Skip to content

her.stories

About the Project

A creation of the human rights organization Breakthrough, the her.stories media project will explore what it means to be young, femme, and a person of color in America today.

What would it mean, and look like, if we centered girls and femmes of color, and supported them as storytellers who are architects of their own lives?
adult-bestfriends-daylight-1436618

OUR PARTNERS

ADVISORY BOARD

Chitra Aiyar, Executive Director, Sadie Nash Leadership Project 
Susu Attar, Artist and USC Innovation Lab Fellow
Vee Bravo, Fork Films 
Sevonna Brown, Assistant Executive Director, Black Women’s Blueprint 
Sophia Chang, Writer and Former Hip-Hop Business Manager 
Aimee Cox, Associate Professor, Yale University 
Dr. Camea Davis, National Director, Youth Poet Laureate Program, Urban Word 
Monica Dennis, Co-Director, Move to End Violence
dream hampton, Filmmaker and Writer 
YK Hong, Anti-Oppression Trainer 
Imara Jones, News Analyst and Host, The Last Sip 
Octavia Y. Lewis, Community Ambassador, Amida Care 
Kierna Mayo, Writer and Editor; Former Editor-in-Chief of Ebony Magazine 
Justino Mora, Founder, UndocuMedia; Senior Fellow, USC Annenberg Innovation Lab
Doris Quintanilla, Co-Founder and Executive Director, The Melanin Collective 
Lillian Rivera, Executive Director, Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey 
Dinean Robinson, Vice President of Communications, Multiplying Good 
Zainab Salbi, Author and Media Commentator; Founder, Women for Women International 
Rashid Shabazz, Chief Marketing and Storytelling Officer, Color of Change 
Mona Sinha, Board Member, Breakthrough 
Joanne N. Smith, Founder and Executive Director, Girls for Gender Equity 
Ishita Srivastava, Director of Culture Change, Caring Across Generations
Taté Walker, Mniconjou Lakota and Citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe; Communications Director of Tribal School District

Frequently Asked Questions

map-01

What was the inspiration for her.stories?

her.stories was inspired by a desire for more diverse, authentic and meaningful representations of young people, people of color, and girls and femmes in our media and pop culture. What would it mean, and look like, if we centered girls and nonbinary youth of color, and supported them as storytellers who are architects of their own lives?
 
We know the power of pop culture to change culture, and with this project -- the most ambitious media initiative of its kind -- we aim to change the way America sees, hears and imagines a generation of girls.

Why did you choose to focus on girls and nonbinary youth of color?

At Breakthrough, we are committed to amplifying voices from marginalized communities, recognizing how structural inequalities, harmful social norms and a lack of authentic and positive media representation go hand in hand. In this political moment, we could not think of a community more worthy of uplifting than girls and nonbinary youth of color.

What are the main pieces of the project?

A documentary and photography series will be at the project’s core. We will also support her.stories participants to build innovative multimedia skills, and partner with local organizations to hold workshops, arts showcases, and other community events.

What role do community partners play in the project?

Our partners represent diverse communities of color, and ground the her.stories project in the lived experiences, community organizing work, and cultural heritage of these communities. In 2020 - 2022, Breakthrough will host a series of Community Conversations, which will be co-designed and co-facilitated by our partners.

What do you hope to achieve?

Through her.stories, we hope to expand and deepen the representation, leadership, and voice of nonbinary youth of color across the US. With our documentary series, United States of Girls, we aim to represent girls and nonbinary youth with greater nuance and diversity than ever before, and give them a platform to share their stories, on an unprecedented scale.

We will also support her.stories participants to learn more about mediamaking, and access mentorship opportunities so they can continue innovating and storytelling, long after the project ends.

Through our community partnerships, we aim to increase the visibility of grassroots organizations committed to social justice and the arts, helping to ensure their longevity.

We hope this work will not only lead to increased public dialogue about the issues affecting girls’ lives, but also inspire more radically inclusive social policies, and bring additional resources to marginalized communities.

Do you have plans to take her.stories global?

While currently focused on the United States, we are open to expanding her.stories to other regions, beginning in India, where Breakthrough also works.

CREATIVE TEAM

Picture1

Moni Vargas

Creative Director, she/her/hers

Moni is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker known for her work on Red Table Talk. Her original series, Friends We Love, has screened at The Brooklyn and Bronx Museums. She advocates for broad media representation and enjoys empowering others to share their stories. In addition to directing Breakthrough's creative products, she runs Nuyorktricity Productions in Los Angeles.

Picture2

Priya Kvam

Partnerships Director, she/her/hers

Priya is a feminist storyteller and partnership builder with a passion for strengthening the diversity and inclusivity of activist spaces. She leads Breakthrough's creative partnerships across the U.S. and globally, and advises on impact strategy. Priya is trained in feminist approaches to program evaluation and learning. She is Co-Editor of Women's Wire, an online activist community.

Picture9

Darnell L. Moore

Creative Advisor, he/him/his

Darnell is an award-winning activist and a leader in the Movement for Black Lives. He has spent the last two decades working in the fields of education, youth programming, community development and media. He hosted Mic's digital series, The Movement, and directed and produced a four-part documentary series on the history of Black LGBT life in Atlanta for CASSIUS. Darnell is co-managing editor of The Feminist Wire and the author of No Ashes in the Fire.

Picture8

Alisha Tené Bunting

Creative Manager, she/her/hers

Alisha is a New York city-based producer, filmmaker, graphic designer, and game developer. Alisha conceptualizes and designs multimedia campaigns for Breakthrough with a focus on creating compelling experiences. She aims to illuminate immersive experiences for viewers. Alisha is a passionate learner, teacher, and muser of life.

Picture7

Ren Ferari

Creative Associate, they/them/their

Ren is a New York City-based graphic designer, media producer, and media representation theorist, focusing on queer and gender theory. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, they moved to NYC to pursue a degree in Graphic Design & Media Production from Marymount Manhattan College. Ren is a creative associate at Breakthrough U.S., doing everything from post-production to graphic design.

Picture6

Mary Iannone

Program Manager, she/her/hers

Mary is Breakthrough's Program Manager, coordinating communications, partnerships, community engagement, and project management. A native Wisconsinite, Mary holds a BA in Journalism from Baruch College and an MA in Communications from NYU.

Scroll To Top