Projects

#SayHerName: The Rekia Boyd Memorial Project

The #SayHerName: Rekia Boyd Memorial Project engages black girls and young women as citizen-artists who research and help design temporary monuments, media installations, and share in working toward a permanent commemorative structure. Working with members and municipal leaders in the working-class neighborhood of North Lawndale and Martinez Sutton, Boyd’s brother and founder of Rekia’s Haven, this project is based in Chicago’s Douglas Park because it is the site where several high school girls have been abducted and later sexually assaulted since at least 2009 and where 22-year-old African American young woman Rekia Boyd was killed by an off-duty police officer in 2012. Our long term goal is a permanent monument dedicated to the life of Rekia Boyd and activate and infuse public spaces with their vision and voice and serve as a national model that recognizes black girls as innovative leaders and powerful organizers.

 

 

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Black Girl Takeover: Douglas Park

Black Girl Takeover inaugurated a public art program by black girls and young women in North Lawndale’s Douglas Park to address the rising crisis of violence against black girls in Chicago. Partnering with the Chicago Park District, A Long Walk Home’s Girl/Friends artists and activists took over a park, a public space that often endangers black girls and their families, with various expressions of black girlhood. This included double-dutch, a live concert by Chicago’sJamila Woods, an outdoor photography exhibition and photoshoot, and the “Healing Tree,” a collective gathering special tribute to pay homage to recently missing and murdered Black girls.

 

Organized by: Scheherazade Tillet
Participating Artists/Performers: Jamila Woods, Martinez Sutton, [Katherine Dunham] [DJ] [Double dutch]
Partners: Chicago Parks District, Monument Lab, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

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Picturing Black Girlhood

Originally commissioned in conjunction with Columbia University’s three-day Black Girl Movement: A National Conference, Picturing Black Girlhood is an intergenerational exhibition that included the work by numerous Black girl photographers alongside Black women professional artists and practitioners. Through multi-disciplinary, self-reflexive, and social practice modes of image-making, this exhibition spotlights Black girls as both photographically prolific and perceptive. The interior of the gallery—as well as the street, sidewalks, and walls outside—will be transformed into a space of celebration, play, creativity, reclamation, and social change, powered by the visions of Black girls themselves. Picturing Black Girlhood challenges stereotypes by revealing the poignant stories and narratives that many Americans refuse to see—the complex exterior worlds and interior lives as experienced, imagined, and seen through the eyes of Black girls in America.

 

Curated by: Scheherazade Tillet
Assistant Curator: Zoraida Lopez-Diago
Curatorial Advisor: Paul Farber
Participating Artists: Sheila Pree Bright, Nia J. Brown, Monifa Wright-Brown, Jamaica Gilmer 
Delphine Fawundu, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Zainab Floyd, Priscilla Goana, Lorenashay Hamilton, Keyanna Jones, 
Kellie Masielle, Dianna Porter, Nia Savory, Tatiana Simon, Datavia Stewart, Scheherazade Tillet 

 

Partners: Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies, A Long Walk Home, the Brotherhood/Sister Sol, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Ford Foundation, Girls for Gender Equity, New York Women’s Foundation, Novo Foundation, and the School of Art Institute of Chicago’s Artist in Residence Program.

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Black Girl Movement Conference

Black Girl Movement: A National Conference was a three-day gathering at Columbia University in New York City in April 2016 to focus on Black girls, cis, queer, and trans girls in the United States.  Bringing together artists, activists, educators, policymakers, and black girls leaders themselves, this first national conference on Black girls sought to address the disadvantages that Black girls in the United States face, while creating the political will to publicly acknowledge their achievements, contributions, and leadership.  The conference planning was intergenerational and cross-institution because the most innovative done on and with black girls often in silos and without the full benefits of a collaboration, funding, and public visibility.  "Black Girl Movement" was an opportunity to change that reality through raising public consciousness, advancing research, policy, and community programming, and developing a resource sharing platform. Most importantly, this conference highlighted Black girls’ agency and ingenuity in order to elevate their voices and solutions toward improving the life outcomes of Black girls in the United States.

 

Conference Planning Committee: Camille Brown (Camille A. Brown & Dancers), Aimee Meredith Cox (Fordham University), Kyra Gaunt (Baruch College), Farah Jasmine Griffin (Columbia University), Carla Shedd (Columbia University), Cidra M. Sebastien (The Brotherhood/Sister Sol), Joanne Smith (Girls for Gender Equity), Salamishah Tillet (University of Pennsylvania), and Scheherazade Tillet (A Long Walk Home).

 

Sponsors: Columbia University Institute for Research in African-American Studies; Columbia University Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality; Columbia University Office of the President; Dean for Social Sciences Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University; Fordham University African and African American Studies; A Long Walk Home; The Brotherhood/Sister Sol; Camille A. Brown & Dancers; Girls for Gender Equity; The Novo Foundation; and University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice

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Surviving R. Kelly

Inspired by Lifetime Television’s groundbreaking documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, “Got Consent?: 20 Years of Black Women and Girls Ending Sexual Assault” was a retrospective that conveys the stories, experiences, and perspectives of black women and girls over the last two decades, and also a progressive look ahead. Presenting a narrative of a contemporary feminist movement that is created by and centers black girls and women – those members of our society that are most vulnerable to violence yet far too invisible in policy and philanthropy – “Got Consent?” reframes the conversation around race, feminism, political action, and art. The exhibition spotlights artwork created by the next generation of feminist leaders from a program that empowers African-Americans girls in Chicago – the site of in R. Kelly’s abuse and now prosecution – to advocate for themselves and other girls to be free of sexual assault. 

 

... Sitting In the Wicker Chair

As part of the For Freedoms: 50 State Initiative, the largest creative collaboration campaign  in our nation's history, A Long Walk Home partnered with Shine Portrait Studio and New Arts Justice Initiative at Express Newark, to host a photography-based installation in the Shine Portrait Studio, as well as the front window of Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art. The project features select images by executive director Scheherazade Tille from her … In the Wicker Chair” that is inspired by Blair Stapp’s 1967 black and white photograph of Huey Newton, then Minister of Defense for the Black Panther Party, sitting in a wicker chair while holding a rifle in one hand and spear in the other with a demand for armed self-defense penned in the script below.  But, as singular as that image was, the wicker chair was also a ubiquitous symbol of cultural and aesthetic pride in the homes and clubs of African-American young adults in cities all over the country. Scheherazade Tillet takes Huey Newton's iconic image while also restaging and updating this familiar object from her childhood home — the wicker chair — with African-American teen girls from A Long Walk Home’s Girl/Friends Leadership Program. A banner of her image was installed for the Newark Arts Festival, October 4 and remain throughout the month. The studio was also participating in a culminating panel discussion on October 30 at The Newark Museum, along with Project for Empty Space.

 

Featured Artist: Scheherazade Tillet
Partners: For Freedoms, Shine Portrait Studio, and New Arts Justice at Express Newark

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How to Help a Friend: A Coloring Book

How to Help a Friend is a coloring book that is a creative collaboration developed by middle school students from Village Leadership Academy and high school students from A Long Walk Home’s Girl/Friends Leadership Institute. Inspired by courageous young survivors of sexual violence, this coloring book is an interactive, artistic resource filled with images, sayings, and self-care activities that can be beneficial to people of all ages. Students, who wanted to support their friends, specifically designed the coloring book as a tool to help their peers throughout their healing process. Some of the images include ways to provide emotional support, community resources, and strategies to end a rape culture that embodies the ways in which society blames victims and normalizes sexual violence. The young leaders who created this coloring book believe that everyone has the ability to care for survivors and end the cycle of violence. “How can you help, too?

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Red Line Takeover: A March for Jessica Hampton

On October 22, 2016, Girl/Friends led a march for Jessica Hampton, a 25-year old mother of a six-year-old girl, who was fatally stabbed by her ex-partner while bystanders looked on and recorded the attack on their phones. As part of the #SayHerName Campaign, Girl/Friends lifted up the name of Jessica and other black girls and women who have experienced violence.  

 

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Missing and Murdered Indigenous and Black Women and Girls

On Valentine’s day 2019, Girl/Friends youth leaders marched with Indigenous girls and women for the 5th Annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s March, organized by MEV movement leaders Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, and a number of community based groups for coalition building to bring awareness to missing and murdered Black and Ingenious women and girls in Chicago, Minnesota, and across the nation. Indigenous women and girls experience violence at disproportionately high rates–it is estimated that 84% of Indigenous women experience violence in their lifetime, and murder is the third-leading cause of death. 

 

Black and Indigenous girls and women share similar vulnerabilities and oppressions such as racism, sexism, disenfranchisement, repressed trauma, societal invisibility, degradation, and gender-based violence. Black girls and women represent about 7% of Americans, but alarmingly represent over 35% of all missing person’s cases in the United States. And, in Chicago there has been over a dozen Black women and teen girls shot to death this spring. The alarming rates of Black and Indigenous missing and murdered women and girls can no longer go unnoticed, in spite of scarce data and under-reporting, unsolved homicides and trafficking cases, and the public’s lack of interest.

 

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