Wednesday, May 22, 2013
On May 20th, over 150 students participated in a school-wide Day of Dialogue at Washington Prep high school. Using a survey developed with input from faculty and students, the DOD allowed a cross-section of students a rare forum to express their concerns about campus security, college preparation, sexual harassment, homophobia, and adult-youth relations. Students from the Women’s Leadership Project and Leadership class facilitated. A recurring theme throughout the sessions was differences in the way certain groups of students were treated when it came to college preparation, college access, and mentoring. Some students felt that adults actively encouraged college-going among students in special programs such as the Magnet and AVID. Others praised individual teachers and counselors for providing guidance and concrete support by steering them to AP courses, tutoring, and scholarships. The majority felt Washington Prep did not have a college-going culture and that only the most motivated students were pushed to go on to a four year college. Another prominent issue was the lack of classes on racial/ethnic cultural history. Students felt that this kind of culturally relevant education would increase consciousness and defuse tension amongst different groups. One student expressed frustration that all Latinos were identified as “Mexicans” -- thereby ignoring the diversity of Latino heritage on campus.
The need to pushback against a culture of normalized sexual harassment at the school was a subject that polarized students along gender lines. After much prompting, girls articulated their outrage over the culture of casual harassment and sexualization that they experienced. Many girls were hesitant to identify their experiences as actual harassment (often assuming a blame-the-victim stance) but came forward with anecdotes about inappropriate comments teachers had made about girls’ bodies. One heated discussion prompted a group of boys to jeer that girls brought rape and sexual assault on themselves. Abuse and harassment by campus security was another persistent issue. During last November’s first day of dialogue session, some girls revealed that they or acquaintances of theirs had been contacted by campus security on Facebook and other social media. While girls were targets of harassment, several male and female students described being body-slammed by security. Students also addressed persistent homophobia on campus, with many believing that it was “ok” for girls to publicly identify as lesbian or bisexual while agreeing that a double standard existed for boys. The day of dialogue results will be tallied and reported to school staff, faculty, administration and students as part of the 2013-2014 school year climate assessment.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
The sixth annual Youth Media Education and Leadership Conference will be sponsored by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission and the Gardena Healthy Start Collaborative on Thursday, May 23rd at California State Dominguez Hills’ Loker Student Union. Women's Leadership Project, Youth Justice Coalition, South L.A. Youth activists and No Haters Here groups will present their culminating work. The conference will be attended by students from Gardena and Washington Prep High schools and Hilda Solis and Bret Harte Middle Schools. Conference highlights include youth workshops on sexism, misogyny and homophobia in media; masculinity and gender role stereotypes; leadership and social justice organizing; LGBT youth advocacy; juvenile justice, undocumented youth advocacy and college preparation.
*Featuring a special performance by the award-winning Washington Prep Theatre Group*
Lunch will be provided
Thursday, May 9, 2013
By Karly Jeter
Madonna constantly maintains her peculiar image in the media by mocking her “pathological” counterpart, the Black female. She uses the stereotypical aspects of the Black woman to help herself maintain her image in the media, but the only difference between her and a Black woman is that a White woman can maintain her “innocent” “quintessential” image, but the Black woman is portrayed as a “fallen” woman. This is frustrating news since there are multiple Black women who attempt to display themselves as the good girl and bad girl in the media but instead they are crowned the image of a sexual goddess who is unable to change her ways. This is disappointing because I am a Black female who is aspiring to excel in Medicine, but instead I am always portrayed as the second class, ignorant female who is unable to succeed in any career even if I am determined. So for a White woman to act as though she is a stereotypical Black woman is insulting and derogatory. Madonna’s image portrayals as a stereotypical Black woman should not be praised because no matter the audience who is watching her they will always degrade her counterpart as the worthless and ignorant female.
Karly Jeter is a senior who attends Gardena High School, she plans to attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges located in Geneva, New York.
Friday, March 29, 2013
WLP leaders Jamion Allen, Clay Wesley and Janeth Silva are discuss racism, feminism, school climate and media images of women of color in the Teen Skepchick Interviews series:
By Kate Donovan
"TS writers talk with amazing women scientists and skeptics about life, the universe, and everything. These three women are part of the Women’s Leadership Project, a feminist service learning program in South Los Angeles. The WLP has been in operation since 2006, and helps encourage and guide young women of color in their own advocacy projects, including activism around race, gender, and LGBT equality. The WLP is sponsored by the L.A. County Human Relations Commission and the Gardena Healthy Start collaborative. Interviews were compiled by WLP program coordinator Diane Arellano. I was introduced to the Women’s Leadership Project when Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson spoke at DePaul University last year, and have followed its work ever since. I am deeply flattered that Jamion, Janeth, and Eclasia responded to my questions– and I wish I was so articulate and assured in conversation..."
Monday, March 18, 2013
In their landmark book Some of Us Are Brave, Gloria Hull and Barbara Smith argue that in historical representations of women's and civil rights struggle, "all the women are white, and all the blacks are men." Susan B. Anthony. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Betty Friedan. Gloria Steinem. Often, when "women's history" or feminism are portrayed in mainstream American textbooks, heroic white women take center stage. The women's movement is de-contextualized from the radical struggle for human rights, citizenship, visibility, and enfranchisement. There is little examination of the contemporary implications of white suffragists' racist, xenophobic opposition to the Fifteenth Amendment, the debt women's suffrage owes to abolitionism and Iroquois societies, or the modern civil rights movement's roots in black women's fight against domestic sexual terrorism. So how is feminism culturally relevant to young women and men of color today? On March 20-22nd Women's Leadership Project students will explore these issues at Gardena and Washington Prep High schools. Where: Social Justice Hall and Room H1 When: March 20-22nd 8:45-12:25.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Women’s Leadership Project student and Gardena High School senior Karly Jeter recently won a prestigious Posse Foundation Scholarship to attend the Hobart and William Smith Colleges in the fall as a pre-med student. She is a cancer survivor, and her experiences have inspired her to be an oncologist. Although she is passionate about science and medicine, Karly is typically only one of two or three black students in her Advanced Placement classes at Gardena. Reflecting back on her junior year, she recounted when her AP English teacher excluded her from a list of students (all Asian and Latino) he predicted would pass the mock AP exam. When she was one of the few who passed he accused her of cheating. In her chemistry class she and other African American students were routinely criticized by their teacher as having no other ambition in life besides playing sports. What are your career and college ambitions? I’m excited about going to a small campus and having small classes. I feel that I’ll be able to talk to professors more easily. I’m looking forward to studying abroad. I want to go to Korea or Japan. I took Japanese for two years. I don’t believe that Gardena has prepared me to go to college. Going into a medical program I’m expected to already know Calculus and Physics. Although GHS has these courses the teachers were mediocre. It will be complicated for me. Most of the students in my Posse are of color so they have similar experiences. How has being in WLP shaped your perspective on the issues that confront young women of color? It has opened my eyes to new realizations and allowed me to understand social issues better. I feel as though women of color are still downgraded. Today I interviewed a woman who was in the Iraq War and she was demeaned. I think that being African American has a lot to do with the way I’m perceived as not being capable enough. My teacher was shocked that I wanted to be an oncologist; he expected me to be a pediatrician. I’m not that fond of children anyway. I get that kind of prejudice very often. I only have one female oncologist and she is not taken as seriously as she should be. I feel that tension and I know that I will feel that in college because of the stereotypes that women of color don't have those aspirations.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Nationwide, youth of color continue to bear the brunt of the economic downturn. Young African American males have the highest unemployment rates in the nation and young black women are not far behind. According to the Pew Research Survey, whites have twenty times the wealth of African Americans and Latinos. In a 2003 study conducted by Princeton University researchers, white job seekers with criminal records were more likely to be offered a job than African American job seekers with no records and college degrees. Now more than ever before, equitable college access for black and Latino youth is a human rights imperative. On Wednesday, February 27th, youth of color graduates from Princeton, UCLA, USC and the California Institute of the Arts will discuss their paths to college and the challenges they've encountered vis-a-vis becoming academically prepared for college, encountering racism, sexism and homophobia on campus, finding college mentors, succeeding as an undocumented student and taking the next step to graduate school. Where: Washington Prep High School, Social Justice Hall, 11:25