New Documentary Captures Cross-Cultural Experiences Among American and West African Girls

Women Empowering Nations to Host Houston Screening of The World They Knew along with Radio Personality Jillian “JJ” Simmons

August 24, 2014, Houston, TX- On Thursday, September 11, Women Empowering Nations (WEN) will host a Houston screening of The World They Knew, an inspiring documentary that follows the journey of three girls from Tulsa, Oklahoma through North and West Africa. The screening will take place at the Silver Street Studios located at 2000 Edwards St. from 6:30 to 9:30 pm and will include a reception and Q & A session led by Jillian “JJ” Simmons with WEN Founder and Executive Director Carlisha Williams.

At just 29 years old, Williams has developed educational programs which she presented to international aid organizations, foreign diplomats, and the Gambian government for country-wide implementation. Her work in the Gambia led to her appointment as a United States Goodwill Ambassador to the Republic of the Gambia, ultimately leading her to starting her non-profit organization, Women Empowering Nations.

“West Africa has shaped so much of who I am today and it’s an honor and a privilege to share my experience, along with the experiences of these outstanding girls with the world,” said Williams. “Our work, along with our film is important because it addresses issues that young girls from all over the world can relate to. We touch on colorism, domestic violence, self-esteem issues and the daily challenges of being a girl in modern society.”

Last summer, WEN led a diverse group of eighth-grade girls from North Tulsa traveled to Casa Blanca, Morocco and Banjul, Gambia to explore North and West African cultures, tour historic sites, and participate in a girls’ leadership conference with local Gambian girls. The conference included sessions on education, social and economic justice, and global women’s empowerment. The experience was captured in The World They Knew directed by Jason Lemon, featuring the stories, following the journey and dreams of three seminar participants.

The event organizers will be joined by on-air personality and philanthropist, Jillian “JJ” Simmons. She is the founder and president of the I’m Me Foundation, a 501 (3)(c) organization geared towards character and self-esteem building amongst teens and girls.

Simmons said, “As a mother, public figure and also an owner of a non-profit organization that directly impacts girls, I’m inspired by the global impact WEN has made. Now, more than ever, it’s important that young girls have role models and diverse perspectives.” She will lead a 30 minute, open dialogue with Williams prior to the invitation-only screening.

Click here to watch The World They Knew four-minute documentary teaser.

To learn more about WEN and to RSVP, visit

To schedule an interview with Carlisha Williams please contact Ashley Small at or 281.827.3419.

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