SPARK Movement is a girl-fueled, intergenerational activist organization working to ignite and foster an antiracist gender justice movement to end violence against women and girls and promote girls’ healthy sexuality, self-empowerment and well-being. By providing feminist, girl-focused training, consulting services, curricula and resources, SPARK aims to arm activists, educators, community leaders, and girls themselves to foster coalitions and partnerships in order to ignite and support a global young feminist movement. In 2016, with support from the NoVo Foundation and the Ittleson Foundation, we launched “SPARK2.0,” and transitioned from a single, lean, centralized organization working intensively with a core of approximately 35 girls selected annually, to reclaim our original “scaling out” collaborative, movement-building model designed to support and extend a network of people and organizations working with and on behalf of girls.
We Kick Off with the SPARK Summit!We welcome 400 girls, women activists, researchers, and advocates to Hunter College in NYC to address the sexualization of girls. We’re inspired to start a movement.
Our First Campaign WinsWe petition HalloweenStore.com to stop sales of “Anna Rexia,” a costume that sexualized and made light of serious eating disorders. After just a few hundred signatures, the costume is removed.
Our First SPARKitWe release the first of 9 unique SPARKits, free online activist toolkits created in partnership with our sister organizations.
Our First SPARKteam Training Retreat!Twelve amazing girls from around the US and Canada meet in NYC for our first annual retreat, a 3-day crash course in leading a feminist anti-racist gender justice movement.
Our First National Media AppearanceExecutive Director Dana Edell joins ABC’s 20/20 to discuss the increase of sexualized marketing to children and the serious impact it has on girls.
We #LiberateLEGOWe petition LEGO to stop hypergendering their toys. After more than 50,000 signatures, we get a sit-down with execs and present our “gender audit” of their website and marketing practices.
Our First SPARKteam Players' Theater ProductionThe SPARKteam Players write, produce, and perform the first of 6 theater productions. “Blurring Boundaries” is staged for nearly 200 people in NYC, and then captured as a video performance.
We Un-Photoshop SeventeenWe ask Seventeen Magazine to run one unretouched photo spread in every issue. Julia’s petition and the team’s mock photo shoot outside their office convince them to stop digitally altering girls’ faces and bodies.
Julia and Izzy Do a TED TalkAfter our Seventeen Magazine win, SPARKteam members Julia and Izzy are invited to speak at TEDxWomen – and the video is viewed more than 30,000 times!
We Talk Feminism on Nick NewsBritney, Sariel, and YingYing sit down with Gloria Steinem, Linda Ellerbee, and youth from around the country on Nick News to talk feminism, activism, and the important of women's history.
We #KeepItRealWe launch #KeepItReal, a 3-day social media campaign in partnership with Miss Representation, Endangered Bodies, I Am That Girl, and LoveSocial, reaching more than 1,000,000 people on Twitter.
NYC Declares an Official Day of the Girl!We partner with the NYC Mayor's Office's Commission on Women's Issues to Proclaim October 11, 2012 the official NYC Day of the Girl.
We Take Up The Proud2bMe ChallengeSPARK and the National Eating Disorders Association partner to launch the Proud2bMe 3-day challenge reminding girls that their value lies in more than their appearance..
We Join the Women in the World SummitSPARKteam activists join women change-makers at the The Daily Beast’s Women in the World Summit! Crystal talks self-esteem, while Angela and Mehar live blog.
SPARKteam RetreatAt our second retreat, we tackle blogging as activism, action campaign planning, and feminist history. We also attend a theater production about Alice Paul, and visit the historic Bluestockings feminist bookstore.
We Tackle Sexual Assault PreventionAfter football players rape a girl in Steubenville, Ohio, we join the National Federation of State High School Associations to make sexual violence prevention resources available to 100,000 coaches and a million athletes.
We Call Out Cover GirlWe launch Capitol Cuties, a satiric Tumblr campaign that exposes the connections between Covergirl’s Hunger Games makeup line and capitalism, beauty, and trauma.
We Issue a Seventeen Teen Vogue ChallengeAlice and YingYing follow the beauty, fashion, flirting tips, and health/fitness advice of Teen Vogue and Seventeen for a month and live to Tumblr the hilarious results.
We Bear Witness to Girls’ ActivismWe help launch conversations about girls’ health and well-being and bear witness to the power of girls’ activism by testifying at the first ever UN Tribunal on Violence Against Girls.
We Partner with NYC’s Girls’ ProjectWe partner with the NYC Mayor’s Office on the Girls Project, a campaign dedicated to boosting the self-esteem of NYC girls with 4,000 posters placed on subways, buses and phone kiosks.
We Invade Times SquareJoining with Brave Girls Alliance, we stage a dance party in Times Square beneath a billboard displaying tweets from women and girls around the world about what it really means to be a girl.
A SPARKteam Players’ Original: “BodyVOX”The SPARKteam Players write and perform BodyVOX, an activist performance piece that explores the curvy lines between “sexy” and “sexualized” and shares creative strategies to end the sexualization of girls..
We Petition H&M for Plus-Size MannequinsWe encourage body diversity and counter the body-shaming girls face every day by petitioning H&M to model their plus-size clothing line with plus-size mannequins.
We Create & Publish a SPARK CurriculumLyn and Amy gather up our SPARKits, reconnect with our sister orgs, integrate SPARKteam blogs, and create a curriculum filled with beautiful girl-fueled action projects
SPARKteam RetreatThe SPARKteam (now 30 girls!), adds racial justice, vlogging,, and media training workshops to this year’s retreat. This retreat marks a deliberate shift towards an explicit anti-racist and intersectional feminism.
We Demand that Google #DoodleUsWe prove to Google that their Doodles are too white and male and ask them to diversify. Mehar, Celeste, and Katy meet with Google execs and they agree. Doodles now celebrate more women and people of color.
The SPARKteam Players Imagine the FutureThe SPARKteam Players perform an original play for NYU’s Project for the Advancement of Our Common Humanity (PACH).
We Speak Out! at the United NationsDana directs and girls perform poetry, monologues and songs written by girls from 20+ countries at the International Day of the Girl: Girls Speak Out!
The SPARK Action Squad is bornWe have so many girls apply for the SPARKteam that we initiate the SPARK Action Squad (SAS), a growing, diverse coalition of young feminist activists who engage in both local and global actions.
We Launch Black Women CreateThe SPARKteam launches Black Women Create to spotlight the work of Black Women in the film and television industries and to give young Black girls inspiration and advice.
SPARKteam Retreat37 girls from 8 countries engage in intensive racial justice, feminist activist training. In between campaign strategy sessions, we find time for our annual séance calling on our feminist ancestors!
We Put Women on the MapGoogle invites us to partner with them to develop Women on the Map for their Field Trip App. We write the histories of and document achievements of over 100 women around the world.
The SPARKteam Players Take On Rape CultureThe SPARKteam Players direct, an original soundwalk theater performance, “This is Not a Safe Space”, challenging rape culture and promoting sexual violence prevention.
SPARKteam RetreatWe begin our transition to SPARK2.0 by working with SPARKteam veterans to develop resources and tools that will engage girls in their local communities.
We Speak Out at the UN--Again!We co-produce the International Day of the Girl: Girls Speak Out! at the United Nations for the third year in a row. Dana directs “The Takeover”, written by girls from 18 countries and performed by girls at the UN.
We Join Forces with PBGSPARK joins with one of our oldest friends and closest sisters, Powered By Girl, to create a super girl-fueled feminist blog edited by original SPARKteamer 18-year-old Yas Necati.
We launch SPARK2.0!In the fall 2016, we transition to SPARK2.0 and evolve from working intensively with a core of about 35 girls selected annually, to support and extend a network of people and organizations working with and on behalf of girls.
From its inception, SPARK has been an intergenerational movement, where adult activists, educators, and researchers scaffold the work of girl activists. Here are the adults who gave their passion, dedication, time, and vast expertise to the work and well-being of the SPARKteam over the years.
strategic planning coalition
Lyn Mikel Brown, PhD
Deb Tolman, PhD
Dana Edell, PhD
Julie Burton, Women’s Media Center
Jamia Wilson, Women’s Media Center
Megan Williams, Hardy Girls Healthy Women
SPARK Movement staff
Dana Edell, Executive Director, 2011-present
Melissa Campbell, Program Coordinator, 2012-2015
Dana Bushee, SPARKteam Coordinator, 2012-2013
Bailey Shoemaker Richards, SPARKteam Coordinator, 2013
Amy Castro Baker, Development Associate, 2013
Crystal Ogar, Action Squad Coordinator, 2014
Candice Iloh, Action Squad Coordinator, 2015
Lyn Mikel Brown, 2010-present
Deb Tolman, 2010-present
Amy Castro-Baker, 2010-present
Jamia Wilson, 2010-2012
Megan Williams, 2010-2013
Shelby Knox, 2011-2014
Shareeza Bhola, 2014-2015