Are Black Beauty Standards Better About Inclusion?

Last week we shared with you how young, black girls can be ostracized and hurt by white beauty standards. Our society has normalized white beauty leaving little to no space for women of color. This doesn’t mean women of color have been quiet…not at all! There have been many movements created by women of color to celebrate their unique beauty. And we love all that self-love! Although we are creating space and change in society with these movements and with these ideas, we are still not perfect. Continue reading

K. Fair Went Back to School

“Kelly Fair’s visit to the Duke University Women’s Center reflects two critically important theoretical frameworks which underpin our mission: women serving as engaged leaders and social justice. Kelly epitomizes both and we are excited for our students to engage with her.”- Dr. Stephanie Helms-Pickett, Director, Duke University Women’s Center Continue reading

5 Reasons Why You Support Polished Pebbles

For the month of September, we encouraged you to donate to Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program. And we want to say, “THANK YOU!” It is because of supporters like you that we are able to provide our girls with enriching learning activities. While people have donated to Polished Pebbles for various reasons, we have here our top five reasons to support girls in your community! Continue reading

Let Your Light Shine!

Join us on September 17, 2015 as we honor our awardees and support Polished Pebbles at the Together She Will Shine Reception! Continue reading

#WhatSheNeeds: Parental Support

#WhatSheNeeds continues with our first topic…Parental Support! For all of our interviewees, parents have been incredible supports during the college experience. But sometimes, things got a little sticky. Parents always wants what is best for their children, but sometimes this causes tension for college students. As summer is quickly passing, all you parents are getting ready to send your daughters off to college–some for the first time! We want you to know how to best support your daughters in their academic career! Here is some advice from our lovely college women… Continue reading

Investing in the Future of Black Girls

Crenshaw and Kelly Fair agree on multiple points. Like Crenshaw, Fair believes more research, media, and communities need to focus on young, African-American women. From sex trafficking to school discipline, our girls are in danger in their very communities. As local community leaders, you are able to make changes, to be a voice for this invisible fight! We want to empower you to stand up for your community, for your young, black girls. For all of those who already have, thank you for your courage, for all of those who have yet to do so, thank you for reading our message. Continue reading

Kelly Fair: Ambassador to Chicago Community Trust

I’m motivated to continue my work in mentoring, because I’m a successful byproduct of strong Chicago-based youth mentoring and job readiness initiatives. So, I know personally that mentoring works, which is why am excited every time a new company jumps on board to providing career-related mentoring to our girls. Join me and the Trust on May 12th to commit to making our region better. Continue reading

Can Mentoring Break The Prison Pipeline?

School To Prison Pipeline

By Tamara Meyerhoff, Polished Pebbles Intern

My mentoring responsibilities aren’t limited just to working with the school age -girls and female college students in Polished Pebbles.  I also find a tremendous about of satisfaction mentoring college/graduate interns as well.  I’m proud to share this blog post that was written by one of our summer interns Tamara Meyerhoff.  Tamara is a senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. She is majoring in Social Work with a concentration in Family Studies. This summer she attended the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture in Hyde Park. Through her classes she was able to experience the culture of Chicago, from the South Side to the North Side. Tamara also completed two part-time internships–one with me at Polished Pebbles, and the other with United African Organization.

As national news continually reports the alarming increase in gun violence in Chicago, I’d like to share with you this infographic from Tavis Smiley Reports on PBS. The school to prison pipeline is the education and juvenile justice system working in tandem to incarcerate mostly lower class minorities. According to the article, schools will unfairly target minority students to be criminally charged for minor acts. As the graphic shows, in 2013, 70% of in-school arrests were of black or Latino youth. Even more shocking, black and Latino students are 3.5 times for likely to be suspended than white students.

The author believes that this harsh reality affects the self-perception of black youth. By constantly being surrounded by a negative stereotype, they start to believe they are nothing more than that stereotype—violent, aggressive, hot-tempered, and criminal. Polished Pebbles is one organization working to fight against the cycle of the school to prison pipeline. It does this in a subtle way. The Polished Pebbles curriculum changes the way African-American girls perceive themselves as young black women. One high school student reported, “Before Polished Pebbles, I had a horrible attitude. Now, I learned that I have to control my attitude because those same people can help me with my future”. Listen to Polished Pebbles success Pertesha share her story through the foster care system. Furthermore, these girls have dreams of becoming doctors, dentists, and even accountants.

These girls have grown because they were surrounded by role models who told them they are capable and deserving individuals. As the article has shown, this is where the school system has been failing black youth. It is here that organizations, communities, and individuals can begin to break the school to prison pipeline.

Share with us in the comments below what can you do in your community to help one youth from entering the school to prison pipeline?

tamara meyerhoff

Tamara Meyerhoff, Polished Pebbles Intern