Black Girls Education Justice Initiative

Why We Focus on Black Girls

Inequities caused by anti-Black racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and economic injustice pervade every aspect of Black girls’ education and deprive them of the types of educational spaces they deserve and are entitled to under law. Public schools should be supportive, affirming, and well-resourced places where Black girls are championed in their academic and personal growth and have every opportunity to learn and thrive. This is far from the current reality.  

We must center the needs of Black girls, who are experts on real-time conditions in our schools, to address interlocking educational barriers and implement overdue powerful and transformative solutions that Black girls in our community have outlined for us.    

As part of our mission, ELC works to advance and uphold the rights of Black girls. In service of this commitment, ELC has developed a set of programmatic work that we call our “Black Girls Education Justice Initiative.” Through our work, we challenge the root causes of inequity through legal, policy, and communication strategies.   

Principles of ELC’s Black Girls Education Justice Initiative

The basic principles guiding our Black Girls Education Justice Initiative, developed by ELC staff attorney Paige Joki, who leads our Initiative, and former ELC legal intern and Meltzer Social Justice Fellow Brandon Miller, Esq. include:

1) the belief that Black girls must be fully and holistically supported, affirmed, celebrated, and provided with every opportunity to thrive at school;

2) specific investment of time and resources to address the educational barriers that arise for Black girls at school due to the intersections of anti-Black racism, sexism, and other forces of oppression; and

3) the development and implementation of unique legal strategies to address these barriers.

Focus Areas

  • Fine-Free Schools (coming soon in Spring 2024)   

Legal Actions

In Pennridge School District in Bucks County, ELC and partners filed a federal complaint in November 2023 outlining how the district has failed to protect children of color and LGBTQ+ students from harassment and bullying, creating a hostile environment for years.
(Content warning: The complaint contains descriptions of racial violence, sexual violence, and violence directed at LGBTQ+ students)  

Media Coverage

Report: Black Girls Detail Barriers in SchoolPhiladelphia Tribune

Black girls’ education is fundamentally inequitable in Pennsylvania, a new study says. Here are eight fixes.Philadelphia Inquirer

A new report finds Black girls in Pennsylvania face ‘daunting educational barriers’Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Philly Schools are Failing Black Girls, Here’s What They Say They NeedCity Cast Philly

Report: Black Girls Speak Out About Public Schools in PennsylvaniaBCTV

If You Want Black Girls to Be Able to Get a Quality Education…

Amaiyah Monet Parker, a student expert who participated in the Supportive Spaces report, sets forth changes schools need to make to support Black girls.

Get Involved!

  • Join ELC and our partners to center and advance the educational rights of Black girls. ​
  • Get involved in initiatives that center the lived experiences and expertise of Black girls. ​
  • Call on decision-makers to make necessary changes so that schools are fully supportive of Black girls.
  • Stay tuned for future opportunities to learn more, engage, and advocate.