Focus placed on future of black girls at scholarship luncheon

There was a time when, during discussions about helping black children stay in school and away from the criminal justice system, only a handful of people in the room would ask, “What about the girls?”

Monique Morris was one of them, but she said more and more people are starting to join the conversation addressing black girls.

They’ll be the focus on Sunday when Morris, author of “Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools,” delivers the keynote address at the Sistahs in Conversation and Sistahs in Harmony Christian Book Club’s 13th annual Scholarship Luncheon.

In addition, one-time basketball player and Stagg High School coach Tim Dunham will share his book, “From Hooping to Whooping: How the Greatest Upsets Become the Greatest Blessings” and Mary Kennedy, who was the 2011 California Woman of the Year and former chief executive officer of the Lathrop Chamber of Commerce, will share “You Will See God’s Miracle if Only You Believe!”

Co-founder of the Black Women’s Justice Institute, Morris spent years advocating, along with a handful of others across the country, for black girls, because their plight largely eluded the public consciousness.

“It was never really lost on me; I grew up a black girl,” Morris said. “I was always very much aware of the unique experiences of how gender and racial experiences impact opportunities for black girls. Professionally it became clear that attention needed to b paid to those experiences. When I was working with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and was in and out of detention facilities, girls were showing up in the facilities and not showing up in the public narrative.”

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