On November 17th, PHS (Peekskill High School) girls from the Feminenza Young Women’s Leadership Program went to New York City to meet and interview the famous 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Leymah Gbowee, who is best known for leading a non-violent movement in 2003 that brought together Christian and Muslim women, to put an end to the civil war that had been raging in Liberia for 14 years. What Leymah and these women did was beyond courageous – and not only did they succeed in bringing peace to their country, and thereby inspiring women all over the world, but they also paved the way for the election of Africa’s first female head of state.

PHS girls, Adasa Bennet, Symphony Boyd-Roberts, Kayla Godbee, Gabby Yeagley, Nia Robinson, Jamilla Desir, and Brittney Pauta did an excellent job in interviewing Leymah as they asked relevant, profound questions that triggered many stories, words of wisdom, and counsels from Leymah. The girls presented themselves with a level of maturity and stature that impressed Leymah and all the adult women in the room. Dr. Cassandra Hyacinthe and PCSD Board Member, Lisa Aspinall were also present and engaged in the interview process.

The interview lasted approximately two hours, and all present in the room were completely captured by Leymah’s presence, straight-forward manner, strength, and charisma. Her encouragement to the girls remained a strong thread throughout the evening and she advised them to “never compare themselves to anyone else and to just be themselves.” She spoke to them not only about her experiences in Liberia, but also about relationships, life’s struggles, how to succeed as a woman, and to “never despise humble beginnings”.