The Future of the Commonwealth: Young Women Will Lead the Way

This featured guest piece is an excerpt of our April 2024 newsletter.

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Happy April!

As the youngest ever Regional Commissioner in the history of the MCSW, it’s my honor to be this month’s featured guest writer – especially as we gear up for this year’s Girls Empowerment and Leadership Initiative (GELI) 2024 Summit. Young leaders from all over the state will form powerful intergenerational networks to work on leadership development and advocacy tools.

I am currently a senior at Lexington High School, getting ready to graduate with my classmates in the Class of 2024. In my sophomore year of high school, I was interested in becoming more involved in advocacy work, especially for women and girls. After reading books such as Half the Sky and I Am Malala, I began to realize the challenges that women face, both in my community and globally, and started to search for ways to make an impact.

When I learned about the MCSW, I was fortunate enough to join the team as a Marketing and Communications Intern during the summer term of 2022. I witnessed the impactful work being done, particularly through initiatives like GELI and through the testimony received at public hearings, and only became more excited about the organization’s purpose.

To stay involved after that summer, I joined Upper Middlesex’s Athena Council as it was in the midst of being created. Named for the Greek Goddess of War, Wisdom, Law & Justice, and Inspiration, the council is the next line of defense in our ongoing battle for gender equity and justice in all areas of society. Under the mentorship of the Upper Middlesex Regional Commission, we had conversations about our values and vision, defined subcommittees, and worked on our first project together which was a menstrual products drive. This project inspired our interest in advocating for the I AM Bill.

I now serve as a Regional Commissioner on the Upper Middlesex Commission where we work in many different areas, from legislative advocacy to connecting with the community to supporting our youth council. Through the MCSW, I’ve learned so much about advocacy, collaboration, and community engagement. I’ve also met so many inspiring women and girls who are dedicated to making a difference in their communities. They’ve shown me the power of solidarity and collective action in driving meaningful change.

And so, as we approach this year’s GELI Summit, I ask for you to join us. Share GELI 2024 with a young person in your life or be sure to register yourself and join us for an incredible day of youth empowerment. You won’t want to miss it! Only when we stand together can we move the needle for change. 

In solidarity,
Shreya Kesarwani
Regional Commissioner
Upper Middlesex Regional Commission on the Status of Women