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Let’s teach young black girls to command RESPECT

There is a great deal of talk about the struggles of young black men.  President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative was a much-needed boost to the morale of young black men, but what about our girls?  This article by Afiya J. Watkins talks about an outstanding program in Philadelphia by a woman who is pushing to help young black women command the respect that they deserve.  Read more:


by Afiya J. Watkins

Philadelphia is widely known as the “City of Brotherly Love”, but for many residents in the tough, blue-collar town it can seem like anything but. Like many large, urban cities, Philadelphia has its share of socio-economic problems including poverty, crime, and lack of education. These issues disproportionately plague residents in the minority communities, and nowhere is it felt as strongly as with the city’s youth, who are seeing schools and recreation centers closing at alarming rates.

Instead of lamenting the problems or waiting for city government, or someone else to solve them, one woman is determined to give back. Connie Grier is a tireless public servant with over two decades of experience in education and consulting. A native Philadelphian, who grew up in one of the city’s most notorious housing projects; she knows firsthand the pitfalls that await those without a good education and positive role models.

Growing up, Connie’s parents stressed education and although her father dropped out of school early to support his family during the Great Depression, he always encouraged her to transcend her circumstances by studying hard and striving for excellence. Because of their love and guidance, she went on to gain admission into two of the top magnet schools in the city of Philadelphia; eventually earning a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration.

Connie is the consummate educator, but she is also life-long learner, currently embarking on a Doctoral candidacy. As an educational consultant and entrepreneur, she is passing down the lessons of achievement that were instilled in her as a child to her twin, teenaged sons, who are both reaching heights academically, recently earning a trip to study abroad. She knows the opportunities afforded her sons, are terribly lacking in the lives of most children who come from areas like the one she once grew up in, and she’s on a mission to change that.

As an extension of her organization, The RESPECT Alliance, Ms. Grier is hosting

Girls’ Empowerment B.O.O.T. (Boosting Our Own Talents) Camp, a week’s long program where camp-goers will be inundated with messages  such as, “We ARE who we BELIEVE we are” and “Give all barriers to success the B.O.O.T!, while exploring twelve core tenants:

Health and Wellness                Social Graces
Cultural Exposure                    Social Media Safety

Service Learning                     Academic Excellence

Self-worth /Self respect           Conflict Resolution

Financial Literacy                   Peer Pressure
Purposeful Living                   Supporting our Sisters

Successful participants will be invited to become a part of a year round mentoring program for young ladies, which will include the above along with cultural excursions and various other supports which will begin in August.

Girls’ Empowerment B.O.O.T. (Boosting Our Own Talents) Camp
August 25-29th, 2014

9:30am-12:30 pm

Registration opens June 1st 2014

Location:  McVeigh Recreation Center

4th and Ontario Streets

Philadelphia, PA

Costs:  $25.00

For more information about Girls’ Empowerment B.O.O.T. Camp or to find out how you can support the efforts of The RESPECT Alliance, please contact Connie Grier at:


Connie Grier

Founder/ President

The RESPECT Alliance: Collaborating for Educational Success

Promoting and Building Respectful Engagement between Families and Schools

[email protected]


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11 thoughts on “Let’s teach young black girls to command RESPECT

  1. Mario

    First allow me to say that I feel this program is wonderful and very much needed in our community. In addition, I salute and honor the many black women who give tirelessly to educate, inform, and empower black women on a continuous basis. However, to brush off the POTUS initiative for a Federal Program for young black men is not the coolest thing to do.

    The article title “Let’s teach young black girls to command RESPECT” actually should be “Let’s teach young black girls to GIVE RESPECT”. In case you haven’t noticed, black girls are not able to command respect because so very many of them are very disrespectful. Not only are they disrespectful to each other but they disrespect themselves. I witness on a daily basis young black women who cuss, not curse, like drunken sailors, who smoke black and milds, drink like Ned the wino, chase men down for sex like a white slave owner chases a runaway slave, blatantly dishonor any and all authority and seek to imitate the worse of the worse celebrities.

    For years there has been hundreds of programs developed for the empowerment of women in general. From the church to the White House. Not just black women but all women. However, in comparison very few programs have been developed with national recognition for black men. Our black boys need just as much if not more attention and structured programs as black girls. My encouragement to all leaders is to deal with the truth of the matter. While we can site environmental factors for the demise of our community, we must also deal with the fact that the core of our communities problem lies within the music and media culture. If you are going to combat this issue you will have to address these two demonic factors. The images of Black folk in the music and media is utterly despicable. The truth is as long as the media and record companies are not challenged to change the imagery of how we are depicted we are fighting a losing battle.

  2. Devon

    Girls need their daddies. Blkwmn gotta raise their standard and stop fukkin dudes thats in it for pussy and nothin else. Meet some nice responsible dudes and get married then have kids.

  3. JaccTrippa

    see, this is what i learned about you feminists, you make everything a competition between black men and women because thats what that racist Susan B Anthony taught you.
    if you actually read My Brother’s Keeper, it applies to “minorities.” not black men specifically. and dont forget, blacks always get the leftovers of all affirmative action programs.
    also, if you look up the definition of minority, that includes all non-blacks and even white women.
    its not a competition black women, its about the black family. let me know when yall black women are ready to stop playing for white supremacy with that feminist ideology, until then, i dont trust none of you.

  4. Dee

    This program is desperately needed like any other. I work with teens and have a first hand look at how the self esteem of girls is robbed due to the disrespect and put downs that they receive about looks, clothes, etc especially from males. We need to empower all of our children – its not about being feminist. Boys need rites of passage as well. So for all those naysayers and complainers who do nothing BUT complain, I invite you to step up and make a change where you are. Keep doing the work Connie!

    • Redbone


      I love your post. You are so right on it. People talk yak yak yak, complain complain complain… Controlling!!!! wanna make-up their own [email protected] rules all the time, but if you don’t live by their rules your immediately labelled as a useless blackwomen.
      Sister Dee the most important issue here is to lead our young blackwomen out of slave mentality, self-bondage so they can become free-in-self… Its called walking in freedom of self.
      They will not gain freedom by being taught the requirements of a blackman, that will only take them from one bondage to the next with no end insight.
      God is about freedom in humanity which starts from the inside out, once you get there everything else falls into place.

  5. Hiroader2

    At first thought I thought this was another “finger wagging ” issue at young black males, Where individuals females or blk males weren’t accountable for their very own actions… The culture/social environment our young black females & males has/is an contaminated viral toxic one, Where their social & academic developments are diverted, distorted, by dysfunctional behaviors of already infested lost people as role models.. There’s no “finger wagging ” that can solve that problem unless we open up our eyes… At first (COMMANDING RESPECT) sounded like more division, which further down the road would create more dysfunction unless we realize “We’re All In This Together”… We’ve had the “I got my own job, car, house ” single unwed mother. 75% percent thing for 2 or 3 decades… The issue will still persist until we program social & academic development to an reformed and/or uncontaminated group of young. Blk females & males who’ll have to realize their both in this together…

  6. Connie

    There is definitely no “finger wagging” or division intended in this program. We ertainly DO need our fathers (My Daddy wad my EVERYTHING , and anyone who knows me and knows my story knows THAT fact). However, we must realize that self health is necessary before we can be in healthy relationships with friends, family or partners. My focus for our girls is one of building self esteem and self awareness , not because others are unimportant, but because we need to be OUR BEST SELVES for ourselves AND others. Without a sense of self and why we our essential, contributing members of society, our very existence resides in the shadows and becomes very easy to downplay or to place at risk. I’ve seen enough of that and will give my all to erradicate it. Thank you all for your post!

  7. Yvette

    Victorious Black Women feel B O O T , boosting our own talents are really needed in impoverish communities such a Richmond, East Oakland. West Oakland, and Stockton, Palo Alto, Marin City, California. Changing our mind set is key and VBW believe it began with education of who we are as a people and VBW believes the twevle core tenants is a start.


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