Shelby Mack

#BlackGirlsMatterToo: Understanding the Development of Black Female Enrichment Programs in Oakland CA

Black girls not only suffer criminalization and punishment enforced by the police and prison system, but also from social institutions such as schools and universities (Wun, 2016). In addition, recent research illustrates that Black male enrichment programs can significantly decrease expulsion and suspension rates among Black male youth. However, there is little to no research on the development and benefits of Black female enrichment programs. Therefore, my research seeks to identify factors, such as school discipline, criminalization and gender violence in order to understand how the first Black female enrichment program (African American Female Excellence Program, AAFE) within Oakland Unified School District can offer solutions towards healing Black girls experiences from dehumanizing school practices (i.e. Zero Tolerance Policies). My ethnographic research will employ in-depth interviewing, coding, purposive sampling and non-participant observation.

My research question is based on understanding the different phases of AAFE overtime, and how AAFE workers are using different healing methods (i.e. healing circles) as a way to heal Black girls from dehumanizing school practices. The final report of this research project will be submitted as an honors thesis to the Department of American Studies at U.C. Berkeley.