Columbia University

Signatory: Dr. Alondra Nelson, Dean of Social Science

Joined: November 2015

Contact: Dr. Farah Griffin

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In April 2016, Columbia University hosted “Black Girls Movement: A National Conference,” organized by Farah Jasmine Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies, and Carla Shedd, assistant professor of Sociology and African American Studies. The meeting of scholars, activists, artists, and girls was sponsored by the Office of the President, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Social Science, and the Institute for Research in African American Studies, with support from the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality.

“Black Girl Movement” was a three-day gathering at Columbia University focused on Black, cis, queer, and trans girls in the United
States. Bringing together artists, activists, educators, policymakers, and girls themselves, this first national conference on Black girls sought to address the unique disadvantages they face, while creating the political will to publicly acknowledge their achievements, contributions, and leadership.

The conference was planned by an intergenerational and cross-institution coalition because the most innovative research on Black girls often takes place in silos and without the full benefit of collaboration, funding, and public visibility. “Black
Girl Movement” was an opportunity to create change by raising public consciousness; advancing research, policy, and community programming; and developing a resource- sharing platform. This conference highlighted Black girls’ agency and ingenuity in order to elevate their voices and develop solutions toward improving their life outcomes.

This winter, several convenings of Columbia researchers working on women and girls of color will be held. Next summer, the Division of Social Science will continue a “Feminist Seminar for Girls,” hosted by Dean Alondra Nelson in partnership with the YWCA of New York City.

“Ongoing and new research and programming here about women and girls of color will contribute to a critical public policy dialogue about barriers to racial and gender equality and will be a catalyst for change.”

Alondra Nelson, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies and Dean of Social Sciences for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences