OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
The Innocence Initiative
Collaborative: MEASURE, Girl Scouts of Central Texas, Hearts 2 Heal, Lone Star Justice Alliance, Community Advocacy and Healing Project
The Innocence Initiative is a collaborative effort between five organizations –– MEASURE Austin, Girl Scouts of Central Texas, Hearts 2 Heal, Lone Star Justice Alliance, and Community Advocacy and Healing Project –– to address the adultification of Black girls in Central Texas. The Initiative describes adultification as a social or cultural stereotype that is based on how adults perceive children in the absence of knowledge of children’s behavior and verbalization. With adultification, racial stereotypes become more important than the fact that they are children, depriving them of the safety and security they would be granted otherwise.
The Innocence Initiative will use the funds from the Social Innovation Grant to take six courses of action to address the adultification of Black girls:
A community empowerment and Girl Scouts recruitment event focusing on Girls of Color
The development of an online tool to connect parents and guardians to lawyers when faced with potential criminalizing outcomes
Training 50 defense attorneys in Central Texas
Pushing for a public health approach to potentially criminalizing behavior in schools
Launching a public education campaign
Issuing a report with the support of Georgetown University on the impact of the adultification of Black girls in Central Texas
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Innocence Initiative reached all six of their stated action items and more, including:
5 community-led training sessions that reached 535 parents, teachers, and advocates
A speaking event titled “Our Girls Need Us” at the Women’s March in January 2020
The production of “Hey Sis! Be You!” comic book focused on empowering black girls, distributed to 15,000 households
A 6-part educational video series on how to protect Black girls now
The establishment of a “girl squad” mentorship program
The virtual racial equity training event had 200 registered attorneys in attendance. As of September 5, 2020, more than 700 attorneys sought credit from the State Bar for attending.
The work helped inform Travis County’s decision to release as many incarcerated youths as possible during the COVID-19 crisis.
11-page policy document that presents 10 new policy recommendations to regional school districts, city councils, and state of Texas.
Read the full case study here: