Smashing the patriarchy: leading and learning from girl activists

It is so often in this world that decisions are made about girls without their input, from who they marry to whether they receive an education, to what does and doesn’t happen to their bodies. Last month With and For Girls brought together 12 activists from Kenya, Guatemala, Palestine, Nicaragua, Poland, Barbados, Israel, Romania, USA and Nepal to put on a closing plenary at the Human Rights Funders Network conference in Mexico City.
Girls all around the world are leading human rights movements toward a safer and more equal world. They work tirelessly and are under-recognised, under-estimated and underfunded.

Watch a video of this convening here

Girls to the Front: A snapshot of girl-led organizing

It’s tough being a girl. All over the world, girls face multiple layers of discrimination: for being female, for being young and for the other multiple identities that define them, such as race, class, sexual orientation and gender identity. In the face of these challenges, girls worldwide are organising and joining forces to have their agency and autonomy recognised, respected and celebrated. Who better to know what girls need than girls themselves?

Girls and their organisations and/or initiatives are important to social movements. Mama Cash and FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, two women’s funds long committed to supporting girls and their organising, decided to commission a research study to find out more about how girls are organising across the world. This participatory, feminist, intersectional research placed girls at the centre, making them partners of the study. The participation of Girl Advisors— activists who hail from five different countries and have diverse backgrounds, profiles and
skills– brought invaluable input to the table.

The research used in-depth interviews and an online questionnaire, as well as an exhaustive desk review to collect data from girl-led groups and organisations, girl-centred organisations and the stakeholders that support them at different levels. This is an exciting opportunity to spotlight how girl-led organising takes place and how funders can provide flexible support that responds to the needs of girls and their organising.

Read more of the Girls to the Front report here

In Solidarity We Rise: Call for Proposals

National Crittenton invites proposals for a national gathering focused on healing, opportunity, and justice for girls and gender nonconforming young people.

The event will bring together young leaders, advocates, social service professionals, community-based organizations, and policymakers to strategize, share solutions, imagine new futures, and make connections between our spaces, issues, and approaches.

We invite proposals for one-hour Innovation in Motion sessions. Sessions can be interactive workshops, presentations, performances, film, panels, or other creative formats. Sessions led or co-led by girls, young women, or gender nonconforming youth will receive priority.

Innovation in Motion sessions are dynamic, interactive sessions that share exciting, creative models and ideas for programming, community organizing, communication, and policy reform from folks’ on-the-ground work in communities. Sessions can range from sharing successful campaign efforts to workshopping a new initiative or idea.

We invite proposals on many subjects and issue areas that reflect meaningful diversity with attention to race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexuality, disability, region, culture, and class.

At In Solidarity 2017, Innovation in Motion session presenters:

  • Shared how a regional alliance of girls’ organizations partnered with a school district to advance policy reforms identified by students;
  • Discussed how they created a digital campaign to support and engage with young moms;
  • Released a toolkit for administering community-based services to at-risk and systems-involved Latina youth;
  • Used Theatre of the Oppressed in an interactive workshop designed to build sisterhood and common ground;
    And led more than a dozen other presentations and workshops

All proposals must be received by 5:00 pm PST on December 1, 2018. Proposals will be evaluated by a committee of individuals representing National Crittenton and Crittenton agencies across the country.

If accepted to participate, up to two individuals ages 25 and younger will receive free registration and up to two individuals ages 26 and older will recieve a 50% discount on registration. All participants must provide their own travel and lodging.

Important Dates
Proposal due: December 1, 2018
Acceptance notification: December 20, 2018
Conference date: May 9-11, 2019

Learn more and submit a proposal here. 

Register for the conference here

Hateful Notes found in Muslim Girl’s bin at Elementary School According to Superintendent

uthorities in Framingham are investigating a potential hate crime at an elementary school.

Superintendent Robert Tremblay says they found letters containing hateful messages and threats against a 10-year-old Muslim girl at the Hemenway Elementary School.

The letters were put inside the student’s bin at the school, according to Tremblay.

One note read: “You’re a terrorist,” while another said: “I will kill you.”

“You can only imagine a 10-year-old seeing that someone wants to take her life,” said the girl’s uncle, Jamaal Siddiqui. “It’s very scary. For her, she’s not going to get the full understanding of how serious a matter this is. For an adult like my brother and sister-in-law to see that, they can only fear for their kid and all the other kids in that school. It’s sickening to the stomach to even see something like that.”

Read more at WHDH.

Disproportionate Suspensions of Students of Color Addressed in Virginia

Black girls and other girls of color are more likely to be suspended from school than their white peers in Virginia, according to the National Women’s Law Center. It’s a nationwide trend, and there’s a move in the commonwealth to tackle those disparities in discipline.

What’s been called “school pushout” can sometimes happen for arguably vague reasons, such as “talking back” or “having an attitude.” A girl’s dress can also play a role in exclusions from class.

“Not necessarily for incidents of violence, or disobedience, or any of those things, but oftentimes, something as simple as a head wrap,” said state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, who represents part of Prince William and Stafford counties.

Carroll Foy and other advocates hosted a forum in Richmond, Virginia, on Saturday to discuss how bias in school discipline impacts the access to equal education for students of color, who are disproportionately affected by harsher punishments compared to their white peers.

Read more at WTOP. 

So, Here’s the Thing About Young Black Girls Who Only Play With White Dolls

Research confirms that brown skin girls that only play with white dolls often grow up thinking that being “white” is beautiful, and that being “black” or “brown” is ugly!

And it’s the same for young girls that only play with dolls with straight hair… They often grow up believing that “straight” hair is beautiful, but “kinky” or “natural” hair is not attractive!

But there is an easy way to save young Black girls from this epidemic! Black parents can start buying their children dolls that make them proud of who they are… dolls with a beautiful brown skin tone, and kinky or natural hair — dolls that look like them!

Read more at The Dallas Weekly.

Young Women’s Initiative’s Blueprint for Action: Supporting Young Women of Color in the District of Columbi

The Blueprint represents the collective voice of more than 250 young women, policymakers, philanthropists, scholars, service providers, and government officials. It provides guidance for policymakers, government entities, community based organizations, school districts, and funders on how to address challenges identified by young women of color living in the District of Columbia.

Link to Blueprint

‘Queen talk’: Pittsburgh Black Women and Girls Describe How They Navigate the World

They are forced into either conforming or they are pushed out of the settings they happen to be in.”

“Sometimes it’s a struggle when people just don’t understand my culture.”

“There’s not a certain archetype of what a black girl is like. A black girl can be, like, so many things.”

For two days in September, PublicSource attended the 2018 Gwen’s Girls Black Girl Equity Summit. Black girls in middle schools and high schools from around the Pittsburgh region met to create guiding principles that will help prevent or even abolish discrimination and oppression of black girls in Allegheny County.

Read more at Public Source

Listen to Black girls. They Know What They Need Best.

I knew the purpose of the 3rd Annual Equity Summit, hosted by Gwen’s Girls and the Black Girls Equity Alliance, was a worthy one. It was most certainly an event I wanted to observe as a Masters of Social Work student at the University of Pittsburgh. What I didn’t foresee was how much hearing from the Black girls themselves would affect me and teach me.

I have been eager to focus my social work practice and research on the inequities that Black girls face. Thus, attending the summit was the perfect way for me to learn from community members, researchers, organizations, practitioners and service providers who were actively doing the work that I hope to be doing in the future.

Fifty young Black women were present, all from different high schools in the area. They were given the space and time to share their experiences in group sessions and workshops, where they had a chance to develop a Black Girls’ Equity Agenda on the different issues they face in their schools, homes and communities.

Read more at Public Source.

Black Girls are Left out of National Debate on Sexual Violence

With the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States, I am left fighting a sense of helplessness and despair. Many Americans hoped that Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, alleging the judge had sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, would impact the confirmation process.

Instead, survivors around the nation were sent the message: “We don’t believe you. And even if we did, your experience doesn’t matter.”

I didn’t watch the hearings live. I spent the day at the Gwen’s Girls Equity Summit, focusing on ways to eradicate the inequities Black girls experience in educational, health care, juvenile justice and child welfare settings. While Dr. Ford was forced to share the gruesome details of her past traumatic experience, I was paying witness to brave Black girls speaking out about their experiences of sexual violence today.

Read more at Public Source