To celebrate Pride Month 2021, we’ve had the opportunity to find out what inclusion means to the Lutadoras girls in our first official Lutadoras Discuss session. We wanted to find out their thoughts and opinions around inclusion, and why embracing, and accepting each other for who we are is so important.
Lutadoras is a female only group promoting equality, empowerment and personal development among young women and girls aged 7-25. These sessions provide a safe space for girls and young women to discuss important topics like inclusion.
This week’s discussion began with the girls shining light on what inclusion means to them. Their invaluable insight touched on the importance of creating positive and lasting first impressions by embracing all of our differences – regardless of gender, race, sexuality, religion, age, class, or disability.
“Making someone feel like they can’t be themselves [isn’t inclusive],” said Sophie. This introduction gave rise to a deep hum of agreement from around the room, and before we knew it the conversation was flying.
“If someone walks into a room and you give them a dirty look or something, they will definitely feel very hurt because you don’t even know them.”
“Make them feel comfortable, and they will start talking to you,” she added.
It is clear from the discussion that there is so much value in treating others how we ourselves would like to be treated. This led to the girls making some important links between inclusion and mental health.
“Words have a lot of impact on someone’s mental [health]… You just don’t know what someone’s been through, and they might link that to other experiences, and you just never know if that could be a potential trigger for them,” explained Safiya*.
Chantelle* agreed by adding: “yeah…for you it might be something little, but for them it might be something bigger.”
These values and beliefs reflect what we are all about at Fight for Peace – embracing and respecting everybody equally to create a safe space for unity. “…That’s why we do the befriending thing at Fight for Peace. It has a lot to do with embracing and inclusion – it’s your first time, but you’re now part of the Fight for Peace family,” explained Maria, Fight for Peace Mentoring Lead who also runs the Lutadoras sessions.
Lutadoras embodies this Fight for Peace energy. Members who joined the group alone have now developed valuable relationships with both their peers, and staff members, allowing the space for such open discussions.
Discussing inclusion has reinforced our belief that young people are the voice of change, and have the power to drive it. Hearing so many positive and articulate views surrounding inclusion teaches us all the importance of accepting each other for who we are, and building a society which is welcoming and inclusive for all of us.
Head over to our Instagram this week for some more words of wisdom from the Lutadoras girls and stay tuned for the next Lutadoras Discuss article, where the girls will be talking about a new topic.
The names in this article have been changed to respect the privacy of the individuals*