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Story Highlights

  • Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, is urging young people, especially girls, to beware of potential dangers they can be exposed to on social media.
  • “Recognise that a lot of what is happening out there is falsehood… [and can lead to you to getting] in with the wrong crowd,” she cautioned, citing human trafficking as an example.
  • She was speaking at a Social Change Luncheon hosted under the ‘We Inspire Girls to be Strong Women’ initiative at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on May 2.

Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, is urging young people, especially girls, to beware of potential dangers they can be exposed to on social media.

“Recognise that a lot of what is happening out there is falsehood… [and can lead to you to getting] in with the wrong crowd,” she cautioned, citing human trafficking as an example.

She was speaking at a Social Change Luncheon hosted under the ‘We Inspire Girls to be Strong Women’ initiative at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on May 2.

Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison (centre), converses with students attending a Social Change Luncheon hosted under the ‘We Inspire Girls to be Strong Women’ initiative at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on May 2. From second left are: Eddie-Ann Gordon of Vere Technical High School; Janeil Stephens – St. Catherine High; Markiesh Francis – Westwood High; Roshelle Pinnock – B.B. Coke High School; and Kerrisha Francis – Dinthill High. Looking on (at left) is the initiative’s conceptualiser, Cortia Bingham.

 

Mrs. Gordon Harrison said a recent assessment of the typical human trafficking victim in Jamaica points to girls, aged 13 to 17, with serious self-esteem issues.

She said they tend to “listen to anybody and do anything to get some attention, and buy into the garbage that human traffickers are feeding that target population”.

This, the Children’s Advocate further stated, sets them up as prime prey for the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

She, therefore, encouraged young people to stay focused and not be distracted by the social media “hype”.

Conceptualiser of the ‘We Inspire Girls to be Strong Women’ initiative, Cortia Bingham (centre), with Vere Technical High School student, Eddie-Ann Gordon (left), and Guidance Counsellor at the institution, Owen Rodney. The occasion was a Social Change Luncheon hosted under the initiative at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on May 2. During the event, girls from five high schools made presentations on social change initiatives they developed, which were assessed by a panel of judges. Miss Gordon, who presented on cyber bullying, emerged the winner and received several prizes including a scholarship valued $50,000.

 

Mrs. Gordon Harrison also cautioned them to be careful how they present themselves on social media, noting that Human Resource interests scout the platform to view the profiles of prospective employees.

In the meantime, the Children’s Advocate is encouraging girls to trust their instincts if they feel uncomfortable with certain situations, particularly instances of abuse.

“Abuse is real! It can derail your life in a very real and significant way and you need to learn to trust your instincts. It doesn’t matter who it is; if it feels wrong, chances are it is wrong. The abuser, typically, is somebody who knows you very well and who you trust and who is close to you… so listen to those instincts,” she said.

Additionally, Mrs. Gordon Harrison encouraged young girls to aspire to become leaders and agents of change as, ultimately, “you will be the movers and shakers of tomorrow”.

Conceptualizer of the initiative, Cortia Bingham, said the movement seeks to influence the next generation of women to become innovators and creative, critical thinkers who can influence positive changes in the society.

“One of the main things that we wanted to achieve with We Inspire Girls to be Strong Women, is to create more women who are thought leaders who [can] bring bright ideas that can really push Jamaica forward,” she said.

During the luncheon, girls from five high schools presented their social change initiatives which they believe will positively impact their communities or schools. These were assessed by a panel of judges.

Eddie-Ann Gordon, a Grade 10 student from Vere Technical High School, emerged the winner with her initiative focusing on reducing cyber bullying.

She was awarded a $50,000 scholarship by Foska Oats; one-year mentorship; lunch vouchers for one school term and furniture from Courts Jamaica; a paid internship from Chas E Ramson, and sponsors’ products valued $100,000.

Second-place went to Roshelle Pinnock of B.B. Coke High, whose initiative focused on proper dining etiquette.

Markiesh Francis of Westwood High; Kerrisha Francis of Dinthill High; and Janeil Stephens of St. Catherine High also made impactful presentations.

Since 2017, the We Inspire team, through a high school tour, has been to more than 50 secondary schools islandwide, directly engaging more than 10,000 girls to think critically, dream big and create a life based on principles and values.