FEELING GOOD: Celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day through a Wall of Song February 18, 2021 - San José State University - San José, CA

The Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change (ISSSSC) is dedicated to research, analysis and education at the intersection of sport and society.

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Join the San José Museum of Art, San Jose Jazz, the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society & Social Change (ISSSSC), and the Wall of Song Project as this page explores the power of art, sport and the rituals of collective singing to create positive social change. The resources contained in this document serve as both a reflection and compliment to the event held on 18 February 2021. We hope that you enjoy and make use of these resources in the effort to Lead Her Forward.

In celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), this online, multidisciplinary event featured an interview with Grammy-nominated jazz powerhouse Ledisi, a solo by special guest soprano Danielle Marie, and Dr. Akilah Carter-Francique PhD (ISSSSC) hosting a Sport Conversation for Change, focusing on the importance of NGWSD to “inspire girls and women to play … and realize their full power.” Everyone is still invited to add their voices to the Wall of Song Project by singing FEELING GOOD—the song made famous by Nina Simone—as a call-to-action, an anthem of solidarity, mental and physical wellbeing for all, and advocacy for women’s athletics and a more equitable, racially just community.

Relevant hashtags from this event are: #sjfeelinggood - #NGWSD - #sjsuwordstoaction

History and Significance of National Girls and Women in Sports Day

National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) began in 1987 as a special day in our nation’s capital to recognize women’s sports. The day united premiere organizations and elite female athletes to bring national attention to the promise of girls and women in sports.



Dr. Amy August - Assistant Professor of Sociology - San José State University, USA Assistant Director, Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change

"I’m just really excited that National Girls and Women in Sports Day is promoting sports participation among Young Women and it’s encouraging Girls to get involved in an activity that can really be positive in the right circumstances"

Dr. Tamar Semerjian - Chair for Department of Kinesiology Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) San José State University, USA

"As long as we are saying that this is the first Woman to do X...that shouldn’t be that interesting. That shouldn’t be exciting. And as long as that’s still the case there is lots of room for improvement, and that’s why having a day like National Girls and Women in Sports Day is so important..."

Bonnie Sugiyama - Director of PRIDE and Gender Equity Center San José State University, USA ISSSSC Academic Advisory Board

"Participating in Sports has helped lead to this change that Women can be Leaders, that We can be Strong, that We can be Confident, and We can be Decision-makers"

Statistics to Know about Girls & Women in Sports

"I’m connected to this project because I’m a Female-athlete and I love to sing. I think that Women are empowered through Sports and it’s not often talked about, so this project is a great way to bring both together"

Among her Athletic Accomplishments, Natasha Harris has also been vocal through Instagram with #SJSpeaksUp

Maya Dodson

"It's not a Moment, but a Movement"

As a Student-Athlete for the Stanford Cardinals, Maya Dodson has also been a vocal force for Social Change through the movement CardinalBlck


For another example of Student-athlete Activism, check out Athletes4Chnges

From the Sidelines...

...To Academia...

...And Music...

...This is a Collective Effort to Lead Her Forward.

Civil Rights, Nina Simone, Jazz and Feeling Good


"Everybody has to see Themselves in the world...what’s My Accountability, what’s My Part in this whole thing"

Ledisi is a twelve-time Grammy nominated powerhouse vocalist with a career spanning almost two decades. Since arriving on the scene in the late 1990’s, she’s garnered three Soul Train Music awards, an NAACP Theater award and 6 NAACP Image Award nominations. Ledisi is extremely passionate about being an advocate for the Arts, Lobbying for young musicians and protecting the rights of creatives. She is also a playwright and author, releasing her first book Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love, and Power, a collaboration with Essence Magazine. Her latest book, Don’t Ever Lose Your Walk: How to Embrace Your Journey is released through her own Chinweya Publishing Company.

Dr. Jalylah Burrell, Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies - San José State University

"An athlete can present themself in any sort of way. It’s about that Freedom, and we can look to a template from Nina Simone and elsewhere. We can be those Templates where we’re exercising freedom, and providing that opportunity for others to exercise the same"

Dr Jalylah Burrell is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies. She holds a PhD in American Studies and African American Studies from Yale University and her scholarship was previously supported by a postdoctoral fellowships at DePaul University’s African and Black Diaspora Department and Rice University’s Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, as well as visiting research fellowships at the Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University Bloomington and more. Her research and teachings are focused on African Diasporic Literature and popular culture and enhanced by experience as a storyteller - pop culture critic, digital producer, oral historian, and deejay. Her current book project is titled Capacity for Laughter: Black Women and the American Comedic Tradition.

The Equity Pledge Project

The Equity Project™, powered by the Women’s Sports Foundation, is a movement of individuals and organizations that aims to impact participation, policy, representation and leadership in sports in sustainable and measurable ways. The vision is clear; inspire the nation and create meaningful change so that all girls and women have equitable access to physical activity and sport, to help unlock limitless possibilities in their lives.


Equity and FEELING GOOD through a Wall of Song

Mel Day, Artist & Co-Founder of The Wall of Song Project, Interdisciplinary Art Lecturer, Department of Art and Art History

"The whole goal is to really Connect and Amplify our Voices to serve Equity and Social Change in Women’s Sport. [in response to collaborating with the ISSSSC]"

Mel Day is a San Francisco Bay Area-based Canadian interdisciplinary artist, former college athlete, art lecturer in the Department of Art & Art History at San Jose State University and co-founder of The Wall of Song Project. Launched on Inauguration Day, 2017 in Washington D.C. and at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Wall of Song’s ongoing collaborative project, FEELING GOOD, explores the expressive possibilities of art, song, and sport for women’s athletics, mental and physical well being for all, and a more equitable, racially just community with The Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change, along with a number of affinity partners and participants. Day has shared her collaborative work at venues including Provident Credit Union Event Center (San José), Grace Cathedral, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco) and Berkeley Art Museum.



Danielle Marie, Soprano Executive Director of “Class Act Music Academy”

"Call and Response is a way for musicians to connect with each other, and also a way for Musicians to Connect with the Audience or their Communities"

Soprano Danielle Marie is located in the South Bay area of Northern California. Nothing is more fulfilling to Danielle than singing oratorio, spirituals, and sacred works. Danielle received her Master’s Degree in Voice Performance at San José State University, studying under Professor Layna Chianakas and her Bachelors Degree in in Music Education with an emphasis in choral conducting from California State University Fullerton. Danielle is often engaged as a soloist to sing African American spiritual repertoire, including the most recent addition of The Journey of Harriet Tubman, with different choirs around Northern California.

"[Call and Response] is a musical conversation that can exist in a number of forms. With 'Call and Response', usually the question is posed musically through the melody, and then answered through the melody" - Danielle Marie

'Scatting': is one such way that a singer can respond to a question posed in 'Call and Response', and this method particularly makes use of nonsensical words.

Relevant Articles
  1. African American Song
  2. An Introduction to Scat Singing


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