Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15th) serves as a time to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success. This National Hispanic Heritage Month, The Women’s Foundation is pleased to spotlight Identity, Inc., one of our Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC) grantee partners, who is ensuring a just and equitable environment for Latinx youth and their families.

Through its Workforce Experience Program in Early Childhood Education (WEX-ECE), The Women’s Foundation is pleased to provide funding to help Identity offer Latinx residents of Montgomery County post-secondary early education training in Spanish through a 90-hour certification. Since the start of this program, Identity has successfully increased the program’s participation from 10 to 30 students. 

This year, the program received 9 participants in the first cohort, and of these participants, 7 clients have completed the first 45-hour session, and a total of 6 clients have completed the full 90-hour training program. Out of 6 graduates, 3 students have successfully completed their internships, and 3 are starting their internship this month. 

Identity is also proud to announce that each student who has completed their internship has secured employment with some of them being employed at the same childcare location where they participated in on-the-job experience. Additionally, 1 student is registered for the preparation class to receive a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, and is also interested in pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education.

 At The Women’s Foundation we are committed to furthering our goal to ensure gender, race, culture, religion, class, and ability equity across early education systems. Today, and every day, we are proud to stand behind Identity as they work to serve the Lantinx community and help us achieve our goal.

Rock Star Spotlight: 5-Minute Mentors

Each year, Washington Area Women’s Foundation’s Rock Star Fund awards several young women of color with up to $2,000 to invest in themselves, and our community through individualized projects that foster a culture of learning, leadership, and positivity. The Fund also works to advance the Young Women’s Initiative Blueprint for Action, a plan driven by young women of color and community members to shift local policies and practices affecting young women. 

Last month, one of our 2021 Rock Star Fund awardees, Isabella “Astro” Getahun (12), launched “5-Minute Mentors”, a video series that connects young people of color with positive role models in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and provides them with the tools needed to counteract challenges and societal barriers faced.

“By selecting me, [Washington Area Women’s Foundation] gave me the opportunity to participate in this project. During the time of this project, I saw so many negative news posts about youth of color and wanted to create something that would give youth of color something positive in the media. As a result, I have grown tremendously personally and professionally. Their monthly check-ins served as important motivators, and I look forward to working with The Foundation again in the future.”

Isabella “Astro” Getahun, 2021 Rock Star Awardee

According to research, 87% of mentors and mentees say their mentoring relationships make them feel empowered and contribute to their development of self-confidence 1. Through “5-Minute Mentors”, Astro is providing her peers with a powerful mentoring experience that promotes personal, academic, and professional success.

Each “5-Minute Mentors” episode interviews women of color of various backgrounds, including those without a professional degree. The reason? Astro feels it is necessary to highlight the benefits of having a mentor, especially for prospective mentees who do not plan to attend a 4-year college.

Featured mentors include:

  • Jeanette Reyes – Fox 5 News Anchor
  • Mallory Striplin – Peer Mentor and Student
  • Erika Preira – DC Public School Administrator
  • Cherita Harrod – Engineer and Teacher
  • Stephanie Medina – Entrepreneur and Salon Owner

When we asked Astro about how she envisions “5-Minute Mentors” growing in the future, she responded by saying she wants to use the remainder of her funds to invest in her YouTube channel. She would like to also increase the number of mentors participating in her project and would like to invite mentees to submit questions for the mentors to respond to via video submission.

The Women’s Foundation is excited for Astro and her “5-Minute Mentors” series. Through our participatory grantmaking, we are helping young women like Astro create a pathway to building resilience in our young people, as well as impact in our community.

Watch Astro’s 5-Minute Mentors series here.

How a Local Non-Profit Is Helping Women and Children Find Hope

The experience of homelessness and gender-based violence bears heavily on individuals, especially women of color. The effects on children are even heavier.

At Washington Area Women’s Foundation, we are committed to improving the lives of women and girls in the Washington, DC region, and are pleased to support our grantee partner House of Ruth to provide a safe haven and sense of hope for women and children facing such challenges.

House of Ruth is a leading provider of housing and supportive services for women and children experiencing trauma associated with domestic violence, homelessness, mental health, substance abuse, and poverty in Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1976, House of Ruth has assisted more than 14,500 women and children and continues to serve more than 1,000 individuals each year through tailored programs that support clients’ development, well-being, and ability to rebuild safe, independent, and sustainable lives.

Our partnership supports House of Ruth’s programs like Kidspace Child and Family Development Center – a free and nationally accredited child development center for children ages six weeks to five years old. Kidspace provides trauma-informed care to families experiencing homelessness to ensure children are nurtured and receive the development skills needed to reach their highest potential. Through this partnership, House of Ruth is able to help women like “Jayda” who – like many others – has faced challenges and trauma and is looking to provide her children with an educational environment to help them succeed.

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Jayda is a mother of two children enrolled at House of Ruth’s Kidspace Child and Family Development Center. She is expecting and is looking forward to enrolling her third child as well. At Kidspace, Jayda has formed strong relationships with the staff and other parents. She is very involved – often advocating shared concerns from fellow parents and utilizing available resources that allow her to seek advice on how best to support her children’s development while improving her well-being

When Jayda has a question, she is able to reach out to House of Ruth’s Family Engagement Specialist where she receives parenting advice and techniques that she can effectively implement at home. When she had concerns about her daughter’s ability to manage emotions and express herself, Kidspace was instrumental in developing solutions to help her daughter communicate. When she went through a domestic violence situation, House of Ruth connected her to its Domestic Violence Support Center to receive counseling.

Jayda lost her job due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic. Since then, House of Ruth has been working to find her living space that will meet her family’s needs and provide encouragement and support as she looks to secure a new position and get back on her feet.

We are proud of the work House of Ruth is doing in our community and for women like Jayda.

To learn more about House of Ruth, visit https://houseofruth.org/.

A 13-year-old ‘Rock Star’ with a Vision…

This month, one of our 2021 Rock Star Fund awardees Aras Tobin, 13, launched a vision board party and combined this with an opportunity to apply for high schools with members of her class. 

Young people are surviving unimaginable feats in the midst of this global pandemic. Despite our current lived realities, youth, like Aras Tobin, are taking strides to ensure that community needs are being met. As Aras plans to apply to high school this year, she recognizes the need for a vision to tackle her goals this year – she also recognizes that her peers need this too. This month, she co-ordinated a vision board party for her peers and incorporated completing high school applications. She knows that this is an area of stress for many of her peers and will make it a fun and enjoyable experience. 

Example of Vision Board

A vision board encourages participants to use magazine pictures, drawings, and other visual representations to demonstrate goals set for a period of time. They are highly effective in being a physical and creative reminder of what you want to accomplish. Incorporating a tangible goal such as high school applications, allows the goal to be measured and builds a community during an already stressful time. This event, amongst other initiatives that Aras planned, is being supported by the Rock Star Fund through Washington Area Women’s Foundation. Aras, 13, is one of the youngest Rock Star Awardees to date. 

“It’s important that women have equal access to education and roadmaps of opportunities that are available to them. Without proper education these women are at a disadvantage and could end up being misunderstood in many areas of life.”

-Aras Tobin, 2021 Rock Star Awardee

The Rock Star Fund provides young women of color between the ages of 12 and 24 living in DC with up to $2,000 to invest in their own learning, leadership, ideas, and community projects, while also advancing the Young Women’s Initiative Blueprint for Action. Aras identified a need for guidance and mentorship specifically for education and subsequently applied for this award. In her application she wrote, “By encouraging and empowering young women to explore different ways to learn, develop, and grow, we are creating support systems for future success within our communities.” and this is exactly what she is accomplishing. 

Most uniquely, the Rock Star Awardees, using participatory grantmaking, are selected by members of the DC Girls’ Coalition, a group of young women, girls and gender expansive youth who set the policy agenda for the city to center women, girls and gender expansive youth of color. They are tasked with selecting Awardees who will help address the needs that ultimately benefit the community. 

We are excited to launch our 4th cohort of Rock Stars like Aras, who see the need for changes in DC and want to develop community projects that address these issues.

Applications are now OPEN for youth of color in Washington, DC between the age of 12 – 24. Apply here until February 28, 2022!

Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative Announces 2021 Docket

Washington Area Women’s Foundation has been the home to the Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative (ECEFC) since 2008. This month, the ECEFC is excited to announce the awardees for its 13th year funding together!

The ECEFC is a collaborative investment model with 11 current members, including The Women’s Foundation, that pool dollars and make collective grant decisions toward early education systems change in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. For the past few years, the ECEFC has focused on supporting the leadership and advancement of the largely women of color and immigrant women early education workforce.

“The ECEFC allows us to meet the needs of our association without us having to fit into a set box,” said Diane Volcansek, Executive Director of Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children. Diane added that the ECEFC’s giving process is “supportive and intentional. They really get to know us, and then trust us to use the funding in the way that is best for us.”

The ECEFC is proud to invest $351,000 in the following organizations during 2022:

Collectively, and with other partners, these organizations are working to ensure the voices of early educators are at decision-making tables related to the early education industry and workforce.

Testimony to DC Committee of the Whole Budget Hearing

Thank you, Chairman. My name is Martine [Sadarangani Gordon].  I’m a Ward 3 resident, Vice President of Programs at Washington Area Women’s Foundation and a member of the Under 3 DC advocacy coalition.


I’m also a mom of two young kids, and I am here today to reiterate the need for increased, long-term public investment in early education. For far too long, our society has relied on parents paying significant sums for childcare and early educators earning poverty wages to finance the system. My own childcare costs in 2021 will exceed a third of my income, but on the other side of things, more than 34% of early educators in DC are living in poverty. It is a cruel joke that early educators in DC do not earn enough to afford childcare for their own children.

Councilmembers, economic instability wasn’t caused by the pandemic. Many DC families have struggled for decades, in part, because of how expensive it is to pay for basic needs – housing, healthcare, and childcare among them. Childcare costs alone can eat into 80% of a local family’s income. There is a reason other wealthy countries pay for social supports, like early education, for their residents. They know most hardworking people simply can’t afford to do it on their own. We, here in DC, cannot expect any measure of economic stability if we do not better subsidize these costs and ensure livable compensation for our most valuable workforce. 

I know we just got a whole lot of federal money, but that is not sustainable funding. That’s why the time is now to increase taxes on the highest income earners so we can help families to not have to live in poverty. A tax increase on households with taxable income of more than $250,000 would represent just 3% of taxpayers in DC, and we know that those households represent the wealthiest taxpayers who have fared well during this pandemic. In exchange, a tax increase like this would allow for a $60 million enhancement to our childcare subsidy program. So, please raise revenue. 

On a related topic, as someone who had both my children before DC’s paid leave program started, I am strongly against any proposal to use any surplus dollars from the Paid Family and Medical Leave program to cut taxes to corporations. That money belongs with the hardworking families and caregivers who need it.  I urge you to reject that proposal and use those funds to expand paid family & medical leave instead.

You have heard, and will continue to hear, today from early educators and parents who are pleading for change to our systems. DC residents are supportive of increased investments in early education. We have seen that through both recent surveys and through the widespread public support of DC’s universal prek program. 

I have worked on early education policy in DC for over a decade, and I know that the changes needed are not all legislative. But I assure you, they are not insurmountable. What you, as Councilmembers, can ensure is that the funding to make those changes is available. You have the power to make things better. A tax increase on just 3% of our wealthiest folks can go a long way.

DC Ranks Top for Women’s Employment and Earnings, but Black and Latina Women Are Left Behind

By Halie Mariano and Elyse Shaw

This Blog was originally published on IWPR

Since the start of COVID-19, women have been hit hard by the pandemic-fueled “she-cession,” which has exacerbated existing inequities and increased economic insecurity among women. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s new policy brief uses 2019 data to provide a baseline for women’s employment and earnings, ranking all 50 states and the District of Columbia on four indicators: women’s earnings, the gender wage gap, women’s participation in the labor force, and women’s representation in managerial and professional occupations. In this Employment and Earnings Index, the District of Columbia received the only “A” grade, ranking first in three of the four component indicators.

To paint a more comprehensive picture of women’s employment and earnings in the District of Columbia, however, we must consider the city’s racial and ethnic diversity: 42.3 percent of the city’s population is White, 43.9 percent is Black, and 12.2 percent identify as Hispanic or Latina/o. Black and Latina women who reside in DC do not have the same experiences and opportunities as White women. While the city ranks at or near the top on each of the four parts of the Employment and Earnings Index, it still has work to do to improve the economic status and security of allwomen.

In 2019, Black and Latina women in the United States earned less on average (just over $41,000 and $36,100 per year, respectively), compared to White women (on average earning over $51,000 annually). They also faced a larger wage gap; it would take Black women 109 years and Latina women 199 years to reach equal pay with White men.

These patterns hold true in DC. While women in DC had the highest median annual earnings among all women throughout the United States ($72,000 in 2019), Black and Latina women in DC have been earning much less. Between 2014 and 2018, Black women in DC earned $52,312 and Latina women earned $55,000 on average annually. This translates into a much larger wage gap in DC compared to the rest of the country. In those same years, Black women earned 52.3 percent and Latina women earned 55 percent of White men’s annual earnings, respectively, compared to White women who in 2019 earned 78.7 percent of White men’s earnings.

In IWPR’s Poverty and Opportunity Index, DC ranks 51st for women’s poverty, with 26.7 percent of women living below the poverty line. Therefore, while many women in DC are doing very well when it comes to employment and earnings, a significant wage gap remains. DC’s median earnings for women are skewed by the extremely high earnings of women in well-paid occupations—positions that are more likely to be filled by White women.

These statistics provide a snapshot of what women’s lives looked like before 2020, and so we must also consider the economic instability many Black and Latina women have experienced since the pandemic began. Across the United States, Black and Latina women were most likely to be working in the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, including in many customer-facing occupations. Moreover, they tended to earn less than White women in these jobs. In 2020, the median weekly earnings for full-time workers in service occupations in the U.S. was $535 for Latinas and $551 for Black women, compared to $594 for White women and $797 for White men.  The challenges facing Black and Latina women nationally are likely elevated in DC, a city with substantial racial and ethnic diversity—andinequality.

During the pandemic, many women were put in the difficult position of having to balance increased family caregiving demands—as schools and child care centers closed—with their day jobs. Yet, Black and Latina women were less likely to have the option to work from home when the pandemic began. Of all workers with the option to work remotely, only 21 percent were Black and 17 percent were Latina/o, leaving many women without child care and with the impossible decision of caring for their children versus providing basic necessities for themselves and their families. Even those who could secure a spot in an open child care center may not have been able to afford it. In DC, the average annual cost of full-time infant center-based child care is over $24,000, a burden that is out of reach for many families.

The District of Columbia has several important worker-friendly policies, such as paid family and medical leave and a minimum wage that will increase to $15.20 per hour on July 1. However, DC must ensure all women have access to employment and other economic opportunities—not just White women. Despite DC’s consistently high rankings on IWPR’s Status of Women in the States Employment and Earnings Index, the city must continue to work toward providing a more equitable economic landscape for Black and Latina women.

Pay Home Visitors Their Worth

Unless you’ve participated in a home visiting program yourself, you probably don’t know what home visiting is or what a home visitor does. In truth, there are different types of home visiting models, and the job of a home visitor can be slightly different depending on the model and individual family needs. But, regardless of the program, home visitors help families navigate complex resource and support systems so that families are healthy, safe, educated and economically secure.

That’s a huge job, and you’d think that anyone doing that job would be paid handsomely. Not so. Like many largely women workforces, they are undervalued and underpaid. Despite the fact that 81% of DC home visitors hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, only 34% report being satisfied by their salary. Further, more than half of DC home visitors report that their overall compensation is inadequate, and a third of DC home visitors do not anticipate being able to stay in the field long-term due to the lack of fair compensation. In a recent report by the DC Home Visiting Council, a home visitor is quoted as saying, “Nobody wants to be complacent. In this field, you can get very complacent, because the pay is low, but there’s no room for growth. You can be the best at it, and you’ll still be running in place.”

Aren’t we tired of this story? The hard working Black and brown women putting their heart and soul into their work to help their neighbors, all the while not earning enough to sustain their own families?  And it is Black and brown women who are home visitors locally. In fact, 84% of DC home visitors identify as women, 56% are Latinx and 27% are Black. Only 12% of DC home visitors are White. In DC, we know that home visitors aren’t just helping families navigate systems effectively, they are supporting mostly Black and brown families navigate historically racist and sexist systems, all the while being survivors of those systems themselves.

So, once again, we have a largely women of color workforce performing critical work to reduce infant mortality, improve child outcomes, reduce child abuse and neglect, and so much more; yet as a community we ask them to do very hard work for very little pay. And when those same women leave the field for opportunities with higher compensation and greater opportunity, we are left with the difficult task of recruiting for a position that we know doesn’t compensate commiserate with the level of skill required.

This issue is, of course, more complicated than just raising salaries. The funding for home visiting programs is a mix of federal and local government dollars and private philanthropic funds. Many programs operate in an environment of constant scarcity and uncertainty. That alone makes it difficult to hire, retain, and compensate staff. But, we can do better. As a community, we can commit to valuing home visiting as a critical element of a comprehensive system of care. We can demand a stronger public investment in home visiting programs that allows for higher rates of compensation for the workforce.

DC is a wealthy District with a high cost of living. Families are struggling, and unfortunately those who want to serve families are struggling too. Let’s find a way to make this right. Let’s pay home visitors what they are worth.

Learn more about DC home visitors and home visiting programs by visiting the DC Home Visiting Council website.

#AskHer Series: Shawnda Chapman, Director of the Girls Fund Initiative, Ms. Foundation

Our #AskHer series is an interview with our partners, community members and supporters who work tirelessly for women and girls. This interview is with Shawnda Chapman, Director of the Girls Fund Initiative for Ms. Foundation. The interview was conducted at the end of 2020 by our Program Officer, Claudia Williams. 

Claudia: Can you share a little bit about yourself, how did you come to the Ms. Foundation for Women, and what projects you have going on?

Shawnda: I believe people need all the experiences, I used to walk around thinking some of my experiences were a liability. And now, I really see them as an asset. My work is rooted in my own experiences as a survivor of sexual violence, and a survivor of the juvenile justice system. Many girls experience incarceration and gender-based violence that impact their lives. 

I am excited to lend my voice as the Director of the Girls of Color Fund Initiative at the Ms. Foundation for Women, because up until recently I walked around closeted of my lived experiences. Being a survivor of sexual violence and someone who has been impacted by the justice system is usually something others make you feel you should hide—I felt people would judge me in professional spaces. But I came to a point where I thought to myself, “I had these experiences, and my knowledge of them, and the solutions I can propose, could really help somebody.” There are few of us with these experiences in decision making tables, so now I am honored to do this work, and I have a responsibility to myself, to communities, and to girls of color specifically, to incorporate my lived experiences in mainstream conversations and to normalize talking about them.

I have a background in research, and activism, and I bring some of that to the work at the foundation as well. I am currently focused on supporting the leadership and organizing of girls of color, the work has evolved quite a bit. We started calling this project the Girls Fund Initiative, and we are now explicit about our focus on girls of color, because we can’t bring about change, if we are not intentional about naming what we are working on. We are in the middle of a deep listening and learning process, working closely with girls’ advisory groups who are helping us to understand what girls of color are facing. We are moving away from top down approaches and know that girls of color are playing an important role in leading our strategy. We can’t make any real lasting and sustainable change that isn’t led by them.

My orientation while conducting research, and now my orientation in philanthropy, is to always give more than we take. I think we should always be reducing barriers rather than creating more. So, we are being very thoughtful about that, and we are also making sure that we are honoring girls and organizations participating in our process.

It is such an honor to do this work and I feel a huge sense of responsibility to it. I know what it means to come from where I have come from. So I am making sure that we come to this work with dignity and with intentionality, and recognizing not just our ability to make an impact through the economic commitments that we make, but also through what we learn and that we have the ability to push the field to do better.

Claudia: Can you share more about your efforts to push the philanthropic sector to do better?

Shawnda: Ms. Foundation just released a report, Pocket Change, highlighting the fact that we are not investing enough in women and girls. Even less in women and girls of color. As a researcher, one of the first things that I always do is dive into the data to figure out what we know, what’s happening, and one of the things that surprised me the most was the fact that we don’t actually have a sense of how much money goes out to girls of color. Through this research we have a better sense of how few resources go to women, and there is still a long way to go. For instance, we do not have a great sense of how much disabled girls are getting or if there any resources going to girls affected by climate change. Girls of color quite often are the last to be considered for funding and the first to be let go. Feminist foundations like The Women’s Foundation and Ms. Foundation for women are more important than ever, because there are so few foundations that are intentional about funding, women, girls, and gender-expansive people of color. Our work is so critical, and all of the learning that we are doing and putting out there helps us advocate to push the field to do better.

Claudia: There is a lot of talk about centering the voices of young women and gender-expansive youth of color, but how do you do that? Can you share your experience as the Director of the Girls of Color Fund Initiative at Ms. Foundation for Women? 

Shawnda: I am super new to philanthropy; it’s been less than a year. I think it’s both a blessing and a curse sometimes. I feel a little clunky sometimes, but I think that being new has allowed me to be bolder in the decisions that I’m taking and the way that I want to develop a strategy to center the voices of young women and gender-expansive youth of color.

We are supporting organizations with the goal to be able to learn from them in a very deeply, engaged, and meaningful way. It is really about bringing them to the decision-making table in their own terms. We are asking girls of color to show up and create the change that they want to see in the world, but in order for us to ask that, we have the responsibility to resource them properly so they can do that fully. That means many things, and depends on the needs of the girls and organizations that we are working with, for some it is political education or capacity building or communications training, but it is definitely more than just checking a box that makes us feel good about saying that we “included” them. Their ideas, creativity and passion is really what needs to be driving our work, and we are being very thoughtful about the ways we engage with them, because they have so many competing priorities, between school, family and friends.

Claudia: What are some of the principles that guide your work at the Girls of Color Fund?  

Shawnda: One of the things that we deeply care about is the fact that girls have the right to joy and we want to support that. We want to support programming that creates opportunities for girls of color to access joy, spaces where girls can really enjoy and be themselves, and where they don’t have to be thinking about being resilient—there’s this conversation about how Black women are very resilient, but we don’t necessarily want to be resilient all the time! Just because many girls of color have figured out how to not to perish in the system, doesn’t mean that they don’t need fun and resources, and time for healing and growth.  

Learn more about Ms. Foundation here!

Who Did Home Care Fall On? Girls of Color Held Their Communities Together During the COVID-19 Crisis

One year ago, I posted the question, “Who does home care fall on?” I warned that COVID-19’s abrupt impact on home dynamics was falling disproportionately on girls, and particularly, girls of color in vulnerable communities. 

Now, after one year in the shadow of a virus, the data is in: the pandemic has had a devastating toll on women. Some experts have referred to this as the “Care Economy,” “Pink pandemic” and  “She-cession” because women have borne the brunt of the crisis by nearly every measure. The gender inequities that existed prior to the pandemic have worsened. 

Crittenton Services of Greater Washington Girls

Our teens were not immune to the impacts of the virus either. 

We recently conducted a needs and impact assessment with the more than 400 teens that we serve in the District and Montgomery County. Not only are they still struggling in the unequal balance of schoolwork and home, but it’s also causing them to question their futures. 

Caregiving responsibilities are one of the biggest stressors on girls. Nearly 40% of the girls we surveyed reported difficulties managing their time with schoolwork. They have to navigate being students, children, siblings and caretakers in crowded home environments. The stress and competing needs led to 42% reporting that they are not sleeping at night because of worry and anxiety, and 55% being concerned about their futures.

Important progress is being made towards recovery, however, returning to normal would be a grave mistake. Now is the time to chart a new and equitable path for girls. To do so, we must look holistically and be brutally honest about their new normal and what they need to succeed.

For example, we recently partnered with NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, to testify and successfully pass HB 00401 Educational Equity for Pregnant, Expectant, and Parenting Students, in the Maryland House. Among other provisions, the bill requires schools designate private lactation spaces that are not bathrooms or closests, determine an amended attendance policy for parents, and assist and advise in identifying safe, affordable, and reliable child care services–all of which contribute to educational success of teens. 

Future plans, programs, and policies for girls must center new caregiving responsibilities, include scaled up investment in care infrastructure, and address the trauma that they’ve experienced so that young girls can fully participate in recovery. Furthermore, we must invest in and listen to groups, organizations, and leaders that specialize in culturally competent care, especially those that work directly with Black, Indigenous, and communities of color. 

Like many of us, girls have risen to the occasion, despite the hardships, because their friends, families, and communities required them to. It’s on us to make sure that they don’t slip through the cracks. 

Siobhan Davenport is President and CEO of Crittenton Services of Greater Washington and has more than 16 years of experience working with youth that face structural barriers. With her leadership, CSGW launched its Declare Equity Initiative, focused on the inequities that girls of color face in schools through D.C. Metropolitan Area.