Black Women’s Blueprint (BWB) is one of few organizations committed specifically to ending rape against African-American and Black immigrant girls and women in Brooklyn. BWB first came to be in 2008, when our 49 co-founders, Black women primarily born and raised in Brooklyn, recognized the pressing need to invest in a ‘blueprint’ for political and social justice derived from Black women’s self-determination and autonomy. Founders Farah Tanis, Christina Jaus, and countless others began to host sister circles in living rooms, backyards and around kitchen tables to address the intersectional challenges that Black women, and especially Black LGBTQI women, in Brooklyn face (sexual violence at the hands of police and loved ones alike; the feminization of poverty, reproductive health access, mass incarceration, among others). Most importantly, the founding of BWB represented an effort by women of African descent in the diaspora to mobilize together across national and ethnic identities, countering four centuries of enforced (and embodied interpolation) nationalist ideologies of “divide and conquer” designed to prevent meaningful resistance by Black collectivities on plantations during and after the slave trade.
Using human rights frameworks we organize and develop a culture where women and girls are fully empowered and where gender, race and other disparities are erased. We convened the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission ever to occur in the U.S., focused women of African descent and their historical and contemporary experiences with rape/sexual assault having brought 1,500 women and 596 girls from Brooklyn to testify at the United Nations in 2016 and speak on sexual abuse and criminal justice policy-impact on their lives. The organization is the Brooklyn-based technical assistance provider engaging 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country to empower young women with rights, providing training and capacity building to address gender-violence on their campuses.
Black Women’s Blueprint also administers a community-based museum, The Museum of Women’s Resistance (MoWRe) educating over 600 youth annually, using Girls Create, a multi-media art to spark dialogue on the civil and human rights of women and girls in Brooklyn and its relationship to broader transnational communities of women and girls of the African Diaspora on issues of rights, war, poverty, the environment, and other social justice.