FACT: According to a 2011 report by the Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project, allegations of sexual misconduct followed excessive force as the second-highest form of misconduct reported.
CONSEQUENCE: The likelihood that Black and brown women and girls are most at risk of experiencing physical and sexual abuse by police, which can negatively impact Black women's health and wellness as well as result in the over-policing and criminalizing of girls and women of color, is high. Black women, for instance, are already by sexual assault and intimate partner violence. The likelihood that victims will feel safe reporting is low and the likelihood police departments will actually report the truth is high. Women and girls of color are impacted by a web of blue violence that are wholly ignored.
INTERVENTION: The federal government lacks a national police misconduct tracking process that mandates across-board policies and procedures to be followed by local and regional police units. The federal government should track police misconduct by type and frequency and effectively respond to ameliorate incidents of blue on Black violence, including sexual misconduct. The policy reform & movement communities must also turn its attention to the ways blue on Black violences are gendered.
FACT: Approximately 72% of Black children are born to single mothers.
CONSEQUENCE: Pathologizing of single moms in lieu of policies/legislation that economically support women/mothers. Generational poverty. Negative mental/physical health outcomes for parents and children.
INTERVENTION: Commission/examination of family policies to ensure that they are truly working to improve the lives of single Black mothers and their children (e.g. Subsidized, regulated childcare for all. Minimum of 16 weeks paid family leave for new parents (see proposed DC policy). Cessation of federally funded marriage promotion programs.)
FACT: Black women earn 64 cents on the white male dollar. If the wage and gender gap in the US, a Black woman working full time all year could afford another 153 more weeks of food.
CONSEQUENCE: Every day 230 Black people die from health inequities in the US. Poverty and racism leads to malnutrition and stress that directly impacts the health of Black women and children. Research has shown that the stress of poverty increases disease risk and lowers quality of life. As a result, Black infants have the highest mortality rates in the US, & Black men and women are most likely to have heart failure, high blood pressure, and stroke; Black women are also more likely than other women to have coronary heart disease.
INTERVENTION: President Obama needs to stop funding personalized medicine and health behavior based public health interventions. Black women are not to blame for their low quality of health. We have more than enough research work showing that structural inequality causes health disparities not genes. It’s time for funding to go into public health interventions designed to provide good quality & affordable food, housing, and equal wages to Black women and girls to improve their quality of life rather than funds going to develop drugs when what they need is social, political, and economic equity.
FACT: The statistics are clear that at least 80% of girls who are involved in the juvenile justice system have been victims of sexual violence and we know that at least 6 out of every 10 Black girls has been a victim of sexual violence, including those girls who are NOT system involved. The profile of a PACE girl is the profile of a girl in crisis, but it is not a crisis of her choosing. It is a crisis perpetuated by the accident of her birth into a house that is predominantly headed by a woman in crisis who was born to another woman in crisis. What we see in our girls and their families is systemic, generational brokenness that finds its roots in trauma.
CONSEQUENCE: So why should we care? For the purposes of PACE, I can tell you that of the 2,130 girls that we served during our 2014-2015 academic year, 74% were failing one or more classes when they reached us. 50% had a parent or sibling in prison or on probation. 50% were living in a single-parent household. Almost 40% had a history of mental health disorders and suicidal ideation and 40% had already initiated sexual activity. This means girls are not okay and the chances of them thinking a misguided boy’s complement is worthy of access to her body are very high… which means the chance of another generation of girls in crisis is very high UNLESS WE INTERVENE and INTERVENE QUICKLY.
INTERVENTION: We need Congress to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act with a focus on investment in proven programs and strategies that prevent delinquency and intervene early in the path toward delinquency. We need Congress to provide funding that specifically serves girls who have a very particular set of challenges that must be addressed through a gendered, trauma-informed lens.
FACT: In April of 2015, the National Domestic Violence Hot-Line conducted a survey of about 640 women who had called them for help. They were equally divided between those who had and had not sought help from law enforcement. Of the half that had not sought help from law enforcement, 17% said they feared the police would be violent or arrest them. Of the half that had called police, 24% said they had been arrested or threatened with arrest when they sought help from police.
CONSEQUENCE: These facts explain why Black women may be reluctant to seek law enforcement or other responses, even as we understand that they are three times more likely to die at the hands of a current or former intimate partner than any other racial group.
INTERVENTION: The Obama Administration should: 1)replicate programs that provide trauma-informed training and counseling to our public schools to ensure that Black girls and young women are less likely to end up in the school to prison pipeline; 2) ensure adequate infrastructural and financial support for community-based programs
FACT: Black Families are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity. 1 in 4 African American families are food insecure. 1 in 3 African American children are food insecure.
CONSEQUENCES: Disparities in food consumption equate to disparities in health. African American Women and girls live in communities that are without adequate access to healthful foods and limited access to facilities that promote physical activity. Unhealthy diets and food insecurity rob health and well-being. Unhealthy diets food insecurity and food insecurity are death sentences for African American women and girls.
INTERVENTION: President Obama should issue and the Executive Order mandating to make food justice a part of the mission of the USDA similar to the E.O order 12898 that mandates environmental justice for communities of color. The Food Justice E.O will direct the USDA to consider the impact of its policies and programs thru an equity lens on communities of color. The Food Justice E.O will identify and address the disproportionately high and adverse human health, agricultural production, and policy effects of the USDA on communities of color - specifically its impacts on women and children. The order should include the development of a strategy for implementing food justice by prioritizing that include culturally appropriate community-centric interventions that engage African American women. Additionally, the Food Justice E.O should promote nondiscrimination in federal programs that affect human health, agriculture, and food access. The E.O should form an Interagency Working Group (IWG) on food justice chaired by the USDA and comprised of the heads of relevant departments or agencies, Food Justice advocates and several White House offices.
#WWCW Reading List
For the Why We Can't Wait Campaign AAPF engaged in conversations, released open letters, 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 built the campaign 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 purporting to uplift the lives of youth of color cannot narrow its focus exclusively on just half of the 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.
On this page is a collection of the articles and essays produced by the #whywecantwait movement. In addition, we have featured suggested works that we feel embody the #whywecantwait spirit.
We hope you continue to follow our campaign, and feel free to reach out to us with any questions, comments, or concerns about the campaign at .
Recommendations from the AAPF:
What Would Real Love for Women and Girls of Color Look Like?, AAPF, available here.
Reasons #WhyWeCantWait and why #BlackGirlsMatter
Why Intersectionality Can't Wait, Kimberle Crenshaw, Washington Post, available here.
The Girls Obama Forgot, Kimberle Crenshaw, New York Times, available here.
#HerDreamDeferred: an online series on the status of Black women, AAPF, available here.
Female Visibility Matters, Salamishah Tillet, New York Times, available here.
Black Men and White Women Leapfrog over Black Women, Oscar Blayton, Black Press, available here.
Including Black women and girls
Barack Obama Gave the Most Important Racial Justice Speech of His Presidency. Here's Why, Brittney Cooper, Salon, available here.
Obama's Call to Lift Up Black Women Gets Applause, But Some Want Specific plan, Vanessa Williams, Washington Post, available here.
We Need to be Our Brother's and Sister's Keeper, Luke Charles Harris, Black Press, available here.
Why Girls of Color Should be Included in My Brother’s Keeper, Salamishah Tillet, The Root, available here.
Why Did President Obama Leave Out the Girls?, Paul Butler, CNN, available here.
“Not Going to Lie Down and Take It”: Black Women are Being Overlooked By This President, Britney Cooper, Salon, available here.
Am I My Sister’s Keeper?, Kiese Laymon, Ms. Magazine, available here.
Darnell l. Moore on Love, Liberation and Critiquing 'My bBrother's Keeper', Darnell Moore, Ebony, available here.
A Systems Perspective to ‘My Brother’s Keeper’, Marlon Peterson, The Brooklyn Reader, available here.
#SayHerName: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, AAPF, available here.
Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected, AAPF, available here.
Black Girls Also Victims of Gun Violence, Marlon Peterson, Black Press, available here.
5 Black Women Share Their Experiences With the Police, Darnell Moore, Mic, available here.
The Criminalization of the Black Woman, Raven Rakia, Ebony, available here.
The Truth Commission on Black Women and Sexual Violence, Black Women's Blueprint, available here.
Can 'Baby Bonds' Eliminate the Racial Wealth Gap in Putative Post-Racial America?, Darrick Hamilton & William Darity, Jr., available here.
African American Women & the Wage Gap, National Partnership for Women and Families, available here.
From a Tangle of Pathology to a Race-Fair America, Darrick Hamilton & William Darity, Jr., available here.
The Pay Gap is Even Worse for Black Women, and That’s Everyone’s Problem, AAUW, available here.
Study Finds Education Does Not Close Racial Wealth gap, Brockton Booker, NPR, available here.