In 2018, Rights4Girls launched two sets of advocacy workshops for youth in Washington, D.C. These workshops provide a safe space for young people to discuss issues that impact them, such as community violence, safety, gender-violence, and harsh school disciplinary procedures. Our team work with youth to develop leadership and advocacy skills to inspire the next generation of young leaders.
The Protect Our Youth workshop series was created in partnership with Black Swan Academy and Melanin Uprising to address the concerns raised by youth during a 2017 convening about “the D.C. missing girls.” These youth-centered workshops cover a variety of topics including self-care techniques, youth organizing, school pushout, and gender-based violence.
Our second workshop series focused on girls in the juvenile justice system is centered around a comprehensive curriculum created in partnership with the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative. These workshops seek to empower teenage girls who have touched the juvenile justice system through their own experiences or the experience of friends or family members and inspire them to become inspiring advocates for change. In addition to learning strategies to create change in their communities, participants are encouraged to pursue advocacy careers in the future. In a society that often stereotypes young women of color as assertive or bold, the girls in juvenile justice workshops demonstrate that these characteristics are needed skills for passionate systemic reformers who want a better world and juvenile system, for girls. Some of the topics covered in the workshops include public speaking, self-care, conditions of confinement, the abuse to prison pipeline, sex trafficking, “adultification”, and school pushout.
Rights4Girls advocates for system reforms that contemplate the unique needs of girls and young women. We educate policymakers on the Abuse to Prison Pipeline and the need for a trauma-informed, gender-responsive, and culturally competent juvenile justice system that does not re-victimize or harm girls who have experienced violence or exploitation. Through our youth workshop series, we are ensuring that the voices of girls and young women of color are uplifted, and that all of our policy initiatives are rooted in survivor voice and advocacy. More importantly, we are working to support and empower the next generation of young leaders.