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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

February is from the Latin term Februarius, meaning to either 'Purify' or 'Atone'. Many people don't know that Negro History week was established in February, 1926. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), an African-American writer who wrote the book Mis-Education of the Negro, and is also known as the "Father of Black History," said that he had chosen the month of February for reasons of "tradition" and "reform."

Today we celebrate Black History Month. We dedicate this month of February to all the African-American women and men, similar to Mr. Woodson, who made many contributions we have and see. In this month of embracing and learning about history, it’s also a month of love, and at a young age I never got to experience true love until I became a mother.

As a mother and the eldest of 7 other girls, Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention is highly important for me to educate not only my siblings, but their friends and friends of their friends. In my experience in bad relationships or "Sh*tlationships," the only regret I hold is not being more involved in my education, as I am now. So I try to inspire young minority youth to not only focus more on school and to take their education seriously, but to also spend their life trying to find happiness and BUILD within themselves, only then can there be true love.

Working with Legal Momentum as a Peer Educator is a step forward into criminal justice, where I will get an opportunity to be one-on–one with youth, who, like myself, get caught up in the justice system—all because they're just crying out for help. With the knowledge I gain and experience, I hope to give back to my community and set a better path for others.

Birkinana Unsung is the 20-year-old mother of a 3-year-old boy, living in Brooklyn, who just wants to motivate others to “turn their Pain into Power.” She is a Rights Now! Peer Educator with Legal Momentum. As one of five Peer Educators, Birkinana is completing an eight-week training and curriculum consultation program. Birkinana, along with fellow Peer Educators, provides feedback and consultation on curriculum development for Rights Now! Upon completing the program, Birkinana and the other Peer Educators will facilitate educational workshops for young women and girls across New York City.

Rights Now! is a peer educator empowerment program that trains young women to identify and respond to sexual violence and sex-based discrimination. The workshops build knowledge and confidence as participants learn about the impacts power, privilege, and oppression have on their lives. Youth also learn about the legal rights and remedies they have to address sexual abuse and violence that affects their lives.

Contributed by: 

Birkinana Unsung