Smart & Melanated Sisters consist of one educator and 5 teen girls from South Los Angeles/Inglewood, CA. We are actively finding ways to teach acceptance, inclusion & solidarity.
Founded in the summer of 2020, in the middle of a Global Pandemic and nation wide civil unrest, founders Cicely, Kye, Aniyah, Jayda, Kylah and Mya saw a need to bring you curriculum that can be used with a wide array of youth groups; in classrooms or even in homes, that will serve as a starting point for vital conversations around, inclusion, diversity, advocacy and activism for historically marginalized groups.
Celebrate your completion of all phases of our booklets by snagging your favorite shaped badge!
In this badge series, youth, ages 5-18 will learn about historically marginalized groups and ways in which these groups could be accepted, included and celebrated because of their unique differences.
Want to learn a little about Melanin? Confused by our name "Smart & Melanated Sisters"? Read more here!
A NEW badge program that focuses on the achievements of Black women, from the past and present. Find out more here.
Aniyah of Smart and Melanated Sisters introduces this program centered around self-love. Intended for upper elementary and lower middle school girls. Read more here!
Attention families with kids! Want to celebrate Kwanzaa this year ? Introducing a 22 page “Beginners Guide to Kwanzaa” booklet!
Ms. Smart has had a passion for social justice and wholistic education for the youth since she could remember. As a child she was known for always standing up for what was right and tutoring her friends. She grew up in South Los Angeles, during the times of civil unrest and recessions. Cicely attended the University of California, Los Angeles, on several academic scholarships and graduated with a double major in Sociology and Afro-American Studies. She continued her education at the UCLA Graduate School of Education where she earned a multiple subject credential and Master’s of Education Degree. She taught elementary and middle school for a few years, then decided to pursue a second master’s degree in Educational Administration from the California State University, Northridge. During this time, Cicely was a successful Girl Scout troop leader, out of Inglewood, California for over 13 years. She is currently entering her 14th year in classroom.
With the effects of a Global Pandemic looming over head, as well as a nationwide civil unrest, Cicely heard her girls and knew there was something that needed to be done. Cicely and the girls saw a need to assist parents and children/teens in creating a starting point for vital conversations. This grew into the “Solidarity Badge Series”, and soon blossomed into a full blown business: Smart & Melanated Sisters.
Aniyah (age 17) was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in Inglewood, CA. She is a rising high school senior who sets high academic standards for herself. Aniyah is currently taking college classes in a dual enrollment program, and on track to graduate high school with an Associate of Arts Degree. She has been a dedicated member of Girl Scouts for 13 years, and is serving her third term in the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Girl Advisory Bureau. Aniyah was also selected to represent Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles as a delegate in the 2020 National Girl Scout Convention.
Aniyah also loves to give back to her community. She has been a part of her school’s National Honors Society for two years in which she completes 50 hours of community service each school year. Another way Aniyah wanted to give back was with the “Solidarity Badge Series”. After witnessing the start of a civil rights movement over the summer of 2020, she also wanted to contribute to the fight towards equality. She realized that learning inclusion and solidarity starts at a young age, and this inspired her work on the “Solidarity Badge Series”. Aniyah hopes that this badge helps the youth of today make the world a better place for tomorrow.
Kye Cheffen is a native of South Los Angeles, California. She is an 17 year old, exceptional high school senior and an honor roll student. She has an immense interest in the medical field, specifically sports medicine. This has encouraged her to take courses at her school to pursue that goal in the future. Kye has been a Varsity Cheerleader since the inception of her high school journey, an active Girl Scout for the past 13 years and an active member of her church.
Kye describes herself as a trustworthy, humorous and compassionate person. As an avid mediator, Kye is known as the peacekeeper of those in her sphere of influence. She embodies the essence of an inclusive environment which allows her compassionate spirit to have empathy for those who she sees and feel are in need of a kind word or hug. This is why she volunteers with groups and organizations who give back and care for others such as Love In Action Outreach Ministry and the Mt. Sinai Outreach Ministry Team.
She felt it was important to start this business to help educate people about racial discrimination and other powerful social movements. She wants her scenery of discrimination to change and that this badge can be a base to upcoming change. Her goal for this badge is that all learners take the values that have been provided and use it in their everyday lives.
Kylah Warren (age 15) grew up in South Los Angeles, California. She is a high school sophomore and honor roll student with big dreams and aspirations. She is currently taking college level courses in her dual enrollment program, which will allow her to earn an Associate's of Arts degree upon her graduation from high school in 2023. Kylah is a Junior Varsity Cheerleader, an active Girl Scout member for the past 7 years, a former member of 2017-2019 Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Girl Advisory Bureau, she babysits in her free time and is an active member of her church.
Kylah is a responsible and ambitious young woman, who enjoys inspiring and helping the people around her. She has always been passionate about equality and being inclusive. She felt the need to start this business because she saw it as a great opportunity to put positivity into the atmosphere with all that’s going on in our society, such as the global pandemic, the civil rights marches, the nationwide civil unrest, and injustices throughout society. She wants the solidarity badge series to serve as a space for girls to be able to express themselves through positive conversations centered around social justice for all.
Mya Jackson (age 16) is a high school junior and a follower of Christ. She has tons of hobbies, that include; dancing, acting, and writing. She has been an active Girl Scout for the past 11 years, is currently a member of the Delta Gems program, the Black Student Union at her school, Varsity Dance team, and the Young Black & Educated Club.
Since she was very young, Mya has always tried to find positive outlets and uplift others around her. Through elementary, on up, Mya has taken her academics very seriously and it shows through her yearly honor roll achievements. She hopes that one day she can help bring peace, justice and equality into the entire world. But as of right now, she’s taking slow steps and is using her voice and resources to inspire her community through Smart & Melanated Sisters!
Jayda Thompson (age 17), was born in South Los Angeles, California and is a high school senior. She is a varsity Volleyball and Basketball player, alongside being an active Girl Scout for the past 13 years. She soon plans to start a body jewelry business that will promote body positivity and encourage women and girls to embrace themselves, because “they are beautiful just the way they are.” Her career passion lies in cosmetology, as she plans to attend Riverside City College to complete a Cosmetology License after she graduates from high school and has already gotten a jump start by currently enrolling in classes for this program.
Jayda has always been one to find good in everyone and spread positivity, making sure everyone feels comfortable. She loves to give back to those in need and make others smile if they are having a bad day. She hopes that one day the world can become safer and a peaceful place where everyone can live free of worries. She wants the “Solidarity Badge Series” to assist people in learning that diversity is a great thing and everyone should be treated equally, no matter what.
It’s easy to understand that when the word “Melanin” or the term “Melanated” is used most people would refer to the African-American race...and it’s been this way for a long time. Since the mid 19th century, people have always associated these terms with African-Americans because of the word’s origin, being; “melas” or “melan” which means and refers to black in Greek.
But, did you know that melanin is a dark brown to black pigment that occurs in the skin, hair and the iris of one's eyes? Most people do not realize that this pigment is occurring in majority of people’s bodies, regardless of their race. Do you have freckles? That’s melanin? Are you able to go outside and not immediately burn from the sun? That’s melanin! When someone is tanning at the beach, do you know how their skin is actually able to tan? It’s Melanin! Melanin is responsible for the tanning of skin that has been exposed to sunlight. It serves as a sort of protection from the sun’s UV rays.
We ALL have Melanin in our skin, whether it is a little or alot. What really matters is that we are all the same on the inside! In NO WAY is embracing the amount of Melanin you have a bad thing. Never be discouraged by it!
Always love the skin that you’re in and embrace it to the fullest...no matter the shade!!!
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