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Honoring young women at the 6th Annual Hartford Girls Rock

HARTFORD — It was an afternoon of celebrating, supporting and honoring young women who are doing great things in their communities at the 6th Annual Hartford Girls Rock.

“This is an opportunity to say you know you are important, you are someone and you are worthy of being honored,” Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Epsilon Omicron Omega Chapter President Dana McDonald said.

The program is put on by the Foundation for Educational Opportunities in conjunction with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Epsilon Omicron Omega Chapter. It invited 10 young ladies to go through a summer of learning career goal setting, self-exploration, and empowerment leading up to a brunch event, all nominated by various organizations in the area.

“I have been a part of the Wilson-Gray YMCA since I was in the third grade with brother as a YMCA entrepreneur,” honoree Datari Mathis said.

The sold event inside the Connecticut Convention center drew community members along with celebrity guest speaker Ruth E. Carter.

“It means everything to me to talk these incredible young ladies,” Carter said.

The Springfield native rose through the film world as a costume designer working with directors like Spike Lee. She became the first African American to win an Oscar for costume design earlier this year for the blockbuster mega-hit Black Panther.

“I feel like when I broke that ceiling, it was for me to break. I felt like I had been pushing and pushing and striving and striving for many years and doing black panther afforded an opportunity for me to go all the way,” Carter said.

During her question and answer on stage with the 10 young women, she encouraged them to follow their dreams and take chances.

“Defining your purpose is very important. Really study who you are and what it is you want to do with this career and define as your purpose and so whenever you are going through hardships, the ups, and downs you will lean on your purpose,” Carter said.

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