By Aswad Walker
Society has been focusing on Black girls, but not in a good way. A report from the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality titled “Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood, argues that Black girls experience “adultification,” being viewed as less innocent than their white peers. This potentially explains the harsher treatment they routinely receive via school discipline and law enforcement encounters.
“Black girls are suspended from school and arrested at incidents greater than their white peers. Black girls are more likely to be disciplined for minor violations, disobedience, disruptive behavior, fighting, and bullying than their white peers,” states Sarah Guidry, director of the Earl Carl Institute (ECI) based at Texas Southern University. “In fact, the incidence of punishment for Black girls is even greater than the disparity between Black and white boys.”
ECI’s signature project is called the Black Girls Initiative, focused on the disparities Black girls face in school discipline, education, criminal justice, homelessness, human trafficking, LGBTQ discrimination, child welfare, and more.
The project is divided into three phases awareness, support, and change. BGI’s awareness phase includes educating the community through a written series BGI’s State of the Black Girl Report, while the support phase includes BGI’s Project MISS (Mentoring Initiative for Successful Sisters). Phase three is the change they hope to inspire via pro-Black girl policy recommendations and more.
One of the partners of the BGI is Sherea McKenzie, Director of Special Projects for Commissioner Precinct 1, who recognized the importance of BCI.
“As a member of a number of women’s organizations and a mother of a daughter and two sons, I have seen firsthand the challenges in raising African American children, “ stated McKenzie. “I led the (BCI) discussion on what is human trafficking. It’s not just something happening in a corner, but stuff that happens right in our community. It’s not limited to Black females, but impacted them tremendously.”
- 60% Suspended are Black Girls
- 23% Female Student population is Black
- 88% Black Girls H.S. Graduation (lowest of all female ethnicities)
- 45% Female Juvenile Referrals – Black Girls
- 1 out of 2 absences among female students – Black Girls
THE BLACK GIRL INITIATIVE
- Earl Carl Institute Signature Project
- Funded by the Simmons Foundation
- Address disparities Black girls face in school discipline, education and the criminal justice system.
- Seeks new laws and policies