Breaking the Silence Ohio


The African American Policy Forum
& The Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies
Columbia Law School
435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027

Contact: Kyndall Clark



When: Saturday, October 14 from 10am-2pm

Where: Betzler Auditorium, Walsh University, 2020 E Maple St, North Canton, OH 44720

In partnership with the Leila Green Alliance for Black School Educators, the African American Policy Forum (AAPF), Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS) and Walsh University DeVille School of Business will host a town hall titled, “Breaking the Silence: Ohio’s Town Hall on Women and Girls of Color,” to elevate the inequalities experienced by girls and women of color for the public, policy-makers, philanthropic leaders and other local decision makers.

The town hall will be held on Saturday, October 14 from 10am-2pm at Walsh University’s Betzler Auditorium, 2020 E Maple St, North Canton, OH 44720 and will be moderated by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law Schools and Founder/Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum and Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies. During a powerful day of testimony and action, girls and women of color will speak across a range of issues — including health, education, violence and criminalization — in an effort to bring the circumstances facing many women and girls of color out of the shadows and squarely into public policy debates.

Increasing public concern for the needs of boys and men of color has prompted a variety of public and private initiatives, yet the challenges facing girls and women of color who live under the same inequitable and impoverished conditions as their male counterparts have not garnered a similar level of investment and support. AAPF and CISPS’s recent report, Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected, demonstrates that Black girls are punished and criminalized in ways that are similar to and markedly different from their male counterparts. Both Black boys and girls face disproportionate rates of punitive punishment, and across many measures racialized disparities in punishment are in fact greater for girls. Nationally, Black girls are six times as likely to be suspended as white girls, while Black boys are three times as likely as white boys. Zero-tolerance discipline policies funnel girls onto the school-to-prison pipeline along with boys, and Black girls are the fastest growing population in the juvenile justice system. Black girls also experience gender-specific barriers to completing their educations, including teen pregnancy, sexual assault in and outside school, and additional familial caretaking burdens.

“People think girls are doing OK, and they’re not,” says Lisa Gissendaner, Canton coordinator for Ohio State University’s Young Scholars program and one of the lead organizers of the town hall. “This [town hall] is to provide opportunities for women and girls of color to break their silence, to talk about their issues, their trauma, and hopefully influence some changes in policies and programs that can make their lives better.”

AAPF’s Executive Director Kimberle Crenshaw, who was born and raised in Canton, has wanted to bring the Breaking Silence Town Hall series to Ohio since its inception in 2014. “After having had this conversation all over the country, I’m so excited to bring it home to my own community,” Crenshaw says. “I couldn’t be more proud of the work being done in Canton to uplift the voices of women and girls of color, and I believe that this town hall represents an important step forward.”

Canton is the twelfth city to host a Breaking Silence Town Hall since AAPF launched the series in 2014. Through “Breaking Silence Ohio,” AAPF and the event’s other organizers hope to elevate the reality that women and girls of color confront devastating personal and institutional barriers in American society, and generate the public will to collect data and generate targeted interventions to address the crisis they face.

Press passes are available by request.

For more information, please contact Kyndall Clark at


The African American Policy Forum (AAPF) is an innovative think tank founded in 1996 that connects academics, activists and policy-makers to promote efforts to dismantle structural inequality. We utilize new ideas and innovative perspectives to transform public discourse and policy. We promote frameworks and strategies that address a vision of racial justice that embraces the intersections of race, gender, class, and the array of barriers that disempower those who are marginalized in society. AAPF is dedicated to advancing and expanding racial justice, gender equality, and the indivisibility of all human rights, both in the U.S. and internationally.

The Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School (CISPS) serves as a global focal point for the development, articulation, and application of intersectionality as both a theoretical framework and a cogent practice in law, human rights, and social justice advocacy. The first such center of its kind, its research projects and initiatives bring together scholars and practitioners from law, sociology, feminist and gender studies, human rights, social justice, and other fields to explore the relationship of intersectionality to their work, to shape more effective remedies, and to promote greater collaboration between and across social movements. As an interdisciplinary hub, the center partners on projects with the African American Policy Forum, as well as with a variety of other centers and institutes both within the Law School and across the University.