate sponsorship strategy.

How did you become involved with Sadie Nash?

While working at Deutsche Bank in 2013, I was the project manager for the Women on Wall Street (WOWS) conference where Sadie Nash was awarded a grant. I was taken with their mission. Soon after, I met Nashers during an inaugural job shadowing day at Deutsche Bank. High school students were matched with members of WOWS who led them through the day of an employee, giving insight into the world of banking. I was inspired by Nashers’ comfort with themselves and willingness to share their experiences with us that day.

Tell us more about the work you’re doing for the upcoming Joy and Liberation.

I’m working to identify businesses to become involved with Sadie Nash Leadership Project as corporate sponsors. So far I’ve reached out to 8 that I think would be a great fit! Narrowing and directing this search means figuring out which organizations have a potential synergy with SNLP because of their organizational mission, values, or initiatives. Then I figure out who I should make my ask to and how to reach them.

What advice do you have for people looking to use their networks to help with this project?

A good starting point? Brainstorm all the companies in your circle, both those that you work with professionally and those where you know an employee. See if there are any natural synergies. It might not be obvious from a company’s work that a Sadie Nash partnership would be a good fit, but dig below the surface to find out about employee initiatives, such as a women’s mentoring program, that indicate a willingness to support Sadie Nash’s mission.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some companies ask partners to donate personally to causes. So even if a business can’t come aboard as a sponsor, you may still be able to recruit high-level support from individuals associated with that organization.

Look for your point of entry!

Why should others join us at Joy and Liberation?

If you’re looking to develop new leaders who will lead our communities and country well, invest in Nashers. I am impressed by their confidence, and the strength they derive from community and sisterhood is incredible. They're amazing.

Meet Tashal Brown at Our Inaugural Community Research Conversation!


Our inaugural Community Research Conversation featuring former Summer Institute faculty member and curent doctoral student, Tashal Brown is happening on Wednesday May 8th from 6:30 to 8. Tashal will be sharing her research which examines the Nasher experience of participation in Power, Identity, and Privilege (PIP), a Summer Institute core class for over 10 years! Tashal taught the course at our Brooklyn and Queens site and is spending her Spring semester conducting focus groups with Nashers who have taken PIP which will inform her dissertation. We had an opportunity to catch up with Tashal and learn more about her work and what it means to have a liberatory research practice

Tell us about your research

My research centers the experiences of girls of color as it pertains to their participation in the Summer Institute course on Power, Identity and Privilege (PIP). More specifically, I seek to better understand how critical interrogations of power can open up opportunities for girls of color to examine and make sense of the social and political issues that impact the everyday lives.

Why did you decide to focus on Sadie Nash as a site for your research?

During my first summer as PIP faculty, I was captivated by the critical consciousness, creativity, care and sense of community that was fostered within the Summer Institute. I knew that I wanted to continue learning from and with the Sadie Nash community. As PIP faculty, I had become a part of that community and I wanted to sustain my participation in the space in ways that reflect my commitment to teaching and learning about issues of power with youth.

How would you characterize your approach to research?

As a researcher, I am aware that my social identities and lived experiences shape the way I view and understand the world as well as the choices I make about the people, places, and experiences that inform my research. I have been blessed to be exposed to and mentored by a strong community of critical scholars that ground their work in humanizing research theories and practices. These scholars continue to challenge the ways I think about the purpose and goals of research.  For example, Eve Tuck and Wayne Yang write extensively about the harmful and exploitative research practices that are often taken up in research about historically marginalized communities. Cynthia Dillard (2006) argues that educational researchers must seek out “new ways of looking into the reality of others that opens our own lives to view—and that makes us accountable to the people, interests, and needs of whom we study” (p. 2). Thus, developing a liberatory research practice requires a shift that recognizes the need for community members to be involved in the process of conceptualizing, developing and conducting research.

 Dillard, C. B. (2006). On spiritual strivings: Transforming an African American woman’s academic life. Albany: State University of New York Press

Tuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2014). Unbecoming claims: Pedagogies of refusal in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry20(6), 811-818.

Thanks Tashal! If you’re curious to learn more about Tashal or our new Research Homeplace initiative, join us at our inaugural Community Research Conversation, Wednesday May 8th from 6:30 to 8pm. RSVP here.

Meet Summer Institute Faculty Ibi Zoboi

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Applications are due for Summer Insitute Faculty on May 1st. To give you a sense of what teaching at Sadie Nash is like, we are doing a series of short interviews with past faculty, members of the community we lovingly refer to as #Nashfam. Meet writer Ibi Zoboi, author of the National Book Award finalist American Street and editor of Black Enough, an anthology of stories of what its like to be young and Black in America. Ibi taught at the New York City Summer Institute in 2008 and 2009 (back in the days before the Brooklyn and Queens Summer Institutes had started). She designed and taught two academic elective classes: Love Goddesses & War Heroines: Female Archetypes in World Mythology and The Politics of Mothering.

What was your experience like teaching at Summer Institute?

I loved interacting with the young people and exposing them to ideas that they might not have had in their schools. I also learned a lot about feminist ideas and social justice issues by being on the faculty. I remember how eye-opening those training sessions were for me.

Did the experience teaching at Summer Institute influence your current work? If so, how?

Absolutely! I write for teens and children and I feature strong, resilient, independent, super smart girls in my stories--all of which are qualities that are inherent in Nashers.

Would you encourage others to apply to teach at Summer Institute?

Yes! If you are passionate about social justice issues and instilling confidence in young girls, please share your art, your voice, and your time. Being part of SNLP will stir your creativity and passion.

Thank you Ibi!


Interested in applying to teach at Sadie Nash’s award-winning Summer Institute? Apply now! The deadline is Wednesday, May 1st

Are you former Summer Institute faculty interested in sharing your experience for new applicants? We’d love to do a post about you. You can share your story here and we’ll be in touch