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Students of Color

7-Year-Old Jordan West on Writing a Book, a Literacy Princess Party at the White House and Why Every Girl Is Smart, Beautiful and Special

Jordan West wants every girl—regardless of circumstance—to feel smart, beautiful and special. Wearing a tiara, Jordan read the book she wrote, at 6-years-old, to a room of over 100 girls wearing tiaras just like hers. Last month, Jordan West partnered with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (Initiative) to host an AfAmEdLit(eracy) Princess Party for girls who are affected by homelessness, in foster care or in the child welfare system. Jordan’s book, “Princess for a Day,” follows the journey of a young Black girl whose experience receiving the royal treatment at a friend’s birthday party sparked a desire to ensure all girls had the opportunity to feel like princesses, especially those least likely to enjoy such experiences. The book was inspired by Jordan’s personal story. Jordan is a part of Champions of Change, Inc., a company started in 2013 by her brothers Joshua, 9, and Jeremiah, 11, to empower youth of all backgrounds to serve as “Change Agents” to make lasting impacts on their communities. Jordan sat down with the Initiative to talk about her book, the party, how it feels to help other girls, what inspires her and more. What inspired you to help girls who are affected by homelessness and in the foster care system? I was inspired by a friend’s birthday party I went to. We got to walk on the red carpet and we got our hair done, and makeup done, and we got to wear dresses and it was fun. I decided that maybe I should do something for the little girls that are homeless and in foster care. What types of things do you do to help those girls? Sometimes I have parties, and sometimes I make bags for them and I tell them that they are beautiful. I found out that sometimes when they move they put all their stuff in garbage bags. That made me very, very sad. I wanted to make bags so that they can carry their stuff in [them]. How did it feel to host a reading party with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans? It was a huge honor. It made me feel good. What do you hope people learn when they read your book? [That] girls can help other girls. What would you say to children who also want to help others get started? Be brave, be confident, be you! What is your favorite subject in school? Writing. What’s your favorite part of the school day? Lunch—because when I’m hungry it fills me up. Who is your biggest inspiration? Gabrielle Jordan and Michelle Obama, because [Gabrielle] is a kid entrepreneur and Michelle Obama is Black, and she’s beautiful, and she’s smart. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be in gymnastics. Describe how it feels to know you are helping other girls. It makes me feel like I’m making a huge difference in the world.
Lauren Mims is the associate director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

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