President and one of the founders of the Girl Up Chapter at Regis Jesuit High School, Amelia Marcum, joined the Girl Up International Board. Marcum has collaborated with girls from ten different countries to advise Girl Up Organization and promote gender equality worldwide. Many of the jobs Marcum undertakes is leading the international summit.
Although many events that Marcum would be organizing have been sadly canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, she was one of the few selected to speak at the United Nations assembly. Marcum is delighted to use her platform as a female and native woman to speak out on society’s injustices.
At the United Nations, she discussed the murders of indigenous women providing an example of a woman in her tribe. She continues by explaining the Savannah’s Act that was recently passed by Congress affected her tribe. Savannah, the inspiration for the Savannah’s Act, was a member of Marcum’s tribe in North Dakota. Marcum explains how native women “are murdered at ten times the rate of the national average.” She concludes that Congress passing this act was a “happy moment” for her because this is one step to combat this epidemic.
How did you discover Girl up?
“I discovered Girl Up after attending the 2018 leadership summit in Washington DC. I was incredibly inspired by the empowering speakers, Teen Advisors, and attendees Who were all doing such important work in their communities. When I got back home to Denver, I decided to start the very first Girl Up club at my school. Over the last three years we’ve hosted multiple events, speaking engagements, and valuable discussions. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Girl Up!”
Why did Girl Up become so important to you, and what did you do with this motivation?
“I have always had proud feminist. I believe that no matter who you are, or where are you come from our identities are all equally valuable and it is important that we are given the opportunity to use our voices. At the leadership summit, I was given the opportunity to lobby for the Keeping Girls in School Act on Capitol Hill. I was incredibly empowered by the impact that I was able to have and wanted to do my part to help ensure that girls around the world were given the same opportunity as me. Girl Up has created so many amazing initiatives to help support young girls and I have worked with my club to participate in their programming as much as possible.”
How did you become a part of Girl Up international board?
“I applied to be a team advisor last spring. I remembered seeing all the innovative activities that Teen Advisors shared at the leadership summit and I wanted to have the chance to do the same for my own community. I could not be more honored to have been given this opportunity and continuing my involvement as a leader in the organization.”
What are some of your duties?
“As a Girl Up Teen advisor, my goal is to advance the Girl Up mission, provide feedback on key organization strategy, represent Girl Up at major events, and energize girls to take action around the world.”
How have the people you met through this position impacted your perspectives?
“My fellow teen advisers are some of the most inspiring girls that I have ever met in my life. The positivity that radiates around them somehow makes me even more grateful to be a part of this incredible organization. There are nine countries represented in a team advisor program, so our perspective is very global. I have learned so much about the different political systems, cultural norms, and public policies around the world. It has been especially eye-opening during the pandemic to understand the different approaches to health and safety throughout our world. I know I can count on these girls no matter what and I can’t wait to spend the rest of the year with them by my side.”
How were you selected to speak in front of the United Nations?
“The opportunity to speak at the Youth United Nations General assembly through the teen advisor program. I have been very vocal about my support of helping missing and murdered indigenous women, and Girl Up believed that it would be a good topic to discuss at a global level. I am so glad that I have the platform to be able to speak about this issue to such a large audience and I hope to raise awareness for the cause.”
What did you present?
“The topic that I discussed was around the epidemic of missing and murdered women within the native community. Native women are murdered at a rate of 10 times the national average. As a native woman myself, I have grown to be acutely aware of this heartbreaking issue affecting Native people across the country. I discussed some statistics about missing and murdered indigenous women, presented on Savanna’s act, a new bill that just recently passed the US house of representatives seeking to support reservations in their investigations of these cases, and shared some ideas on what we can all be doing to counteract this huge issue.”
Why has this issue with indigenous women not have been addressed in the past?
“It is unfortunate that the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women has not been raised to national attention. As many of the cases take place on isolated Indian reservations, many Americans are left on aware of just how prevalent the issue is. As a Native American girl Up teen advisor, I am committed to using my platform to support the native community. The intersectional oppression against women of color needs to be addressed and I hope that my speech has helped to better educate the public on what we, as a country, can be doing better.”
What is your ideal solution to this problem?
“I believe that the passing of Savanna’s Act was a huge step in the right direction. We need to help support the investigations that are happening on impoverished reservations where resources are limited. The first step is helping to ensure that all these women get the justice that they deserve.”
What advice can you provide to people that feel there is an issue that needs addressing?
“I encourage you all to use your voices! You are so powerful, and you can do anything that you set your mind to. If you have personal experience with the issue, I recommend sharing your story and how it has impacted you. You got this, girl!”