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City Commission Researching Experiences Of Black Girls In Columbus

Brett Sayles

The Columbus Commission on Black Girls is convening a meeting Thursday afternoon.

Created by councilmember Priscilla Tyson, the commission is intended to assess the quality of life for black girls between the ages of 11-22 and develop ways to improve their chance of success. It started last July with 25 commissioners and is expected to wrap up by the end of 2020.

Tyson says there are a range of issues that disproportionately affect black women, from the wage gap, to infant and maternal mortality, to poverty rates.

"So looking at those facts, it's like, okay, what do we need to do?" Tyson says. "If we're going to change the trajectory of our black women, we gotta first focus on our girls."

Right now, the commission is in a fact-finding phase, and they will present their recommendations next summer.

"We are focusing on gathering information about quality of life for our girls," she says.

That includes surveys, focus groups, discussions with subject matter experts and listening sessions with black girls and their caregivers.

Once the commission compiles their recommendations this summer, they hope to enact change within, and outside, Columbus city government.

"Our hope would be to look at policy changes and then look at a number of partners," Tyson says. "So the people that are working on this commission a lot of them are strategic partners to help move this work forward."

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.