Philly’s Latinx girls need more mental health support

Growing up in North Philadelphia in a Latino household, we never talked about mental health. But I knew something was off when, at age 15, I stopped wanting to go to school and was feeling depressed. Like many kids, I turned to my mom first — telling her I wanted to talk to somebody. But the Latino community faces a lot of stigmas when it comes to our mental health.

As a community, only 20 percent of us who have symptoms of a psychological disorder will talk to a doctor about our concerns and, even worse, only 10 percent of Latinos will contact a mental-health specialist, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health. That’s why it should come as no surprise that my mom’s response was, “you’re just having a bad day. I have bad days, too.” But I wasn’t just having a bad day. Soon enough, I was skipping school on a regular basis and feeling sad all the time.

Read more at the Philadelphia Inquirer 

The Pedagogy of Pathologization: Dis/abled Girls of Color in the School-Prison Nexus

Subini Ancy Annamma’s The Pedagogy of Pathologization: Dis/abled Girls of Color in the School-Prison Nexus portrays the processes and social factors that place the bodies of multiply-marginalised dis/abled women of colour in the criminal justice system, while also putting the voices and experiences of these individuals at the centre of the book. Annamma adopts Beth Ritchie’s (2012) notion of a ‘prison nation’ and situates schools within this in order to understand how a ‘societal goal’ for public education is to fill prisons.

Throughout, Annamma chooses the term ‘dis/abled’ to signify ability as based on social context, continually shifting over time, rather than as a fixed state. In reference to her subjects, Annamma uses the word ‘girls’, though they are well into their teenage, secondary school years. In her discussions, Annamma demonstrates a commitment to intersectionality and DisCrit, which calls for a critical lens that recognises the ways that race and dis/ability are socially constructed interdependently with material, social and political impacts. Annamma employs this lens in order to understand the process behind the creation of the criminal identity in the juvenile incarceration centre and to create a pedagogy of resistance.

Read more about The Pedagogy of Pathologization on LSE’s US website.

Buy the book here. 

Monique Morris: Why Are Black Girls More Likely To Be Punished In School?

About Monique Morris’s TED Talk

Black girls are disproportionately punished more often in schools. Monique Morris says schools should be a place for healing rather than punishment to help black girls reach their full potential.

Learn more at NPR

4 Black Middle School Girls Allegedly Strip-Searched At New York State School

A community in New York state is loudly protesting after four Black girls, under suspicion of having drugs, were allegedly questioned and strip-searched by the school nurse and assistant principal at East Middle School in Binghamton.

According to the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin, almost 200 community members packed into a school board meeting, demanding why the board had taken no action in response to the alleged searches that apparently occurred after the girls, who are Black, appeared “hyper and giddy during their lunch hour.”

“The children were instructed to remove their clothing, and felt shamed, humiliated and traumatized by the experience,” said Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow, a local organization in the area.

The school said that they investigated the incident, citing the current law and policy which allows students to be searched in a school building by an administrator “when the administrator reasonably suspects that a student’s health is in danger or is in possession of a substance that may harm themselves or others.”

Read more at Essence. 

Women and Girls of Color Need Justice Too

A growing number of individuals have expressed support for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ harmful Title IX proposed rules on sexual harassment, including sexual assault, in schools by pitting the rights of sexual assault survivors against efforts to further racial justice.

By doing this, these individuals—often white, self-identified feminists or conservative men—erase the experiences of survivors of color, particularly Black women and girls, who are frequently disbelieved and blamed when reporting sexual assault, pressured to stay silent about their assaults, and pushed into the criminal justice system (referred to as the “sexual abuse-to-prison pipeline”).

As survivor-advocates of color working at the intersections of racial and gender justice, we understand that women and girls of color are disproportionately targeted for sexual harassment and assault in schools. The blatant disregard for the lives of survivors of color is a common and misguided tactic that creates a false choice between protecting survivors and protecting against racially biased disciplinary practices.

Read more at ReWire

Education Dept. Safety Report Recommends Ending Discipline Policies That Protect Students Of Color

A federal commission headed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a long-awaited school safety report today that recommends, among other things, that the Department of Education abandon Obama-era policies aimed at protecting children of color from excessive discipline in school. The 177-page report says that disciplinary decisions should be left to classroom teachers and local administrators who should not have to follow guidance issued by the federal government.

Under President Obama, in 2014 the administration put districts on notice that they could be in violation of federal civil rights law if students of color were suspended, expelled or otherwise disciplined at higher rates than white students. According to the education department’s civil rights office, among the 2.6 million students suspended each year, African-American boys are three times more likely than white boys to be suspended, African-American girls are six times more likely than white girls to be suspended, and students with disabilities are more than twice as likely as other students to be suspended.

Research shows that when students are suspended, expelled or arrested, they are more likely to drop out of school and suffer negative consequences. Critics of discriminatory discipline, including the ACLU, have called it the “school to prison pipeline.”

Read more at Forbes

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.