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Girl Up veil project creates awareness for child marriage

Members of the Foothill Girl Up club posing with their veils to raise awareness about child marriage. Credit: Chloey Settles/The Foothill Dragon Press

Approximately one-seventh of Foothill girls wore wedding veils on Friday in solidarity with girls sold into marriage in third-world countries.

This event was put on by Foothill’s Girl Up club. Girl Up is a United Nations club that seeks to empower young women and help them become global leaders.

They were celebrating the International Day of the Girl, which is an unofficial holiday on Oct. 11, created by the UN.

The club spent two meetings making the veils out of ribbon and tulle, and attaching call slips so that the veils would be delivered correctly. Club President and junior Fidelity Ballmer estimates that 40 of the veils went to Girl Up club members. The rest were suggested by friends, or randomly selected.

The veils were delivered Friday during second period.

The girls who received veils were encouraged to come to the stage Friday after FIRE to take a group photo.

Foothill students Sophia Drake and Mari-Aaeh Leandado were shocked by the number of young girls sold into marriage.

“I knew they got married but I didn’t really understand the conditions. Like, I didn’t know it was that many. You never really heard about it,” Drake said.

“It was really shocking,” Leandado added.

They both said though they were not currently members of Girl Up, they would join at the next meeting.

Arden Tanner, a current Girl Up member, said she wanted to show support by wearing her veil.

She said she was already aware of the issue of child marriage because her sister identifies as a feminist.

Ballmer said she told prospective club members about child marriage, one of FTHS Girl Up’s biggest concerns, at Club Rush earlier this year.

Girls were shocked.

“They [said] ‘I’m just the same as them. I have the same passions, I have the same dreams, I have the same everything, except I could be married to some old man,’” Ballmer said.

Girl Up hopes that everyone who received a veil wore it.

“I at least am glad this is setting off this kind of internal conflict like ‘Why aren’t you doing it? Why is this something you don’t want to do?’” Ballmer said.

The project was suggested last year, but never quite took off. This year, Girl Up wanted to “hit the ground running.”

The veil project is unique to Foothill, but the the UN also has a campaign for the Day of the Girl. This project is called #GIRLHERO.



The goal of the project is to help change the attitude society has towards female heroes and “light up social media feeds with stories of girl power,” the UN blog wrote.

To participate in this event, the club took a group photo on Thursday holding up signs that declared their #GIRLHEROs.

There are several other projects Girl Up wants to tackle this year.

One of them is having the Day of the Girl be recognized by the City of Ventura. Because of the legality of UN holidays, the day must be recognized on a local level.

Girl Up is taking over AVID’s pie fundraiser. They are also planning to host a cell phone drive and a prom dress drive later in the year.

Ballmer is opposed to “slacktivism,” and hopes that people are inspired to take action against child marriage.

“If you stand for a cause, you have to stand for it completely and wholly, with your whole self. You can’t be half a feminist or half stand for women’s rights, you have to take it on completely.”

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Girl Up veil project creates awareness for child marriage