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World Premiere of “PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools Documentary”


September 9, 2019 – Washington, DC- “PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools” (PUSHOUT) will premiere at the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference on Thursday, September 12.

This feature-length documentary examines a new and alarming trend: African American girls are the fastest-growing population in the criminal justice system and the only group of girls disproportionately experiencing criminalization and harsh discipline at every educational level.

The premiere screening, hosted by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Room: 144 B-C from 4pm to 6pm.

“This documentary is an opportunity for the Black community and beyond to finally see that this is not a niche issue and can become a vicious cycle if we do nothing,’’ Monique W. Morris, an Executive Producer of the film and author of the book of the same title, said.

PUSHOUT exposes the educational and judicial disparities African-American girls face in the United States. The film includes heart-wrenching stories from young women (from ages 7 to 19), across the country (Miami, FL; Portland, OR; Oakland, CA; Sacramento, CA; Columbus, OH) as they narrate the challenges they encounter daily.

“For girls, education is a critical protective factor against involvement with the criminal legal system. This documentary explores how Black girls are impacted by the policies, practices, conditions and prevailing consciousness that renders them vulnerable to criminalization,” Morris said.

While the over-incarceration and criminalization that black boys face in this country has received national attention, how girls of color, specifically African American girls are affected is absent from the conversation. PUSHOUT addresses that crisis.

“Too frequently justice is denied for black and brown girls,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “As a Boston City Councilor and now as Congresswoman for the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District, I am focused on disrupting discriminatory policies that criminalize black girls and perpetuate the growing school-to-confinement pipeline.”

After the screening of the film (1:15) there will be an in-depth panel discussion moderated by Dr. Morris who will release a solution oriented Education Policy Briefing around the issues in the film.

The panelists include:

  • Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, U.S. Representative, Massachusetts 7th Congressional District

  • Lily Eskelsen García, President, National Education Association (NEA)

  • Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director, Advancement Project

  • Wakumi Douglas, Co-Founder & Executive Director, S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective

  • Lindsa McIntyre, High School Superintendent, Boston Public Schools

  • Naomi Wadler, Youth Advocate

  • Sade Ratliff, Stonehill College

PUSHOUT also features insights from experts across the country who have worked in social justice, gender equality and educational equity.

These experts provide context for the crisis and a roadmap for how individuals who interact with African American girls through the educational and justice systems can provide positive response to behaviors - that are often misunderstood and misinterpreted by teachers, administrators, and the justice system—the very institutions charged with helping them flourish.

“This documentary as a tool to explore how educators, parents, and policy makers can demonstrate that we love our girls and hold them, and their educational opportunities, as sacred to our community,” Morris said.

PUSHOUT is a film by Jacoba Atlas and Monique W. Morris and produced by Women in the Room Productions with executive producer Denise Pines and director Jacoba Atlas. Funding is provided by NoVo Foundation, Meadow Fund, Ford Foundation, Ms. Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Stuart Foundation and Films for Purpose.

For additional information, visit


About Women in the Room Productions

A film, television and digital production company that bring stories life storylines driven by women and persons of color.

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