Next City published an article on Alliance for Girls' collective advocacy, in partnership with the Young Women's Freedom Center and the Office of Women's Policy in Santa Clara County, among others, to ensure girls, gender-expansive youth, and menstruating individuals are able to access period products, a need heightened by COVID-19 and resulting school closures. As a result of these efforts, in December the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors earmarked $1 million to address the issue.
CalMatters featured an opinion article by Alliance for Girls' Haleema Bharoocha and the Young Women's Freedom Center's Desiree Victor that called on counties across California to divest from punitive systems that perpetuate poverty and inequity, and instead, invest in solutions that reverse generations of harm. This includes listening to girls' needs, amplifying their voices and leadership, and investing in culturally and gender-responsive services. AFG and YWFC are making progress, working with Santa Clara County to increase opportunities and stigma-free resources for young moms and make sure period products are available at school sites and community centers.
Philanthropy Women published an article on Alliance for Girls' #WhenGirlsThrive COVID-19 Response Initiative and the importance of paying more attention to the needs of girls, particularly Black girls and girls of color in the midst of the pandemic. The initiative is filling the data gap on the needs of girls and gender-expansive youth and bringing together advocates, educators, policymakers and agency leaders to ensure girls' needs are met as California navigates the COVID-19 pandemic.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on girls' experiences riding on public transit, including BART. Girls report frequent harassment, threats, and violence as well as a lack of response from officials and the community. In December, Alliance for Girls hosted a meeting about enhancing safety on public transit for girls, with representatives from 12+ member organizations of AFG, BART officials, and girls.
The Mercury News published an opinion piece co-authored by Alliance for Girls' Emma Mayerson and the Women's Foundation of California's Surina Khan about Alliance for Girls' released report, Together, We Rise. The report elevates the stories and perspectives of more than 60 girls of color in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, illustrating deep gender injustices compounded by racial inequity. Girls also shared key, insightful recommendations for advancing racial and gender justice, and creating communities where girls can feel safe and valued at home, at school, and wherever they go.
ABC7News reported on the progress of a new student-driven sexual harassment policy that is being reviewed by the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) School Board. The new policy was co-developed by Alliance for Girls, students and OUSD, and would be a groundbreaking policy that is victim-centered and aims to change the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in schools.
Education Votes spoke with Alliance for Girls Executive Director Emma Mayerson as well as members of the Girls Leadership Team to discuss sexual harassment at Oakland public schools and how it affects girls, particularly girls of color. This led to the passing of the District's new sexual harassment policy, which includes designating a point person in each school to handle sexual harassment and assault complaints (as opposed to one person for the entire district).