On the 57th Anniversary of the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, AL, that killed four young Black girls, a group of prominent Black women leaders and advocates today called for an investment of $1 billion over the next 10 years in Black girls and young women.
With an open letter, the group launched the Black Girl Freedom Fund (1Billion4BlackGirls.org, #1Billion4BlackGirls) to mobilize investments “in the brain trust, innovation, health, safety, education, research, and joy of Black girls and their families.”
“At this very moment, Black Lives Matter has emerged as our nation’s largest political movement and racial justice is receiving unprecedented philanthropic support. And yet, Black girls and young women still remain adultified, victimized by violence, and erased from the very same social justice movement for which they continue to risk their lives,” said the letter. “We, Black women and Femme activists, artists, educators, organizers, and philanthropists, have come together at the historic time to call attention to the fact that Black girls in the United States are in crisis. From discrimination in education and healthcare to sexual assault and policing, the lives and livelihoods of Black girls and young women are notably absent in the public narratives, policies, and justice movements most crucial to addressing inequality and racial trauma.”
Co-Leading this effort are:
- Dr. Monique Morris, Executive Director, Grantmakers for Girls of Color, and author/filmmaker of PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools
- LaTosha Brown, Founder, Black Girls Dream Fund–organized by the Southern Black Girls & Women’s Consortium
- Tarana Burke, Founder, The ‘me too.’ Movement
- Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, National Women’s Law Center
- Joanne N. Smith, Founding President and CEO, Girls for Gender Equity
- Salamishah Tillet and Scheherazade Tillet, Founders, A Long Walk Home
- Teresa Younger, President and CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women
Confirmed signatories to the open letter are: Ciara, Akira Barclay, Beverly Bond, Karen Boykin-Towns, Camille A. Brown, Sherrese Clarke Soares, Felicia Davis, Marley Dias, Jessyca Dudley, Kamilah Forbes, Melissa Harris-Perry, Valerie Jarrett, Alice Jenkins, Janice Johnson Dias, Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Rashida Jones, Jane Kimondo, Ashley Leonard, Nakisha Lewis, Felecia Lucky, Tynesha McHarris, Margo Miller, Heather D. Parish, Angelique Power, Angela Robinson, Cidra M. Sebastien, Jurnee Smollett, Gabrielle Union, Whitney Wade, Damaris Walker and Ada Williams-Prince.
“We believe that by investing $1 billion in Black girls and young women over the next decade, we can make the biggest change possible,” the letter said. “It is clear that, with intention and investment, Black girls can thrive. We call on you to robustly invest in Black girls and women’s leadership, innovation, wellness, advocacy. This support is necessary for our collective freedom and to ensure that all Black Lives Matter, now and tomorrow.”
According to the Ms. Foundation landmark study on philanthropy, women and girls of color account for 0.5% of $66.9 billion by foundations, totaling just $5.48 per woman and girl of color in the United States.
The Black Girl Freedom Fund will support work that advances the wellbeing of Black girls and their families, including work that centers and advances the power of Black girls through organizing, asset mapping, capacity-building of non-Black led organizations to better respond to Black girls organizations led by Black women and girls, and legal advocacy and narrative work to shift structural violence enacted against Black girls.
The Black Girl Freedom Fund includes important efforts like the Black Girls Dream Fund, a 10-year fundraising initiative launched by the Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium (SBGWC) to raise $100 million to financially empower the goals of Southern Black girls and women in the United States. The new Fund seeks to fundraise and shift current grantmaking efforts in the South, channeling greater resources toward organizations that are intentionally supporting and empowering Black girls and women.
Read the open letter: 1Billion4BlackGirls.org