ASHS debater Daniella Barbacena attends US VP Kamala Harris’ forum on female empowerment
23 Dec 2022 | Text and photos by Daniella Barbacena
Champion Ateneo de Manila Senior High School debater Daniella Barbacena (12-Anchieta) had the privilege of attending United States Vice President Kamala Harris’ town hall conference on women empowerment last November 21, 2022 at the jampacked venue in Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Pasay City. The dialogue, which was attended by women leaders and moderated by US ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, was one of Harris’ stops during her only full day in Metro Manila when she visited the Philippines last month.
Daniella was able to attend the talk when she applied and passed the highly selective registration process, even securing a front row seat that placed her just a few feet away from the first female Vice President of the US!
What follows is Daniella’s summary of her experience at the town hall.
“I was one of the very few chosen participants for the forum, ‘Conversation with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Empowering Women and Girls,’ which was held last November 21, 2022 in Sofitel Philippine Plaza. I went there as one of the writers of Sulong Philippines, an organization that gives free legal and psychosocial support for sexual violence victims and as a captain of ASHS Debate Organization and Varsity. I met lots of women from varying institutions, school clubs, and non-governmental organizations. We all gathered to listen face-to-face to U.S. VP Kamala Harris talk about women empowerment in discourse, politics, protests, movements, business, and more.
“One of the things she said that I took to heart was this: ‘In a variety of ways one can lead, we [women] will still sadly likely be the first or the only in the room and it's important to know that the responsibility that we have is to not be the last and chart a course where others can follow.’
“As a woman who's very vocal with her beliefs, and as a captain of one of the male-dominated sports, one main takeaway I have from the event is to make sure that I'm not going to be the last woman who will speak up for what she believes is right and just. I'm not going to be the last captain to inspire more and more young girls to take the lead and serve as well.”