We are always so proud of our graduating class of mentees (and their dedicated mentors!). This year the Class of 2020 has experienced an unprecedented shift—navigating it with grace, courage, and lots and lots of incredible writing.
On June 12, 2020, our first-ever virtual Graduation Gala recognized this effort by bringing more than 9,000 people together to celebrate our Class of 2020 and to support the next generation of writers!
Every single dollar we raise surrounding this event will directly support Girls Write Now’s initiative to ensure that New York City’s young women and gender nonconforming youth have access to our free and innovative programming all summer long.
A special thank you to our Girls Write Now Board of Directors, the Girls Write Now Circle, our Agents of Change corporate partners, and all of our donors and guests who made this event possible (scroll down to see acknowledgments). Learn more about joining the Girls Write Now Circle, a select group of multigenerational leaders—authors, editors, publishers, media makers, and change-agents, or become an Agent of Change Corporate Partner. For questions about gifts and sponsorship, please email us, or simply donate here.
Girls Write Now’s Honorary Board Member Tayari Jones, bestselling author of An American Marriage, was our commencement speaker, delivering the message that teens are already equipped with all they need to ignite the change they hope to see, referencing activists like Claudette Colvin who shocked the system into movements that made our world better.
Girls Write Now Circle members and Agents of Change sponsors also joined our mentee and mentor community for a live Pre-Show Q&A with Tayari, which you can watch highlights from on our YouTube channel.
We were also joined by 16 more special guest writers, each of whom generously shared their wisdom on writing, resilience, and the power of finding and using your voice. You can watch each of their speeches below.
- Isabel Allende, author of A Long Petal of the Sea: A Novel
- Rachel Bloom, co-creator of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
- Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, Mentor alum and author
- Rachel Cargle, academic, author, activist
- Veronica Chambers, author of Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote
- Tiffany D. Cross, author of Say It Louder!: Black Voters, White Narratives, and Saving Our Democracy
- Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist
- Alexis Pauline Gumbs, author of Dub: Finding Ceremony
- Donna Hill, Mentor and author of The Other Sister
- Abbi Jacobson, author of I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff
- Jodi Kantor, New York Times investigative reporter and co-author of She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement
- Rupi Kaur is an internationally bestselling poet, author, and performer
- Lily King, author of Writers & Lovers
- Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko
- Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss, Co-Founders of Belletrist
- Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
- Renée Watson, author of Ways to Make Sunshine
The show, hosted by co-emcees Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk, and Romaissaa Benzizoune, a Girls Write Now mentee alum and recent NYU graduate, also featured performances from Class of 2020 mentees Laila Dola, Giftbelle Lomotey, Angely Morel, Jayola Reid, Zakiyyah Singletary and written and recorded music from mentees Jaya Rao-Herel, Grace Yu, and Kaya Middleton.
Girls Write Now is witnessing our highest demand ever, and we are responding by leveling enormous educational inequities: leading the historic transformation to virtual programming with innovative events every day of the week—and enriching and extending our free services for the critical months of summer when there is a gaping hole in youth programming.
Please give to the next generation of writers. You’ll be supporting our initiative to ensure that New York City’s young women and gender nonconforming youth have access to our free virtual programming all summer long.
- Make a donation
- Apply to be a Mentor or Mentee by Monday, June 22
- Become a Girls Write Now Circle Member
- Learn about Becoming a Corporate Partner Agent of Change
Girls Write Now’s Graduation Week special episodes are dedicated to those who have lost their lives to racial violence. Girls Write Now stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Thank you to all of our Girls Write Now Circle members and Agents of Change partners for making this event possible!