Black Girl Summer is an eight-week intensive that’s like an internship, study abroad and summer school got together and had a participatory research party … with a purpose. Black Girl Summer was created to meet an immediate need and rapidly grew into something we believed could be sustainable across years to come.
The past few months of 2020 have sobered us but also upheld we—people of the diaspora, as June Jordan so eloquently wrote—are the ones we have been waiting for. History has shown us Black girls and women will be the ones who lead the way. Even when in dire straits, studies have affirmed what cultural wisdom already knew: Helping others has a positive impact on one’s well being. Just as their elders and ancestors before them, Black Girls Summer participants who show up at our door have decided it is incumbent upon them to meet the demands of today.
This summer, participants will engage in a needs assessment for girls and women across the southeast, paying particular attention to the Jackson metro of Mississippi, based on an in- and post-COVID-19 world. In an atmosphere where Black girls and women experience so many negative (intended and unintended consequences) of regressive policies, white dominance and a general lack of opportunities tailored to and for them, the data Black Girl Summer participants collect (like all gathered by The Lighthouse) will aid the organization in being more intentional about meeting material needs, the programs it creates, policies it champions and being an unflickering, revelatory light in the world. That’s Black Girl Summer.
– Natalie A. Collier