It’s not what happens, but what we do about it

Alison Malmon is founder and executive director of Active Minds, Inc., the nation’s only organization dedicated to utilizing the student voice to change the conversation about mental health on college campuses. Learn more at

I want to wish Erin Weed and all of the fine folks at Girls Fight Back an incredible 10th birthday celebration this month!  GFB has become a shining star in the social justice world, teaching us all that it’s not what happens in our life, but what we do about it, that matters.  For any “cause” to thrive for ten years with promise for much more is truly incredible.  Congratulations!

Erin and I share similar paths, from losing someone very close to us to throwing ourselves into a mission to make sure others don’t have to go through the same terrible loss.   Turning one’s story from loss to hope is not an easy path to walk.  Every day as survivors we are faced with our loss and the love we have for our friends and family.  But Erin and the incredible folks who have been a part of GFB for these past 10 years have faced that tragedy head-on and instead of sitting back, have fought back.  I don’t know of any better definition of leadership than that.  Every person who has spoken for, been trained by, or just appreciated the work of GFB deserves immense kudos for making this mission a reality and empowering an amazing number of women in ten years!  Keep keeping on, knowing that every day you are changing people’s lives, and the world is a much better place because of you.

Erin’s strength, tenacity, and overall kick-assness have proven that even someone young can do something incredible.  10 years is a huge milestone – congratulations to everyone who’s been a part of GFB, and here’s to 10 more even more awesome years!

Note from Erin: Alison is my Wonder Woman, and big thanks to Ross Szabo for introducing us. The light now shed on the issue of mental health in memory of her brother has been remarkable, and she and I have enjoyed a working partnership with her that embraces just how much interpersonal violence and mental health tend to intersect. I am thankful for her friendship, and for her use of the much under-utilized noun, “kick-assness.”

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