“This George Floyd case has showed me exactly how bad racism in America is, and it makes me wonder when will they stop seeing us as a threat, as a color, as subhuman, and more as people with families and loved ones like them. It’s awful that you have to think any day could be your last based on your skin.”
The past few weeks have been challenging. Our country, more specifically, our communities are hurting and, as a Black-led organization, we at Cool Girls share your pain, your grief, and your outrage. As you know, Cool Girls is a safe place for all girls, no matter their race or ethnicity. The vast majority of our girls are Black and Brown and come from communities that are negatively impacted by systemic oppression and discrimination; our executive leadership team and staff reflect the girls that we serve.
Cool Girls is a place where we reaffirm the dignity and self-worth of girls. We provide opportunities for empowerment and an environment where girls’ voices can be heard. When Cool Girls was founded 31 years ago, it was to meet the vast gap in services and support for girls living in Atlanta’s most vulnerable neighborhoods; neighborhoods under-served and under-resourced due to systemic racism and divestment. Our programs are intentionally designed to help girls address barriers of racism, sexism, and economic inequality so they can reach their fullest potentials. Through our holistic programs, Cool Girls empowers girls to be confident, courageous, and unafraid to use their voices to make a difference in our world.
Rachelle’s words above hit home and push us to redouble our efforts to realize our vision and mission. Cool Girls is embarking on a series of initiatives to better address the economic, educational and health disparities that negatively impact Black and Brown communities with the voices and needs of our girls at the forefront.
GIRL TALK – In the aftermath of the George Floyd case, we started Girl Talk – a weekly virtual girls’ circle where girls can share their thoughts and feelings on recent events, as well as learn coping techniques to handle the stress and anger many of us feel.
ADVOCACY TRAINING – We will research best practices on how to incorporate advocacy work in our high-school curriculum and provide opportunities for our Board of Directors, staff and volunteers to participate in ongoing diversity training and dialogue.
PROGRAM ENHANCEMENTS – We will intentionally integrate best practices into our program delivery that addresses the wounds of racism that girls have and continue to experience (e.g. creating a space for race, racial storytelling, validation).
COVID-19 RELIEF – We are expanding our financial support to Cool Girls’ families who are more likely to experience negative outcomes due to Covid-19 as a result of limited access to health care and high rates of unemployment.
CELEBRATING OUR GIRLS – In the upcoming weeks, we will highlight our 2020 Scholarship recipients as they pursue their educational dreams at colleges and universities around the country.
We ask members of the Cool Girls community; supporters, volunteers, and our partners to stand in solidarity with us and our Cool Girls as we create a world that values and supports the lives of Black and Brown girls.