Girls of color are fighting to survive and thrive every day – and young women of color in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems are particularly at risk. In fact, girls of color have the highest rates of confinement to residential placement facilities due to status offenses – nonviolent behaviors like running away, missing school and violating curfew.
Not nearly enough research has considered how the intersection of race and gender plays out in the lives of girls of color, especially those charged with status offenses. According to intersectionality theory, race, gender, class, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status and other social identities create unique and often overlapping forms of oppression when combined. Thus, girls of color sit at the intersection of inequities caused by their race and gender at the very least.
In recognition of International Women’s Day – a global event devoted to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – and this year’s theme, #PressForProgress, we are excited to release our latest video in the Fight For Our Girls series which takes a brief look at the challenges that young women of color who are systems involved face.
CSSP and the Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare has long worked to #PressForProgress by calling for a radical shift in the narrative surrounding girls of color and status offenses from a focus on delinquency and misbehavior to structural discrimination, trauma and youth well-being. Take a moment to watch the video and share it with your networks. It’s time we stop locking girls up for nonviolent offense that are too often the result of trauma. It’s time we #PressForProgress and recognize that girls of color need and deserve the opportunity thrive.
Tashira Halyard is a senior associate at CSSP.