Dear Roy Roberts,
I am writing out of concern about the proposed closure of Catherine Ferguson Academy. This school at its core addresses one of Detroit’s major issues, and that is one of empowerment. This is not a luxury or a disposable resource to the City. This school is essential to giving young women who choose to become parents a chance to lead a life of financial stability.
Mothers already suffer from wage inequity compared to their childless female counterparts and when other factors such as age and race are added the inequity becomes even more vast. The only chance these young women have to overcome these statistics is to have access to an education and it is critical that their educational experience be free from harassment and judgment.
Another hurdle on the uphill battle these young women face is the astronomically high infant mortality rate in the city. Detroit mothers are literally fighting for the lives of their children, and young mothers are on the frontline of this war. Catherine Ferguson prepares these mothers for the challenges ahead of them. It is unquestionable that the education received at Catherine Ferguson leads to children that are more emotionally and physically healthy.
Please consider the words of this C/O ’96 alum:
“I would recommend this school to anyone who had an interest. I was a young pregnant girl with not a lot of options. It was either get rid of your baby or go to job corp. Everyone's first words of advise to girls when they become pregnant at an early age is, "you will not be able to graduate , you will not have a childhood , and your life is over" . In some cases that could be true but not always. I'm here to say you can and will graduate if that's your choice. I love the fact that I could take my son to school with me and I would still receive the proper skills to graduate. I attended college and my children are wonderful, I wouldn’t change any of my decisions for the world. I strongly recommend this school.”
In a time of disinvestment and bottom-lines you have an opportunity to stand up for young women who are working their hardest to make a better life for their familes. Please do not close Catherine Ferguson Academy of Young Women.