#SheBelieves - Amy S. Weber - Detroit

#SheBelieves Detroit: A conversation between USWNT goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and award-winning filmmaker Amy S. Weber in Detroit, Michigan. Weber is the writer/director/producer of the film ‘A Girl Like Me’, a film that aims to shed light on the issue of bullying among today’s youth and the need for individuals to find their own voices .

AMY WEBER is the founder of Radish Creative Group and a former educator, who has dedicated her career to making a difference in the quality of business, education and human life. As an educator, she was inspired to bring the worlds of education and film production together to serve a greater purpose.

In March 2015, Amy debuted her second full-length feature, A Girl Like Her, in theaters. This highly acclaimed, revolutionary film, exploring the bully's perspective, is the result of Amy's passionate crusade meant to empower kids of all ages to find their voice and live as their truest selves.

The film is just one of many endeavors that she is committed to for improving the lives of youth. She hopes to continue her development of quality films and programs and to collaborate with creative minds that share her vision and passion for making a positive impact on the world.

Ashlyn Harris: Hi! Ashlyn Harris.

Amy S. Weber: Hi! Amy Weber.

AH: Thank you so much for being here.

AW: Oh, my pleasure.

AH: We have a campaign called She Believes where we aim to empower young adults, especially girls to be the best, most authentic version of themselves and reach for their dreams. Part of my contribution to She Believes is To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), which is a nonprofit close to my heart based on addiction, depression, self-harm and suicide. We reached out to you because you do unbelievable things about anti-bullying and you recently came out with a documentary (A Girl Like Her), and I wanted for you to just talk a little about that. And how it ties to my cause and the need for women to be honest and kind and empower each other, and for young children to know one needs to be outspoken and be who they want to be.

AW: A Girl Like Her, I’m flattered that you called it a documentary because it is very real, but it’s actually a narrative feature film. It’s fictional but it’s based on what we call a million true stories. I’ve been working with young people throughout my entire career as a filmmaker, producer, director, and what I’ve learned from youth, especially from young girls, is that they don’t feel like they have a voice. They don’t feel like they matter.

What I’ve always done is empower young girls, and all youth, to find that voice very early on, know that they have a gift to share with the world and deal with their emotions and talk about what they feel. It’s so important to talk about what you feel even if you think it will disappoint some people. You’ve got to share those feelings.  I think this is where we step in as mentors and become a voice for so many that haven’t found theirs yet.

AH: I’m real raw and open and I like to tell people when I’m having a bad day. And I tell my fans, my friends and my family.

AW: That’s a rarity, especially in our country. We sweep it, we push it aside and we have all of this built up pain and we don’t recognize that. To these girls (like my daughters and so many around the country)…you guys are all their heroes.

AH: You don’t really know what it was until you hear the stories and everyone is talking about it. It is so empowering seeing so many young kids supporting us. We want to support them too. They have our back and we have theirs.

It’s so wonderful what you’re doing (with the issue of bullying) because it is hard to bring such a touchy subject to life and say ‘these things do happen, and they happen often’. For me, my thing is when I step in with a non-profit like TWLOHA and people are bullied and are pushed to certain limits and they feel they can’t talk about it, this is where we come in and we say ‘you’re not alone and you are O.K. and you are loved and you matter.’ That’s something I’m really passionate about.

"Everyone has a role in life and you can’t take someone else’s. You have to be yourself and be comfortable with that." - Ashlyn Harris

I really love talking about this. I think it’s really special and I’m thankful that you came here and brought light to what is happening with our youth. We need to talk about it. People think they can’t but by you and I talking about it, and bringing different parts together, people can feel they are not alone.

AW: That’s so true. Starting all the way when we’re little and the messages that we’re given. What I’ve found while working with young people and sharing their stories is that there is always a memory that teaches them very quickly ‘if I say that, If I do that, it is not safe’, so we don’t create safe spaces for our young people.

We have a mantra, my company, surrounding this movie and that is ‘the only way to save the victim, is to heal the bully.’

AH: I love that. That’s a great message.  Thank you so much for coming here today and chatting with us about speaking out and helping us share the message that to be the best version of yourself and accomplish anything you want to do, you have to be comfortable with yourself and find your voice and love yourself. You are so wonderful.

AW: You too, and the work you do is so inspiring. Thank you.

#SheBelieves Home

A Girl Like Me is now available exclusively to schools. For more information on the film, visit its website agirllikehermovie.com.

This interview with Amy S. Weber was conducted and condensed by ussoccer.com staff.