Studies show that black girls and young women disproportionately experience violence at school, on the job, at home, and in their neighborhoods. The recently published report "Girlhood Interrupted," found that American adults tend to view black girls as "less innocent and more adult-like" than their white peers, a bias that can contribute to the disproportionate discipline in public schools and the criminal-justice system. As noted the study, “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out Overpoliced and Unprotected” and scholarship like "Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools" by Monique Morris note that girls of color face more challenges than others when it comes to the way that they are disciplined, educated, and denied leadership opportunities. A 2012 NEA study on arts engagement found that more than half the students from low income families with exposure to the arts went on to pursue careers in law, public service and education. "No Idle Hours: Making After School Time Fun and Productive for Chicago Teenagers" shows that high quality after school programs provide such positive role modes for advantaged youth to excel but most viBeGirls lack the financial resources to afford after school programming; and high quality arts programming is even more limited.
viBe advocates for diversity that centers the narratives of those at the margins and gives those folks opportunities to lead. As such, diversity is essential to strengthening the quality of viBe’s work proposed. viBe’s definition of diversity is rooted within diversity of experience. Our community includes the following populations: Children of Incarcerated Parents, Court Involved Youth, Educators and Teachers, Families, Homeless/Formerly Homeless/Housing Unstable, Immigrants, LGBTQ, Below Federal Poverty Line NYCHA Residents, Women, Youth in Foster Care. Similarly, viBe’s community are of the following immigrant communities: Barbados, Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago. With diverse narratives, viBe’s performances can to deviate from normative storytelling and provide the opportunity for girls to develop their social-emotional skills and for audiences to see high-quality, accessible, and relatable theater.
viBeGirls come from over 20 public high schools as well as countless social service organizations. 90% of our girls are black. The majority from immigrant, particularly Caribbean, African and South American families. viBeGirls are particularly vulnerable to push-out trends such as “school to prison pipeline”. The ACLU defines the "school to prison pipeline" as “a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.” Students of color are particularly vulnerable to these push out trends. 90% of viBe participants are girls of color from under-resourced communities with poorly performing public schools and 70% live in households that lack the resources to pay for tutoring and arts programs that can inform their studies and bolster their self-esteem. A 2015 survey on national suspension rates administered through the Civil Rights Data Collection showed that schools where viBe regularly recruits, girls are disproportionately disciplined, suspended and expelled.
Talent Unlimited High School: 35% of the students identify as black, but 100% of expulsions administered to black students.
Brooklyn High School of the Arts: 68% of the students identify as black but 79% of in-school suspensions & 100% of expulsions administered to black students.
Achievement First North Brooklyn Charter School: 26% of the students identify as black but 50% of in-school & 50% of out of school suspensions administered to black students.
Brooklyn Latin: 17% of the students identify as black but 42% of in-school suspensions administered to black students.
Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice: 71% of students identify as black but 83% of in-school and 100% of out of school suspensions administered to black students.
Khalil Gibran International Academy: 6% of the students identify as Hispanic but 33% of school suspensions were administered to Hispanic students.