Christie Jackson, Author at Alternatives For Girls

If you feel your safety is threatened, you can quickly exit this website by pressing the Escape key or clicking the X in the bottom right-hand corner.

×

x

QUICK EXIT

LIVE CHAT

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Nov. 19 2021 |

This year, we acknowledge the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) to commemorate the victims of anti-transgender violence. Transgender Day of Remembrance began as a vigil in 1999 by trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith. The vigil honored the memory of Rita Hester, a trans woman murdered in 1998, and all the victims of anti-trans violence following Rita Hester’s death. The annual tradition grew into what we now know as Transgender Day of Remembrance, recognized on November 20th each year. Alternatives For Girls recognizes TDOR because we believe that trans people are worthy of love and life, respect and recognition, and we stand against the epidemic of anti-transgender homicides in our community. We affirm that our doors are open to all women and girls regardless of what gender was assigned at birth, and we hope this can contribute to an ongoing dialogue about violence against trans women of color in Detroit.

We do not have a complete list of names of Detroiters whose lives were lost to anti-trans violence, but we hope you will continue to add and uplift those who are not mentioned.

Rest In Power

Natasha Kieanna

Keanna Mattel

Amber Monroe

Paris Cameron

Shelly “Treasure” Hilliard

Jessica Storm

And the Unnamed, Forgotten, or Unknown

National Runaway Prevention Month

Nov. 19 2021 |

Here at Alternatives For Girls, we believe all young people deserve a safe and empowering environment, which is why we acknowledge November as National Runaway Prevention Month and National Youth Homelessness Month. The pandemic has exacerbated this growing crisis of houseless adolescents. On a single night in 2020, 34,210 adolescents were counted as houseless, 90 percent of whom were between the ages of 18 and 24.[1] Many of them have run away from home, a number estimated to be between 1.6 million and 2.8 million each year according to the National Runaway Safeline.[2] This means that millions of children and young adults are vulnerable to the physical, mental and emotional harm that comes with housing insecurity. They are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors necessary for their survival, more likely to be exploited for sex and drug trafficking, and less likely to receive basic necessities, such as medical treatment for mental and physical illnesses.

Despite the dangers houseless children face, they can be harshly stigmatized. They are often blamed for their decision to run away, labeled as “bad” kids that need punishment and discipline. But the overwhelming majority of children and adolescents on the street are not there by choice. They are forced there by a complex system of violence and oppression that impacts their lives on an interpersonal and institutional scale. This National Runaway Prevention Month, we must challenge and change the systemic issues that contribute to the growing crisis.

  • Abuse & Exploitation: For victims of child abuse and exploitation, the street often looks safer than home. Many runaway and houseless youth are escaping domestic violence in their former households. Children are far more likely to experience abuse from family, and the violence can become so severe that running away from home feels like the only option. Additionally, children are far more likely to be exploited by people they know. According to Polaris, exploitation from a family member is the second highest recruitment tactic in sex trafficking.[3]
  • Gender & Sexuality: Even though only 7 percent of young Americans identify as LGBTQIA+, out of the 1.6 million youth experiencing houselessness, 40 percent were LGBTQIA+, according to a 2012 study conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA Law. Nearly half of them were either forced out by their family or ran away from home due to their gender or sexual identity. One-third of them ran away because of the physical, emotional, or sexual abuse they faced in their household due to their identity.[4]
  • Race & Ethnicity: Latinx youth are 33 percent at higher risk of houselessness than their white peers—a number that rises to 83 percent for Black youth, who are the most overrepresented group among all young people experiencing houselessness. But Black adults are also disproportionately impacted by houselessness overall. The combination of institutional racism and structural poverty excludes historically oppressed people from equal housing, economic opportunities, and community support, especially young children.[5]
  • System-Involved: Foster care is often the only option for children in unstable households, but the system is not without its faults. Sometimes, they are placed in unsafe and unstable homes that lead to homelessness. Also, according to a study conducted by National Runaway Safeline, 30 percent of respondents who had been in foster care ran away from home, compared to only 8.1 percent that were not. [6]

[1] https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/who-experiences-homelessness/youth/#:~:text=How%20Many%20Youth%20Are%20Homeless,under%20the%20age%20of%2018.

[2] https://www.ojp.gov/files/archives/blogs/2019/invisible-faces-runaway-and-homeless-youth

[3] https://polarisproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Polaris-2019-US-National-Human-Trafficking-Hotline-Data-Report.pdf

[4] https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/serving-our-youth-lgbtq/

[5] https://www.chapinhall.org/wp-content/uploads/ChapinHall_VoYC_1-Pager_Final_111517.pdf

[6] https://www.1800runaway.org/prevention-education/educational-and-outreach-materials

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Oct. 7 2021 |

By Christie Jackson, Marketing & Development Fellow

At Alternatives For Girls, we recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence (DV) is a public health issue that disproportionately impacts young women and girls. Although abuse is typically understood as physical, domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner or family member. These behaviors can be subtle to severe, and they include physical and sexual violence, as well as emotional, economic, and psychological abuse.

Although people of all gender, race and class backgrounds are impacted by DV, one in four women in the U.S have reported experiencing severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, and young women between the ages of 18-24 are most at risk of domestic violence, according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC).

Community intervention is a powerful source of safety and empowerment. Here are ways you can help stop DV in your community.[1]  

  • Each One Teach One- Learn about the dynamics of domestic violence versus healthy relationships. Unlearn harmful social norms, such as victim blaming, supporting perpetrators, and ignoring abuse. Teach social-emotional wellness and domestic violence dynamics to other people in your community who voice incorrect and harmful views on relationships.
  • Be a Better Bystander : A great bystander safely intervenes and potentially diffuses harassment and abuse. Studies have shown that bystander intervention effectively lowers rates of violence and fosters a safe environment. To become a great bystander, learn the signs of domestic violence, and create a plan for how you will intervene if someone you see or know experiences abuse. NoMore.org offers training and resources to learn more for yourself and your community members.
  • Mobilize Men and Boys as Allies: Engage men and boys in the community in the effort to prevent domestic violence, and offer programs and tools that model non-violent, healthy relationships and bystander intervention. Male allies play a significant role in reducing domestic violence perpetration and negative bystander behaviors, such as laughing or encouragement.
  • Create Safe Spaces- Support policies that improve climate and safety in schools and workplaces. Ensure that pre-existing policies, such as Title IX, are being implemented effectively.
  • Support Survivors- Center the needs of survivors in your community. Donate and volunteer at organizations that offer survivor-centered services. Collaborate with community members and organizations to provide essential needs and economic opportunities for people escaping violence.

Hotlines

Learn More

Local Resources

  • YWCA Interim House Metro Detroit
    • Phone: 313.862.3580
    • Crisis: 313.861.5300
    • YWCA Interim House offers services to battered women and their children in a safe, comfortable and supportive environment.
  • HAVEN Residential Shelter
    • Crisis: 248-334-1274
    • Toll Free Crisis Line: 877-922-1274
    • HAVEN provides shelter, counseling, advocacy, and educational programming.

[1] Recommendations provided by the CDC.

AFG Hires 53 Young People Through Grow Detroit’s Young Talent

Sep. 8 2021 |

Alternatives For Girls had another successful partnership with Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT), a city-wide summer job and training program that employs young adults between the ages of 14-24. We hired 53 youth employees across all three departments, double the number of participants from 2018. Even though the six-week program was remote this year, we were still able to provide great work opportunities and workshops that teach participants professional skills, such as resume writing, time-management, leadership, teamwork, and communication.

The program’s success is expressed in our youth employees’ end-of-summer reflections. They not only spoke about their new skills, but also their newfound confidence to pursue their dreams through goal-setting and good decision-making. One participant learned that “purpose isn’t just a role, it’s a feeling that you can do in multiple ways” while another one said that they learned the importance of “truly sitting down and thinking about your goals, and whether you are doing enough to achieve them.”

But the workshops offered more than skill-building and career advice. Employees also had the opportunity to learn more about self-care and serving their community.  One participant “learned how to deal with mental health…[and] learned more about the city of Detroit. I learned how to better understand people and their differences. I learned more about me as a person,” while another participant gained “a lot of insight on how to protect myself, how to better boost my self-esteem, community service opportunities, and smarter ways to do things.”

 We are proud of the meaningful and impactful contributions our GDYT youth employees have made. Though we are sad to see the summer come to an end, we are excited about what they have in store.