Twelve-year-old Mari Copeny, known as Little Miss Flint because of her activism around the water crisis in Flint, Mich., will be the keynote speaker at the second annual State of Wisconsin Girls Summit on March 28 at Alverno College. The summit will convene thought leaders and inspiring voices to encourage girls to become more civically engaged and develop their leadership skills.
In May 2016, when Copeny was 8 years old, she wrote a letter to President Barack Obama detailing the water crisis in her hometown and challenging him to visit. The president visited Flint and subsequently authorized $100 million to repair the city’s water system. Copeny’s activism made national news, and she has been using her voice to fight for social justice since.
The State of Girls in Wisconsin Summit is an opportunity for girls, community leaders, agencies that serve girls and the general public to have thoughtful, productive conversations and celebrate the contributions of girls to our community. The day-long event will include workshops, breakout panels and discussions, sessions on how to transform ideas into action, a showcase exhibition featuring organizations that are making a difference in the lives of girls, and a luncheon where girls will engage in guided discussion with female government officials. The event will begin with Copeny’s keynote address.
The summit precedes the release of the upcoming Women In Public Life report by the Alverno College Research Center for Women and Girls, a non-partisan survey designed to reveal the paths the state’s female office holders have taken on their leadership journeys to improve the environment for women to explore political leadership.
“We know from our research that girls are more likely to be civically engaged, to vote when they come of age and to volunteer,” said Jodi Eastberg, PhD, executive director of the Research Center. “But they are far less likely to imagine themselves running for office or to consider government office as a desirable profession or goal. We are hopeful that they will be inspired by young people influencing our government and sitting down with women in office, ultimately moving the needle.”
For more information and to register, visit alverno.edu/research/girlssummit.
Sponsors to date include the Dr. Mary Ann Schwartz & Dr. Richard Brewer Endowed Speaker Series, the Brewers Community Foundation, Catalyst Construction, and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.