Orange County Girls and Womxn of Color is an initiative that began forming in mid 2015 as a need to center and uplift girls and womxn of color in Orange County. Our work initially started in the Santa Ana Unified School District with a Xinachtli program that we were running at a local high school.
Xinachtli is a Rites of Passage program for young womxn to recognize the role of womxn in society through indigenous, cultural practices. The circles help facilitate the process of transformation and value of young womxn in our community. It also, creates a safe space for young womxn to get together and develop healthy relationships with one another as well as a support system.
While running the Xinachtli program in SAUSD we also began facilitating circles for womxn throughout the county. Through this we were able to identify a need for a safe space to share experience, hardships, and support for young womxn in the county.
We have seen how many young mothers lose educational opportunities while other young womxn lose opportunities due to having to care for others, such as brothers and fathers. Orange County lacks basic infrastructures for child care, wellness centers, and programming for womxn after working hours. GWOC has begun addressing the need to develop beyond self-care, a much-needed service, and is moving into civic engagement and advocacy. GWOC has begun the work by building a network of cross-cultural womxn of color who are interested in building a long-term network of community and establishing resources and addressing needs of local womxn of color in the Orange County area.