What is #1Billion4BlackGirls?
Investing in Black girls, femmes, and gender-expansive youth is essential to our collective liberation.
Black girls, femmes and gender-expansive youth have been on the frontlines of movements that demand social justice. They have done so despite having to navigate intersecting systems of oppression, under-investment, and an erasure of their experiences and contributions.
In September 2020, a collective of outstanding Black women leaders came together to call for a $1 billion investment in Black girls over the next decade. The #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign thus emerged from a belief that investing abundantly in Black girls, and centering their leadership and wisdom, is necessary for our collective liberation. They recognize that there is no social justice movement that does not uniquely impact Black girls, and where Black girls are not already exhibiting leadership. Put simply, every issue is a Black girl issue.
These are the co-founders of the #1Billion4BlackGirls Campaign, they are Black femme activists, artists, educators, organizers and philanthropists:
- LaTosha Brown, Co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund & the Southern Black Girls & Women’s Consortium (home of the Black Girls Dream fund)
- Tarana Burke, Executive Director, ‘me too.’ Movement
- Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, National Women’s Law Center
- Dr. Monique W. Morris, President and CEO, Grantmakers for Girls of Color (home of the Black Girl Freedom Fund)
- Dr. Salamishah Tillet, Co-Founder, A Long Walk Home
- Scheherazade Tillet, Co-Founder, A Long Walk Home
- Joanne Smith, Founding President and CEO, Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)
- Teresa C. Younger, President and CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women
Abundant support is necessary for our collective freedom
The phenomenal co-founders of the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign recognize that Black girls’ wisdom and leadership are essential to the liberation of all people. They asked the question, “What would our communities look like in ten years if we made an intentional and abundant investment in Black girls’ femmes, and gender-expansive youth?”
The collective answer was an agreement that now is the time to robustly invest in our Black girls. This campaign invites us to join together to invest $1 billion in the brain trust, innovation, health, safety, education, artistic visions, research, and joy of Black girls, femmes and gender-expansive and their families by 2030. We are committed and are firm in our belief that together, this is possible.
Through events like Black Girl Freedom Week, surveys, and participatory grantmaking opportunities, Black girls, femmes and gender-expansive youth inform the priorities of the fund, and also make decisions about how funds will be directed.
Now, in its second year, the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign continues to grow not just by calling attention to the significant barriers and challenges that Black girls face, and the dismal amount of resources funneled towards them, but more importantly by showcasing their leadership, creative genius, joy, play, and power.
An intentional launch date: September 15, 2020
The launch date of the #1Billion4BlackGirls Campaign, September 15, was an intentional choice. On that day, 57 years earlier, four Black girls — Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley — were murdered by a Ku Klux Klan member who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Their tragic deaths further galvanized the Civil Rights Movement, ultimately leading to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And like Sarah Collins, the fifth little girl who survived, millions of other Black girls are simply forgotten. We launched the campaign on this day to uplift and honor their names, to combat the erasure of Black girls in our larger quest for justice, and to make a firm commitment towards a world that protects, nurtures, and celebrates all Black girls, femmes, and gender-expansive youth.
Black Girl Freedom Week 2022
Hosted by the #1Billion4BlackGirl campaign and Black Girl Freedom Fund, Black Girl Freedom Week (BGFW) is an annual week-long celebration of Black girls and gender-expansive youth and what is possible when we invest abundantly in their dreams, their power, and their leadership, and work together to co-create a future where they are safe, free, and thriving. We chose this week during Black History Month in honor of Toni Morrison’s and Audre Lorde’s birthdays.
The first Black Girl Freedom Week was held in 2021 and we are excited to continue hosting it again! This year, our programming focuses on the following themes:
- What would a $1 billion investment do for Black girls and gender-expansive youth?
- How do narratives about Black girls, especially in the context of fashion and beauty, impact the justice Black girls are seeking?
- How can we support Black girls’ leadership and entrepreneurship?
- How can we uplift Black girls’ artistic vision and genius and celebrate Black girl creatives?
BGFW is a completely free, virtual and accessible experience to anyone who would like to participate. You can watch the panel discussions right here on our website, or tune in as they livestream across Black Girl Freedom Fund’s social media channels during the week. This year, we’ve added youth-led interactive sessions that will take place within the Hopin platform on Friday, February 18.
While we are centered on uplifting Black girls and gender-expansive youth, we welcome all who share our values and vision to attend BGFW, learn, and share!
Check out the full schedule of BGFW 2022 here, which includes live panel discussions, youth-led interactive conversation, and solidarity actions.
You can also check out videos from last year’s BGFW 2021 that include conversations about freedom and joy; disability justice; wellness and safety; and investment in the lives of Black girls and gender-expansive youth with activist and student Naomi Wadler; writer, actor, artist Eva Reign; artists from A Long Walk Home; organizers from National Agenda for Black Girls, as well as actress, writer, and producer Rashida Jones; Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley; actress, producer, and activist Kelly McCreary; and the Co-founders of the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign.
If you are inspired by what you see and learn during BGFW, we invite you to donate or make a pledge to support the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign. This campaign is a 10-year philanthropic initiative designed to invest in the brain trust, innovation, health, safety, education, artistic visions, research, and joy of Black girls, gender-expansive youth and their families. With your support, we can meet this historic goal of investing $1 billion in Black girls by 2030, and truly make a difference.
Don’t forget to follow us on our social media channels to stay up to date and interact with the global #1Billion4BlackGirls community:
- Facebook: Black Girl Freedom Fund
- Instagram: @blackgirlfreedomfund
- Twitter: @BlkGrlFreedom
- LinkedIn: Black Girl Freedom Fund
Please email us with any questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for joining this powerful movement, and inviting others to participate in this amazing week!