"You're pretty for a black girl"
Online PR News – 06-July-2020 – New York, NY – Teen girls from across the U.S. came together in a live, national conversation to talk candidly about how the George Floyd crisis and #BlackLivesMatter movement has impacted them and their views on solutions for change. WATCH FULL CONVERSATION: https://www.youtube.com/embed/7eHFqI4MabQ
“So many people would say to me, ‘You’re pretty for a black girl,” said 15-year-old Kayli Cooper, from Los Angeles. “These are micro-aggressions. Just because someone is kind doesn’t mean they’re not racist.”
Hosted by Girls With Impact (https://www.girlswithimpact.org/) and its CEO Jennifer Openshaw and moderated by Petal Modeste, host of the podcast Parenting for the Future and Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Columbia Law School, this conversation revealed that this generation is taking action in response to #BlackLivesMatter.
When Modeste talked about “the things and institutions we trust,” student Minerva pointed out the failure of history books to tell an accurate story of the past.
“My friends and I are going to the school board to say this is wrong,” said student Minerva. “We have to change this for the next generation and those after.”
“It shouldn’t be our job as students to educate ourselves,” she added. “That’s the job of the school system.”
Drawing from her love of books but the lack of “characters who looked like me,” Kristen St. Louis, 17 from the Bronx, is about to launch MirrorMe Diversity -- a book sharing platform she developed through the Girls With Impact entrepreneurship Academy -- so that “people can access books by diverse authors and characters.”
Other actions girls are taking:
• Making TikTok videos that show “our real friend groups”
• Blocking friends on social media who post racist or inappropriate jokes, comments
• Starting a campaign to talk about the census
• Having candid conversations with relatives, parents
“I had a conversation with my grandma,” said Fiona. “It’s about learning and unlearning biases. I genuinely walked through all the different ways of putting money back into the black and colored communities and explaining what it means.”
Kristen St. Louis closed with an important point to remember:
“Racial equity is not just about the difference between Black and White,” she said. ‘It’s not a straight line. There’s mixed folk, non-black people of color, and trans people, specifically trans women of color that all make the Black Lives Matter movement much more complex.”
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About Girls With Impact: Girls With Impact, a 501c3, is the nation’s only live, online mini-MBA for girls 12-18, designed with Harvard leaders. Offered year-round, the 10-week, after-school Business and Innovation Academy moves girls from ideation to a business plan and venture pitch, driving improvements in confidence, leadership, college readiness and professional skills for success.
*The views expressed by Petal Modeste are her own and do not purport to reflect any policy or position of Columbia Law School.
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