#BlackGirlsMatter:
Countering Criminalization In and Out of Schools

Fifteen-year-old Diamond stopped going to school the day she was expelled for lashing out at peers who constantly harassed and teased her for something everyone on the staff had missed: she was being trafficked for sex. After months on the run, she was arrested and sent to a detention center for violating a court order to attend school.

Stories like those of Diamond and eight-year-old, special-needs student, Jmiyha, who was handcuffed and arrested for throwing a temper tantrum, give faces to the widespread phenomenon of Black girls being criminalized from an young age. Black girls represent 16 percent of female students but almost half of all girls with school-related arrests. In her recently released book, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, Monique W. Morris chronicles the untold stories of Black girls across the country, whose intricate lives are misunderstood, highly judged, and degraded by the very institutions charged with helping them flourish. Giving these stories voice reveals how, despite obstacles, stigmas, stereotypes, and despair, Black girls still find ways to breathe remarkable dignity into their lives in classrooms, juvenile facilities, and beyond.

Join us for a webinar featuring Kimberle Crenshaw, Monique Morris, and other experts and stakeholders as we discuss the growing movement to address the needs of Black girls both in and out of the classroom. The conversation will highlight findings from Pushout, along with AAPF’s impactful report, Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected, which combined national department of education data with qualitative research on the experiences of girls of color in our nation’s public schools. The report revealed shocking statistics, including the fact that 90 percent of all girls suspended in New York in the 2011-2012 school year were Black, while not a single girl suspended was white.


Featuring:

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Monique Morris
Author, Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools

 

Priscilla Ocen
Professor, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

 

Samantha Master
Planned Parenthood

 

Nadiyah Shereff
Juvenile Justice Reform Advocate

 

MODERATED BY Kimberle Crenshaw
Professor of Law, Columbia and UCLA; Executive Director & Co-Founder of AAPF & The Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School


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What You Can Do To Help

Building the Capacity to Create Change

Know the issue. Understand the political environment:

Research the stories of Black girls being arrested in schools, sent to detention and/or solitary confinement over misdemeanors, and dying without explanation while in detention. Gather a few friends/family members and ask them to talk about their school’s disciplinary policies. Where were they helpful and where were they punitive? Who were the students who were/are most often ‘’getting in trouble’’? Discuss the stories of Black girls who have been killed in detention with the group and considering ways of ensuring that their experiences shape our police accountability agenda. Encourage them to conduct this same exercise with other friends and family.

 

Share Online:

Share a photo and the story of a Black girl in juvenile custody, using the hashtags #HerDreamDeferred and #BlackGirlsMatter.

Look to our 2016 social media guide to get ideas for sharing across platforms.

 

Transformative Conversations:

Organize a “know your rights” training specific to women’s experiences of policing for 10 Black girls you know. Use these resources as a guide:

  • Sample Workshop on Law Enforcement Violence Against Women of Color & Trans People of Color (from INCITE!)

     

Prepare Yourself to be an Advocate:

  • Call your school and ask them if they use zero tolerance policies, and share the results of that conversation with your community. If they do, you can connect with other parents and students to learn about experiences with such policies and organize with them to advocate against police involvement in schools. Share your process with us!

  • Write, call or email the U.S. Department of Education and/or the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and urge them to adopt and fully implement the recommendations put forth by the range of experts participating in #HDD 2016:

 

Surround Yourself with Resources to Learn and Share:

  • Report from AAPF: #BlackGirlsMatter: Pushed-Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected

  • Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique Morris

  • Webinar: Spring Valley is Everywhere

  • Webinar: Black Girls Matter: Pushed-Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected

  • #BlackGirlsMatter in the Media

  • What Happened to Gynnya McMillen in Jail? Article in The Daily Beast

  • Report:Race, Gender and the School-To-Prison Pipeline: Expanding Our Discussion to Include Black Girls” by Monique W. Morris & AAPF

  • Article by Monique W. Morris: “Education and The Caged Bird: Black Girls, School Pushout and the Juvenile Court School”

  • Girl Time: Literacy, Justice, and School-to-Prison Pipeline by Maisha Winn

  • The Atlantic’s interview with Monique Morris on Pushout

  • List of points from Black Women For Wellness: “The Criminalization of Black Girls in the American School System”

 

Creating Public Will:

Organize an event in your school district and community to highlight Black girls’ experiences of policing - it can be a rally, a vigil, a community forum, or a creative direct action to raise visibility of the issue. Or, you can join in local organizing around policing issues and ensure that Black girl’s experiences are reflected in signs, banners, speakers, and demands

For more organizing ideas, check out INCITE!'s Organizer's Toolkit on Law Enforcement Violence Against Women of Color and Trans People of Color and the palmcards and brochures, available here, and here. You can order copies here.


Related Resources

  • Report from AAPF: #BlackGirlsMatter: Pushed-Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected
     
  • Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique Morris
  • Webinar: Spring Valley is Everywhere
     
  • Webinar: Black Girls Matter: Pushed-Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected
     
  • #BlackGirlsMatter in the Media
     
  • What Happened to Gynnya McMillen in Jail? Article in The Daily Beast
     
  • Report: “Race, Gender and the School-To-Prison Pipeline: Expanding Our Discussion to Include Black Girls” by Monique W. Morris & AAPF
     
  • Article by Monique W. Morris: “Education and The Caged Bird: Black Girls, School Pushout and the Juvenile Court School” 
     
  • Girl Time: Literacy, Justice, and School-to-Prison Pipeline by Maisha Winn
     
  • The Atlantic’s interview with Monique Morris on Pushout
     
  • List of points from Black Women For Wellness: “The Criminalization of Black Girls in the American School System”

#BLACKGIRLSMATTER

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