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Meet Marquisha Henderson of Cocoa Girls in South LA and South Bay

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marquisha Henderson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Marquisha. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles and I LOVE being a native Angeleno. I have a large family so there were many good times and definitely a plethora of experiences. I attended school in South LA and had most of my experiences throughout the Los Angeles area; which comes with its struggles and triumphs. After high school, I attended UC Berkeley for undergrad. My time at Cal was great and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was an eye-opening and a moment for personal and cultural growth. After graduation, I worked for the LA City Mayor’s Office and then went on to graduate school at USC. Now, I’m officially a public health professional and learning to navigate this field and make an impact on issues I believe are important, I believe my family, friends, and life experiences have influenced my purpose and are driving forces behind my passion, During most of my childhood and adolescence, I expressed my creativity through dance and writing, As time passed, these hobbies took a back seat and academic endeavors took priority. I truly feel that I am now at a point in my life where both creative and professional passions can converge and manifest a powerful reality.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Some of the struggles would include my academic journey. I was pre-med during my undergrad tenure but I struggled with excelling in my science courses. Through this challenging time, I discovered my interest in public health; which has been quite fulfilling. Even when deciding to apply for graduate school, my academic history was a major insecurity for me. But, I decided to preserve and rely on my determination to continue the work and even revisit the idea of becoming a doctor.

Also, I would have to say that I’m struggling with the process of growing the brand and effectively getting it to reach its full potential. This is something I’m planning to continue to work on and strengthen over the rest of the year.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Cocoa Girls – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Vision: A movement dedicated to cultivating young African American women who recognize and harness their self-worth and lead others to do the same.

Mission: Cocoa Girls’ mission is to foster greater self-worth and increase health equity amongst African American adolescent girls through health education and self-esteem building exercises. We are dedicated to educating, empowering, and cultivating dynamic, young African American women who are not only confident but capable of making informed and improved health and life choices.

Cocoa Girls: I Am Worthy is a health and social project that I developed while in my Master of Public Health graduate program. I have always known that I wanted to do work in my community and for my people, but that passion grew even deeper once I learned about all the health matters we faced. One issue that really struck a cord, was sexual and reproductive health amongst African American women. It was so disheartening to learn about all the bleak health statistics and how easily they could be prevented. This also showed me that more work needed to be done to shift these trends. That’s when I decided that this would be my mission, this is where I would try to make the difference in my community. After having the opportunity to present the project to peers and colleagues at the American Public Health Association 2015 Annual Conference, I was beyond encouraged and thought to myself, I would love to see this project come to fruition. I envision Cocoa Girls not only being a health project but a social movement with limitless possibilities.

I believe what sets Cocoa Girls apart is not only providing relevant health knowledge, but focusing on social networks, relationships, and the importance of self-worth, and how that influences our behaviors, health, and lives. Cocoa Girls wants to create a space where there’s freedom of expression, ability to have difficult conversations, but ultimately create a sisterhood.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Future plans for Cocoa Girls include seminar presentations, rolling out a full sexual and reproductive health and self-esteem building curriculum, and simply growing the brand through social media and merchandising.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @cocoagirlsinc
  • Facebook: Cocoa Girls- I Am Worthy
  • Twitter: @cocoagirlsinc

Image Credit:
Osose Oboh

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