CASES is pleased to announce that our Director of Youth Programs, Rukia Lumumba, has been appointed to the Steering Committee of the New York City Council’s Young Women’s Initiative (YWI).
Modeled after former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative, YWI has been established to eradicate chronic inequality experienced by young women of color in New York City in a range of areas including education, healthcare, and the workplace.
According to a report released by the White House last year, girls and young women of color experience poverty and teen pregnancy and drop out of school at drastically higher rates than their white female counterparts. YWI will take a multi-layered approach to addressing these disparities, starting with the creation of the Steering Committee to identify the key gender and racial inequalities affecting young women, and by developing policy and programmatic recommendations on how to close these gaps.
The YWI Steering Committee is composed of policy experts, community leaders, and advocates such as Ms. Lumumba. Ms. Lumumba—who has extensive experience in working with at-risk, marginalized youth—was also appointed to lead the Initiative’s Anti-Violence and Criminal Justice Working Group, a subcommittee dedicated to the development of policies and programs that will protect and improve the lives of women age 12-25 who are at-risk of becoming victims of violence and/or involved in the criminal justice system.
Ms. Lumumba said she was thrilled to be involved in what will be nation’s first Young Women’s Initiative and hopes to see it implement a range of needed gender reforms. “The YWI is a chance for policy experts and community leaders to come together and design systems that will advance public safety and support the healing and healthy development of one of New York City’s most precious resources: our girls and young women,” Ms. Lumumba said.
The YWI Steering Committee is scheduled to meet bi-monthly through January 2016, at which point it will release a report outlining its findings and recommendations. It is expected that this report will then serve as a blueprint for the planning and implementation of initiatives to expand opportunities and improve the quality of life for disadvantaged young women throughout New York City.
For more information on the Young Women’s Initiative, please see the NYC City Council’s press release.