The leading women at Southern Black Girls & Women’s Consortium are making Black girls’ dreams come true.
For LaTosha Brown, the visionary founder of the Atlanta-based organization and co-founder of Black Voters Matter, all southern Black girls and women need the support to be creative and innovative.
“My Black girl dream is that Black women and girls in the South will be living free and full lives using their gifts, talents, and skills to shape the kind of world they envision, Brown told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I dream of a south where Black women and Black girls are valued, economically secure, healthy, and have institutions that support them and their families.”
The Birth of Southern Black Girls
In 2017, Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium was born. Brown saw the need to establish the movement after discovering the alarming rates of philanthropy coming to the South. She told us that a study noted that less than 1% of charitable dollars were awarded to support Black girls and women.
“The reason why we have launched this $100 million initiative is because we want to be a model and example of how to fund and support Black women and girls,” Brown said.
Serving as a disruptor in grant-making, the Southern Black Girls organization is a “collective of Black women in philanthropy, activism, and girls’ work, who hold deep roots in movement-building throughout the Southeast,” according to a press release obtained by BLACK ENTERPRISE. They are actively engaging in programming and partnerships to transform the way resources are awarded to underfunded organizations that aim to support and empower Black girls and women in the South.
“We’ve created a new model called “Black Girl-Centered Philanthropy” that not only centers the people who are impacted by this area but also centers their voices in the leadership, in the shaping of the fund, and in prioritizing how we make grants,” Brown explained.
Dreams Ring True With Historic Announcement
The revolutionary model fully aligns with all that Southern Black Girls has in store, including its most recent announcement welcoming its first executive director, Malikah Berry Rogers.
For Rogers, her Black girl dream reflects all the Black women in her life who continue to inspire her dreams into reality.
“I only needed to look at the women around me, the women who raised me, to know that Black women’s leadership is ubiquitous,” Rogers told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “Today, we have the ability to lift the names and profiles of women whose accomplishments are extraordinary and to uplift the lives of women who live at the margins of our economy and yet are no less extraordinary.”
As she settles in her leadership role, Rogers stands firmly on her belief that “southern women’s leadership is critical at this moment in American history.”
“We believe Black women and girls hold authentic and true solutions to the challenges present in our lives. My vision for SBGWC is to elevate the voices and leadership of women and girls and to bring those solutions to light,” Rogers said.
Spreading Black Girl Joy
The Southern Black Girl’s inaugural Joy is our Journey Dream Bus Tour will be kicking off in Atlanta on Saturday, Aug. 20. A caravan will be passing through Elaine, AR; Little Rock, AR; Wilcox County, AL; Livingston, AL; as well as Jackson, MS; and end in Birmingham, AL at the 2022 Black Girls Dream Conference, Friday, Sept. 16 through Saturday, Sept. 17.
The unique “mini-festival-like experience” offers a space for Black girls, young women, and gender-expansive youth between 12–24 to connect and exhale, according to a press release. Visitors can participate in interactive workshops on health and beauty, arts and culture, entrepreneurship, S.T.E.M., and dream-building.
“We’re also creating spaces for Black girls to share and build relationships, and most importantly, we’re creating a network where our focus is not on the problems in our communities but on how we change our community and generate joy at the same time,” Brown said.
Rogers added: “This network of activists and philanthropists gives their time, talent, and treasure to build a movement for Black girls and women. Black women have for generations pooled their resources to bring about social, civic, and community change. We are following in that tradition of proactive self-determination. Our work centers the voice and lives of Black girls.”
The Future For Southern Black Girls
“I think Southern Black Girls is going to radically change the philanthropic landscape, Brown said. “Part of our mission has always been to build the capacity of organizations that support Black girls and women. Because of that mission, I believe we will see a stronger ecosystem of girl/women-led organizations in the South that will shift the narratives of who we are and how we impact not just our urban and rural communities but also how we impact the world.”