Alarmingly, African American girls are the fastest-growing population in the criminal justice system and the only group of girls to disproportionately experience criminalization at every education level.
The film underscores the challenges Black girls face with insights from multiple experts across the country who have worked extensively in the field of social justice, gender equality and educational equity, giving context to the crisis and providing a roadmap for how our educational system and those who interact with Black girls can provide a positive rather than punitive response to behaviors that are often misunderstood or misrepresented.
While the challenges facing Black boys in the U.S. has garnered national attention, absent from that conversation is how girls of color, particularly Black girls, are being impacted. "Pushout" addresses that crisis by focusing on the challenges Black girls face and emphasizing first-person narratives from them. Hearing from girls as young as seven and as old as 19, they describe navigating a society that often marginalizes and dismisses them. The documentary also looks at how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) continue to impact young lives and how recognizing that reality can change the way the girls see themselves.
At the same time the documentary lays out how adults and policy makers can address the needs of these young girls and women with positive responses that can short circuit the pervasive over punishment of Black girls.
"I want people to walk away from this documentary understanding, number one, that our girls are not disposable... and to really think about how we can shift our understanding of what constitutes a bad attitude or sassiness or combativeness. The documentary is a tool to explore how educators, parents, and policy makers can demonstrate that we love our girls and hold them, and their educational opportunities, as sacred to our community." - Monique W. Morris, Ed.D