Empowering Our Girls From An Early Age
Preaching confidence, strength and self-love to our young girls is crucial in raising a new generation of fearless Upspoken women.
The new legal progression in Cyntoia Brown’s case offers hope for young black girls, with an underlying message of empowerment.
Here’s a little background info: At 16 years old, Cyntoia Brown was forced into prostitution by an abusive boyfriend. Can you imagine finding yourself in a situation you didn’t knowingly sign up for? Now imagine being 16. Cyntoia found herself helpless and in a bad situation. After her survival instincts kicked in to protect herself, she – not her pimp – was found guilty of killing 42-year-old Johnny Allen, a child predator who bought her for sex. She shot Allen because she feared for her life–she was young and knows what she did was horribly wrong.
Is it right to impose a life sentence on a juvenile? Should Cyntoia have to miss out on her entire life because of something she did at 16? While incarcerated, Cyntoia has taken extraordinary steps to rebuild her life — is it time for a second chance? Governor of Tennessee Bill Haslam thinks so.
On January 8, 2019, Governor Haslam granted Cyntoia Clemency. On August 7, 2019, after serving 15 years in prison, Brown will be released. Cyntoia’s case drew the attention of high-profile advocates—including Rihanna and Tarana Burke—working to #FreeCyntoiaBrown.
Empowering our youth means educating them beyond what they learn in the classroom. Young black girls likely feel racial inequalities in the classroom and on the playground, but how are we equipping them with tools to deal with what they face? A recent study proves that “Black women are more prone to being jailed than White women…[a] tendency [that] starts in school.” It was also found that 21% of Black women are raped during their lifetime, compared to only 19.3% of ALL American women.
What can we learn from Cyntoia Brown?
First and foremost–you are not alone. The outpour of support Cyntoia received embodies the love and loyalty that is being part of the black women community. Black girls deserve comfort, allies, and a large community rallying behind them.
Young black girls need to know that they deserve more. Our girls need to know that they do not deserve to be taken advantage of. They do not deserve to be subjects of sexual, physical, mental or emotional violence. Together, we must work to inspire our young girls—we must teach them the lessons of strength and the power of speaking up. #BlackGirlMagic comes from within, and it’s up to us collectively to ensure our young black girls are encouraged and equipped to champion their self-worth from the beginning.
Join us in the mission to raise Upspoken women. “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”