Fifty-seven years after the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., that killed four Black girls, a group of prominent Black female leaders and advocates have called for a 10-year, $1 billion investment to help little Black girls thrive.

In an open letter expressing their sentiments, the group also launched the Black Girl Freedom Fund to mobilize investments “in the brain trust, innovation, health, safety, education, research, and joy of Black girls and their families,” according to a PRNewsire press release.

“At this very moment, Black Lives Matter has emerged as our nation’s largest political movement and racial justice is receiving unprecedented philanthropic support,” the letter reads. “And yet, Black girls and young women still remain adultified, victimized by violence, and erased from the very same social justice movement for which they continue to risk their lives. We Black women and Femme activists, artists, educators, organizers, and philanthropists have come together at the historic time to call attention to the fact that Black girls in the United States are in crisis.”

Co-leading the effort are:

• Dr. Monique Morris, executive director, Grantmakers for Girls of Color, and author/filmmaker of PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools
• LaTosha Brown, founder, Black Girls Dream Fund, organized by the Southern Black Girls & Women’s Consortium
• Tarana Burke, founder, #MeToo movement
• Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO, National Women’s Law Center
• Joanne N. Smith, founding president and CEO, Girls for Gender Equity
• Salamishah Tillet and Scheherazade Tillet, founders, A Long Walk Home
• Teresa Younger, president and CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women

“We believe that by investing $1 billion in Black girls and young women over the next decade, we can make the biggest change possible,” the letter continues. “It is clear that, with intention and investment, Black girls can thrive. We call on you to robustly invest in Black girls and women’s leadership, innovation, wellness, advocacy. This support is necessary for our collective freedom and to ensure that all Black Lives Matter, now and tomorrow.”

According to a Ms. Foundation study on philanthropy, women and girls of color account for 0.5% of $66.9 billion by foundations, totaling just $5.48 per woman and girl of color in the United States.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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