Adolescence and becoming a healthy young women is more challenging today, than ever before. Particularly, if you are a black or brown girl. Media’s continuing pervasive, blatant objectification, misogynistic and sexual projections of girls and young women represented on television, games, and music. When girls who’ve suffered the severe trauma of rape, are not believed, such phenomena negatively impacts their self esteem. Little to nothing in our current society, reinforces their natural beauty, gifts and talents. This combined with overall increasing acceptance of violence as a way of life, appears as an acceptance of rape culture as a norm in this patriarchal society, is a growing public health concern. Girls and young women living in poverty, are at even greater risk. OUR girls need nurturance, love, and respect to secure a safe future. that enable their growth into healthy virtuous woman, living their dreams (not nightmares). Their safety, welfare and protection must be a common societal goal.
My beloved Asia would be 35 years old now. When last I saw her in November 2004, she was a vibrant 21 year young woman. Throughout the last 14 years I’ve learned, a Mother’s love is forever!It never dies! OUR Creator, MOST HIGH continuously carries me in the effort to help fulfill HIS Master Plan. The problem is so much greater than any one of us. Throughout the struggles of unmentionable grief, reintegration back into a community in major disrepair, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), all while competing in a skewed Non Profit business sector, against major charities in an era of declining funds, is overwhelming and seems impossible.
When we began in April 2005, it was my way to physically, socially, psychologically heal, while attempting to reintegrate into my community. I was driven by the thought that somehow Asia’s loss, could somehow benefit a greater community of girls. An impassioned Mother, with years of Public & Behavioral Health experience, is learning to overcome systemic barriers is a true balancing act. Not wanting to appear a zealot who is too far left or right, yet desperately needing to warn communities about the increasing Femicide, defined as the “killing of girls and young women because of their gender.” In the US #4 African American women are killed daily, from the ages 15-24. Violence against women and girls, is now a leading cause of death. Asia’s Foundation is working to slow this evolving public health epidemic and social problem that is Teen Dating Violence (TDV). In 2005 I began gathering data, reading, researching, and working with girls and young women, when I realized these were not isolated incidents, but a trend that has continued.
By 2009, five years after Asia’s passing, 17.3% of Philadelphia public high school students were victims of dating violence, compared to 9.6% Statewide and 9.8% nationally. This means Philly’s TDV rate was almost 100% above national and state averages. Thank GOD in 2009, the Federal Government recognized the trend after advocacy and designated National Teen Dating Violence Awareness (TDV) month in February. Then my level of concern was confirmed. But in a world with so very many social and health problems, TDV is just one of too many.
Asia’s Foundation continues working tirelessly to make a difference. Our community awareness campaigns, adaptations of evidenced based curriculum, information and programming, with research to effectively address the needs of teens, focusing on low income minority communities, continues. In addition to our advocacy for girl’s rights, we’ve directly educated more than 20,000 children, teens and young adults (female and male).. We aim to reach many more, while seeking allies who also care about this cause. Continuing degradation, misogynistic actions, worsening health outcomes, growing victimization and poverty rates, along with inadequate life skills training, all represent critical conditions. These circumstances require community support and collective efficacy (social cohesion) to decrease the risk of growing Femicide, that target OUR daughters.
We invite you to help us, support OUR girls and young women! We can accomplish more, with your help. Your donation of time, money, and other resources in support of this undertaking is critically important to the health and safety of OUR girls. We always seek to partner with small and large nonprofit organizations, community groups, students, unions, and all of us so together we can make a real difference. We will never stop trying!