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BEE Collective Announces Two Town Hall Events Anchored by Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17, 2024)

The Beloved Early Education and Care Collective (BEE Collective) Announces Two Town Hall Events Anchored by Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17, 2024) and Releases Sobering Report Addressing South Carolina and Charleston Area Preschool Suspension and Expulsion Rates Harming Black Children

Charleston, South Carolina – The BEE Collective announces two community town hall events anchored by Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17, 2024), in response to the release of a sobering report addressing South Carolina’s crisis of discriminatory suspension and expulsion harming Black preschool-aged children. The report was recently published by Dr. Melodie Baker and her team at ImpactSTATS, Inc.

The report, entitled KICKED OUT: A Crisis of Discriminatory Suspension and Expulsion that Harms Black Children in South Carolina and Charleston County, finds that Black children in South Carolina make up 61% of the state’s preschool suspensions but only 39% of enrolled children, in a state that leads the nation in preschool suspensions overall.

The report highlights that suspended and expelled preschoolers are 10 times more likely to drop out of high school, experience academic failure, and face jail time, proving the school-to-prison pipeline effect, beginning in early education. The full report may be viewed online at beecollective.co.


Preschooler Town Hall

The first event is an in-person Preschooler Town Hall, Friday, April 12, 2024, from 6 until 8 p.m. at Fresh Future Farm, 2008 Success Street, North Charleston. Activities will include discussion, advocacy, and community-building efforts around the report findings, along with fun arts, crafts, and games for all ages. 

This event is a family-friendly event and is free and open to the public. All are welcome. Food and beverage will be provided. Registration is required at preschoolertownhall.eventbrite.com.

“The suspension of preschool-aged children in South Carolina is disheartening, to say the least,” says Stephanie McFadden, mother and Community Champion for BEE Collective. “Most affected are Black students and implicit bias seems to be part of the root cause. Trauma and developmental support needs are also major factors. The BEE Collective is advocating for policy change and for our educators to be supported, so that they, in turn, may best support our children.

The Preschoolers Town Hall is a chance to hear from our children themselves, while families can enjoy an evening of food, arts and crafts, and most importantly, community.”


Kicked Out - Virtual Town Hall

The second event, KICKED OUT: Virtual Town Hall Eventwill bookend Black Maternal Health Week on Thursday, April 18, 2024. 6:30 until 8 p.m EDT. This event will be held online on the Zoom platform. Limited space is available. The event is free and open to the public with pre-registration required at kickedoutvirtualtownhall.eventbrite.com

Hosted by BEE Collective, including BEE’s co-founder and Community Leader, Dr. Kim Nesta Archung, along with BEE’s Community Champion, Stephanie McFadden, this town hall event will be moderated by community advocate Shantell Scott Twumasi and will feature three experts on the panel to discuss and address the KICKED OUT report findings and how the research impacts the community-at-large.

Expert panelists include: Dr. Melodie Baker – KICKED OUT Report Lead, ImpactSTATS, Inc.; Iheoma U. Iruka, Ph.D. – Founding Director, Equity Research Action Coalition and Research Professor, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (UNC-Chapel Hill); and parent, Mavis G. Huger, Senior Corporate Counsel at Ingevity Corporation. “Perhaps, if we could correct our suspension mistakes with our preschool kids, it might lead to correcting our mistakes in other areas. But we first have to be willing to admit the presence of our personal bias and be willing to take the steps to address our bias,” says Campaign Manager Treva Williams.

This event is part of a larger initiative aimed at coalition building to specifically address the harming of Black children in South Carolina and beyond, and to provide resources to promote greater awareness, better education, and more meaningful advocacy for the community’s most impressionable population.

These programs are funded in part by Voices for Healthy Kids®, an initiative of the American Heart Association working to improve or create equitable policies that will make the places kids live, learn, and play healthier. For specific inquiries, photos, or to schedule an interview, contact Adrienne Troy-Frazier at 843-405-7607 or adrienne@beecollective.co

About Black Maternal Health Week

Held annually April 11-17, BMHW is a week-long campaign founded and led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance to build awareness, activism, and community-building to amplify the voices, perspectives and lived experiences of Black Mamas and birthing people.

The week is intentionally held during National Minority Health Month and begins on April 11th annually to join dozens of global organizations in marking this day as International Day for Maternal Health and Rights – an opportunity to advocate for the elimination of maternal mortality globally. The activities and conversations hosted throughout the week intentionally center the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements.

About The BEE Collective

The mission of the Beloved Early Education and Care Collective is to ensure that every child enters kindergarten socially and emotionally ready to learn, that every pregnant person, parent and early educator has positive well-being and the tools to navigate maternal health and early care systems, that families are resilient, and that our community reduces mental health stigma for all ages.

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