Black girls living with developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, and chronic illness often experience life in the shadows and are not heard. According to Let Girls Learn study from National Women’s Law Center, black girls with disabilities are at a higher risk of prison to school pipeline and lack of receiving adequate services. Black girls receive the highest percentage of special education services overall.
Tameka Citchen-Spruce, a black woman who grew up with Spinal Cord Injury that left her paralyzed from the mid-chest down wants to tell stories from marginalized communities. Thus 5 years ago, she and Eileen Hayes, another filmmaker from Flint, Michigan embarked telling the stories of two African American girls from Detroit and their fight to be the young women they want to become. The girls featured in the documentary are Shokana Blevins and Monay Williams. Shokana has a disability, Spina Bifida.
Between the age of 11 to 13, Monay was in a "gang" or a "clique" that used to jump on younger grade students at school. Even when she was no longer in the gang, she still continued to get into a fight every year.
The documentary also features black women who work with girls to help Shokana and Monay through their daily challenges. My Girl Story Documentary highlights some of the issues black girls with disabilities face today.
The documentary has been screened at multiple film festivals with great receptions. Starting in 2021, Tameka and Eileen will launch My Girl Story Campaign. It is their vision through My Girl Story to help community members collectively think about ways to improve the lives of girls and their families, but more specifically black girls living with physical and mental health disabilities and chronic health illnesses. It is also our vision to help girls find the power of their stories and voice.
My Girl Story campaign consists of community organizations, influencers, and individuals to host virtual film screenings and community conversations with the public and young women in America and around the world.
National Black Disability Coalition (NBDC) is a proud sponsor of My Girl Story. If you want to learn more about the documentary please go to www.mygirlstorydocumentary.com and check out the trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nCwWTX8vB8&feature=youtube