girls of color

Our Time to Rise Up: The Urgent Need to Reconfigure Leadership Platforms for Black Women and Girls

by Raye Mitchelle, Esq, CEO at The Winning Edge Institute

Make no mistake. Young Black women and girls are under siege. They are being silenced, and they are losing generational and intra-generational connections and their visibility. The gender uprising calling for more women in leadership and access to the C- suite is not about increasing the number of Black women or women of color in leadership. The fight for gender equality is not about Black women and girls. They are supplemental to the conversation at best and left out of core leadership decisions for the most part.

From the schoolroom to the boardroom, there is a national crisis of invisibility for Black women and girls. While highly visible, millions of Black women and girls are virtually invisible at the leadership table in America. The number of African-American chief executive officers is so low that we are losing the race to achieve real diversity in the traditional and the newly forming notions of the C-suite.

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Systems That Oppress Women Create Dangerous Circumstances for Girls of Color

by Holly Joshi, Co-Director at MISSSEY. Originally published in the East Bay Express here

It's time to dismantle the old-boys' networks that protect perpetrators and leave women vulnerable.

After a decade in the anti-trafficking movement, I am always surprised by the shocked reactions of others when they first learn about the prevalence of child sex trafficking locally. Disgust, anger, and a strong pull toward action I understand. The shock catches me off guard. When I find myself in discussions with the shocked, I often wonder if we are living in and experiencing the same country. As a woman of color from Oakland, I understand sex trafficking as a horrific byproduct of a society that over sexualizes, marginalizes, and oppresses entire populations of people. 

The truth I have come to understand is that there are, in fact, multiple Americas. This country presents as the land of safety, endless opportunity, and freedom for some and as a place of continuous strife, danger, and despair for many others. This country centers, caters to, coddles, and encourages the success of white, middle- and upper-class, cis-gendered men while everyone else exists on a continuum of worth and experiences America accordingly. 

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Not Only a Pipeline: Schools as Carceral Sites

by Connie Wun, Founder/Director of Transformative Research: An Institute for Research and Social Transformation. Originally published here.

In this article, I argue that schools operate as multilayered sites that do more than funnel students into prison or prime them for incarceration. Schools are part and parcel of a US logic of punitive carcerality, positioning Black and Brown bodies under constant observation and scrutiny through the school’s architecture, policies, and practices. I examine the relation-ship that this logic has to Black girls and their experiences with school discipline, including their resistance to the conditions of schools as carceral sites.

Drawing from Black feminist theory (Richie, 1996) and critical prison studies (Rodriguez, 2006), I collected data via participant observations and in-depth interviews at Foundations High School, located in northern California.1,2 Based upon a qualitative study of 20 Black and Latinx girls and their experiences with school discipline, this paper focuses on three girls whose narratives exemplify the experiences that they and their peers have with school discipline and punishment.

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"If you can see it, you can be it."

by Sasha Williams, student at Carondelet High School and member of Black Girls Code. 

“My name is Sasha Williams. I am 16 years old, and attend Carondelet High School in Concord, California. I realized my passion for technology and arts at a young age. I was introduced to “Black Girls Code” when I was 12 years old. I learned that coding was fun and could open a world of possibilities. I could combine my love for the arts and technology. I would like to become CEO of my own tech company or write and direct movies. Since joining Black Girls Code I have participated in a number of Hackathons and mobile App workshops. In 2013 my team won second place in the Ignite Global Fund for Women’s Hackathon mobile app “Ohana.” My team competed against teams around the world. I look forward to attending university with a major in Computer Science.”

Last Fall Sasha Williams (Class of 2019) was selected for the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Leaders of the Fast Track (LOFT) 2016 Video Game Innovation Fellowship sponsored by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, in Washington D.C. The ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation Fellowship serves as platform for top game developers by identifying and promoting the top 20 minority innovators (15-25 years old) who can create video games or mobile apps that will focus on new, technology-based approaches to address local and global social issues. 

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Emma Mayerson and Alliance for Girls - 2017 Gender Justice Honoree

by Equal Rights Advocates, originally published in their blog here.

Equal Rights Advocates proudly recognizes partner organization, Alliance for Girls (AFG), and its founding director, Emma Mayerson, as 2017 Gender Justice Honorees. This award is given each year to civil rights champions who have contributed to the movement for gender equality, and whose support and partnership have made ERA stronger.

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Taking Back Our Names

by the Young Women's Freedom Center. Originally published in their blog here.

 

Our words can change the world. At YWFC [Young Women's Freedom Center] we are taking back the page, the stage, and the airwaves. Read, watch, and listen to our work on this blog. 

Nobody gets to tell us who we are, but they try all the time. Here are words of resistance from YWFC women: 

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When I Joined the Oakland Teen Empowerment Pageant:

by Anna Sara M., alumna of the Oakland Teen Empowerment Program

"Hi, my name is Anna Sara and I am going to college. Hola, me llamo Anna Sara y voy a la universidad. Bonjour je m'appelle Anna Sara et je vais aller a l'université."

A proper and impressive first impression was one of the first things I learned when I joined the Oakland Teen Empowerment Pageant. I remember receiving a lecture on etiquette, poise, and eloquence in a classroom at Laney College, a campus which I found much bigger than I had expected in my 13-year-old mind. At the time, I thought of myself as a really driven girl but it wasn't until I joined that Pageant that I found a direction in which to propel myself.

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Erasing the Power Gap: Changing the Leadership Game for Girls of Color

by Raye Mitchell, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Women Lead Forward

In December 2016, the White House released the final progress report on ‘Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color.’ There are a lot of unknowns ahead with a new administration. A host of unknown intentions, dynamics, and undisclosed policies, and platforms, with and toward the notion of advancing equality for women and girls of color will test the system servicing the needs of young women and girls of color. However, we need not spend our time speculating on the new administration’s actions and intentions, because, now more than ever, it’s on us.

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Machismo's Vicious Reign in my Latinx Community

by Abigail Miranda, Youth Council Advisory Council member of That's Not Cool, a project of Futures Without Violence. Originally posted on ThatsNotCool.com

What is Machismo?

Machismo is a predominant “traditional” belief in Latinx communities that women are inferior to men. Machismo takes forms in various ways and often is culturally ingrained within Latinx communities. Machismo within our Latinx communities is most commonly presented in sets of heavily enforced gender norms and expectations. Often coming from “La mujer tiene que atender su hombre, porque es la mujer” (“The woman has to attend her man because she is the woman”) to “No seas lloron! Sos hombre!” (“Don’t be a crybaby! You’re a man”) Machismo has established oppressive standards that are harmful to both women and men. Machismo sets a strong practice that of which “hombres” have to comply to machismo and are expected to be hyper-masculine, intimidating, aggressive, and dominant. It is a strongly practiced and harmful belief system that not only maintains sexism as a habitual practice, but also ventures into violence, sexism, transphobia, and homophobia.


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The Power of All Youth

by Fatima Tall, Slam Poet, Youth Activist/Organizer, and Youth Ambassador of That's Not Cool, a project of Future Without Violence. Originally posted on ThatsNotCool.com.

FatimaYouth of all shapes and forms have voices that carry truth and passion.

Yet, the youth voice is a lost voice.

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Oakland Unified and Alliance for Girls Team Up to Disrupt the School to Prison Pipeline

by Rebecca Peterson-Fisher, Senior Staff Attorney at Equal Rights Advocates (ERA). Originally published in ERA's blog here.


Across the country, students of color — and black girls in particular — are suspended at much higher rates than white students. Suspension has the power to not only damage a student’s future academic success, but, if repeated, can pose the risk of pushing a student out of school and into the criminal justice system.

The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and Alliance for Girls, a Bay Area organization that counts over 100 Bay Area girl-serving organizations as its members, have entered into an exciting new partnership designed to reduce suspension rates for girls of color and lift up their academic achievement.


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