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Women & Girls of Color Lead

According to a new Ms Foundation report, Pocket Change: How Women and Girls of Color do More with Less, organizations dedicated to women and girls of color are critically underfunded. However, these organizations, which are primarily led by women and girls of color, address multiple issue areas and employ multiple strategies in their work. The report includes recommendations for supporting the work of these organizations, including giving through public foundations, intermediaries, and targeted funds; being mindful of representation in leadership and decision-making, and being vocal and transparent about supporting women and girls of color. The issues prevalent in this report are felt more deeply by organizations led by women and girls of color, according to the study’s findings. This echoes reporting from The Lily which finds that many feminist organizations – including NOW, Feminist Majority, and AAUW – struggle to overcome their own racism and sideline women of color.

As A. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez writes for Teen Vogue, “Black women continue to fight for a better world with the back-breaking awareness that our lives seemingly aren’t seen as valuable enough to protect in the system at large or in our own homes…Our efforts to shine a spotlight on issues that affect Black women and girls will remain ineffective as long as others, particularly Black men and white women, turn away during our cries for help.”

new study from Girls Leadership looks at the leadership of girls of color, barriers to their leadership, and the influence of parents, mentors, and teachers. Among the findings: Black and Latinx girls have high leadership scores and report higher levels of confidence, Black girls are the most likely to self-identify as leaders, Black and Latinx girls agree that having role models of the same race/ethnicity is important, Black and Latinx parents are the most likely to identify as leaders, and teachers’ biases about leadership lead to deficit thinking that can be a barrier to the leadership development of girls of color. Learn about what teenage girl-identifying activists told NPR regarding their leadership and pandemic life.

Exposure to Violence

The fight for racial justice and the fight to end sexual violence are inextricably linked,” write Tarana Burke and Monica Ramirez for Elle. “…from chattel salvery to the prison industrial complex, these issues are part of a long history that starts at the place where racism and patriarchy meet, and where power and privilege were seeded.” Their article highlights the importance of centering survivors of sexual violence, particularly those of color, when addressing systemic racism and abolition. Read the Survivor’s Agenda here.

According to new investigative reporting from Bloomberg, 60% of the deadliest mass shootings over the past six years were preceded by domestic violence committed by men with a history of violence against women. Although this is not the first reporting to make the link between domestic violence and gun ownership, these findings are especially unsettling as the pandemic keeps people isolated in their homes and gun sales continue to increase.

Recent data on human trafficking in Louisiana shows that minors made up nearly 60% of victims reported through Louisiana’s social services agency in 2019 – the majority of whom were African American girls and young women.

New research from Harvard finds that violence and trauma in childhood can accelerate puberty, brain development, and cellular aging. Although neglect and chronic poverty can impact physical health, cognitive development, and social outcomes, these types of adversity did not have the same impact on biological aging.

Juvenile Justice

Grace, a 15-year-old from Michigan, was sent back to juvenile detention amid a global pandemic because Judge Mary Ellen Brennan ruled that not completing her online schoolwork violated the terms of her probation. In a time when advocates and families are urging their communities to release youth from juvenile detention facilities to protect youth from coronavirus, Grace was sent back to juvenile hall because – like many children – she was struggling with the transition to remote learning while managing her ADHD. Despite the widespread criticism and anger the news of Grace’s incarceration sparked, Judge Brennan refused to release her. After review by the Michigan Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals ordered Grace’s release from the facility where she was being held. Grace’s probation was finally terminated and her case closed, on August 11th. As John Kelley writes in The Imprint, Grace’s case sheds a light on the Valid Court Order Exception (VCO) – a loophole that remains in the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) despite broad consensus that it is harmful.

In an op-ed for the Crime Report, Naomi Evans and Marcy Mistrett discuss the “virus” of bigotry that exists within the youth justice system – noting how, despite reductions in the juvenile justice population over the last decade, major disparities continue to exist for youth of color and Black youth in particular. These disparities also exist in the child welfare system, where Black children are more likely to experience child abuse reporting, investigations and removals, and are less likely to be reunited with their parents.

Racism & School Discipline 

new study finds that the use of corporal punishment in present day schools – a practice that is still legal for public schools in 19 states and for private schools in 48 states – is most common in regions with a history of lynching. According to the study, “…schools in counties with more pronounced histories of violent racialized social control, where physical pain has long been used to discipline and punish marginalized populations, are more likely to employ corporal punishment, and disproportionately impose this punishment on Black students today.”

Even in schools where corporal punishment is banned, Black girls are often criminalized and harassed by police officers in school. According to an Education Post article by Nia Evans and Kayla Patrick, “Black girls make up 8% of girls enrolled in public schools, but 41% of girls arrested at school.” Advocates have long been calling for an approach to school safety that does not involve policing, and recent attention to police brutality has resulted in many school districts cancelling their contracts with local law enforcement – including the District of Columbia. Dr. Monique Morris writes on the importance of prioritizing the removal of cops from learning environments as schools begin to reopen: “It’s time to remove police from our schools and instead, invest in a more robust continuum of trauma-informed responses to negative student behavior that allow for accountability rooted in relationships, empathy, healing and learning. These are children, after all.”


In a piece for Jezebel, Cate Young writes about how the meme culture created around the death of Breonna Taylor has diluted conversations about what justice for Breonna Taylor really looks like. “Absent any specific call to actions, “arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” became a clarion call, divorced from Taylor’s life and image—the newest virtue signal of choice, one that defies the current conversation around the abolition of police and prisons.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Trump v. Pennsylvania gives employers the right to deny their employees birth control access via their employee insurance coverage if the employer is morally or religiously opposed to birth control. This overturns a mandate in the Affordable Care Act that covered preventive health services, including birth control, that saved women an estimated $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone in 2013. The decision “could result in up to 126,000 women losing contraceptive coverage.”

The Trump administration published a new rule allowing single-sex homeless shelters to discriminate against transgender individuals. Transgender people are more likely to experience homelessness and staying in a shelter that does not align with their gender-identity could put them at increased risk of violence. 122 U.S. House Representatives and 23 Senators issued a letter opposing the new rule.

Parenting & Child Care

Ascend at the Aspen Institute released seven new briefs that identify barriers that make it difficult for student parents to complete school and highlight solutions. The briefs cover a range of topics, including: an assessment of barriers, leveraging policy opportunities, financial supports, mental health interventions, family-friendly campuses, non-degree pathways, and networks for parents that reduce social stigma.

An evaluation of the Youth Villages Intercept program, which provides “an integrated approach to in-home parenting skill development,” finds that children referred to the program were less likely to be placed in foster care.

A survey conducted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children finds that 40% of U.S. child care centers say they’ll close permanently without further public assistance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.






“…this year has reminded me that Black lives matter everywhere and every day, and that they are not being protected or valued by American society, whether it be in schools, on sidewalks, in subways, in their cars, in bodegas, in magazines, in publishing, in healthcare—anywhere. And I was reminded yet again of this terrible truth, as my class finished Huckleberry Finn, when I heard the news of the murder of Breonna Taylor.”

Source: Adedayo Perkovich age 16, Op-Ed: Why We Rise

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