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

An Exploratory Essay Confronting the Issues Involving Children with Incarceration Parents and How to Break the Cycle

As a child, my mother would stand on the porch of the third floor projects in the St. Bernard Housing Development and scream my name when it was time to come inside. Worried about what was waiting in the hallways leading to our apartment, she would meet me half way to ensure my safety. You see, trauma was normal growing up, but the hardest part was finding the best way to deal with it.

This November, I’ll be thirty-five years old. To some, it is a time to celebrate, but for me, it is the time I fight to hold back tears because it means another year my dad has been incarcerated. For thirty-five years, I have been denied the opportunity to wake up and say, “Good morning, Daddy,” and “Have a great day.” Instead, I have repeatedly heard, “You have a collect call from an inmate at a Louisiana State Prison.” I have spent my life with my dad behind bars, trying to raise me as if he were present in my life. I cannot tell you what it is like to have dinner with my dad or to attend an event with him. I was never afforded that opportunity.

These are my words and my thoughts on breaking the cycle that children of incarcerated parents often face in New Orleans and how it affected me personally. In addition, this essay will argue for the critical role city and state officials, along with community leaders, have in providing solutions to end the trauma that children with incarcerated parents face. More importantly, this essay provides guidance on how to break the cycle of broken families in New Orleans.

Read more at Loyola Law Review. 

14 and Alone: The Girls Risking Everything to Get to America

Singing happily into the wind, 14-year-old Karla Vazquez looks like a carefree teenager embarking on a day trip. It is an exciting moment after all – it’s the first time the youngster has ever left home and the first time she has traveled alone.

But the reality is chilling – she may not know it, but Karla is embarking on a path that for many young women ends in rape, abuse and forced prostitution. She is no longer free – she is now “human cargo” under the control of a people smuggler who is guiding her group on a truck from Guatemala to Mexico, with the US border their ultimate destination.

But she does not appear to be perturbed as she braves the perilous mountain paths in the naive hope of securing a better future for her family.

Read more at SkyNews. 

A New Study on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Highlights Challenges

An alarming number of Indigenous women and girls disappear or are murdered each year. The absence of consistent, standardized reporting on the issue has prevented researchers from gaining a true understanding of the problem. However, a new report released by the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI), a tribal epidemiology center, aims to shed light on the cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).

Entitled “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” the report identified 506 cases across 71 cities. The cities included in the report were selected based on whether there was a significant population of urban American Indians, a large number of MMIWG cases, or an urban American Indian health center affiliated with UIHI.

Read more at Nonprofit Quarterly 

“He Just Pulled a Gun On Us”: Racist White Man Confronted by Muslim Girls

The scene at a Minnesota McDonald’s could’ve turned out a lot worse than it did on Tuesday. In a video tweeted by someone called StanceGrounded, it shows a group of younger people confronting an older white man, who appears to be backing his way out of the store.

Then, panic can be heard from the young crowd when they say the man has a gun.

“He has a gun, he has a gun,” the people shouted.

One store worker appears and wags his finger at the remaining crowd in the store saying, “Everybody out. Everybody out.”

Read more at Newsweek. 

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.

They Were Stopped at the Texas Border. Their Nightmare Had Only Just Begun.

The Border Patrol agent, she remembers, was calm when he tied her to the tree and put silver duct tape over her mouth. He said very little.

She was a 14-year-old undocumented immigrant who had just crossed the Rio Grande, traveling with a teenage friend and the friend’s mother from Honduras. They had hoped to surrender to the Border Patrol and stay in the United States.

But instead of taking them in for processing, the agent, Esteban Manzanares, had driven them to an isolated, wooded area 16 miles outside the border city of McAllen, Tex. There he sexually assaulted the friend and viciously attacked her and her mother, twisting their necks, slashing their wrists and leaving them, finally, to bleed in the brush. Then he led the 14-year-old girl to the tree.

“I only asked him why he was doing this,” she recalled. “Why me? He would only say that he had been thinking about it for days. He had been thinking about this for days.”

Read more at The New York Times 

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.