NBWJI works nationally and internationally on collaborative projects to reduce racial and gender disparities across the justice continuum affecting cisgender and transgender Black women, girls, and their families.
This year, NBWJI and At Large Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley partnered on an initiative called Project Focus: Girls of Color (GoC) to understand and advance efforts to create more equitable school discipline policies for girls of color. With the support of Councilor Ayanna Pressley’s office, community groups, and advocates, NBWJI facilitated focus groups with over one hundred girls of color from schools in Boston and surrounding areas to gain information on school discipline, school climate, and culture. The hearing provided necessary information and a framework for Boston to craft policies and practices to meet the needs of girls of color.
On September 11th, NBWJI staff, NBWJI’s Senior Educational Policy Fellow Aishatu Yusuf, and Graduate Student Intern Misha N. Inniss-Thompson provided testimony at a Boston City Council public hearing sponsored by At- Large Councilor Ayanna Pressley. Councilor Pressley, the first woman of color to be elected to Boston’s City Council in 2009, has made one of her main policy platforms providing voice to the experiences and voices of women and girls. The hearing also included a reading of testimony by Dr. Monique Morris Ed.D. Testimonies from girls of color and parents living in Boston were also featured.
12 girls of color testified at the hearing on their experience in Boston, and surrounding area schools
4 parents provided testimony at the hearing
Andrea James, Founder of the National Council on Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls (Families for Justice as Healing), provided testimony
NBWJI and Councilor Pressley’s office will continue its partnership to create a Boston - specific policy document (forthcoming March 2018) responsive to the experiences of girls of color, parents, and Boston school personnel.
The Saturday before the public hearing, NBWJI participated in the 4th Annual Jump into Peace event. The event was a space of healing, informing joy, and forging the bonds of sisterhood. Dr. Morris served as a featured guest and gave a rousing speech on why we must respond to the needs of our girls. “Our girls are sacred and loved,” stated Dr. Morris.