Joanne N. Smith

Founder/Executive Director | Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)

Joanne N. Smith, founder/executive director is responsible for moving Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) closer to its mission through strategic planning, development, and leadership cultivation. A Haitian-American social worker born in NYC, she founded GGE in 2001 with the support of the Open Society Foundations to end gender-based violence and promote gender, race and class equity. A staunch human rights advocate, Smith co-chairs the nation’s first Young Women’s Initiative for cis, trans and gnc girls of color and is a cohort member of Move to End Violence. Visit

Presentations from Facing Race 2016

Mobilizing Black Women and Girls in the Movement for Black Lives

From the media to the White House, the lion’s share of the response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, has prioritized the plight of young men and boys. But in a climate where black girls are suspended from school six times more than white girls, and African American women are incarcerated three times more often than white peers, the safety of black women and girls is often ignored—or at best, an afterthought.

#SayHerName emerged as a rallying cry to surface the stories of innumerable black women, trans women, and girls who have been assaulted, and or killed as a result of police violence. Shifting the spotlight to state violence targeting women of color, sexual assault by police, and law enforcement abuse of pregnant women, moderator Jamia Wilson and panelists Farah Tanis, Joanne Smith, and Eesha Pandit will center the diverse strategies and activism of movement makers dedicated to garnering justice for black women and girls.

During this two-part interactive and multimedia workshop, participants will hear about the strategies they employed in campaigns such as #ifIdieincustody (Sandra Bland), #sayhername, #SheWillBe, #AssaultAtSpringValleyHighSchool (Shakara), #StandWithHer (Holtzclaw) In the second part of this workshop, participants will engage in a strategy session to discuss what we all can do to strengthen the fight for racial justice by including a gender-violence lens. We’ll collectively explore creative and effective multi-issue strategies around racial justice that include the experiences of girls, women, trans-people, gender non-conforming people and include girls.

Speakers: Jamia Wilson, Joanne N. Smith, Eesha Pandit, Farah Tanis