Chicago Girl Scout Delivers Powerful Speech at the United Nations

Chicago Girl Scout Delivers Powerful Speech at the United Nations

Eva Lewis is back home now after sharing her compelling message about empowering black girls at the United Nations International Day of the Girl event earlier this week in New York.

The 17-year-old South Shore resident was invited to speak at the event after gaining media attention from a July rally at Millennium Park she helped organize with three other teens.

It was her second time in New York City. Eva participated in the United Nations’ 60th Annual Commission on the Status of Women in March, but this time it was much different, she said.

“This was a much bigger event, with a lot of people watching all over the world,” she said, adding that at least 1,000 people were in the audience.

Eva, who attends Walter Payton College Prep, opened up the event with a spoken word performance.

“I really thought it set the mood for the event and the tone in the sense that we weren’t kidding and our voices should be validated,” she said. “I felt like it definitely got everyone’s attention.”

Eva also spoke at the event.

The marginalization of women, especially black women, is an issue close to her heart. There hasn’t been a shift in the conversation to truly address the inequalities that black women and girls experience, Eva said.

Issues like hypersexualization, human trafficking, sexual assault and domestic violence disproportionately affect black women, she said, but the main people speaking up about those issues are black women.

Her mother, Valerie Andrews-Lewis, and grandmother sat in the audience.

“I am very proud of Eva,” her mother said. “She really believes in what she’s doing and she did an excellent job of bringing awareness to the plight of black girls.”

Andrews-Lewis said she hopes some policy changes will occur from the message her daughter is spreading.

Eva has been a member of the Girl Scouts since she was 7 years old and the organization has really helped her create a platform and spread her message on a larger scale, she said.

“It has definitely cultivated me and my voice,” Eva said. “They’ve been so supportive of all my initiatives and political viewpoints, as well as helping me reach out to different media outlets.”

Without Girl Scouts, Eva said she probably wouldn’t have been invited to speak at the United Nations.

To read the full story, please visit

Chicago Girl Scout Leads Peaceful Black Lives Matter Protest

Chicago Girl Scout Leads Peaceful Black Lives Matter Protest

In 2012, Trayvon Martin was murdered, and my generation experienced a traumatic shock. The black-and-white photos in our history books of Civil Rights icons Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr., along with photos of black people hanging from trees, weren’t just history — they represented our reality, too. Realizing that the injustice my ancestors fought against hadn’t been eradicated was discouraging. Simultaneously, it ignited a fire of anger and strength. My peers and I were upset that we would have to fight the same fight, but also ambitious enough to step up to the challenge.

This same fire has been fueled even more as we have watched many videos of black people lying in the streets, many put there by the hands of those who had sworn to protect and serve. Through the Black Lives Matter movement, my peers and I have been inspired to speak against these repeated acts of blatant oppression.

I attended my first protest in 2013, right before my freshman year of high school. My mother and I participated in a march down Chicago’s congested Michigan Avenue after the murder of Trayvon Martin in order to demand justice.

Since then, I’ve evolved into a poet, artist of other mediums, and outspoken activist. In August 2015, I started The I Project, an initiative to humanize youth affected by intersectionality through activist-inspired art. The I Project allows art to unite youth, and allows marginalized groups, not others, to pen their own narratives. Earlier this year, I represented the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana at the United Nations’ 60th Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. There, I gave a speech about my project and activism to a vast audience, which included prime ministers and politicians from around the world.

It was that experience that taught me the meaning of what it means to be an activist and advocate, and led me to join three other incredible black teen girls to lead more than 1,000 people from Chicago’s Millennium Park through Michigan Avenue, shutting down both directions of traffic, this past weekend.

To read Eva’s entire essay, visit


Four Girl Scouts Attend the United Nations’ 60th Commission on the Status of Women

Four Girl Scouts Attend the United Nations’ 60th Commission on the Status of Women

Imagine being on the forefront of change. Imagine being able to have your voice heard. Imagine standing up for a cause you believe in and making a difference.

For four local Girl Scouts, this was a reality. During the week of March 11-18, Mariel Boden, Nina Grotto, Laila Kassar and Eva Lewis represented Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana at the United Nations’ 60th Commission on the Status of Women in New York City and joined thousands of delegates from around the world.

“The trip was truly amazing,” said Laila, an 18-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador. “I learned a lot about all the different types of feminism and other things related to it.”

The theme of this year’s two-week commission was the link between sustainable development and women’s empowerment, as well as preventing and ending all acts of violence against women and girls.

The delegates attended various discussions about these topics and two of the Girl Scouts – Mariel and Eva – were able to participate in panels, such as “Girls at the Table,” about girl activists and their efforts to address local challenges within the context of sustainable development goals.


“Speaking at the Girls at the Table event made me realize the power I have, as well as the impact of my voice, even though I’m only 17 years old. There were many important people in the room and a few walked up to me afterward to convey their reactions to to my speech and answers to my questions,” said Eva, a Girl Scout Ambassador.

“I left the panel feeling so much positive energy from the audience as well as the other incredible girls I shared the panel with. I spoke at the United Nations,” she continued. “And that’s such a blessing in itself. The experience only validated my efforts and affirmed that I can only go up from here.”

Laila was also inspired by the panelists.

“One of the girls on the panel had a project where she taught self-defense to girls in India so they’d be better able to defend themselves,” she said. “Her advice was to start with six people, then 60, then 600, then 6,000 and so on to make a big difference. It inspired me to start thinking doing my Gold Award project to help Syrian refugees.”

Nina was particularly touched about a panel regarding violence against women in Ireland.

“It was my favorite because they didn’t just have ideas about how to prevent violence, but they’d implemented a program they’re using with other countries and communities to change the culture around domestic violence,” said Nina, a 17-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador.

And she can’t wait to share what she learned with her classmates and other Girl Scouts.

“I want other girls to know that even though you’re still young, what you have to say is important and you can still be advocates,” said Nina. “The issues and problems you’re facing are valid and there are people in the government who care about your problems and are working to fix them. If you want things to change, you have the power to advocate for yourself, your friends and your community.”

For more information about programs available to Older Girls, please visit