In his speech to the Congressional Black Caucus, while applauding Black women’s role as civic leaders and social change agents, President Obama also pointed to the inequality this population continues to experience:
“I want to talk more about what we have to do to provide full opportunity and equality for our women and girls in America today. Because all of us are beneficiaries of a long line of Black women who helped carry this country forward,” he said. “It makes a mockery of our economy when black women make thirty fewer cents for every dollar a white man earns.”
The African American Policy Forum commends the President for his recognition of the leadership role Black women historically and presently take in American society. We look forward to seeing what concrete action the White House will take to follow through on the impetus to support women and girls of color expressed in his speech.
Over the past year and a half, the African American Policy Forum has engaged in conversations, released open letters and statements, hosted town halls, published a variety of op-eds, conducted television and radio interviews, and produced a series of nationally-broadcast Webinars concerning President Obama's signature initiative, "My Brother's Keeper." We have built a campaign (#WhyWeCantWait) calling for the inclusion of girls and young women of color–in addition to boys and young men of color–in the initiative, because we believe that any program truly endeavoring to uplift the lives of youth of color must broaden its focus to the entire community. We understand that the personal and institutional barriers facing boys and young men of color must also be confronted by our sisters, and any racial justice initiative geared towards removing those barriers must account for the lives of all youth of color. If the air is toxic, it is toxic for everyone who has to breathe it.
Implications of the need for more inclusive interventions to address disparities facing women and girls of color are more deeply explored in the context of education in #BlackGirlsMatter and the context of police violence in #SayHerName.
Please work with us to advocate for a racial justice agenda that includes people of color of all genders. Click Here to let us know how you'd like to get involved!
Potential areas of collaboration include partnering on town hall hearing and focus groups in your local communities, submitting op-eds and letters to the editor to your local paper, reaching out to local politicians, and hosting a teach-in surrounding Black Girls Matter or Say Her Name. Please feel free to email us with questions or additional ideas for partnership.
COMMUNICATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Check out our #BlackGirlsMatter social media guide for sample tweets and images
Click here to read and share our Black Girls Matter Toolkit which includes talking points, a draft letter that you can send to local elected officials, BGM lesson plans, and other concrete next steps for organizers
Join our Twitter #BlackGirlsMatter Call-To-Action! Tweet your story of being burdened as a girl of color at school, include a photo, and tag #BlackGirlsMatter. Read more here!
Send a 30 second video to firstname.lastname@example.org, either of you or a group, telling America why #BlackGirlsMatter
Send a letter to your local paper, and let us know when it's published. We'll make sure it is seen.
COMMUNITY ORGANIZING AND EDUCATION
AAPF is working with communities to host town hall hearings in cities across the country to elevate the voices and experiences of women and girls of color in calling for targeted supports to meet their needs. Join AAPF in hosting a local town hall hearing. Contact us at email@example.com if you are interested in partnering.
Join AAPF’s Focus Group series to elevate the voices and experiences of girls and women of color in your community.
Host a discussion at home, at church, over a meal, at the salon or beauty parlor, to talk about girls and women of color in your community. What challenges and issues do they face? What should be done, and how can we serve both our boys and girls? This will integrate girls and women into conversations about what we need and want as a community.
Work with community groups to analyze how male-exclusive funding impacts local organizations and how you can collectively further your ability to advance change for women and girls, as well as men and boys.
Host a teach-in on #SayHerName or #BlackGirlsMatter
Send a letter to local politicians demanding targeted efforts to support women and girls of color. You can use the sample letter in our Toolkit.
Call your elected representatives and local advocacy groups and tell them to raise the question about girls and women of color. Ask them what they've done to support women and girls of color, and what they can do to bring their issues out of the shadows. You can find your representatives’ contact information here by entering you zip code here.
Is your city one of eleven cities working in partnership with the National League of Cities and Open Societies Foundation on their Campaign for Black Male Achievement? Has your City signed onto My Brother’s Keeper? If you live in one these cities, contact your mayor and other city leadership to demand inclusion of women and girls of color in new programs, along with systemic solutions to the inequities experienced by everyone in our communities.