Girl Talk was originally founded in 1993 as a weekly program for girls ages 12-17, locked up at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago. It was led in its final years by the amazing energy and beautiful spirit of, now deceased, Wenona Thompson. Incarcerated herself as a young woman at the JTDC, Wenona provided first-hand knowledge of life in the JTDC as well as the ability to relate to the girls. Girl Talk disbanded as an organization in 2005.
In 2010, after a conversation with staff at the JTDC, Mariame Kaba and Dr. Laurie Schaffner decided to re-launch Girl Talk as a film screening and art-making program based on work that had been done by Laurie and her University of Illinois at Chicago students in the summers of 2006 and 2007 at the jail. Currently Girl Talk consists of bi-weekly film screenings accompanied by an art project on Saturday afternoons in the Cook County JTDC. After the movie concludes, the incarcerated girls and Girl Talk volunteer program facilitators work together in small groups to discuss the movies' themes and work on related art projects.
Girl Talk is led and organized by a leadership team of young women who volunteer their time to the project. It is also supported by over 35 volunteer program facilitators.