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Council's Black Girls Initiative Settles into New Home

The Center for Healthy Families to Continue the Work of the Commission


[COLUMBUS, OH] The Commission on Black Girls, an initiative to positively affect and transform the lives of girls and young women ages 11-22, has found a permanent home with The Center for Healthy Families. The move allows the nonprofit organization to assume operations of the Commission at the end of this year.

"This is step one in the journey to implement the recommendations released by the Commission this summer," said Councilmember Priscilla Tyson, founder of the initiative. "In order to enhance the quality of life for Black girls in Columbus, we have to ensure that there is a results-driven organization such as the Center for Healthy Families staffed to do this work." 

Earlier this year, the Commission released "A Report on the Quality of Life of Black Girls in Columbus, Ohio." It outlined the next steps to ensure Black girls in Columbus have equal access to opportunities for success. Researchers engaged more than 400 young girls by conducting surveys, focus groups, and convening listening sessions with girls ages 11-22, as well as service providers, parents and caregivers. Each session was designed to assess girls' perspectives on their quality of life. 

Three quality of life indicators emerged from the data. They were economics, academics, and emotional health and well-being. The information served as the basis for the permanent establishment of the Commission at The Center for Healthy Families, located at 500 South Front Street, Suite 930. It will serve as a resource for data-driven excellence to positively transform the quality of life outcomes for Black girls and young women.

“The body of research from the Commission on Black Girls report will activate The Center’s advocacy and public policy work,” said Toshia Safford, President and CEO of The Center for Healthy Families.  “We are thrilled to expand the Center’s legacy and mission, to improve the lives of girls.”

The report included the overarching recommendation of the Commission becoming a permanent entity along with three strategies and eighteen additional action items. Many of the recommendations address: education, mentoring and leadership, healthcare, safety, racism and bias training, health and well-being, economics, issues experienced by LGBTQ+ youth and families, and youth in the child welfare system.

Created in 2018, the Commission aimed to study and develop recommendations to ensure opportunities, prosperous futures, and the attainment of a high quality of life for all Black girls.

"We took this journey to address the racial inequities that Black women experience in our community, said Councilmember Tyson. "If we want to change the life trajectory of Black women, it was critical to begin in the early stages of development."

Black women experience the following disparities: 

  • Black women make up 16.1 percent of the population, but in Franklin County one-third live in poverty.
  • Black women earn 63 cents on the dollar in comparison to white men.
  • In Central Ohio, Black babies die at a rate 2.5 times that of white babies.
    (US Census 2015-2016, US Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS)

"I'm excited to see the Commission on Black Girls find a long-term home to continue its important work of fighting racism and sexism," said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. "I look forward to supporting this effort as we work to level barriers with and for our black girls."

For more information on the Commission on Black Girls, visit www.columbus.gov/council/tyson/Commission-on-Black-Girls/. To view the report, visit www.columbus.gov/cobgreport/.


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