Power In Our Truths
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing civil unrest due to systemic racism and police violence, more than 400 girls and gender-expansive young people of color participated in virtual In Solidarity Conversations (IS Conversations). These conversations were co-led by and for girls and gender-expansive young people of color to speak their truth and embolden them to engage in critical dialogue about their lived experiences, needs, and visions beyond this unprecedented moment. The In Solidarity Conversations centered on the leadership and advocacy of girls and gender-expansive young people of color – whose voices are all too often pushed to the margins – to amplify their needs and ideas for change as the catalyst and crux for a nationwide movement.
Power in Our Truths builds from the knowledge, expertise, and leadership of young people who participated in and co-led the IS Conversations to further our understanding of key themes that surfaced in this initial study. Through survey research, the Power in Our Truths report series provides deeper insights into their experiences and feelings regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism, police brutality, and the related impact on their physical, emotional, and mental health. It is our collective hope that the data and narratives shared in these reports will serve as a clarion call to action for local and national leaders, policymakers, and the broader public to end police violence and invest in the healing and futures of girls and gender-expansive young people of color.
Power in Our Truths: Series Overview
Brief I: Girls and Gender-Expansive Young People of Color Envisioning Futures Free From Police Violence
This report highlights our findings on participants' feelings about police and police violence. We also offer insights into their ideas for how decision-makers can address police violence and advance safety in their communities.
Brief II: Girls and Gender-Expansive Young People of Color Speak Truth About How Videos of Police Brutality Detrimentally Affect their Mental Health
Findings in this report detail how girls and gender-expansive young people of color felt about seeing and watching videos of police violence on social media. We also center their voices to spotlight their coping strategies.
Brief III: Girls and Gender-Expansive Young People of Color on the Impact of COVID-19
This brief report includes the findings from survey questions focused on COVID-19 and its impact on the lives of 121 girls and gender-expansive young people of color. Finally, we describe the various strategies girls and gender-expansive young people of color used to cope during the first two years of the pandemic.
Brief IV: Listening to Girls and Gender Expansive Young People of Color
This final brief report includes findings from our open-ended survey responses in which we asked girls and gender-expansive young people of color what they want decision-makers to know about their experiences, what they want decision-makers and legislators to do, what additional thoughts they would like to share about their experiences, and finally, what other social issues are of importance to them.
Follow-up Survey Methodology
The study was conducted as a follow up survey with girls and gender-expansive young people of color who previously participated in our virtual youth-led In Solidarity Conversations (IS Conversations) in 2020. The IS conversations centered the voices and lived experiences of over 387 girls and gender-expansive young people of color from at least 33 states, the District of Columbia, and tribal communities. From the IS Conversations, key themes emerged regarding the impact of COVID-19, the heightened visibility of systemic racism, and police violence in communities of color that warranted deeper consideration.
We developed an online survey including open and closed-ended questions that were developed from the qualitative data collected via the IS Conversations to further our understanding of key themes that surfaced in this initial study.
Our follow up survey asked questions about topics such as COVID testing and vaccines, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and witnessing police violence, their coping strategies and responses to these significant events, and what recommendations they had for decision-makers. An initial draft of the survey was reviewed by a group of girls and gender-expansive young people of color, and their feedback was incorporated into the final version of the survey. All young people who completed the survey were provided a $30 electronic gift card for their time and expertise.
Survey Distribution and Response Rate
Between July and October 2022, we sent a total of 420 email invitations to past In Solidarity Conversation participants and 166 surveys were completed using the Survey Monkey platform. Of those 166, we removed 45 surveys from the final analysis for reasons that included multiple surveys by a single participant, duplicate IP addresses with email addresses not matching those who received invitations, and surveys completed in less than ten minutes. Of the 420 email invitations, 121 surveys were used to inform this brief report series (response rate = 28.8 %).
We used the data analysis program SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) to generate basic descriptive outcomes from the quantitative information. To analyze the qualitative information gathered from open-ended questions, we operationalized a thematic analysis approach. Self-reported identities were included with participant open-ended survey responses.
While efforts were made to recruit a significant number of participants from various populations, several communities were under-represented. We recognize the number of surveys completed by Hispanic/Latinx/e, Asian/Asian American, and American Indian/ Alaska Native participants remained relatively small. Due to the small number of surveys completed, disaggregation across race/ethnicity, gender identity, and other factors was limited, and findings are not generalizable. We recognize the need for more robust and in-depth examinations of these communities’ lived experiences and needs. We also acknowledge how the umbrella term “girls and gender-expansive young people of color” can obscure the many intersectional identities contributing to variations of experiences among our study participants. Therefore, future efforts beyond this study should focus on these and other under-engaged communities. To learn more about the demographics of study participants, click here.
Where do Participants Live?
Participants came from a total of 27 states, the District of Columbia, and tribal communities. The six largest groups of young people came from California (19.8%), New York (5.0%), Texas (5.8%), Minnesota( 5.8%), Ohio (5.0%), and Tennessee (5.0%). The remaining states and tribal communities each accounted for between .8% to 4.1% of participants.