Three Girls Standing Sisterhood Agenda

If Not Now, When?

While the Obama Administration is credited with the creation of the first ever White House Council on Women and Girls, Black girls are not included in the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative which includes several million dollars in community-based funding initiatives for boys.  Funding for the program has recently been expanded.

“We cannot pass the burden of invisibility to yet another generation of our girls of color…  This erasure simply adds to the crisis that girls of color face, forcing them to suffer in relative silence.” Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

Following the letter released last month from 200 Concerned Black Men addressed to President Obama, posted here is a letter from over 1,000 Girls and Women of Color calling for their inclusion in the President’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. The letter is signed by girls and women of all ages and backgrounds, who range from high school teenagers, to professional actors and playwrights, to civil rights activists and organizers, to university professors and philanthropists. In writing the letter, they stress that any plan for uplifting communities of color must not compromise or come at the expense of the lives of girls and women of color, and they emphasize that any program designed to improve communities of color cannot target only half of its population.

Activist Angela Davis, author Alice Walker, and actress Rosario Dawson are reported to have signed the letter, along with numerous others.  You can sign it, too.

Read the entire article and letter HERE.

Sign on to the letter HERE.



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Youth Live! Gala

YouthLiveSaturday, April 12, 2014 | The Fairmont San Jose
~ Featuring Daymond John, Founder and CEO of FUBU ~

Expert reports site grim statistics for US foster youth. On any given day, there are approximately 400,000 children in out-of-home care in the U.S.; the average age of the children in foster care is over nine years old; in California, 65% of youth leaving care do so without a place to live; over 70% of all California State Penitentiary inmates have spent time in the foster care system. For more than 20 years, Unity Care has been a community leader ins addressing the housing and social service needs of these children and youth.

Unity Care, a non-profit agency serving foster youth and families in the San Francisco Bay Area, is thrilled to announce its third annual YouthLive! Gala at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Special guest, Daymond John, co-star of ABC’s hit reality television show, “Shark Tank,”, will join André Chapman, founder and CEO of Unity Care, to celebrate its life changing programs. “I’m honored to be a part of Unity Care’s third annual YouthLive! Gala fundraiser,” commented John about his participation in the benefit gala. “There are few causes as important as assisting children.”

Healing and Economic Empowerment

Empowering entrepreneursWhen Vanessa Johnson was diagnosed with HIV in 1990, she did not come across a lot of stories of African Americans like herself living with the virus. “I knew there were other women out there, but they just wouldn’t come out,” she says. So Johnson worked to change that. Living in Albany, New York, at the time, she became an activist dedicated to helping women disclose their positive status and tell their stories.

As she worked in the field, Johnson observed that when women finally did come out to talk about their history, they didn’t talk about HIV specifically. Instead, she recalls, “when women told their stories, they talked about their childhood. And just like me, they suffered a lot of trauma in the form of abuse. I thought about it intuitively and was like, ‘This is a common thread.’”

Thus, in 2007 she launched Common Threads, what is now a five-day, small-group training session that she offers around the country. It’s designed to help HIV-positive women connect the dots between their life experiences and their positive status and then to increase their willingness to tell their stories and disclose their status to their families, friends and communities. It’s storytelling as a means for disclosure, self-empowerment, HIV prevention and activism.

When an HIV-positive woman is faced with the stigma, shame, fear and misunderstanding of her diagnosis, one of the most difficult, yet most empowering things she can find is her own voice, says Johnson, who now lives in Washington, DC, and whose main job is consulting for AIDS services organizations including governmental agencies and faith-based groups through the Ribbon Consulting Group, which she founded.  Read more…

Journalism Fellowship in Cambridge

Fellowship applicationsThe International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is now accepting applications for the 2014/2015 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship.

The fellowship is designed for a woman journalist from anywhere in the world whose work in print, broadcast, or digital media has focused on human rights and social justice reporting. This seven month-long program will take her to Boston and New York to study at MIT’s Center for International Studies and work for U.S. media outlets including The Boston Globe and The New York Times.

What is the fellowship?
The 10th Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship runs from September 2014 to March 2015. The fellow will be based at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a research associate during the research component of the fellowship, allowing the fellow to pursue academic research while improving her ability to cover human rights and social justice for The Boston GlobeThe New York Times, and other media outlets during the journalism portion of the fellowship. For more information, please click here.

Who are we looking for?
The IWMF is accepting applications from women journalists worldwide whose work focuses on human rights and who have a minimum of three years of experience in journalism. Female journalists working in the print, broadcast and online media, including freelancers, are eligible to apply. Competitive candidates must have excellent English skills.

Why should you apply?
“The fellowship helped me grow as a journalist because it gave me time to slow down and experiment with different areas within journalism, enabling me to really hone in on what it is that I most liked to do in journalism and where I had the most to offer.” – Catherine Elton, first Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow (2005/06)

How do you apply?
Download, fill out and return all application forms.

Applications will be accepted until Friday, April 11, 2014.  Late submissions will not be considered.  Please direct all application inquiries to IWMF Program Coordinator Ann Marie Valentine (+1 202-567-2609,

Gender Equity in Media


Achieving gender equality in leadership could take decades.  It will take about 71 years for there to be gender equality in business, politics and other fields, according to a report from the Women’s Media Center. The report also notes that women are severely underrepresented in sports journalism.

“We have to really teach the sisterhood and teach that promoting one another, elevating one another, supporting one another is almost a requirement, and that when you do that, you will feel the benefits of that yourself,” said Reshma Saujani, founder and chief executive of Girls Who Code.

Young Women’s Leadership Institute in NJ

At the Well Young Women Leadership

At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy will be held on the campus of Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. This year’s program is scheduled for July 27 – August 8, 2014.

The Academy offers dynamic speakers, standardized test-taking strategies, math, critical reading courses, college essay writing classes, tutoring, interactive studies, group activities, and field trips. Each year, special guest speakers provide dynamic presentations. In 2013, actor Jasmine Guy offered an unforgettable address. Ms. Guy notes, “It is very important for us to reach out to these young girls.” Other noted speakers have included Brandi and Karli Harvey along with actor Brian White.

The Academy provides on-campus housing at Princeton University that allows the students to experience college life in an Ivy League setting. In addition, the two weeks of learning, studying, and communing together helps the students to bond and experience the Academy from an intimate perspective. The curriculum has been developed to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills along with increasing leadership confidence. Speakers include business leaders, entrepreneurs, and Princeton University staff who teach select classes.

The process is selective, as students must meet criteria based upon recommendations, an interview, an essay, extracurricular activities, and grade point average. Scholarships are available. The F.I.S.H. Foundation has supported the Academy for three years with generous grants.

At the Well Conferences, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization empowering teens since 2009. “The Academy seeks to empower young women locally to become effective leaders globally. By promoting excellence in education, these young women will transform their communities,” states Jacqueline B. Glass, CEO and Founder. For more information, go to


Sisterhood logo with R

Sisterhood Agenda Timeline (1994-2014): Celebrating 20 Years of Sisterhood!


-Founded by Angela D. Coleman, Sisterhood Agenda was incorporated in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
-The mission of Sisterhood Agenda is to uplift and aid in the self-development of women and girls of African descent, a unique population with special needs.
– Sisterhood Agenda opened its first office on Academy Road in Durham North Carolina.  It was a sub-lease for $395 per month.

AJTW in SA first office

-Sisterhood Agenda launched its first A Journey Toward Womanhood program to prevent teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, juvenile delinquency, and school dropout.  -The organization received its first donation from the parent of a program participant and graduates its first group of 18 A Journey Toward Womanhood program participants.
-Its first grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation was received the same year.
-Sisterhood Agenda standardized the A Journey Toward Womanhood curriculum, creating its first program guide and evaluation instruments.
-Teacher/Mentors were hired and trained.
-Sisterhood Agenda held its first women’s empowerment workshop:  Black Women in a New Age of Consciousness.
-Founding President, Angela D. Coleman, began making presentations throughout the city encouraging community leaders and educators to empower women and girls of African descent.
-Sisterhood Agenda gains local recognition and support from media (see Archives and YouTube Channel).

First A Journey Toward Womanhood AJTW

-Sisterhood Agenda began monthly meetings of Sisters in Action, the group of A Journey Toward Womanhood graduates who continued to meet, grow and bond in the spirit of sisterhood.
-Sisterhood Agenda received several more grant awards such as those from the Triangle Community Foundation, UPS Foundation, county, state and city funding.

Sisterhood Agenda Field Trip

-Sisterhood Agenda won its first award, the Nonprofit Sector Stewards Award from the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits for honoring exemplary stewardship for the public trust.
-Due to growth and demand for its services, Sisterhood Agenda relocated to a new, larger office on Chapel Hill Blvd. in Durham, North Carolina.  The office was next to the IRS office and it was a private, special space with two rooms for program activities, one room for administration and a large closet.
-Founding President, Angela D. Coleman, began making presentations throughout the state of North Carolina encouraging community leaders and educators to empower women and girls of African descent.

AJTW Ceremony Group Pic

-Sisterhood Agenda purchased its building, a house zone office/commercial on Chapel Hill Road in Durham, North Carolina.   The organization began and completed renovations to the building that included a large learning center and library.
-Sisterhood Agenda launched its first SisterCamp Summer Enrichment program in the newly established learning center.
-Sisterhood Agenda created Sisterhood Agenda Enterprises, LLC, a for-profit entity designed to generate commercial revenue streams to support the mission of uplifting and aiding in the self-development of women and girls of African descent.  Products for sale included t-shirts, journals, curriculum materials, and books.
-The first time Sisterhood Agenda appeared in ESSENCE magazine was in September 1998 (see Archives).
-Sisterhood Agenda publishes its Sisterhood Journal with Adinkra symbols and affirmations.
-Sisterhood Agenda published its A Journey Toward Womanhood curriculum and student guide for national replication.
-Founding president, Angela D. Coleman, began making presentations throughout the country encouraging community leaders and educators to empower women and girls of African descent.
-Sisterhood Agenda gains national recognition and support from media (see Archives and YouTube Channel).

SA New office lobby

-Sisterhood Agenda began its Office on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (OAPP) project, implementing A Journey Toward Womanhood throughout the tri-country area in Durham, Wake, and Orange counties in North Carolina during the next three years.
-Sisterhood Agenda begins giving $3,000 in college scholarships for selected Young Sister on the Rise applicants.
-Sisterhood Agenda purchased its first 15-passenger van.
-Sisterhood Agenda expands SisterCamp serving twice as many girls and lowering its minimum age of participation to 4 years old to empower younger generations.

Sisterhood Agenda Girls

-Sisterhood Agenda and its technology survived the 2K scare.
-The annual Sisterhood Agenda clothing giveaway began this year.
-Sisterhood Agenda began its Office on Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Project (OJJDP) funded by the state of North Carolina.
-A Journey Toward Womanhood:  Effects of an Afrocentric Approach to Pregnancy Prevention Among African American Adolescent Females was published in the scholarly, peer-reviewed journal, Adolescence, Fall 2000, Vol. 35 No. 139.
-Sisterhood Agenda gave $3,000 in college scholarships for selected Young Sister on the Rise applicants.
-Angela D. Coleman, Sisterhood Agenda’s founding president, is recognized among the
2,000 Outstanding Women of the 20th Century.
-Angela is also the recipient of the Today’s Black Woman Community Award.
-In addition, Angela is awarded the Strike Merchants Association Community Award this year.
-Sisterhood Agenda continues SisterCamp implementation.


-Sisterhood Agenda’s OAPP project ended.
-Sisterhood Agenda began its Office on Minority Health (OMH) prevention project, forming the Sisterhood Health Coalition.  The project was implemented during the next three years.
-Sisterhood Agenda began national replication of its A Journey Toward Womanhood program and sisterhood expansion.  Programming is now being implemented in over 20 states in the U.S.
-Sisterhood Agenda opened satellite offices in Raleigh, North Carolina and North Brunswick, New Jersey to serve local needs.
-Sisterhood Agenda gave $3,000 in college scholarships for selected Young Sister on the Rise applicants.
-Recognized for the innovative use of technology in programming and increasing public awareness around the issues facing women and girls of African descent, Angela D. Coleman is given the Women Under 30 Technology Award.
-Sisterhood Agenda wins the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition of North Carolina Award for its outstanding pregnancy prevention strategy.
-Sisterhood Agenda continues SisterCamp implementation.

Ashley Jeys Daughter Ayana

-Sisterhood Agenda expands the number of girls graduating from A Journey Toward Womanhood.
-The annual Sisterhood Agenda clothing giveaway is held this year.
-Sisterhood Agenda gave $3,000 in college scholarships for selected Young Sister on the Rise applicants.
-Sisterhood Agenda continues SisterCamp implementation.
-The Women’s Forum of North Carolina Young Adult Leadership Award was given to Angela D. Coleman, Sisterhood Agenda’s founding president.
-The same year, Angela D. Coleman was elected to Ashoka as a social entrepreneur fellow and recognized internationally for her sisterhood activities.  Angela became the first African American female Ashoka Fellow.


-Sisterhood Agenda launched its first SHE:  Sisters Healthy & Empowered program to address health issues among women and girls of African descent.
-Sisterhood Agenda receives funding from the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation for SHE implementation in Durham, North Carolina.
-Sisterhood Agenda gave $3,000 in college scholarships for selected Young Sister on the Rise applicants.
-Sisterhood Agenda continues SisterCamp implementation.
-Angela D. Coleman receives the Business and Professional Women “Opening Doors” Award from the North Carolina Women in Business Association.
-The board of Sisterhood Agenda creates a strategic plan for the next 5 years.

Sisterhood Agenda YSOR

-Sisterhood Agenda continued local implementation of A Journey Toward Womanhood, Sisters in Action, Young Sisters on the Rise, SisterCamp, and SHE in Durham, North Carolina. -Sisterhood Agenda’s OMH project ended.
-Sisterhood Agenda gave $3,000 in college scholarships for selected Young Sister on the Rise applicants.
-Sisterhood Agenda Founding President Angela D. Coleman was awarded The
Jefferson Award for Public Service from the American Institute of Public Service.
-Angela was also awarded the Phoenix Rising Award during this year.
-Sisterhood Agenda gains international recognition and support from media (see Archives and YouTube Channel).

a-10 a-11 essence a-22-1  a-13 a-20-1

-Sisterhood Agenda relocated its headquarters to Newark, New Jersey to being its international media campaign and global expansion through global partnerships instead of satellite offices.
-Sisterhood Agenda formed its Executive Advisory Board comprised of influential members of the community.
-Sisterhood Agenda gave $3,000 in college scholarships for selected Young Sister on the Rise applicants.

-The National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment (NABFEME) awarded founding president Angela D. Coleman their Certificate of Achievement.
-Sisterhood Agenda’s constituency grew from 15 global partners to over 1,000 global partners.

-Sisterhood Agenda launched Sisterhood Agenda Magazine with India.Arie on the cover of the first issue.
-Sisterhood Agenda continues sharing its curricula and activity guide publications, doing training, and visiting global partners.
-Sisterhood Agenda increased its online presence with a new website, Facebook and Twitter pages.
-Sisterhood Agenda published Beautiful. with photographer Jamaica Gilmer to increase self-esteem and let Black girls know that they are beautiful.
-Working with interns from Rutgers University and a graphic designer from New York City, Sisterhood Agenda launched 4 more issues of Sisterhood Agenda Magazine. wins Best Site for Sistahs, Black Web Award in 2008.
-The sisterhood continues to expand; there are now over 3,200 Sisterhood Agenda global partners in 30 countries.


-Sisterhood Agenda relocates its headquarters to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, also known as Love City.
-The board of Sisterhood Agenda creates a strategic plan for the next 5 years.


-Sisterhood Agenda held the first Female Empowerment Conference for Girls in the St. Thomas/St. John school district and received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Virgin Islands Department of Education.
-The first annual Sisterhood Brotherhood New Year’s Eve Youth Extravaganza was held in Cruz Bay, St. John.
-The first Sisterhood Brotherhood Career Development & Life Skills Program was implemented in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
-Sisterhood Agenda celebrated its first SHE Sisters Healthy & Empowered event to celebrate National Women’s Health Week (NWHW).
-Sisterhood Agenda launched its first webinar series as part of its Global Training Academy.  Webinar presentations, such as How to Raise Healthy Black Girls, are available for download HERE.


Virgin Islands Superintendent Dr. Jeanette Smith Barry presents Angela D. Coleman with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Virgin Islands Department of Education

-Sisterhood Agenda published its last issue of Sisterhood Agenda Magazine, transitioning to its sisterhood blog.
-Sisterhood Agenda began its local Sisterhood Mentoring Program for girls in St. John.  A Journey Toward Womanhood was locally adapted for this purpose.
-The Sisterhood Brotherhood Career Development & Life Skills Program continued in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
-The 2nd annual Sisterhood Brotherhood New Year’s Eve Youth Extravaganza was held in Cruz Bay, St. John.
-Sisterhood Agenda celebrated National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) with SHE Sisters Healthy & Empowered activities during the week.
-Sisterhood Agenda implements Girl Band in St. John with the St. John School of the Arts


-The blog was born, taking the organization from static to dynamic online content using the WordPress theme Vigilance.
-Sisterhood Agenda changed its Global Training Academy name to Global Empowerment Academy.
-The Sisterhood Brotherhood Career Development & Life Skills Program continued in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
-The 3rd annual Sisterhood Brotherhood New Year’s Eve Youth Extravaganza was held in Cruz Bay, St. John.
-Sisterhood Mentoring Program participants continue to meet.
-Sisterhood Agenda celebrated National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) with SHE Sisters Healthy & Empowered activities during the week.
-Sisterhood Agenda published its first Black Girl Guide book for girls.
-The sisterhood grows with over 3,400 global partners in 32 countries.

BGG MO Bday Cover

-Sisterhood Mentoring Program participants continue to meet.
-The Sisterhood Brotherhood Career Development & Life Skills Program continued in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
-The 4th annual Sisterhood Brotherhood New Year’s Eve Youth Extravaganza was held in Cruz Bay, St. John.
-Sisterhood Agenda celebrated National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) with SHE Sisters Healthy & Empowered activities during the week.
-Sisterhood Agenda awarded 3 Global Partner Awards to global partner leaders uplifting and aiding in the self-development of women and girls.
-With funding from the Virgin Islands Department of Health, Sisterhood Agenda launched the State Prevention Framework substance abuse prevention project in St. John.
-Angela D. Coleman founded the St. Youth Coalition to effectively serve the needs of youth on the island.  The first project of the coalition is substance abuse prevention.
-Sisterhood Agenda published three (3) Black Girl Guide books for girls, SHE Sisters Healthy & Empowered Activity Guide, 345 Activities of SisterCamp, and reprinted Beautiful.
-The sisterhood grows to over 3,500 global partners in 34 countries.

SHE Flyer 2013

-Sisterhood Agenda changed its Global Empowerment Academy identification to Sisterhood Empowerment Academy (SEA) and looks for a facility location in St. John.

Sisterhood Empowerment Academy



The Power of Sister Circles and Safe Spaces


Essay by By Jessica Ann Mitchell:

In graduate school, I was invited to join a sister circle. At the time, I had no idea what that was. What resulted was a life long bond with a group of Black women from across the diaspora (Guyana, Dominican Republic, & across the US). We shared our stories and spent hours revealing our inner insecurities. We trusted each other with our deepest regrets, struggles and fears. It was through our sister circle that I learned about sisterhood. There were many tears, hugs and affirmations.

To share your story…To be real with a circle of people you an trust, is one of the best feelings in the world. And I deeply believe that it is through these types of bonds that Black women have been able to survive so many atrocities and still come out with our sanity. Safe spaces in the presence of our sisters, is the place to heal because we know so much of the world seems against us, rushes to judge us, and disregards our truth. It was in these moments that I felt a wholeness that can only be achieved in knowing that these sisters had my back. We could go to each other for anything.


Outside of the sister circle in grad school, I have another circle of friends including sisters I’ve known since I was 12 years old and others I met during freshman year of college.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made or received early morning or late night phone calls during which we’ve vented, came to each other’s rescue, and just served as a much needed listener. Sometimes, just having somebody listen makes all the difference.

Black women’s sisterhood is so strong that the army has actually started studying it. As the army deals with high suicide rates among soldiers, one thing has remained true…Black women still have the lowest rates of suicide in the military even though we all know they face higher rates of discrimination. Yet, we live on. The army wonders what Black women have that other groups don’t.

While the government does not break down military suicides according to race, among the general population African-American women have the lowest suicide rate of any group. Surprisingly, white men die most often by their own hand. “By comparison, the rate for black women was less than three suicides per 100,000.” “The sense of community among themselves, and the … built-in support that they get from each other is something we’re paying a lot of attention to, and trying to find ways to emulate,” Kemp told Government Executive. “I think often that veterans and men don’t have that same sort of personal support, and we have to build that for them.”  – The Grio

The Washington Post covered the power of Sister Circles in their article about a new program called Prime Time Sister Circles.

… Prime Time Sister Circles, a 12-week program focused on helping African American women in midlife improve their nutrition and fitness, and deal with stress. And just as important, participants say, the Sister Circles provides them with emotional and spiritual support akin to a long, tight hug. The circles are kept relatively small: no more than 25 women. Participants include those who make six-figure incomes and others with more modest means. They meet for two hours, once a week over three months and often learn that more things connect than separate them. – Washington Post


Just having the experience of being a part of a sister circle, makes me think about the survival of the generations of women that came before us. The bond between sister friends is a deep aspect of our history. And that is why I believe Black women have become so resilient. Not out of anger but out of emotional bonds that hold us up.

So today, I just want to say thank you to all of my sister friends and our sister circle. Marie, Zakiya, Griselda, Halycon, Anita, Alexandria, Keena, Rodniqua, Patrice, Shari, Rachel, Janine, Candice, Valeria, Nikki, Margo and more.

Originally published on Reprinted with permission.

Let Girls Lead

Let Girls Lead

Let Girls Lead empowers girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, economic empowerment, storytelling, and strategic partnerships. The program will feature a dynamic panel including Executive Director of Let Girls Lead Dr. Denise Dunning;Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Lisa Russell; co-chair of the Teen Advisory Board for Girl Up Riya Singh; and Executive Director of the New Field Foundation Sara Hobson. The panel will be moderated by International Museum of Women Executive Director Clare Winterton.

There Are No Limits

Michelle Reference for Marquette

“I hope that Sojourner Truth would be proud to see me, a descendant of slaves, serving as the First Lady of the United States of America.”

Book Excert from Black Girls Guide:  How to Be Like Michelle Obama:

Mrs. Obama knows that she is a role model for everyone, but particularly for girls. As the first African American First Lady, her work has even more significance both symbolically and emotionally for African American girls, in particular.

Mrs. Obama regularly encourages others, especially young people, to place no
limits on their achievements saying:

“You have to see yourself in a place. You have to be able to see yourself as that scientist, as the next President of the United States. You can be First Lady if you want to, but there’s also the Presidency.”

What You Can Do:  Have an agenda and take on a cause. Don’t just be a figure head or symbol when you can have more impact.