Tell me a little bit about yourself!
Hello! My name is Amanda Mozea and I am a Nigerian-American born and raised in western Massachusetts. I graduated from Harvard in March of 2018 (I took a semester off to work on the Clinton Campaign in Florida) where I studied racial inequality in the US. I’ve served as the Education Outreach Manager at MEDIAGIRLS ever since I graduated! I love traveling alone, eating traditional foods from different cultures, listening to Blues music, laughing loudly on group calls with my friends, and watching late-night comedy with my family.
Tell me about MEDIAGIRLS!
MEDIAGIRLS is a non-profit based in Boston that works with girls and young women to help them know their true self-worth and harness the power of media for social change. Media teaches girls that what matters most about them is how sexy and conventionally attractive they are. This is incredibly harmful for girls and young women everywhere. To counter these toxic media messages, we teach girls first how to recognize and identify these undermining messages, deconstruct them, and – finally – to work against them through creating content that is positive and empowering for all girls.
What are some of the most rewarding parts of your position at MEDIAGIRLS?
As Education Outreach Manager at MEDIAGIRLS, I get to witness a whole slew of rewarding – what we at MEDIAGIRLS call “aha” – moments. In my role, I work closely with the college mentors who bring our programming into schools and community centers throughout Greater Boston. I am responsible for the onboarding and training of our mentors and I also observe them in action in the classroom with the participants in our program. In my position, I get to watch our college mentors grow into more confident, more media-savvy young women. That’s an absolute blessing of the job.
Just as I get to watch the college mentors grow, I also get to witness the effects that our programming has on the girls who participate in it. In my role, I have been able to see girls become advocates and activists and changemakers. I have been able to see girls believe in themselves and their inherent self-worth. I have been able to see girls reject sexist media messaging and demand better for themselves. It’s really amazing to witness these moments.
What are some of the most challenging aspects of your work at MEDIAGIRLS?
Anyone who remembers middle school – or, even if they don’t remember middle school – knows that it is a tough time in your life. Young people are trying to figure out who they are all while facing incredible pressure to conform and fit in. Creating an environment where girls feel like they can be vulnerable and honest takes time and consistency and effort. That is definitely one of the most challenging aspects of MEDIAGIRLS’ work.
What are your aspirations for MEDIAGIRLS as an organization?
Media everywhere serves as a tool to try to convince girls and women that they are not enough, that they are somehow lacking, that they would be more confident if they were thinner or if they were curvier etc. etc. etc. Low self-esteem and self-worth that is tied to aesthetics, these are universal problems that girls, young women, and women face around the world. It is my aspiration that MEDIAGIRLS expands across the US and around the globe to address sexist media messaging in every corner of the globe, with girls and young women then taking to their social media and actively working to flip the media’s culture.
How can we support the amazing non-profit work that you do?
The simplest answer to this question is donate! The link to do so is www.mediagirls.org/donate. Perhaps that seems like a trite answer, but the fact of the matter is that we are such a small organization that every donation counts! Donations big and small help us keep creating unique, timely programming and bring out work to schools that don’t have the budget to pay for our content.
Another way that people can support MEDIAGIRLS is by spreading the word! Follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)! Share our content with your friends and family! Let a co-worker who has a teen daughter know about our programming! Become an ambassador and shout about MEDIAGIRLS from the rooftops!
Can you discuss your project “OTHER?” What inspired you to create such a powerful project surrounding the concept of “othering” and race?
I am a mixed-race, Black woman and OTHER is the child of the confusion and pain that I felt being unable to fit neatly into a single category or box. My entire life, I have been told that I am too Black to be white or too white to be Black; I have been told that in being both Black and white, I am somehow neither Black nor white. OTHER was about channeling that hurt and struggle to find who I am into healing and catharsis by not only accepting my otherness, but finding community in it.
With all that’s going on in the world, especially in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement, what can white people do to be better allies? How can white people make their allyship known to POC and those who identify with the Black community?
This is an excellent question! The first thing that all white and non-Black people have to do is recognize that there is a systemic, entrenched problem that is preventing equality in this country. This manifests itself in everything from education to housing to wealth to criminal justice. Education and self-reflection comes next. This requires learning about how racism is embedded in all of these different facets of our society and asking yourself: How do I benefit from this? How do I contribute to this? Where do I see this play out in my life?
And, finally, action. What can I do about this? Allyship falls under action.
Allyship can manifest itself in many ways. In the workplace, for example, allyship can be speaking to management about bias in hiring or promotional practices. It could be starting an anti-racism book club. It could be advocating for more people of color to take on leadership roles. Without an explicit decision to take these conversations on, by default, they fall on the backs of Black employees or co-workers. Allyship is helping relieve the burden that Black employees or co-workers have had to carry.
I wrote about allyship for the MEDIAGIRLS Blog and there I stated that, in all settings – office, school, community, etc. – “allyship is a muscle that you have to keep building through constant use. Allyship requires constantly checking yourself and your implicit, hidden biases. Allyship is decentralizing yourself and your feelings and centering the well-being of [the Black people in your life]…. Allyship is wading into the messy fight against racism alongside Black people.” Allyship is hard, but absolutely necessary work!
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about issues of women’s empowerment, racial justice, politics and representation, and making a difference! (On a far more niche and quirky note, I am also incredibly passionate about European detective dramas and Tropical House and Blues music.)
If you were to fast forward 10 years from now (2030), what do you hope would be different in the world?
Such a tough question! I would hope that by 2030 there would be a profound shift in climate policy, racial inequality would be addressed through system reforms in criminal justice, healthcare, and housing. But, more fundamentally, I would hope that in 2030, people would recognize the preciousness and dignity of all different races, religions, ages, and sizes of all human life and that this recognition would be the foundation for all political decision-making.
How have you been taking care of yourself?
I have been taking care of myself by taking breaks from social media, making a concerted effort to keep in touch with my friends, and looking back at old photos and videos to remind myself that life wasn’t always like this and won’t always be like this.
What do you do to relax?
My favorite way to relax in the evenings is to light a scented candle and curl with a cup of tea and either a good book or my laptop for a Netflix TV show.
Who is your biggest role model / inspiration?
I have two (well, so many more than two, but I’ll choose two for this)! My sister definitely serves as a role model and a source of inspiration. She is almost two years younger than me, but age is just a number! She is about to start her first year of teaching in Providence, RI. She has wanted to be a teacher since she was nine years old. I have always admired her not only knowing exactly what she is going to do with her life, but also her follow through for making it happen. She’s incredible.
My second role model is Fannie Lou Hamer. She was a civil rights and women’s rights activist from Mississippi. She is the person who said the iconic quote: “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.” While working to register Black Mississippians to vote she was threatened, shot at, beaten, and assaulted, but she kept on pushing for what she knew was right. She registered thousands of Black Americans to vote. Her conviction, especially in the face of such steadfast antagonism, is why she inspires me so.
What has been your favorite travel destination?
Again, I have two here (clearly I have trouble choosing just one thing)! Barcelona, Spain and Kyoto, Japan! I love art museums, good food, and the juxtaposition of ancient history and contemporary life and these cities really marry all of these aspects so well!
If you’re leaving this page as inspired and motivated to effect change as I am, you can reach Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org to get further involved. While we certainly don’t pretend to have all of the answers, we know that we are stronger together, and that when we all take a stand together, we will cease to recognize the world as we once knew it.