Students in WHSAD’s My Sister’s Keeper chapter had the opportunity to attend MSK EMPOWERHER KNOCKOUT at Gleason’s boxing gym in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Presented by Solve The Silence, Inc., Brooklyn North Superintendent, Janice Ross, and Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Rushell White, the event featured champion women boxers who spoke about their personal journeys and provided words of inspiration for North Brooklyn high school students. As per the press release, the event helped students “engage in thought-provoking discussions, exchange ideas, and forge new friendships that last[ed] beyond this event.”
Below are a few narratives from students who attended.
Sam Anaya, Sophomore
On Wednesday, October 11, MSK (My Sister’s Keeper) went on a trip to a boxing gym for a seminar for women’s empowerment, not just in boxing, but in every faction of life. As we entered the gym and walked to where the event was held, there was a strong energy held by everyone there. It was mostly the vast amount of women there that caused the energy, and I could only count three or four men in the immediate area. There was a stand that a woman was sitting behind, and she passed out hats, pledges, and a small baggie containing a necklace with small boxing gloves on them that formed a heart.
As the event started, several people got up into the boxing ring we were situated around. One main woman, possibly the host or spokesperson, took the mic and began talking to the crowd. She talked about how excited she was at how many people were there and what the seminar would be about. Many other women who were boxers came into the ring to tell their stories and what they stood for. One woman talked about body positivity and how she advocates for it, in and out of the ring. She spoke about how she struggled to deal with what others thought but realized that it doesn’t matter what others think of you, only how you think of yourself.
After a bit, they had some girls from the different MSK groups come up to ask questions to the speakers. They did a lot of crowd work, asking if anyone had questions or any input. Towards the end, they had a few girls come up and put on boxing gloves and try to hit the boxing pads on a woman’s hands. At the end, the main woman came up again and had everyone chant things like “I am mean!” and “I am beautiful!”. Overall, the event was very powerful and clearly meant a lot to all who participated.
Jaila Trail, Sophomore
On Wednesday, October 11, MSK (My Sister’s Keeper) went on a trip to a boxing gym for a seminar on women’s empowerment. Women empowerment is all about supporting and uplifting women to achieve their full potential. It involves creating equal opportunities for women in all areas of life, including sports like boxing. Boxing can be a powerful tool for women’s empowerment as it promotes physical strength, self-confidence, and resilience. By participating in boxing, women can break stereotypes, challenge societal norms, and prove that they are just as capable and strong as men. It’s an empowering sport that encourages women to take control of their bodies, build self-esteem, and stand up for themselves both inside and outside the ring.
When we arrived at the event, there were mini tables set up and behind them sat women passing out hats, pledges, and a small baggie that had a necklace with small boxing gloves on them that created a heart. After everyone got settled in, there were several ex-boxers who were women who spoke about their boxing careers and how it has helped/shaped them get to the point in life that they are at now. The women spoke about how many years they were in the boxing career and what made them want to pursue that career. They felt that with boxing they had a place not to only show off their strength but to also use that as a stress reliever. The women explained how they have struggled to deal with what others thought but realized that it doesn’t matter what others think of you, only how you think of yourself.
Finally, they had some girls from the different MSK groups come up to ask questions to the speakers. They even let some of us girls participate in a mini shadowboxing game. Overall, the event was very powerful and very uplifting.
Star Carrington-Payne, Sophomore
On Wednesday October 11th, MSK (My Sisters Keeper) went on a field trip in DUMBO called ‘’Empowerment Knockout,’’ where we were surrounded by other young ladies who are part of MSK in other schools. We had an opportunity to meet and talk with professional female boxers who were able to give a story on how boxing changed their lives outside the ring or gave a summary on how boxing built their career from the progress that they made now.
The Emcee gave us a chance to come into the ring to talk on-on-one with a retired boxer who used to perform in the ring or a recent person that still is active in the boxing ring. I got first dibs so the person I had a question for was a woman name Sonya. I asked her ’’how has boxing made her feel or changed her perspective on how life is for her now and does people opinions react to her as a female boxer?’’ Her response was ’’I do not care about anybody’s opinions because they do not define who I am as a person and how I define myself inside and out.” She has her own abilities to be what she wants to be and boxing always helped her to have more confidence in not only herself but to encourage other women to fight for what they believe in and to get their voices heard and to not be judged by others.
Finally, it was a beautiful experience that the boxers shared their dreams, goals, and encouraging words. I am happy that MSK had a wonderful time and exposed us to a special moment. The girls also had an opportunity to box with them one-on-one, and I will definitely will be looking forward to it next year.
Brooke-Lynn Clarke, Sophomore
On October 11th, I went on a trip to a boxing club by the Brooklyn Bridge. When my friends in My Sister’s Keeper and I entered the club, we were directed towards a few tables. When we got to those tables, we were given pretty multi colored baggies with silver/black/gold necklaces with boxing gloves as pendants. As we kept moving forwards, we were given a pink baseball cap which had the abbreviation “W.B.C” on it (it was sooo pretty had to be my favorite piece of merchandise) along with the hat we were given a patch that had the same abbreviation and a card explaining what My Sister’s Keeper means.
After getting merchandise and accessories, we were directed to a food tray with different types of cheese, crackers, pepperoni, salami, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chunk cookies, brownies, & macadamia nut cookies. Then we approached the boxing ring and found seats around it or sat on the actual ring and we socialized until everything started and until everyone settled in. Then boxers came up onto the stage and began talking about their evolution of boxing, how they got there, why they started boxing, and they asked for msk girls to come into the ring and ask any further questions.
Towards the end of event they invited more girls to go up into the ring and shadow box with the ex boxers.