My doctoral dissertation was an exploration of African American girls and how they come to define, perceive and express themselves as leaders. In my research, I discovered the 2014 Report from the White House entitled, "Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity". This report acknowledged that girls of color face a number of unique challenges regarding school, in particular discipline. Black girls enrolled in public schools are six times more likely (12 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native girls are three and a half times more likely (7 percent), and Hispanic girls are twice as likely (4 percent) to be suspended from school than their White peers (2 percent).
Adding to these statistics are the images that we see in mainstream and social media that enforce negative stereotypes and validate the derogation of girls of color.
The results of my research indicated that while these pervasive images would lead one to believe that most girls of color are lost and reckless, many girls of color know exactly what their challenges and barriers are - but don't know how to overcome them. One hundred percent - 100% - of the girls I interviewed in some way acknowledged the importance of 1) mentors, 2) safe confidential spaces and 3) opportunities and access to resources as primary factors that would aid in their ability to succeed as leaders.
Leadership High Talking Circles
In response to research findings and building on a rich history working with high school girls of color, Leadership High has been re-created to provide an environment in which high school girls can connect, express themselves and invent new realms of possibilities. While this is a leadership development program at it's core, we realize that social/emotional development plays an essential role in high school girls' overall life experience and therefore, we take care in supporting her in these aspects.
Our goals are:
- To provide a healing and safe space for participants to freely express themselves
- To support counselors and school officials as needed to ensure positive academic outcomes for participants
- To expose participants to new ideas and different ways of thinking about life
- To help them be able to imagine the life they want to live
- Leave them with the experience of having been loved by someone who is vested in their greatness
- Location: Various high schools as assigned
- Days: Weekly
- Session length: One class room throughout school year
- Format: Group talking circle
If you are interested in having a Leadership High Talking Circle at your high school, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.