The facts and figures on how black girls in the Pittsburgh area are faring shocked many attendees of the Gwen’s Girls Equity Summit. Even those who work with and advocate for the girls on a daily basis. And black girls and women themselves.
The statistics — cited from an October 2016 report funded by the FISA Foundation and The Heinz Endowments — conjured powerful reflections from many of the girls and women. Here’s what some had to say:
Danielle Davis was a teen mom. She hopes that the attention being paid to the equity and treatment of black girls will ensure future generations won’t have the same experience she did.
Thena Robinson Mock, a civil rights and community lawyer, is the director of the Advancement Project’s Opportunity to Learn Program. She shares about her experience in school and what she thinks adults have the responsibility to do for black girls.
Jayla Youngblood, who was 16 and a student at Oliver Citywide Academy on the North Side at the time of this recording, recited a poem she wrote about how people perceive her.
La’Tasha D. Mayes is founder and executive director of New Voices Pittsburgh, an organization focused on the health and well-being of black women in girls.
Cheryl McAbee was the first African-American female chemical engineer to graduate from Carnegie Mellon University, according to her company biography. After learning the results of the report on inequities facing black girls, she said she felt teachers needed more diversity training.
Rikell Ford shared an inspiring message about black women caring for and collaborating with one another.