This past year has been full of growth at Alliance for Girls. We’ve been fortunate to bring on three new roles: Advocacy Manager, Program Coordinator and Communications Coordinator. Read on to find out more about each of them, including what they find most excited about their roles.

Haleema Baroocha, Advocacy Manager

Haleema smiling in front of a mural in Downtown Oakland

Haleema Bharoocha joined Alliance for Girls’ staff in June 2019, as the Advocacy Manager to build out a girl’s policy agenda and mobilize alliance members for gender justice. Haleema is a sociologist and public servant driven by her commitment to the collective liberation of all people. Uplifted by generations of women of color in her family, Haleema centers her work in compassion, justice, and service. Following the teachings of the Quran which says “stand firm in justice even against yourself and your parents,” Haleema speaks truth to power, practices freedom, and decolonizes her mind. She believes in the power of people to make systematic change. Outside of Alliance for Girls, Haleema is a freelance consultant and trainer, facilitating equity-focused workshops for advocates on topics including bystander intervention, Islamophobia, racial equity, and gender justice and has trained over 500 people. 


What is one thing that has you excited in your role?

“I’m excited about developing a Girls Partnership Agenda, working closely with our alliance members to mobilize our base of over 100 member organizations. Members will join the group to mobilize their communities in various capacities through our advocacy member committee and a community advisory committee. Our first Advocacy Committee meeting convenes on August 12th and will be followed by town halls in four counties throughout October 2019. Our first town hall is on August 29 in Santa Clara. Look for the report backs soon!”

Nakia Dillard, Program Coordinator

Nakia smiling in front of a mural outside of the Women's Center in San Francisco

Nakia Dillard joined Alliance for Girls in February 2019 as the Program Coordinator. Her role supports AFG’s systems-change work to build the capacity of girl-serving organizations and school systems to better meet the expressed needs of girls. She also serves as a liaison between representatives from the school districts, schools, community organizations, and middle- and high-school age girls throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Her role assists the ongoing research and implementation directly associated with the Meeting Girls Needs Initiative, the Young Women’s Initiative, and the Young Women’s Leadership Board. Nakia brings over a decade of experience working to advance the health, leadership, and social and emotional wellbeing of young people in the Bay Area. 


What is one thing that has you excited in your role?

“I am excited to witness and participate in a process that gives girls the opportunity to express their leadership and turn research into action. The Meeting Girls Needs Initiative (MGNI) model works with girls, girl champions, and community organizations to make systems listen to the needs of girls and work in partnership with girls to meet their expressed needs. Through MGNI in San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), we partnered with About Face, a member organization of AFG, to advance one of the recommendations that came from our Girls Leading Change report in SFUSD, which was to work with young people to create a social medial tool that they could disseminate to educate their peers about their Title IX rights. We learned from girls that social media can be used for bullying and harassment and that it plays a major role in their lives and experiences at schools. We also learned from girls that social media can be used for good and a tool to educate their peers. 

This summer, we had an amazing opportunity to work with About Face. They implemented their media literacy curriculum and brought in different media makers who showed girls how to create their own podcasts, hip hop songs, short films, and graphic design projects. What was most exciting about this was that the girls used media to educate their peers, talk about the issues surrounding their safety and ways to make schools and communities safer.  Now that the girls have created amazing tools, I am looking forward to seeing how they are going to utilize the tools they created and share that back to their schools and community. I am excited to keep moving this work forward.”

MD Spicer-Sitzes, Communications Coordinator

MD smiling in front of a mural in Downtown Oakland

MD officially joined AFG in May 2019. They’re currently leading our communications strategy, which includes amplifying member and movement voices and across various communication channels, as well as the programmatic work and the voices of the girls, femmes, nonbinary youth and young women that members serve. They’ll also be amplifying our collective voice through powerful media campaigns to inspire our broader community to take action. For two years before coming to work with AFG, MD was a dedicated member. MD brings over a decade of experience in advancing equity for formerly incarcerated, LGBTQ+, and immigrant communities through worker-ownership and other collaborative models, strategic communications, writing, and fundraising.


What is one thing that has you excited in your role?

I’m generally excited to amplify the collective voice of our members and support aligning the great work that we are doing in the movement to build equity for girls. Together our social media reach is over 1 million and growing every day. This combined impact could make a huge impact on policy, media influence and social change. It excites me to consider what we can do together, especially as so many of us are at capacity in our singular organizations. Girl-serving organizations in the U.S. are among the lowest funded causes and I think that reality is momentum for us to collectivize and work together. My background is in cooperative strategy building, and I love applying that knowledge to the context of our 100+ girl-serving organizations. I am excited to support your voices, your causes and your hard work so that together we can change the world for girls. Moreover, I love that AFG and many of our members are modeling a new definition of girl as gender expansive youth. As a queer identified person who has worked over the years with hundreds of LGBTQ+ youth, I have seen the term girl fall along a wide spectrum of identites, from cis girls to transgender girls, from non-binary youth to femme and beyond.