You can call it girls versus Goliath. The nonprofit group Girls Inc. wants to stop an expansion of a landfill near the group's organic farm located in North Memphis.

Teenage girls who work the farm are afraid the landfill will hurt their crops, which are grown without chemicals and pesticides.

"That's harmful (and) all of our plants would probably die,” the girls told FOX13.

Girls Inc. farm manager Miles Tamboli echoed the sentiment and added further concerns.

"This is in the middle of a neighborhood,” Tamboli said. “There is an organic farm right here. There is an elementary school across the street.”

Brenda Solomito Basar represents the Memphis Wrecking Company, who are the owners of the landfill. She tells us they need to expand because the company has an important client with construction waste to dump.

"They have a contract with the city of Memphis for construction debris,” Basar said. “The city and others have a battle on their hands with blight."

FOX 13 examined the documents the company submitted to the County Land Control Board. Memphis Wrecking promised to include environmental safeguards, improved security and changes to landscaping at the site after hearing about criticism from people in the neighborhood.

"Give them assurances it will not pollute their ground water. It will not affect their quality of life. It is a temporary use, although necessary, and we hope to accommodate them in every way,” Basar said.

It will be a tough sell, because Girls Inc. says organic and a landfill can't coexist.

"I don't think there is anything they can do to offset (the fact that) there will be a landfill across the street,” Tamboli said.

FOX13 went to City Councilman Berlin Boyd, who represents Frayser, to get his thoughts on the situation. He told us he agrees with Girls Inc., and 500 constituents have told him to put a stop to the landfill expansion because it is near homes, within 455 feet of an elementary school and would hurt their property values.

"I am going to fight it left and right on at council and go to the land use control board to speak against it,” Boyd said.

And regarding the Memphis Wrecking Company's claim of needing to expand their site because they've nearly run out of dumping space, Boyd voiced a strong opinion.

"I propose we take that contract away and find another company who can haul our debris.”

Source: http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/story/29346085/memphis-organic-group-looks-to-compact-landfill-expansion

Check out Lisa Moore on the March 9, 2015 episode of The Spark on WKNO. The theme for the episode was "Empowering Women"

Click to watch

Several weeks ago I was asked to help facilitate a Girls University workshop at the Brooks Museum of Art. This was my first time volunteering with the Girls, Inc. organization and like so often happens when we give of ourselves, we get much more in return.

The two-part workshop was centered around the temporary exhibition "Looking at Women." The exhibition explored some of the ways women have been represented in art (including the role of goddess, mother, femme fatale, etc.) By looking at a wide range of examples we were able to examine differing and evolving viewpoints. During the two sessions participants explored the role of women in art, society, and culture. Using examples from the exhibition and museum's permanent collection, they communicated their reactions and reflections through discussions, journaling and sketching. It was especially interesting for me to see and hear how young women (with no art background) interpreted the work.

This has been part of a larger journey for me to find meaning, to contribute in some way to the greater good and my community. Admittedly, my first instinct is to promote, volunteer, and donate to animal shelters and charities but was a cause deserving of an exception.

The Girls, Inc. organization "aims to empower all girls to be strong, smart, and bold". . . a worthy goal if I've ever heard one. Through a wide variety of programing (ranging from Google's Made with Code to workshops in visual and performing arts to an introduction to organic farming and local chefs using the "farm to table" concept) Girls University works to promote the Girls, Inc organization's mission to empower all girls. If you're interested in Girls, Inc or the Girls University Program, I encourage you to learn more and become involved in whatever way works for you.

Source: http://www.samanthasherry.com/blog/2015/3/19/looking-at-women-with-girls-inc

New York Times Opinion Pages

To the Editor:

Re “To Stop Violence, Start at Home” (Op-Ed, Feb. 4):

The data-driven position laid forth by Pamela Shifman and Salamishah Tillet creates a powerful case for empowering girls from a young age to embrace their role as catalysts for change at the individual and societal levels.

When a girl understands and recognizes her right to be safe, respected and supported in all relationships, she is a direct challenge to the threat of violence. Investing in education to help girls understand that they have value and that women and men have the same rights increases the likelihood that they will be able to recognize and extricate themselves from risky situations, and advocate for education and resources for others to do the same.

This does not take the responsibility away from boys and men to do their part; rather, it reflects the potential for a greater shift in society. It is only when women and girls are seen as fully equal and deserving of opportunity that the biases too often at the root of gender-based violence will cease.

The presence of strong, independent women, and particularly minority women, in more lives is critical to the internalization of gender equality as the norm and violence as unacceptable.

JUDY VREDENBURGH

President and Chief Executive Girls Inc.

New York

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/opinion/women-girls-and-violence.html?_r=1

Testimonials

I had no idea how much I could do and accomplish until I came to Girls Inc. Now I know I can build robots, interact with Congress people, I can be an entrepreneur, I can speak in public…I can do anything I put my mind to. - Jamaya


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