Shelby Mack

Shelby Mack, Nzingha Dugas and AAFE team – Empowering and Healing Girls of Color through Performing Art

Shelby Mack recently graduated from UC Berkeley as an American Studies major with a concentration in African American Studies and Education. Her community project is entitled “Empowering and Healing Girls of Color through Performing Arts.” This service project will incorporate peace building, mindfulness and sisterhood by teaching girls how to identify the various systematic oppressions, gender violence and family trauma that they face within society. She plans on doing this by engaging them in performing arts as a way to understand the process of healing, gender empowerment, and social change. Shelby’s project site is West Oakland Middle School — the first school in the United States to create a Black female enrichment program [the African American Female Excellence Program (AAFE)] — and where she has worked for the past year.

This project began as a UC Berkeley Haas Scholar Research Project, but quickly turned into her passion and commitment towards uplifting the voices of Black girls and women. Shelby wants to humanize and value girls’ lives, and ensure that girls tell their stories. In addition, she wants to open up the door for Brown girls (i.e. Latina/x and Asian Pacific Islanders) to be a part of this space, because she recognizes that these communities also lack spaces that focus on gender empowerment, peace building and healing.