Released February 2021
Every girl has the right to be safe. But, systemic inequities create unsafe and inequitable environments that girls of color are forced to navigate alone, often without critical support, advocacy, and resources. Black girls are overrepresented at every point in the system, from in school suspension, to arrests, incarceration, and transfers into the adult system.
The critical need for immediate action is why the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center remains keenly focused on creating safe, equitable, supported environments for every girl to thrive and become a healthy, contributing member to our collective society.
We will collaborate with law enforcement, educators, child welfare providers, behavioral health professionals, and the justice system to identify and reform the policies and practices that result in the disparate experiences and inequitable treatment for all girls, especially Girls of Color.
We are committed to the following immediate actions that directly impact Black, Indigenous, and Girls of Color, including Latinx and Asian girls:
- Make Policy Recommendations: Publish & disseminate policy briefs that analyze the impact of current and proposed policies which widen disparities for girls. Advocate for the end of medical solitary confinement as a practice for all girls in lock-up facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic which disparately impacts Girls of Color who are overrepresented in detention and commitment programs.
- Conduct Relevant Research: Research on Girls of Color in Florida with analysis on Black girls’ disparate entry into the justice system
- Inform the Community: Use resources and influence to educate stakeholders on the inequities and needs of girls.
We are committed to the following long-term actions:
- Assessing Internal Biases: Thorough analysis of our own organization’s culture; addressing our own inherent biases and aggressively working to ensure our policies and practices promote our core values of equity and justice;
- Addressing the Problem on Multiple Levels: We will renew a call to action to engage and create solutions at the executive, legislative, judicial and community level including: a call for leadership to stop institutionalized trauma (e.g. ending solitary confinement (medical or otherwise), increasing civil citations (a warning versus an arrest), not using the justice system to place girls in lock-up facilities for temporary shelter or non-violent offenses);
- Advocating for Girls at the School, in the Justice System, and through Social Services: Guide administrative remedies (including exclusionary school practices, involvement of law enforcement and limiting arrests of youth under age 10, and mandated training (i.e. PTSD in youth, attachment theory, intergenerational trauma) for education, child welfare, and juvenile justice professionals) so that all systems are better prepared to meet the needs of Girls of Color in our communities.