Celebrating Eid Al Adha, Rethinking School Discipline, and Fighting For Our Girls

September 19, 2016

Here’s our pick of news, writing, and research this week that investigates political questions at the intersections of gender, race, and region. 

1. A Muslim woman was set on fire in New York. Now just going out requires courage
Linda Sarsour in The Guardian: “Each year, I look so forward to Eid Al Adha – the holiest holiday for Muslims worldwide – but not this year. As I watched my daughters prepare for the celebrations with joy, I learned of a horrific crime. A 36-year-old woman dressed in traditional garb was set on fire on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. She was the same age as me, walking in the city where I was born and raised. This comes at the heels of two Muslim women in Brooklyn who were physically assaulted by a woman as they pushed their babies in strollers… Muslim American communities are facing the most hostile civic and political environment since days, weeks and months after 9/11. Hate crimes against Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim has risen exponentially in the last year… As a Muslim woman, not only is wearing my religious headscarf in public an act of faith, but it has become an act of courage.”

2. Black Girls, Domestic Violence, And The Limits Of Self-Defense
Lindsey E. Jones for the African American Intellectual History Society: “The case of Bresha Meadows, an African American teenage girl in Ohio, is a sad commentary on the failure of the state to protect victims of domestic violence… Historian Kali Gross, in providing historical context to the case of Marissa Alexander, argues that the state’s willingness to condemn this woman for defending herself against an abusive husband points back through centuries of American history to ‘the legacies of an exclusionary politics of protection whereby black women were not entitled to the law’s protection, though they could not escape its punishment.’ […] Gross’s essay compellingly reveals the intersections of race, gender, and class in black women’s hyper-vulnerability to domestic violence; state failure to prevent or put a stop to said violence; and the too-common outcome of black women being incarcerated for offenses resulting from attempting to defend themselves against domestic violence. However, as the case of Bresha Meadows illustrates, there is another vector of identity that often doesn’t appear in our historical analyses of black females and the carceral state: that is, age.”

3. Introducing Fight For Our Girls
“Through this series, Fight for Our Girls, the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare seeks to radically shift the narrative surrounding girls of color and status offenses from a focus on delinquency and misbehavior to structural discrimination, trauma and youth well-being. Released over the next year, the series of briefs will promote programs, policies and initiatives aimed at developing a trauma-informed approach to addressing status offenses and supporting the ability of girls of color to thrive. The briefs in this series will: Unpack the role that trauma plays in girls of color committing status offenses; Dissect structural misogynoir (combined racial and gender bias) in system decision-making and explore promising practices in addressing the needs of girls of color; Explore the intersections between race, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity for girls of color facing intervening public system involvement due to status offenses; and Develop a set of trauma-informed recommendations useful to states and jurisdictions working to support the ability of girls of color involved in intervening public systems to thrive.”

4. The rest of the story: Black women and the War on Drugs
Melissa Harris-Perry in The Undefeated: “If Jay has given us a ‘History’ of the War on Drugs, allow me to offer a ‘Herstory’ of the War on Drugs… I offer these lines to expand our understanding of how black communities were distorted and destroyed by the politics, policies, and philosophies of America’s misguided drug war. We need a bigger frame to ensure sisters are in the picture. This is that intersectional expansion.”

5. Ms. Foundation for Women Releases New Childcare Report: Raising Our Nation
“The Ms. Foundation for Women released “Raising Our Nation: Forging a More Robust and Equitable Childcare System in America,” an in-depth report that examines the history and impact of the gender and racial inequalities underlying the American childcare system. Written by Dr. Sanjay Pinto, the report also lays out a framework for progress, calling for a holistic approach to the related issues of childcare access, childcare quality, and job quality as well as increased investment from both the public sector and employers. American families are paying millions of dollars a year for childcare. Nationally, the average cost of center-based childcare was nearly $11,666 per year as of 2013, according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies. Yet only one in six children eligible for a child care subsidy receives one. High costs and inadequate public and employer supports have made finding quality, affordable childcare difficult for all families but particularly challenging for low-income women, women of color, and immigrant women. Today, forty percent of women are the primary income earners within their households. At the same time, women are concentrated in low-wage fields, including the childcare workforce, perpetuating a vicious cycle of inadequate childcare access and poor job quality.”

6. Watch: Rethinking School Discipline: Trauma-Informed Approaches to Supporting Girls of Color
On Monday, September 19 the White House Council on Women and Girls, Department of Education, National Crittenton Foundation, and Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality co-hosted the conference “Trauma-Informed Approaches in School: Supporting Girls of Color and Rethinking Discipline” at the White House. You can watch the morning sessions of the conference at the link above, and the afternoon sessions here.

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