INDIANAPOLIS — We all remember the calls for change after weeks of civil unrest across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death. Since then, one group of young women has pushed to continue those conversations for social justice and equity.
They go by the name of Black Women in Charge, made up of 10 members. Age is just a number for the group of mostly college students that helped organize some of the peaceful BLM marches in Indianapolis last summer. Today, they're still working with community leaders and politicians to push for racial justice and equity. One of their proudest accomplishments to date? Helping oversee a general review board for IMPD.
Devin McDuffie is a recent graduate of Penn State. She explains that "a lot of the review orders don't have to do with just police shootings". For example, she said once all members of a review board are appointed and confirmed, the group will focus on making sure people know their rights and understand search and seizure procedures, as well as taking a closer look at police training.
"We want to make sure that the trainings are done, and that they are meaningful, and they are done with purpose," McDuffie said.
Like most of us these days, group members keep in touch and work virtually, as many of the young women are back on their college campuses out of state. Members Langdan Willoughby, McDuffie and Sadiyah Anderson work and go to school in Indianapolis.
Anderson is still in high school. She says after graduation, she plans to attend Howard University, in Washington, D.C.
"I actually want to be an orthodontist." Anderson said, explaining that she wants her peers to understand you don't have to pursue law, or even have political aspirations, to make a difference.
Willoughby has a special interest in raising awareness on racial disparities within health care and shining light on food desserts in Indianapolis.
"Even outside of the police, we met with the USDA," Willoughby said, about the efforts to understand and highlight the impact of food desserts on Black communities, "especially on Black women and it's specific impact through obesity and mental health."
Naturally, the question is what's next for Black Women in Charge? When asked if they plan on expanding, they said they don't want to bite off more than they can chew, but have no plans of backing down from their purpose any time soon.
"We have a standard that we kind of set for ourselves, and it's extremely high, so they can't even say, 'Oh, they were just some young girls. They didn't know what they were talking about.'" Anderson explained. "We put ourselves to an extremely high standard so they actually will listen to our message and hopefully receive it well."
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