Spotlight On: Samera Paz
Spotlight on: Samera Paz
By Dhuha Baig
In a time of sociopolitical turmoil, the need for a supportive, encouragment and normalizing of various narratives from marginalized groups might just be more important now than ever. D.C.’s own Samera Paz recognized the absence of such a movement, which is why she began her art, and her movement Girl Power Meetups, a girl’s organization that brings femme's of all ages and backgrounds together to provide a safe space for them to empower one another. This is all but one of the many amazing things Samera Paz does to make the world a lot more inclusive.
“I started the movement because I felt there was a lack of community amongst girls in my area,” Paz says. “We didn’t have a space where we could just share ideas and speak on things that affected us. It was the greatest idea I’ve ever brought to life.”
In detail, the meetups consist of discussions social issues, education on various topics and a space of freedom to express thoughts and feelings, as well as to create friendships. For Paz, Girl power has always been a theme throughout her childhood:
“Growing up with 3 teenage sisters in the 90’s I was completely exposed to pop culture especially the music. At that age the term Girl Power didn’t mean much, it was just something the Spice Girls would always say. But that’s how life works! These were bonds I learned and had to pass it on to the younger generations of my family.”
“I have several nieces ranging from 14 years old to 4 years old. I’ve been there. I know the obstacles they’ll face. I know they’ll cry, dislike themselves, give in to pressures from society. Preventing their pain is out of my control but what I can do now is teach and guide them in the right direction. I can teach them about self-love and what healthy relationships look like and the benefits and importance of having girl power.”
Inspired by powerful and talented women like First Lady Michelle Obama and photographer Vivan Maier, Paz dreams about being a war photographer, she also creates art where she uses period blood as a medium to normalize women's menstrual cycle for more read Cosmopolitan's article here.
“Being a woman has made me strong, it’s made me resilient and up for the challenge. I feel encouraged and motivated to pursue war photography, to be the creator of organizations / platforms and take on leadership positions because I am a woman who sometimes wakes up feeling like the world is mine for the taking.” She passionately writes. “No woman should wait around for a man, or anyone to give her what she wants. My girl power tells me that no dream is impossible and I can have anything I want even if the world and society says it’s not for me.”
Paz made an appearance at the Yeezy Season 4 casting call. Her mission? Inspire the hundreds of girls there.
“Going to the Yeezy Season 4 casting call was totally out of my comfort zone. I made a positive note and passed it to the girl behind me. She opened it up and smiled and we talked for a bit. She had such a beautiful smile! She then passed it on to the girl behind her. And on it went.” “Some girls smiled at me and I started receiving messages online from girls in line thanking me for the encouragement. It was really great. It meant a lot to me that I had this opportunity to remind girls of how beautiful they were. The smiles I got in person made my heart feel so good.The messages I received online made me feel like I was floating. This is my everyday life. These selfless acts are just natural for me. I didn’t think my note would of reached that many people. I thought someone would of just ripped it up or lost it. Girl Power is always my mindset, it’s my lifestyle and practicing random acts of kindness is a daily habit.”
Paz is also driven through her cultural background, a strong part of her identity.
“Being from Colombia and being half Black motivate me to chase after all of my dreams. I am able to document lifestyles and culture that I am very much part of and fully understand and experience. I get to write the story and showcase my perspective and speak for my people. At the end of the day I want to put on for my country and family and make them proud. I am given opportunities that some people may not ever have and it is my responsibility to work hard for everything that comes my way.”
The need for community is incredibly important, and Paz understands this. While creating a community of self-care, encouragement, and love, she spreads a sense of hope emanating from Nation’s capital, a sense of hope which is integral to the nation itself.