By Carolyn Martinez
We would like to start this month's issue by highlighting Grace's story. Grace is a 15-year-old black student in Birmingham High School in Michigan; she is incarcerated for failing to complete her coursework to the satisfaction of Judge Mary Ellen Brennan, who claims this as a violation of her probation. Grace had an IEP. With classes going online due to the COVID-19 pandemic she wasn't able to perform well from home without the resources her school provided. This story is a clear representation of the adultification and vilinization of black girls in schools and the school to prison pipeline. #FreeGrace Petition
A 15-year-old child was incarcerated for suffering inflicted by the systemic oppression evident in the public school, something that is beyond her control. Thanks to the successful petition and the works of many, Grace is going home! She was released, and allowed to go home with her mother!
Black women are robbed of their womanhood and vulnerability early in their lives with the "Strong Black Woman" trope. Not only is this identity detrimental to their mental health, but hostile parties also justify violence and harsh treatment through this implicit notion.
In case you needed a reminder to be gentle with yourself and abandon the strong woman trope constantly assigned to you by all facets of American culture, this is it. We have gathered new resources to momentarily clear your headspace and escape the world to take care of you. To be with yourself, your emotions and nurture your inner child. - salt. and Nejma, poetry books by Nayyirah Waheed. Her poetry is extremely introspective; short and sweet, but will leave you with so much to feel and reflect on. Her poems are predominantly featured on social media and her website, so if the books aren't feasible, check her out on those mediums! - Real X Unplug Collective have teamed up to offer free group therapy for black womxn and gender expansive folk. They're offering a weekly space to meet and engage at whatever capacity you're comfortable with.
- Join the SHE Reads! book club; you can follow along with our readings independently or join us in unpacking Chimamanda Adiche's "Why Should All Be Feminists" in our monthly meetings. Follow us on IG @shapingherearth to keep up with the meeting dates! - Lastly, for the days when taking care of yourself feels like an insurmountable task and you would like professional help, we want to plug the Health in Her Hue app. It's a space dedicated to connecting women to culturally competent health professionals and content. Health in Her Hue
SHE is Shaping Her Earth!: Jaala Alston, CU'22
Jaala Alston, our lovely President of the SHE chapter at Columbia University, founded an initiative urging universities to match donations made by their students to organizations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement as well as allocate funds to support black students and faculty on campus. Since then, her initiative and ingenuity has resulted in similar initiatives at about 19 college campuses all over the country. Not only have these initiatives raised funds, but also awareness on the ways college campuses perpetuate anti-Black racism and a way for universities to do better as an institution. Jaala is Shaping Her Earth intentionally and doing so flawlessly (maybe it's because her sun's in Aquarius ;)). Check out her teenVogue feature!
Bring SHE to your campus!
Lacking a space for Women of Color and gender minorities of BIPOC backgrounds? Excited by the prospect of creating an intimate community to heal and flesh out shared experiences? Passionate about mentoring high school students of similar identities and experiences in your area? Then it sounds like you want to bring SHE to your campus.