In 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, protests swept across the nation in what became a reckoning with the history and current realities of racial violence by police against people of color. Despite necessary calls for action, women and girls of color continue to be left out of the story.
On June 16, we continued our Y-Dub Discussions for 2021 with a dialogue titled, Honoring Juneteenth: The Movement Continues – Ending Criminalization of Women and Girls of Color. In the forward-looking spirit of the holiday, this important conversation centered around YWCA USA’s “We Still Deserve Safety” report, which examines the disproportionate experiences of racial profiling, violence and criminalization among women and girls of color in the United States.
At the 1-year anniversary of demands for systemic change, we reflected on where we’ve been, where we are now and where we need to go, offering tangible steps for how community leaders and citizens can help make a continued difference in the Miami Valley and beyond.
The panel included the following local leaders:
- Dr. Rochelle Garner, Executive Director of Girls LEAD! at YWCA Dayton
- Faheem Curtis-Khidr, professor of Black Studies and Black History at Sinclair Community College
- Jill Bucaro, Licensed Social Worker & Chemical Dependency Counselor, Law Office of the Montgomery County Public Defender
- Charmaine Webster, founder of Womanish Projects and member, YWCA Dayton Advocacy Committee
YW advocacy manager and moderator of the discussion, Taylor Curtis, shared four key takeaways from the discussion about where we go from here.
- When we analyze the historical experiences of Black and Brown women within the United States of America, we can acknowledge the amount of violence and dehumanization that has impacted them in a way they could not – and still cannot – escape. In addition to this, the adultification and tone policing rooted in racism has continued to negatively impact the experiences of Black and Brown girls, even as young as preschool age.
- It’s important to provide Black and Brown girls a sense of identity and connection to culture at an early age so that they develop a positive sense of self and the tools necessary to navigate a society that’s not designed for their survival. They require representation, education and support that allows them to build a strong racial identity, be informed on how to maintain safety and steer through the traumatic experiences they encounter on a regular basis.
- The racial wealth gap, and the impact of systemic racism on education and within the legal system play key roles in the criminalization of Black and Brown women. In order to address the treatment of Black and Brown women, we must address and reform these systems.
- EVERYONE can be a part of the change we want to see by continuing the conversation, taking action, getting involved with initiatives designed to support Black and Brown women, connecting people with resources, connecting initiatives to streamline support for better outcomes and volunteering within the community.
Ready to join us in the work of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all? Click here to learn about the many ways you can get involved!