The Power to Change The Criminalization of Black Girls
Power to Change Stories
Black girls face threats of violence in all aspects of life — in their homes, communities, schools and beyond.
Domestic violence reached the forefront of the media with the story of Chris Brown and Rihanna’s violent 2008 relationship. At the time, girls all over the country were sharing their thoughts about the situation. As I was conversing with middle school girls about this event, it was alarming that so many of them unanimously felt that the attack had to be Rhianna’s fault and she must have caused the conflict. The reaction became the driving force in starting the Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program.
After founding Polished Pebbles in 2009, we were observing through our work and research that Black girls were facing the same threats of violence that Black boys were — they were growing up in the same homes, same neighborhoods, and walking to the same schools. The difference is that gun violence is most associated with boys and more commonly makes the headlines.
However, these young women are facing what’s known as the criminalization of Black girls which results in them being over-suspended from school, over-expelled from school, and the rates of them facing out of school confinement are growing dramatically. Girls from these communities are additionally faced with the threats of sex trafficking.
Taking this into consideration, we began a campaign called “The Other Side of The Crisis” to bring attention to these threats of violence faced by Black girls to community members, public servants, educators, and grant funders.
We know it’s key to work towards solutions to end violence impacting all of our young people, but it’s just as critical to advocate increasing the support for Black girls to overcome the specific barriers for the violence they uniquely experience at higher rates.
“It’s critical to advocate increasing the support for Black girls to overcome the specific barriers for the violence they uniquely experience at higher rates.”— Kelly Fair, Founder, @polishedpebbles #PowerToChangeStories