Naquasia Pollard is on a mission to shape young women’s futures by meeting them where they are. As the Executive Director and President of Pure Legacee, Inc. Naquasia works with young women in New York City who have been directly and indirectly impacted by the criminal justice system and foster care system, by creating “a haven of healing for young girls who have experienced trauma.” The organization’s goal is to “provide an alternative to incarceration and homelessness” for the girls in the program.
Through her organization, she has created and implemented programming to get girls talking, and thinking about their futures by addressing their past in tangible, reflective ways.
She describes her work as “selfless work” and told the Black Information Network she hopes “to impact all young women that are trying to figure out their purpose.”
“They are my reflection walking the streets of Brooklyn,” she said of the girls in her program.
Naquasia was incarcerated at the age of 19 and worked with Ladies of Hope Ministries upon her release in 2017 to “support women impacted by incarceration.” While incarcerated, Naquasia earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and uses it to shape her work as an “advocate, activist, and direct service provider.”
Naquasia’s work is necessary as more studies illustrate the ways Black girls and women have increasingly become involved in the criminal justice system over the last 25 years in specific ways as described by Dr. Monique Morris in her work, Pushout.
Naquasia’s intentional about working with and on behalf of women, who she says are “the first teachers.”
“We lead with our hearts and our resilience. That is how we lead our community,” she added.
She’s built partnerships with Bidder-Sweet Public Relations and Kasa Healing to put her program into practice, offering interactive activities to address trauma, promote healing and build necessary skills for her girls.
This year, Naquasia wants to work on expanding her organization nationally and get more resources directly to the young women in her program.
Naquasia cites her own daughter as being her motivation to keep going at her work. “She teaches me everyday to be better than yesterday,” she shared.
To those who are working to make a difference in their own communities, Naquasia says you should “always be the change you want to see in your community.” “God will take the wheel,” she added.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Naquasia Pollard