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#BLACKGIRLSMATTER:
COUNTERING CRIMINALIZATION IN AND OUT OF SCHOOLS

Monday, March 28, 2016

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 a 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.

Panelists:

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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.

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

  • Anya Kamenetz's piece on the book was recently featured as the week's best story from NPR books.

  • 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”

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#STANDINGUPFORMOM: 
RESISTING THE WAR ON BLACK SINGLE MOTHERS

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The 2010 census reported that 40 percent of births happen out of wedlock. This number is even higher for Black women and other women of color. When it comes to white women, the single mother narrative is becoming increasingly positive, but increased acceptance, understanding, and support has yet to be extended to single Black mothers. In discussions on closing the racial opportunity gap, blaming systemic inequities on absent fathers and the inadequacies of present mothers continues to be deemed an acceptable viewpoint across the political spectrum.

 

In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan demonized Black mothers in his (in)famous report on Black America: “a community that allows a large number of men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority...that community asks for and gets chaos.” Fifty years later, Black women raising children outside of traditional definitions of a nuclear family continue to be subject to demonization, criminalization, and damaging stereotypes casting them as “welfare queens” and “unfit mothers.” Instead of labeling Moynihan’s vision as sexist and outdated, decision-makers celebrated his vision as we marked the 50th anniversary of the Moynihan report in 2015, with outlets such as the Washington Post publishing pieces titled, “Was the Moynihan Report right? Sobering findings after the 1965 study is revisited.”

 

In reality, Black women are the primary breadwinners in a majority of Black households. If we truly seek to uplift black communities, we need policies that support mothers who are present and raising their children. We need to bolster the social safety net and combat the earnings gap so that all Americans have a shot at creating a financially secure life for their family—regardless of whether that family fits the patriarchal model deemed as the norm.

 

Join us for a critical conversation as we explore an intersectional understanding of single motherhood. How can we expand this discourse to be inclusive? What unique challenges do single Black mothers face? How can our communities best support them? And how can we foster an intersectional conversation about single motherhood that encompasses the diverse experiences of all single mothers?

Featuring:

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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

BUILDING THE CAPACITY TO CREATE CHANGE

KNOW THE ISSUE. UNDERSTAND THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT:

Prepare yourself to be an Advocate:

  • Write, call or email your state's Department of Labor and urge them to adopt and find ways to implement the following research-based policy recommendations from #HDD 2016:

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH RESOURCES TO LEARN AND SHARE:

  • Heidi Hartman's article on Moynihan's (in)famous 1965 report titled The Negro Family: The Case for National Action

  • CNN Reports: mom arrested for leaving nine-year-old daughter alone in park

  • Proposed legislation in Illinois could make life even harder for single mothers. Coverage from Chicagoist

  • Why We Martyr Single Dads But Demonize Single Moms (And What To Do About It), Everyday Feminist article about countering the double standard

  • Victoria Law on 35 years of demonization and criminalization of Black women in the winter 2016 issue of The Public Eye

  • The Attack On Black Single Mothers: Outrunning Stereotypes, Carrying the Burden, Denene Millner's article on My Brown Baby from Summer 2015

  • Census Data on custodial mothers and fathers and their child support

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RACE AND GENDER BELOW THE MASON-DIXON:

THE STATUS OF WOMEN OF COLOR IN THE SOUTH

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

While women of color in the South have seen gains in educational attainment, business ownership, and voter turnout, they also face disproportionately high poverty rates and lower earnings than men or white women.  What can be done to speed up the pace of progress for women of color in the south? What unique intersectional challenges does this population face and how can we advance policies that meet their needs?

 

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research first ever Status of Women in the South report is the first report to provide a comprehensive portrait of the status of women, particularly the status of women of color, in the southern united states. The report grades each state on how they are doing in six different issue areas related to women’s economic, political, health, and social status.

 

This webinar will feature IWPR president Heidi Hartmann and postdoctoral fellow Chandra Childers, who will give an overview of the most pressing challenges facing women of color in the south. The conversation will focus on advancing the political and economic power of women of color in the south, including millennial women, older women, immigrant women, rural women, LGBT women, and women with disabilities.

Panelists:

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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

BUILDING THE CAPACITY TO CREATE CHANGE

KNOW THE ISSUE. UNDERSTAND THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT:

Prepare yourself to be an Advocate:

  • Write, call or email your state's Department of Labor and urge them to adopt and find ways to implement the following policy recommendations from the Institute for Women's Policy Research:

    • Implement concrete methods to enforce the Equal Pay Act.

    • Ask whether your state supports 'Right-to-work' laws (11 of 14 Southern states do), and if so, why? These laws prevent women from their right to unionize and advocate for higher earnings and benefits.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH RESOURCES TO LEARN AND SHARE:

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THE UNSPEAKABLE TRUTH:

THE REALITY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AT HBCUS

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The statistics surrounding on-campus sexual assault are staggering. At least 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college. Nine in 10 women sexually assaulted on college campuses know the perpetrator, and nearly 40 percent of cases reported are not investigated by colleges and universities. It is no wonder that 90 percent of these violent interactions are never reported. While strides have been made in bringing the epidemic of campus sexual assault out of the shadows and into the light of public concern, this conversation has largely centered around white students at elite institutions. Women of color are victims of campus sexual assault too and need to be included in definitions of who can be a victim and strategies for solutions.

 

While studies have shown that incidents of sexual assaults on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are lower than they are on the predominantly white institutions (PWIs), the rates we see at HBCUs are alarming and possibly even more underreported than those at PWIs. Uniquely intersectional dynamics at HBCU campuses can place additional barriers on students not to come forward about their assaults. “it's like you don't want to turn in the 'brother' who's doing well on campus," one student reported. "you know there's so few of them, and so maybe it's really not so bad." addressing the societal and cultural differences that silence women at HBCUs is a matter of grave importance.

 

Join us as we break the silence on the unspeakable truth that black women are experiencing campus sexual assault. Speakers include Jamilah Lemieux, Farah Tanis, and other intersectional advocates who will tackle these questions: how can we combat the media erasure of campus assault at HBCUs? How can we foster dialogue about gender-based violence in these spaces while avoiding racist tropes criminalizing black youth? How can we expand widely accepted definitions of who can be a victim of sexual assault to include Black women?

Featuring:

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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

BUILDING THE CAPACITY TO CREATE CHANGE

KNOW THE ISSUE. UNDERSTAND THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT:

Prepare yourself to be an Advocate:

  • Are you an HBCU student who cares about this issue? Work with peers and your university's 'Student Wellness' group to hold them accountable to:

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH RESOURCES TO LEARN AND SHARE:​​

  • For Harriet article: “Sexual Assault and HBCUs: Deepening the Conversation”

  • Mic article: “These Challenges Are Why Sexual Assault at HBCUs Isn't Talked About Enough” (from Dec. 2015)

  • BuzzFeed article on silencing of victims of sexual assault at HBCUs (focus on Spelman and Morehouse)

  • Diverse: Issues in Higher Education article on HBCU Sexual Assault Study

  • National Institute of Justice Report: “The Historically Black College and University Campus Sexual Assault (HBCU-CSA) Study” (2010)

  • City Paper article: “Why are black women less likely to report rape?”

  • The Root article: “The Changing Culture of Sexual Assault on College Campuses”

  • Clutch article: “Sexual Assault Cases Are Lower at HBCUs, But That Doesn’t Stop Criticism”

  • Huffington Post article: “How Title IX Failed These Black Women Who Spoke Out About Their Rape Allegations”

  • Report: “The Sexual Assault of Undergraduate Women at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)” (2011)

  • Maroon Tiger article: “Sexual Assaults on Black College Campuses”

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NEGLECTED AT HOME AFTER SERVING ABROAD:

THE STORY OF BLACK WOMEN VETERANS

Friday, April 1, 2016

Black women suffer disproportionately to both Black men and white women from the effects of America’s poor support of our veteran population. Black women are subjected to prolonged mistreatment while in the armed forces, and the effects of the sexual harassment/assault epidemic are felt more by Black female veterans. Upon discharge, Black women suffer a disproportionate incidence of military sexual trauma, and the lack of effective resources to aid their transition to civilian status has contributed to their high presence in the homeless population.

 

Military service purportedly offers the benefits of job training, funding for higher education, and access to a steady middle-class career with excellent benefits. In recent years, Black women have been enlisting in the us military at higher rates than any other demographic, and Black women currently represent nearly a third of all women in the armed forces. Yet military culture uniquely harms black women in myriad ways. For instance, the military recently banned certain hairstyles disproportionately favored by black women.

 

Even more concerning is the rate of sexual violence Black women are subject to in the army. 43 percent of African-American veterans suffer from PTSD, and one in three women in the armed forces is sexually assaulted at some point during her service; nearly twice the rate of the civilian population. Black women generally hold lower ranks than their white male or female counterparts despite having more years of service. This power imbalance causes black women to experience sexual harassment and assault at a disproportionate rate.

 

Join us for a conversation where we explore the under-discussed marginalization and abuse of black women who serve and protect our country.

Featuring:

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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

BUILDING THE CAPACITY TO CREATE CHANGE

KNOW THE ISSUE. UNDERSTAND THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT:

Prepare yourself to be an Advocate:

  • Contact your state's Veterans Affairs office and ask about the existence of the following. If they're not active on these items, ask why and share back with your community to inform and mobilize towards change:

    • Training of staff at VA women’s centers and clinics on how to work with Black women veterans specifically and how to be sensitive to their needs.

    • Culturally competent gender-responsive services to address racialized sexual harassment.

    • Policy reforms to improve the gaps in benefits and care provision for returning veterans

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH RESOURCES TO LEARN AND SHARE:​​​

  • The National Association of Black Military Women

  • “Herstory” campaign: “mission to seek out, record and tell the history of Black Military Women. If you are a Black Military Woman who is serving or if you know a Black Military Woman who has served and passed on, we need “YOUR or THEIR STORY”.”

  • Article from Colorlines: “Female Veterans Are Fastest Growing Segment of Homeless Population: Black females disproportionately affected”

  • Huffington Post article: “Why Do Black Women Have to Look Like White Women to Serve Their Country?”

  • Learn about the death of LaVena Johnson

    • Read this article from The Source

    • Sign this petition on Change.org: “It's Time to ACT Now! Claim Justice for PFC. LaVena Johnson”

    • Watch the trailer for The Silent Truth, a documentary on the story of LaVena Johnson’s death

  • Read this article from The Grio: “Black victim of sexual assault in the military speaks out”

  • Read this article from MinnPost, “'Back Home': Female veterans often find unwelcoming system, insensitive treatment”

  • Article from AlterNet

  • Article from Indian Country-Today Media Network, "Native American Women Warriors Celebrate Inauguration While Raising Awareness for Native Female Veterans"

  • A News21 demographic analysis shows that 17.4 percent of post-9/11 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are women. More than a quarter of those women are black, almost twice the proportion found in the entire U.S. population. Yet, these same women are less likely to find a job than male veterans and more likely to be a single parent with children to support, interviews and records show.”

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