Storytelling, Art, & Mindfulness
To truly support girls, we must go beyond conventional law and policy analysis and solutions. Respecting the need to hear girls’ stories, heed their perspectives, and recognize their resilience, our Initiative centers the voices of girls in identifying challenges, needs, strengths, and solutions by compiling and analyzing their art and shared narratives and examining the potential of art and mindfulness to address the effect of trauma on girls.
New & Noteworthy: Storytelling, Art, & Mindfulness
Washingtonian By Susan Baer
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) By Rebecca Epstein, Yasmin Vafa, and Rebecca Burney
The Initiative prioritizes the importance of girls’ lived experiences. We conduct focus groups, listening sessions, solicit essays, and follow the guidance of our Youth Advisors in conducting our work.One of our youth advisors gave this insight:
– Aliya Horton
Our qualitative research contributes to girls’ influence on the Initiative’s work. In focus groups across the country, we have heard the stories of women and girls of color. One youth participant in an adultification bias focus group told us:
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The Initiative believes in the power of artistic expression to advocate for educational equality and social justice, as well as a means of healing from trauma.
In partnership with Rights4Girls, we solicited girls’ visual and written work from across the country to create I Am the Voice: Girls’ Reflections from Inside the Justice System. The compilation reflects girls’ experiences with the juvenile justice system. It is intended to provide space for girls to express themselves, allowing their work to stand on its own. View some of the artwork in the gallery below or download the full compilation here.
We also commissioned two local artists to express their responses to our adultification bias research, in an exhibit co-organized with the National Museum of Women in the Arts. View a collage of their artwork on the right.
To learn about the ability of photography to contribute to social change, watch a webinar we conducted with Critical Exposure through the Schools for Girls of Color Learning Network. Watch the full 30-minute video here.
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View the Art Gallery Below
How I See Myself vs. How the System Sees Me Artist: Anonymous
I Can Wear My Hair How I Want! Artist: Briana Evans
Empower Her Artist: Ashley Whitley
How I See Myself in the System Artist: Deaijia Helms
See the Girl Artist: Sancha McBurnie
Dreaming of Love Artist: Ashley Whitley
ATTITUDE Artist: Sancha McBurnie
Guardianship Artist: Charlotte Cummings
Tears Artist: Ashley Whitley
The Initiative also studies mindfulness practices and yoga as gender-specific interventions that can help address the effects of trauma on girls. We’ve conducted research, analysis, and presented recommendations to understand the use of mindfulness and yoga practices as a means of overcoming symptoms of trauma, improving self-esteem, and strengthening self-regulation.
More Work on Yoga & Mindfulness Interventions
Our Initiative continues to examine the potential of yoga and mindfulness for girls. It serves as an advisor to the Art of Yoga Project – a nonprofit leader of treatment and rehabilitation that focuses on early intervention to help marginalized and justice-involved girls prepare for a positive future. For more information, visit their website.