African American Policy Forum, a PATTERN Cause Partner

African American Policy Forum, a PATTERN Cause Partner

By: G’Ra Asim

The African American Policy Forum (AAPF) is proud to partner with PATTERN, a pathbreaking new brand serving the unmet needs of the curly, coily, and tight-textured hair community. In a sense, our paths parallel one another. Both PATTERN and AAPF are invested in identifying the unique needs of underserved populations and developing the resources to fulfill them.

AAPF’s mission is to foster critical examination of how social structures and related identity categories such as gender, race, and class interact on multiple levels, resulting in social inequity. In partnership with The Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS) at Columbia Law School, the Forum serves a critical role in the areas of policy advocacy and community outreach across a range of racial and gender justice issues. AAPF is dedicated to advancing and expanding racial justice, gender equality, and the indivisibility of all human rights, both in the U.S. and internationally. 

AAPF board staff and SHN Mothers Network

AAPF releases reports, creates events and engages with the community on the most pressing gender and racial justice issues of the day—including how state violence and the school-to-prison pipeline impact women and girls of color. Our report Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected, used quantitative and qualitative data disaggregated by race and gender to shed light on Black girls’ experiences in our nation’s public schools. Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women presented frames that call attention to the experiences of Black women killed by the police. Say Her Name included the stories of women who lost their lives to police violence, from Eleanor Bumpurs to Sandra Bland, along with a call to #SayHerName and include women in dominant conceptions of state violence.

SHN demonstration

Last winter, AAPF debuted our podcast, Intersectionality Matters with Kimberlé Crenshaw, an idea travelogue that uplifts the concept of intersectionality in highlighting the work of activists, artists, and scholars. Featuring on-the-ground interviews, each episode explores a different topic through an intersectional lens, ranging from the resistance against Trumpism, to grassroots activism in Brazil and the Congo, to #SayHerName and the future of the #MeToo movement. Keep an ear out for an upcoming episode featuring PATTERN founder Tracee Ellis Ross in conversation with AAPF on hair discrimination and the movement to decriminalize Black women’s coiffure. Intersectionality Matters’ patreon site is available here.  Interested parties can subscribe here

Kimberle Crenshaw recording IMKC podcast

In tandem with CISPS, AAPF is the epicenter of a burgeoning field of research, development, and legal strategy, acting as a switchboard connecting gender and racial justice advocacy organizations across the globe as well as the vanguard of cutting-edge intellectual production and visionary activism. We’re proud to expand our reach through partnerships with brands like PATTERN and people like Tracee who also care passionately about this work.

If interested in reading AAPF reports or rocking stylish social justice merch, please check out our site at

G’Ra Asim is a Writing Director at the African American Policy Forum, Columbia Law School based in New York City.