A Program That Celebrates and Empowers Black Girls to Be Exceptional
If they [Black girls] can feel comfortable in their own skin at an age where they’re growing so much, then that sets them up for success in all other areas.”
Rosa Thompson is a Madison native, educator and with her strong background in elementary education,
founded the Black Girl Magic Educational Services Inc. Thompson shares the impact that the Black Girl
Magic program has had on Black girls in the community as well as what inspired the founding of the exceptional program.
“I started off running affinity groups for Black girls at an elementary school that I worked with…we noticed there weren’t a lot of programs for Black girls.” Thompson said.
In 2018, the first Black Girl Magic Conference hosted 80 girls who participated in Natural Circles of Support, a non-profit organization that helps schools address racial disparities with programs that promote the successes and strengths of Black students and other students of color. Since the first conference, the attendance has mushroomed from 80 girls to more than 1,000.
Thompson said she believes the needs of Black girls were pushed to the side. She wanted to dismantle the idea that being tougher on Black girls will help them “grow out of” certain behaviors. After talking to the girls, Thompson learned that the space schools were creating wasn’t welcoming and only magnified behaviors they were seeing.
“The school community wasn’t matching their home community. There weren’t strong connections between school, home and community,” said Thompson, a graduate of the Madison Metropolitan School District who attended Clark Atlanta University before completing her graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Part of running Black Girl Magic was to create spaces for Black girls to feel comfortable, talk about issues that were bothering them and have a support system within the school. This program would also bridge connections between activities the girls participated in after school.
Here’s what a current Black Girl Magic youth leader and 10th grade student named Mariam boasts about her involvement in the program.
“Being a part of the Black Girl Magic program makes me feel accepted and cared about,” Mariam said in a statement on the program’s website. “It’s a movement where women of color can stand together and support each other. I love getting to know other smart, Black girls who I can relate to. Since COVID-19 hit. I haven’t had the chance to be around people my age so Black Girl Magic has been an amazing opportunity to stay connected with my community.”
This is why Thompson’s Black Girl Magic program is necessary.
“The goal of Black Girl Magic is to give Black girls as much as I can that I feel like I didn’t have in terms of community programming,” Thompson said.
The Black Girl Magic Program supports the development of important skills like processing what it’s like to be a Black girl in society and to work on building relationships. The program also focuses heavily on enrichment and expanding the interests of Black girls through partnerships with community organizations.
“I want to make sure our girls feel completely supported. As well as strengthen their connection with who they are as a Black Girl,” Thompson said.
This year Black Girl Magic will be hosting their annual day-long conference that promotes empowerment and self-love, encourages academic and social-emotional success, and introduces positive role models from within our own community to Black girls in grades fourth through seventh. They’ll also host their second year of the Melanated Mindset in June.
To learn more visit www.bgmesinc.com.