On United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we would like to introduce you to Gladys. Today, Gladys can look in the mirror and feel proud of what she sees.
For years this wasn’t the case. Growing up, Gladys faced racial discrimination from her own mother because of the color of her skin. “Dark girls like you can’t study,” her mother told her. In the short video below, Gladys shares how the discrimination impacted her self-esteem and the coping mechanisms she developed to deal with the pain.
At 19 years old, Gladys was selected to participate in the GOJoven youth leadership program. The GOJoven program, she recalls, is where she had the opportunity to meet other amazing young people, and begin to accept and love herself for who she is.
GOJoven is committed to promoting the health and well-being of young people. The GOJoven youth leadership training model promotes cultural, ethnic and sexual diversity and equality by training young leaders on the values of interculturalism, team-work and collaborative leadership, We teach the importance of self-respect and self-esteem in developing oneself as an effective leader and change agent to promote social justice.
For many youth throughout Central America and Mexico, GOJoven is the first place where they feel accepted no matter their sexual orientation, race, gender, or skin color. Now, graduated GOJoven Fellows are using the training model to promote diversity, promote acceptance and improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health in their communities.
Thousands of youth like Gladys face racial discrimination within their own families and in their communities. On International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we encourage you to stand against racial discrimination and intolerance.