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“We want them to see themselves doing what we’re doing:” Girls’ Day at City Hall

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MILWAUKEE -- The welcome echoed through the atrium of City Hall. Girls' Day started seven years ago with just 38 young women, and has grown into a gathering of more than 260 middle and high school students.

“Good morning," said Milele Coggs, 6th District alderwoman, starting her call to action to the young women of Milwaukee.

“We want them to see themselves doing what we’re doing," Stephanie Harmon, Milwaukee Fire Department captain said. "Take my job, please.”

Girls' Day at City Hall

Girls' Day City Hall

“Maybe in the future I can look up to them, and (say), 'I want to be you when I grow up because you’re teaching me the right stuff,'" Carmen Lee, Morris Middle School sixth grader said.

Throughout the day, the girls met women in public office or other service careers, like Hampton.

“I encounter so many young ladies that say 'wow, I never knew we had women firefighters,' and to see me and to realize that, 'wow, I can do that. You guys are doing that,'" Hampton said.

And that was the whole idea, when Coggs started Girls' Day -- to help young minds see a path to public service they may never have considered.

Girls' Day at City Hall

“At the time, I was the only female out of a 15-member council," Coggs said.

Girls' Day at City Hall

“We thought things like Girls' Day could help young ladies begin to look at their own leadership abilities, and recognize that they too can be in these positions of leadership," Coggs said.

So that maybe the next time they’re at City Hall, it will be as leaders and role models to the next wave of girls.

Girls' Day at City Hall