Summer 2022 Newsletter
For Black women, this summer has been filled with highs and lows. We watched with pride as the first Black woman was sworn in as a justice to the highest court in the land, and we marched in the streets as our right to fair and equal reproductive healthcare was stripped away. But freedom in America has never come without pain and suffering. And progress never comes quickly and without its setbacks. Now, Jim Crow laws are rearing their ugly heads again, with the 2022 midterm elections well underway. Look at what has happened with the Roe v. Wade decision from the Supreme Court. Look at the 150+ anti-trans bills being drawn up in various states out of ignorance and trumped-up fear. We cannot take anything for granted anymore as our rights are being rolled back and picked apart before our very eyes. We must vote in droves to ensure that our national, state, and local lawmakers are elected to do the will of the people instead of serving their own self interests. Remember: Your vote is your voice! Let it be heard! Get registered here.
If you are receiving this newsletter, you have joined the Black Girls Vote movement! You recognize that BGV membership is a direct and powerful way to change our communities and stand as a united front for our representation of our women and girls. Black Girls Vote inspires the new generation of young women to vote and become a strong voice within their communities. And because of this, we need your help in reaching out to your friends and family to become BGV members too. Our multi-tiered membership plan ensures that regardless of financial background, there is a tier that is suitable for everyone. For a one-time annual fee, your friends and family can become BGV members. Encourage your network to join or give the gift of membership today!
In Case You Missed It
For this Ladies & Politics branded event, we were joined by Dr. Wendy Osefo for a conversation on medical racism and discrimination, the disparities between Black maternal and infant health compared to other races, and policy solutions to protect Black women and Black babies. Our signature BGV vibe was in full effect as we kept it light and engaging to create an entirely unique experience.
Our first ever Women in Beauty & Health Dinner was an acknowledgement of the people who are often the pillars of the Black community. We celebrated the women who are often called on to be coaches, therapists, supporters and so much more. This dinner also was the launching point for our BGV Brand Ambassador program. Attendees were offered the opportunity to partner with Black Girls Vote in efforts to get out the vote in new and non-traditional ways.
In anticipation of the Maryland Primary election held on July 19th, Black Girls Vote kicked off our BGV Brand Ambassador program. As a BGV Brand Ambassador, local businesses receive kits with instructions to get out the vote and materials to distribute to clients which help facilitate conversations about the importance of voting. The first wave of Brand Ambassadors was a huge success! Stay tuned for more information about how to become a BGV Brand Ambassador.
Dr. Ashley Daniels participated in the second annual Statehouse Futures Summit, a forum created to familiarize participants with a range of transformative policies — from social housing to non-carceral first responders, universal voting to green buildings — as well as key strategies to advance them, such as setting up caucuses in your statehouse, effectively communicating progressive values, campaigning as an unapologetic progressive, and running a successful ballot measure campaign.
Keri Gray and Vilissa Thompson, LMSW joined us in creating a safe space where activists and advocates gathered in community for candid conversation on the intersection of disability, race, and gender. Disability Rights Maryland and Black Girls Vote teamed up to highlight the experiences of Black women with disabilities through a discussion based on the BGV pillars: advancing education, economic empowerment, equitable access to quality health care, and of course voting rights.
Black Girls on the Move
On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion. This was decided by Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which additionally reduces women’s access to reproductive health broadly. Black Girls Vote responded to the decision in this statement, which includes information to take action in support of abortions and women’s rights.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn into the Supreme Court on June 30th, 2022 following the resignation of Justice Stephen Breyer. She was confirmed as the 116th Supreme Court Justice on April 7th, 2022. Black Girls Vote’s Founder & CEO, Nykidra Robinson, offered this statement in response to the historic confirmation.
Dr. Ashley Daniels, leader of the BGV Research Network, spoke at the UNCF Student Leadership Conference, a framework and forum for equipping students with the skills needed to be successful interns and early career professionals. She spoke on a panel titled, “We Got the Keys: Unlocking the Leader Within” to share experiences and to provide tips to early-career professionals on the best ways to navigate the workplace while maintaining their unique identity.
The Industrial Prison Complex has dismantled families, created a school-to-prison pipeline that targets Black children, and has destroyed communities for generations. America is a country that holds the largest criminal justice system in the world, a billion-dollar private industry that has facilitated catastrophic disparities disproportionately targeting and profiting off of Black people. On behalf of Black Girls Vote, Natasha Murphy, Chief of Staff, was invited to speak at IGNITE’s Movement Against Police Violence forum on how we can use our political power to advocate for the protection of Black people.
The 2022 National Organization for Women’s Conference was held in Chicago, IL. This Conference celebrated the 56th anniversary of the organization’s founding, and called together women of all races and backgrounds to Save Our Democracy and Vote for Womxn’s Lives! Krystal Leaphart, Advocacy Co-Lead spoke at the NOW Annual Conference on the civic engagement and political power of women of color.
The Highland Project was created to center and invest in Black women’s leadership across systems to create multi-generational wealth and change. In their second annual poll of more than 700 Black women voters, the nonprofit group found that 8 in 10 Black women will definitely vote in the 2022 midterms. However, their votes cannot be taken for granted and they shouldn’t be considered single-issue voters. In other words, Black women are not a monolith! Read more statistics and their findings here.
BGV Partnership Spotlight!
Founded by Mia J. Davis, Color Vision is an organization that is dedicated to advancing the next generation of women of color in creative fields to achieve their career goals. Through mentorship, scholarships, and national conferences, Color Vision helps its members realize their professional dreams. Color Vision is a long-time partner of Black Girls Vote and our collaborating organization to bring you the Dope Black Girls Brunch. Check out our upcoming events section below to see all of the events we have in store for the 5th Annual Dope Black Girls Brunch Celebration this week!
Krystal Leaphart, Advocacy Committee Co-Lead, was a guest on the Black Press of America morning show, Let it Be Known, where she talked about the importance of being civically engaged, starting from voter registration to filling out sample ballots to holding your elected officials accountable. Check out the full episode!
Natasha Murphy, Chief of Staff, was a guest on the Betches Sup podcast #693, “Politics and the Authenticity Problem,” where she touched on the nation’s man-made obstacles to voting and governing, such as gerrymandering and the filibuster. She also talked about the potential fallout from the leaked SCOTUS decision on Roe, which will have dire consequences to pregnant people.
Young people know there’s a problem in America–and being civically engaged starts long before students are able to vote. Crystal Amuzie, Communications Associate, was featured in this article for Diverse Issues in Higher Education that discusses new, possible ways to ensure and assess civics education in K-12 schools–and their caveats.
Baltimore Mayor, Brandon Scott called a press conference ahead of the July 19th Primary Election to call for young people to get registered and vote. Natasha Murphy, the deputy director of advocacy for the nonprofit Black Girls Vote Inc., emphasized the importance of voting to shape “the future of our democracy,” as those elected now will make key decisions about social justice, education, and public safety in the future.
BGV Communications Associate, Crystal Amuzie, and friend of BGV, Kaye Whitehead, spoke to WMAR about the impact of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s monumental swearing in. While this moment is a historic celebration of how far Black people and Black women in this nation have come, it is also a reminder of how much work is left to be done.
In a virtual event in partnership with The Education Trust, Black Girls Vote created our second panel on the Black Student Debt Crisis. This year’s panelists represented the organizations Higher Heights, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and The Debt Collective to speak on how the Black Student Debt Crisis specifically affects Black women’s quality of life and mental health, and the need for student debt cancelation.
BGV’s Morgan State Chapter was featured in the Baltimore Times to discuss their voter registration efforts and the importance of engaging young people in get out the vote efforts. “Black Girls Vote really helps students and young adults understand what it really means to be a registered voter, and what it means to be a part of the political process, and how they play a role in it,” Amber Robinson, a senior and president of BGV at Morgan State University said.
Black Girls’ Voices Matter!
For this edition, we would like to honor Dr. Ashley Daniels. Dr. Daniels joined the BGV family last year through the American Council of Learned Societies’ Leading Edge program, as our 2021-2022 Leading Edge fellow and has since extended her fellowship for 2022-2023. Dr. Daniels is a Baltimore native and graduate of Western High School who earned her PhD in political science from Howard University. Currently, Dr. Daniels is an Adjunct Lecturer at Georgetown University. You can read more about her incredible research on the political attitudes of Black women here.
During her time with BGV, she has helped to establish and develop the BGV Research Network. As the lead for the Research Network, she has spoken at numerous conferences, co-coordinated research on Black women’s political engagement, and assisted in expanding the Party at the Mailbox initiative. In her coming year, she will continue work on initiatives that elevate BGV as a thought leader in the space of political research and Black women. Dr. Daniels will accomplish this with support of Alexis Ferguson, Research Assistant and the newest addition to the BGV Research Network.
Thank you, Dr. Daniels! We are grateful for your commitment to Black Girls Vote and to your tireless effort to shine a light on Black women’s political engagement and achievements.
Pass the Torch
Congratulations to all of our Black Girls Vote Collegiate Chapters on kicking off the 2022-2023 school year with your brand new e-board! Some members are returning officers, while others are serving for the very first time. We welcome you all and look forward to the programs and voter registration events that you will hold at each university this year! BGV Collegiates currently have chapters on Morgan State, American University, North Carolina A&T, Bowie State University, and Howard University’s campuses. We are excited to continue to grow and expand our collegiate chapters across the country. Stay tuned to find out where we’re going next!
We recognize your light and uplift your work, as we pass the torch to you: the next generation.
This year we are commemorating the 5th Anniversary of the Dope Black Girls Brunch with a week full of events! Festivities will kick off on Wednesday, August 24th with a Virtual Fireside Chat with Past Dope Black Girl Honorees. The celebration continues with an in-person Happy Hour on Friday, August 26th at Ciel Social Club (men welcome!). And finally, please join us for our Dope Black Girls Brunch on Sunday, August 28th when we return to The Hamilton in DC. Tickets are almostgone so make sure you get yours TODAY!
We will give away one free ticket to the Brunch.
To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions here.
Bourbon and Boyshorts Podcast and Black Women Whiskey have come together to bring Women & Whiskey Wednesday to Baltimore! On August 31st at 6:30PM join us for a happy hour and fundraiser at Montego Bar & Grille. Proceeds from this event will be donated to Black Girls Vote.
Black Girls Vote Research Network (BGVRN) is pleased to announce our first call for proposals for grant awards of $2,000.00 to five community-academic teams! Apply online by September 19, 2022 at 11:59PM EST.
Black Girls Vote will be hosting our first Ladies in Ministry Luncheon on Saturday, September 17, 2022. We are inviting female pastors, first ladies and spiritual leaders from congregations across Greater Baltimore to join us in saluting key women who have been exceptional leaders in their religious communities while sharing the mission and message of our organization.
And now for the moment we know you have all been waiting for…Black Girls Vote presents the 5th Annual Black Girls Vote Ball! Mark your calendar for November 18th at 7:00pm. Early bird tickets will go on sale soon so make sure you are following us on social media (@blackgirlsvote) to be the first to lock in your spot!