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Tyahija Martin

  • Hosted by Girls for Gender Equity
  • Sponsored by Mayer Brown LLP, Spotify
  • Service location Brooklyn, New York
  • Law school Howard University School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Tyahija (they/them/theirs) will eradicate institutionalized barriers that constrict freedom, full expression, and the rights of School Age Black and Brown girls and Transgender/Nonbinary and Gender Nonconforming (TNBGNC) youth in Brooklyn, New York.

Black and Brown girls and TNBGNC youth are criminalized for normal adolescent behavior, trauma and mental health issues, substance abuse issues, and survival-based offenses that require support and resources rather than discipline and incarceration. Schools end up as hostile environments that recreate the structural oppression that Black and Brown girls and TNBGNC youth face in the outside world. As a result, schools across the country have profound impacts on the physical, mental, and emotional health of youth and serve as pathways to juvenile detention. When Black and Brown girls and TNBGNC youth resist discrimination, harassment, and violence in their learning environments, they are criminalized and punished rather than protected and supported. Through advocacy and research, Tyahija will challenge these structural forces and advocate for the equity of the Black and Brown girls and TNBGNC youth.

Fellowship Plans

Tyahija will build cultural competencies and knowledge; educate community members and youth; and eliminate sexual, gendered, and racial biases in the community. They will host pro bono legal clinics on the juvenile legal system and its victimization of Black and Brown girls and TNBGNC youth and community events on institutionalized barriers. Finally, they will develop a resource guide for legal professionals.

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Rachel Kleinberg

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Ashley Ortagus

Host: Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc.

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, The Florida Bar Foundation

Lauren Zack

Host: Public Counsel

Sponsor: Latham & Watkins LLP, Spotify