Webinar: Spring Valley Is Everywhere: When Being A Black Girl Is Your Only Crime

November 3, 2015 Webinar Recording and Resources

We are outraged by the unconscionable act of violence committed in a Spring Valley math class this past Monday. While we applaud the decision of Sheriff Lott to fire Ben Fields, we are deeply concerned that charges are still pending against two young Black girls.  These teenagers are not only victims of police abuse, but also of the entire regime which includes the teacher who tried to expel student from class because of a minor infraction, the administrator who escalated the situation by calling the police, the law that permits students to be arrested for “uncooperative behavior,’’ and the criminal “justice” system that continues to punish two traumatized girls rather than apologizing to them and supporting them. That these two young women are forced to confront the emotional burden of being subjected to criminal adjudication on top of having been physically and emotionally abused is further evidence of how deeply entrenched and harmful this punitive approach to education is.

We know that violence against Black girls and women is not new; it is the same violence that brutalized Salecia Johnson, Diamond Neals, Mikia Hutchinson, and Dajerria Becton. The vicious bodily assault on the young Black high school student is indicative of the ways that Black women and girls throughout society encounter state violence on a daily basis.  This system extends beyond Spring Valley and threatens Black girls across the United States.

Here is a recording of our webinar on Black girls and discipline entitled, "Spring Valley is Everywhere: When Being A Black Girl is Your Only Crime."

This webinar amplifies the voices of young women who have been impacted by overly punitive discipline policies, educators who have witnessed the criminalization of Black girls in schools, scholars who have researched the gendered and racialized dimensions of the School to Prison Pipeline, and more.

Speakers featured and their resources are located below:

Kimberle Crenshaw: Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, co-founded the African American Policy Forum to house a variety of projects designed to deliver research-based strategies to better advance social inclusion. Since then, AAPF has worked on a number of projects, including the report "Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected." 

Click the image above for the report.

Je'Kendria Trahan: Je'Kendria is one of the Organizing Co-Chairs for the Black Youth Project 100's DC Chapter, an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. BYP100 believes that liberation will not happen for all Black people until the issues that the most marginalized Black people deal with are addressed, therefore the organization operates using a Black Queer Feminist lens. Je'Kendria's role within BYP100 entails supporting the collective mission of transformative leadership development, community building, direct action organizing, advocacy and education. BYP100's DC Chapter chose the school to prison pipeline campaign because of the disparity in the  representation, information, and response to how Black women, femmes, girls, and gender non-conforming youth are policed in schools.

Amanda Petteruti: Amanda Petteruti, is senior research associate at the Justice Policy Institute. Amanda has served in a variety of roles at JPI, including associate director. Amanda has also worked for Washington, D.C.’s juvenile justice agency.  She has also worked on urban education issues at the Council of the Great City Schools, organized a writing program for youth at the National Campaign to Stop Violence, and worked with the National Juvenile Defender Center. Amanda has a Master of Arts in education policy and leadership from the University of Maryland College Park and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Bates College. She is a co-author of "Education Under Arrest: The Case Against Police in Schools," a report from the Justice Policy Institute. For Amanda's report, "Education Arrest", click the image to the right.


Kisha Webster: Educator and Youth AdvocateNona Jones: Nona Jones serves as Chief External Affairs Officer for PACE Center for Girls, Inc. , the Florida-based, network of 19 Centers that has served more than 37,000 middle and high school aged girls who have histories of school failure, sexual abuse, family instability, poverty, and mental health challenges that place them at-risk for delinquency. She leads the organization’s federal strategy to promote policies that prioritize creating opportunity for girls living on the margins of the American dream. For more information about the PACE center and juvenile justice system reform for girls, go here and here.

Samantha Master:  A Black, queer, feminist activist, advocate and educator from the suburbs of Washington, D.C.,  Samantha has worked extensively within communities of color to organize and build analyses around LGBT and gender justice issues. She is currently the African American Leadership and Engagement Specialist at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and organizes with the Black Youth Project 100. For more information on Samantha's presentation, click the image to the left to be taken to the Youth Promise Project (pg. 11-12).



Nialah Edari: Nialah  is a student at Barnard College of Columbia University majoring in Political Science. She has been interested in social justice her entire life growing up with progressive parents and has been active in the movement early on when she served as the Midwest Youth Director for the National Action Network in high school. She has experience with youth engagement through the League of Young Voters, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, Lifecamp Inc., National Action Network and Black Youth Vote. In the past, Nialah has helped in the 2012 election registering voters in which her state had the second highest turn out in the nation. She attributes this success to tools she received from Black Youth Vote. Nialah's expertise is networking and coalition building. She is currently part of New York City's Justice League youth committee organizing #March2Justice march taking place on April 13th from New York City to Washington and a member of the National Action Network.

If you or your child has experienced overpolicing in schools, please send us an email at info@aapf.org. We want to hear your story!

#SpringValleyIsEverywhere #BlackGirlsMatter