Rocio Ortega on The OpEd Project Training for Global Girl Media Summit

A guest post by Rocio Ortega

Rocio and OEP Leader Michele Weldon, left

Rocio and OEP Leader Michele Weldon, left

“That’s ridiculous!”

Now you try saying that.

When you’ve reached the point of ridiculousness in a debate, it’s refreshing to shout,  “That’s ridiculous!”

Prior to The OpEd Project conference, I didn’t even know what an op-ed was. Throughout this workshop I kept thinking of all the articles, blogs, social media posts, etc., that made me want to act. The reason why I never really got to write an op-ed was because I didn’t know how to. I didn’t want to seem like another teenager ranting online about something I didn’t agree with. I didn’t have the skills to write a respectable and professional argument.

The OpEd Project has given me the skills and confidence to write an original op-ed that will really stand out. I want to talk about how educating a woman is the solution to many global issues. Every day I read an article about domestic or global issues like the unstable unemployment rate or what today’s government leaders are doing to boost the economy. All these articles are focused on the problem rather than raising a solution.

The truth is, women are the solution to many of our global issues. So why aren’t we talking about this in world news every day?

The OpEd Project has made me question and learn new things. For one, I had never questioned myself about the difference between being right and being effective. This has left me pondering. I learned to call myself an expert in young women’s empowerment when it comes to public speaking and the media. I have reinforced my purpose in speaking up. If I don’t speak up for myself, I can’t necessarily rely on someone to do that for me. The camera is used as my eyes and I get to show how I see the world. Real stories make good journalism. Overall, I learned new skills like using different news hooks to gain an audience, and I have reaffirmed my position in this world. I know I have a social responsibility to report on stories that matter to me. I learned to be persuasive and demand people’s attention through the written word.

Through Global Girl Media and The OpEd Project, I was able to learn how to raise my voice and work with a diverse group of girls. The Global Girl Media Global Summit has brought girls together from South Africa, Morocco, Chicago, and Los Angeles, like myself. For this time, as young ladies, we were able to tell our own stories, support each other, and raise questions. We know that no matter where we live in this world, we have a voice and it’s time we start using it. Having undergone The OpEd Project’s Write to Change the World seminar, I feel empowered and brave to raise my voice and make change happen right now. Being silent and letting others tell stories I dislike, well, that’s just ridiculous!

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