September 14 – Violence in the Lives of Girls – A Conference for Adult Allies

Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Young Women
Conference on Violence in the Lives of Girls

The Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Young Women is hosting a conference about Violence in the Lives of Girls on September 14 and 15, 2012.

The purpose of the conference is to re-inject the voices of girls and young women into the conversations about violence in Chicago. Discussions about violence in the lives of Chicago youth are mostly focused on boys and largely address lethal and public violence. Within this context, girls and young women are generally silenced, and their experiences of violence are minimized and overlooked.

This gathering is divided into two days. On September 14th, adult allies who work with and support young women will share innovative intervention ideas and re-frame the discussion about violence in girls’ lives. On September 15th, several groups of young women representing Global Girls, the Illinois Caucus on Adolescent Health, and A Long Walk Home are planning and organizing their own conference.

Agenda for Friday September 14

9-9:30 a.m. Registration

9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Workshops: 1) Reconceptualizing Relationship Violence by Centering Young Women of Color
2) Healing Justice

12-1 p.m. Lunch (on your own)

1:15-3:45 p.m. Workshops: 1) Baby College for All
2) Strategy Session for Collective Responses to Teen Dating Violence

Conference Location: Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave, Room 300

Information: Space is very limited and Pre-Registration is REQUIRED. You can register HERE – Registration will close once we reach our capacity.

The conference is being offered at no cost to participants but it doesn’t mean that there are no costs associated with organizing it. We are grateful to the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation for providing the space for the conference, special thanks to all of the facilitators who are donating their time, and finally a huge amount of appreciation to all of the conference planners.

Please also keep in mind that we anticipate that many people will want to attend this gathering. Space is however limited so that we can have engaged conversation and discussion. With this in mind, we ask that you DO NOT register if you are not certain that you will attend. We want to insure that those who are able to attend are not turned away. So we ask that you not register unless you are certain that you will attend the event. We really mean this. Thanks in advance for your consideration.


9:30 to 12:00 p.m.

Title: Healing Justice
Facilitators: Stacy Erenberg (Young Women’s Empowerment Project), Tanuja Jagernauth (YWEP, Sage), Sangeetha Ravichandran (A Long Walk Home)

Wondering how you can incorporate Self Care and Healing Justice into your work with youth? Then look no further! Join Sangeetha Ravichandran (A Long Walk Home), Stacy Erenberg (Young Women’s Empowerment Project, Sage Community Health Collective), and Tanuja Jagernauth (YWEP, Sage) for an interactive and popular education-style Arts-and-Body-Based Exploration of Self Care and Healing Justice. Participants will collectively define Self Care and Healing Justice and adapt an example curriculum to weave in Self Care and Healing Justice activities. Expect to have fun and walk away with tools you can use to create your own Self Care and Healing Justice curriculum for young people.

Title: Reconceptualizing Relationship Violence by Centering Young Women of Color
Facilitator: Mariame Kaba (Chicago Taskforce on Violence against Girls and Project NIA)

Over the past 20 years, several teen dating violence and date rape curricula have been developed to educate youth about the warning signs and dynamics of abuse. This seems to be a good time for adult allies, youth workers, and educators to assess whether these curricula are relevant to the current lived realities particularly of young women of color. How should relationship violence prevention programs and curricula be re-conceptualized to meet the specific needs of young women of color in Chicago? Participants in this workshop will discuss the strengths and limitations of current teen dating violence and date rape curricula and programs. They will leave with specific ideas for how to more effectively intervene particularly with young women of color who are experiencing violence in their lives and relationships.

1:15 to 3:45 p.m.

Title: Baby College for All
Facilitators: Katy Groves (Youth Service Project) and Chez Rumpf (Center for Urban Research and Learning, Loyola University and Project NIA)

This workshop seeks to shift the framework around teen pregnancy and parenting. Pregnant and parenting teen girls often are pathologized as deviant young people who have become pregnant as a result of their personal deficiencies and problems. As such, services targeting these young women often attempt to “fix” or “reform” them through individual-level interventions. This workshop will engage participants in imagining ways to de-stigmatize teen pregnancy and parenting. Rather than frame teen pregnancy as a life-ending event that shoulders young women with insurmountable barriers, we will consider how to create structural supports for young mothers and how to cultivate a culture that places a high value on children.

Using a popular education approach, facilitators will lead participants through an activity to identify the current stigma and pathologizing discourse about teen pregnancy and to investigate the causes and consequences of this stigma. Through another activity, facilitators and participants will explore the historical evolution of this stigma. The workshop will close with a visioning exercise to develop concrete strategies to foster a sense of communal responsibility for children.

At the end of the workshop, participants will leave with:
• an understanding of the historical development of current discourses about teen pregnancy
• a critical assessment of these discourses
• ideas about how to create supportive environments for teen parents and their children

Title: Strategy Session for Collective Responses to Teen Dating Violence — Healing, Intervention, Accountability and Prevention/Transformation
Facilitator: Ann Russo, Building Communities, Ending Violence.
This workshop will offer the experience of a collective strategy session to show how community members might work together to effectively respond to teen relationship. The workshop will provide a structure for people to imagine collective responses that do not rely on the police or external authorities, and, if time, a chance to practice some of the skills it might take to implement them.

Stay tuned for information about the Youth-Led Girls’ and Young Women’s Conference that will take place on September 15th! We will be sharing information here on the blog about how young women can register to attend.

Volunteer Opportunity: Curriculum Team

GIRL TALK is working on a new curriculum and we need your help!

 We are looking for people to help us create the 3rd cycle of  our curriculum.  We are currently screening movies and brainstorming activities to do with the girls at the JTDC.  We would love to have some “fresh eyes” and new perspectives.   

 If you are interested in joining us – NO experience necessary! – please email deana at  Our next meeting is Saturday, July 28th.  Email us for more details!

Dr. Beth Richie Speaks About Her New Book: “Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and American’s Prison Nation.”

Join Girl Talk, Depaul University Ministry, Depaul Community Service Association, and the Women’s Center/Depaul University on Thursday, June 21st from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. as we welcome Dr. Beth Richie who will speak about her new book, Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation.

Dr. Richie is Professor of African American Studies and Criminology, Law, and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her scholarly and activist work focuses on the experiences of African American battered women and sexual assault survivors, and emphasizes how race/ethnicity and social position affect women’s experience of violence and incarceration. Dr. Richie is a qualitative researcher and the author of numerous articles concerning Black feminism and gender violence, race and criminal justice policy, and the social dynamics around issues of sexuality, families, and grassroots organizations in African American communities. Her book, Compelled to Crime: the Gender Entrapment of Black Battered Women, is taught in many college courses and is cited in the popular press for its original arguments concerning race, gender and crime. Her current book, Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation, chronicles the evolution of the contemporary anti-violence movement during a period of mass incarceration in the United States.

Dr. Richie is also working on an ethnographic project documenting the conditions of confinement in women’s prisons. Her work has been supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Institute for Justice, and the National Institute of Corrections. Among others, she has been awarded the Audre Lorde Legacy Award from the Union Institute, the Advocacy Award from the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Visionary Award from the Violence Intervention Project. Dr. Richie is a board member of the Woods Fund of Chicago, the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African Community, and the Center for Fathers’ Families and Public Policy, and she is a founding member of INCITE!: Women of Color Against Violence. She is currently the Director of the The Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Girl Talk is thrilled that Dr. Richie will be sharing her insights and experience with us. You will also learn about Girl Talk and how you can support our work.

When: Thursday, June 21st
Time: 5 to 7 p.m.
Where: Depaul University Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave, Room 324
RSVP by June 18:
Info: This event is at no cost to participants but you MUST RSVP by June 18th to attend.

New Resource: Our Second Girl Talk Curriculum is Available…

NOTE: Our apologies, we initially linked to the wrong curriculum and have now uploaded the correct version.

First, it’s been a couple of months since we’ve posted an update. Unfortunately, the Leadership Team has been incredibly busy offering our programming to the young women at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center among many other responsibilities. We are committed to posting more regularly going forward…

We are thrilled to be able to share our second Girl Talk Curriculum. This one features new films and new discussion questions and activities. This curriculum was spearheaded by the members of the LT curriculum committee. We really do welcome and want your feedback. If you do download this curriculum and you actually use it with young women, please send us your thoughts about how it worked. You can reach us at We are offering the curriculum to folks at no cost but if you are able (especially if you are using this as part of your work in a school, non-profit, or other organization), please consider making a donation in any amount to Girl Talk. This is a volunteer-led project that runs on a tiny budget. You can send a check to us at:

Project NIA/Girl Talk
1530 West Morse Ave
Chicago, IL 60626

For those who have not already seen our first Girl Talk curriculum, you can request a free copy HERE and we will e-mail a PDF copy to you.

Submissions to Chicago Books to Women in Prison

If you know any women who’ve experienced incarceration and may be interested in being published. Chicago Books to Women in Prison is looking for submissions from people who identify as women.

These submissions are for the “New Beginnings” Issue of Bound Struggles (published by Chicago Books to Women in Prison). Here are the details from them:

Submissions can be poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or artwork (we are happy to get submissions in color, but we’re printing in black and white).
Any writing should be about 500 words long
Handwritten or typed submissions are both welcome
If she wants to have her piece credited, she should give us her name and any other info that she wants to share (where she’s from, where she lives now, etc)
If she’d rather that it be anonymous, that’s fine- just let us know
We’ll give a copy of the final publication to all contributors

Mail work to Chicago Books to Women in Prison, P O Box 14778, Chicago, IL 60614

We need the work by March 15 for this issue, but if they miss the deadline we’ll hang on to it for the next round.

Raise Dough For Girl Talk This Friday by Eating Food…

This Friday, please help support Girl Talk by eating at Pompei. Mention Girl Talk when you pay and we will receive 20% of everything sold. It’s simple! Eat and we make some money. Please spread the word… You can download the flier here.

Small Miracles in a Juvenile Detention Center

This is reposted from Prison Culture.

This was written by Girl Talk Leadership Team member, Mariame, about her experience during the self-care day event at JTDC.

People still laugh in jail… This seems a trite thing to say. However it never ceases to amaze me. I have been inside enough prisons and jails to last me a lifetime. I have always had the option to leave.

The saddest places on earth to visit are juvenile detention facilities and youth prisons. No matter how many painted murals are on the walls, no matter how many colorful works of art hang in the classrooms, they are awful places to be. When you think of the fact that young people under the age of 18 reside there, how can they be anything else?

Yet today I was reminded that people still smile in these places. I am thinking about this tonight after having spent a couple of hours at a self-care event at my local juvenile jail earlier in the day. I was speaking with a couple of the incarcerated girls and we were laughing together. I glanced over and another young woman sat stone-faced. No smile on her face.

I thought to myself: “That’s how I would be if I were locked in this place for God knows how long.” I wouldn’t be laughing. I would be sitting in a corner looking devastated. Yet for the majority of the girls today, there were smiles and there was banter. They are after all still children even if the world treats them like adults.

For a few hours this afternoon, volunteers (each an amazing woman in her own right) did yoga and aromatherapy with the girls. They offered intuitive readings and painted fingernails. They massaged the girls’ hands and spoke with them. And yes, we even laughed. Thank God for small miracles.