Operating under harp + sword as the principal company, I am seeking support to launch The Restorative Celia Project, a community and school-based initiative to use restorative justice to address the sexual abuse to prison pipeline in Baltimore City. It should not be surprising to know that in Maryland, girls of color are five times more likely to receive harsher school punishments or be referred to the juvenile justice system than white girls. Plus, 60% of girls of color have experienced some form of sexual assault by the age of 18 – just like Celia, who this project honors.
In 1855, Celia, an enslaved teenager of color, was put on trial and sentenced to death for protecting herself against sexual assault by Robert Newsom. Like Celia, teenage girls of color are still literally and figuratively put on trial for harm done to them, while also being hypersexualized simply because of the pigment in their skin and their gender. These experiences make it difficult for girls of color to receive an adequate education and be invested in their communities. The likelihood of experiencing sexual assault and harassment increases exponentially for girls of color who have other intersectional identities (i.e., poverty, foster care, LGBTQIA, ability, homelessness, mental health, incarcerated parent, etc.).
The Restorative Celia Project will demonstrate that there is a way to be proactive against sexual assault, repair harm to the school environment and community, and have long term healing impacts on communities of color by using restorative justice.
Funded by Baltimore, MD (August 2019)