Representative Liz Miranda, Reebok’s Portia Blunt, and Commissioner Shaitia Spruell will join YW Boston for its first-ever F.Y.R.E. Symposium

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YW Boston’s girls’ leadership and empowerment program, the F.Y.R.E. Initiative, is hosting its first intergenerational symposium, “Igniting Your FYRE Within: Sharing our experiences of COVID-19,” on Saturday, June 5th, 11 AM – 3 PM. During our F.Y.R.E. Initiative leadership and empowerment program, middle school girls around Greater Boston explore social justice education, positive identity development, healthy relationships, and civic engagement. As part of the program, participants also create a community action project. During the symposium, attendees will participate in a community action project and have the opportunity to engage with other youth leaders from across Greater Boston.

The event will include interactive elements, intergenerational activities, and several guest appearances including a keynote from Vice President of Apparel at Reebok, Portia Blunt, as well as remarks from Representative Liz Miranda and Commissioner Shaitia Spurrell of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. “Igniting Your FYRE Within: Sharing our experiences of COVID-19” will also feature panelists Akeda Hunter, Jheneire Loreus, Kaelyn Mcinnis, Olivya Deeble, and Sydney Stewart.

 

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Portia Blunt, Keynote Speaker

Vice President of Apparel, Reebok

Portia Blunt serves as the Vice President of Apparel at Reebok.  In her role, she leads the apparel team and drives product excellence across all apparel product categories to enable commercial success. Portia spent 13 years at New Balance and she held a variety of roles in the apparel business, including leading apparel innovation, where she was responsible for ideating, visioning, and implementing new product for commercial concepts ultimately at Director of Apparel Operations.  While at New Balance she also served as a member of the Diversity Council, where she was instrumental in the development of the current diversity, equity and inclusion strategy for the brand. She led the creation of their employee resource & affinity group framework and has been a fierce champion for D&I efforts throughout her career. Before New Balance, Portia began her career in apparel design at the U.S. Marine Corps in Quantico, VA where she was responsible for designing men’s and women’s uniforms. Portia is a graduate of Virginia Tech. An advocate for community, Portia serves on the Board of Trustees at the Woodward School for Girls in Quincy, MA, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In her free time, she loves to travel and spend time with her husband and two sons. 

 

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Representative Liz Miranda, Speaker

Since elected in 2018, Elizabeth “Liz” Miranda has served as State Representative for the 5thSuffolk District of Roxbury and Dorchester. Representative Miranda currently serves as the ViceChair of the Committee on HumanResources and Employee Engagement and serves on the committee’s on the JointCommittee(s) on Community Development and Small Businesses, Public Safety, and Homeland Security, and Veterans and Federal Affairs. In her first term, Representative Miranda has filed and passed legislation to reform policing, improve racial disparities in maternal health, promote environmental justice within disproportionately impacted communities, and ensure just recovery for micro-to-small businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the daughter of Cabo Verdean immigrants, RepresentativeMiranda has been a tireless advocate for the Safe Communities Act and the Work and Family Mobility Act, while leading the fight for an equitable recovery that includes BIPOC workers. Rep. Miranda’s career has aimed to build resident-led leadership and advocacy for youth development, violence prevention, and justice.

 

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Shaitia Spruell, Speaker

Commissioner, Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women

Shaitia Spruell is a proud mom, and Commissioner on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. She has served as a Commissioner since November 2019, appointed by the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, and currently serves as the Chair for the MCSW Legislative & Public Policy Committee. Originally from Springfield, Shaitia lives in Clinton, MA, and currently works for the Office of the State Treasurer & Receiver General as their Program Manager primarily overseeing Women’s Economic Empowerment Programming and supporting financial education programming. Before joining the MCSW, Shaitia served as a Regional Commissioner on the Hampden County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls for one year. She also is a member of the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition where she focuses on economic justice and education. Shaitia is passionate about financial literacy, empowering girls, and women of color. 

 

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear how young girls are changing Boston and making an impact in their communities! RSVP for free today by visiting www.ywboston.org/event-list/2021-f-y-r-e-symposium-igniting-your-fyre-within.

 

REGISTER

 

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About YW Boston’s F.Y.R.E. Initiative

With the F.Y.R.E. Initiative, launched in the Fall of 2019, YW Boston facilitators conduct a 12-15-week leadership development series for girls grades 6th through 9th. The series brings together social justice education, positive identity development, and civic engagement, culminating in small group civics projects. This model takes place in schools or Out of School Time programs, and it is developed to operate in a “girls group” structure rather than a traditional classroom structure. Core to the program is an effort to provide experiential learning opportunities and dialogue to build understanding and increase social-emotional learning.

For more information about the F.Y.R.E. Initiative, or to learn how you can bring this program to your school or community, please contact TiElla Grimes at tgrimes@ywboston.org.