By Nadia Bourne

Nadia Bourne is a junior majoring in English at St. John’s University, and, a native of East New York, Brooklyn, currently residing in Queens.

While perusing the bargain bin in my campus bookstore I came across a book, So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do, by Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne. I decided to buy it in light of my pending SPARK Team application and having recently participated in a series of workshops, as well as a retreat both revolving around the theme of reproductive justice, conducted by Jahajee Sisters for the YWLI. I found it ironic to find the author of that book on stage soon after, a speaker at the SPARK summit. Later, while walking along the brownstone bordered streets of Brooklyn a friend and I came across a row of books. There was a sign there, which offered them up to any passerby for free. Even more ironic, hidden among them was a book that had been mentioned by a panelist at said summit, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston. It was a book that had affected the panelist profoundly.

I’m supposed to be discussing the SPARK summit. I’m supposed to speak about the workshops and panelists, the solidarity and the force of the movement; include what I’ve learned, maybe mention what got me involved in this in the first place. To be honest. I happened upon all of this, like the books I’ve mentioned found their way to me.  However, I can speak on why I’m here now having attended this summit and familiarized myself with the cause and various walks of life: unique her-stories; I feel that I’m supposed to be a part of this movement. I stumbled into this plethora of media transgressions and luckily, this summit was here to pick me up, lest I fall into a desperate feeling of being incapable to make change.

 This summit has given me voice: the power to sound and resound. I too would like to see more brown and black faces in the media, as well as at feminists based events like the SPARK summit. I acknowledge the need for change and I recognize the passion everyone else has exemplified. And I’m noticing things, as in lines in make-up commercials with Halle Berry saying, “diffuse any flaw”.  I’m here because I don’t buy the message of the media that claims there is something innately wrong with us, as if there is some intrinsic malfunction we have to cover up. I’m here because I am a woman. I’m here because the women in the media don’t look like me. I’m here because they wouldn’t, even if they did.