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Girls of color face too many threats to their well-being and safety both from physical assaults and emotional attacks on their identity in public and private spaces. And these threats are exacerbated by the barriers that lock them and their families out of economic, educational and collective opportunity. Issues including poverty, racism, discrimination, and economic and community violence facing girls of color are intersectional and do not occur in a vacuum. They operate under broader, macro issues that impact the girls’ well-being.
The first and most important step to dismantling barriers facing girls of color and re-imagining safety for them is to start with listening to, understanding, co-creating and following girls of color themselves. They are the foremost experts at diagnosing their problems, identifying the right solutions, and leading and driving change for themselves.
As one speaker put it: Safety for girls of color will be realized when we can say, like the indomitable Harriet Tubman,
“I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”
How are we showing up in our programs and in our communities in support of girls of color? How is our work providing them protection from harmful and oppressive systems, places, spaces and people? How are we creating spaces that allow them the freedom to be their beautiful and audacious selves?