Gage Ambassadors for Human Rights
Be a part of the Gage Ambassador Program!
Drawing on the life and legacy of Matilda Joslyn Gage, The Gage Ambassadors for Human Rights Program empowers and inspires high schoolers, ages 15-18, who identify as women, to become agents of change on the local, national, and global stage through virtual meetings, community dialogues, speaker salons, global dialogues, and taking direct action.
The program began in 2013 and was first called the Girl Ambassador Program, initiated by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience through a grant from the U.S. State Department through the American Alliance of Museums. The Gage Foundation continued Girl Ambassadors regionally as its signature program, and the high school members renamed it Gage Ambassadors.
The 2022-2023 Gage Ambassador Program will take place both in-person and virtually, with Zoom meetings, community events, and dialogues open to the public, covering social justice issues including racism, immigration, reproductive rights, human trafficking, the suffrage movement, and LGBTQ+ rights - all inspired by one of our nation's most influential suffragists.
We accept up to two students per high school with a total of 20 students from Onondaga County, NY. We have also previously accepted up to 10 students from the U.S. and 10 global students. Applicants will be invited to an on-line interview, and then notified by email of their acceptance into the program.
During the pandemic we partnered with the Massachusetts Traprock Peace and Justice Center Longline for Social Justice Girls program and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s Social Justice program in Sierra Leone; together creating a Respect Girls project. Our ambassadors created merchandise to fund the project, using the logo Gage Ambassador Chandani Tismani designed.
The Ambassadors continue their social justice work locally, as well, such as Pei Lin Lu’s “Stop Asian Hate” program at her high school, and Alexis Ahn’s “Books for Children” project, gathering books for our Ghana school partnership. We also have a long-standing partnership with the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, honoring Gage’s honorary adoption into the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation, and each year our Gage Ambassadors visit the Nation where they receive a cultural education and meet with the young Mohawk women going through the Ohero:kon “Under the Husk” ceremonial ritual.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Contact us at:
We will be accepting applicants through December 15, 2022. Please send us an email with your interest and include the name of your school.
See below for interviews with past Gage Ambassadors
Tweet us at @MJGage_Center using the hashtag #GageAmbassadors
“Breaking Through Isolation”
Gage Ambassador Bhadra Mishra
Calling on everyone to help me understand this...
I learned about “Independence Day” in elementary school. My English was not that great; we had just moved to the U.S. My 10-11 year old self could not understand who fought who in the American Revolutionary War, and who had won. Earlier that year, we were taught that colonizers had colonized America - the land of the Native Americans. So I thought to myself that the Native Americans must have fought the colonizers to gain freedom. I did not ask questions because my English was already used to make fun of me, so I did not want that to happen again. So I am telling myself that this is a war between Native Americans and the white colonizers. But then, at the end of the lesson, we get shown the picture of the “founding fathers” saying that they had won the war and America became INDEPENDENT!
Today I was thinking about this elementary school lesson. I still don’t understand what “Independence Day” actually means for the United States because America never got its independence after the colonizers colonized it. In other countries, Independence Day is celebrated on the day the indiginous people of the land fought away the colonizers and won the war against them. That is my understanding of the meaning of a true “Independence” day!
Gage (Girl) Ambassadors are taking part in a series of virtual dialogues addressing the idea of "Breaking through Isolation". They will be sharing essays after the dialogues and we will be sharing them in emails and on our website.
Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation Gage (Girl) Ambassadors for Human Rights Peilin Lu attended a virtual dialogue on the growing racism and racist attacks against people of Asian descent in the United States.
The Battle to Belong Experience:
The history of the Asian-American struggle is a forgotten narrative, its rough and beaten surface long overshadowed by gleaming sheets of gold - a gilded portrait of immigrant success. Yet at moments like these, history awakens and makes its scars known, reminding the world that hatred is an ancient companion whose heavy footsteps have trailed behind us since our story in the United States began. The rise in racist attacks brought back painful memories, from isolation at the lunch table to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
Throughout the meeting, author and The Times editor Jia Lyn Yang spoke about the importance of speaking up, whether you are experiencing or witnessing hate. I found agreement and solace in her words, for the first step towards unity and strength is shedding light on the dark sides of the Asian-American experience. The virtual meeting gave me hope, encouraging me to find guidance in our past and hope in our progress.
Gage (Girl) Ambassador Peilin Lu
The program is currently updating its leadership and format. Please join our mailing list to stay posted on our next application cycle. An example of our application from 2021-2022 is below.
“Violence in Memory”- Sexual Abuse and Violence
G.A. toured a photographic exhibit by female artists that addressed women’s issues of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and generational family memory. They held a Dialogue on different forms of domestic violence, how Ambassadors can support women and LBGTQ+ populations who have experienced domestic violence, how violence distorts memory, and how children are damaged by domestic violence and sexual abuse.
“United Hands Against Human Trafficking”
(A minute to minute transcript of the Dialogue was shared in real time on Facebook, with members of the Syracuse, U.S., and International population responding to the Dialogue and posting comments.) . The Dialogue addressed how Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse creating vulnerable victims for Human Trafficking, men as allies in ending Human Trafficking, how young people can create awareness of trafficking issues and empower each other to help end it.
NOTE: The Ambassadors that coordinated this Dialogue were invited to present on the George Kilpatrick Radio Show after Mr. Kilpatrick participated in the Facebook real-time Dialogue.
“Witness to Injustice” Workshop and Dialogue - NOON (Neighbors of the Onondagas)
The Workshop and Dialogue was an interactive education program that addressed the impact of the European Invasion of the Americas on Native populations through European and Native primary documents, and how Native populations were and continued to be affected.
NOTE: Feedback from the Girl Ambassadors that attended the workshop/dialogue was anger, a feeling of betrayal that their schools do not address the truth of this history, and a need by the Ambassadors to do something to share what they had learned in the Witness project.
“Conversations Among Us” - A Roadmap for Empowering Girls and Women
A series of Presentations, Conversations, and Dialogues on Generational Mentorship and the responsibilities Women and Girls have in passing on Social Justice awareness and responsibility to the next generation.
International Text Dialogue - Islamic Girls Senior High School
Technology is a challenge in Ghana, and when the planned SKYPE failed on their end, the Girl Ambassadors rallied, and held the dialogue with the girl’s school through phone texts! The Dialogue addressed girl empowerment in Ghana and in the United States, the goals that girls have for their lives in both Nations, and an examination of the impact that educating girls has on Social Justice and the development of a nation.
“Our Hopes and Dreams” - Generational Dialogue
This Generational Dialogue addressed the differences in the lives of women in different generations, the hopes and dreams that Mother’s and older significant others had for their own lives and how being a woman impacted on their dreams, and lastly the hopes and dreams that the older generation has for their daughters and mentees.
“The Power of Language” - Women’s Rights, Language, and Gender Justice
The Dialogue addressed slang and rhetoric used among teens that denigrates, stereotypes, oppresses, and damages how girls are viewed in society and how girls themselves often promote this use of language.
“Native Americans and Intolerance in Onondaga County High Schools”
A male Native student from Fayetteville High School requested and joined the Ambassadors in this Dialogue addressing T-shirts with Native stereotypes were being worn and sold in the school, how anti-bullying programs are ineffective in addressing this type of prevalent intolerance and bullying in Onondaga County high schools, and how the Ambassadors could be allies in fighting this intolerance.
The Ambassadors assisted PGR, “at-risk” girls 6-18 years old, in assembling 300 personal care kits that were donated to five Women’s Shelters in Onondaga County, and donated 250 towels for the care kits to this annual partnership.
The Gage (Girl) Ambassadors along with Parent and Community Chaperones traveled to New York City to attend United Nations Panels addressing a variety of issues affecting women around the world, and participated in the dialogues and discussions at the panels.
Hosted by Bear Clan Mother Louise McDonald, the Gage (Girl) Ambassadors, along with Parent Chaperones and a guest from the Women’s Bar Association of NY State, traveled to Akwesasne NY to attend educational sessions addressing Mohawk culture, the challenges of teen youth in Akwesasne, and women’s social justice issues in their Nation.
The Gage (Girl) Ambassadors held three fundraisers this year:
“Our Mother’s Recipes” - Ambassadors shared food and recipes from their varied cultural heritages, with food represented from around the world.
“Henna Party” - Our Ambassadors from Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cultures held a Henna Party during the “Our Mother’s Recipes” fundraiser, sharing their cultures through videos, a display, and Henna tattoos..
“Chipotle Dinner” - The Ambassadors held a Chipotle Restaurant Fundraiser, inviting community and family and acted as host with their presence during the fundraiser.Have you opened a new location, redesigned your shop, or added a new product or service? Don't keep it to yourself, let folks know.
Ambassadors volunteered at the McKinley Brighton Elementary first annual “Princess Ball” for over 200 girls and their families on the southside of Syracuse.
“Annual Women’s March”
Gage (Girl) Ambassadors attended the Annual Women’s March, some traveling to Seneca Falls, and some attending the march in Syracuse, NY.
“Power to You” - Gage (Girl) Ambassador’ Empowerment Program for Youth
In response to attending N.O.O.N.’s “Witness to Injustice” program, the Gage (Girl) Ambassadors created a youth Women’s Rights and Empowerment Program using Gage and her Social Justice work as a tool by which youth can examine their own lives, set goals for their community and for themselves, and be agents of change.If customers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. Clearly list and describe the services you offer. Also, be sure to showcase a premium service.