My Sister’s Keeper: In Sisterhood We Stand
By Gabe Christian-Solá
My Sister’s Keeper is an intentional program focused on building community among womxn of color at Tulane University. In collaboration with the Carolyn Barber Pierre Center for Intercultural Life, the Office of Student Conduct, the Office for Gender & Sexual Diversity, and The Well for Health Promotion, Newcomb Institute has designed a cohort experience with committed staff and faculty to offer a space of solace, support, and sisterhood.
For two semesters, My Sister’s Keeper (MSK) has supported a diverse cohort of students through weekly meetings, staff and faculty mentorship, and engaged conversations around self-empowerment, addressing the barriers to success for womxn of color in higher education, building healthy relationships, healing from trauma, and building healthy sexual lives within communities of color. Through these conversations, MSK works to build trusting community with Black, Brown, and Indigenous students in order to address the indelible aspects of attending a predominately white institution.
For Ashley Oliver, a current senior who transferred to Tulane a year ago, My Sister’s Keeper has been “a necessary space to have my voice be heard without judgement or fear,” Oliver said. “My sisters and I are open to supporting each other and helping each other survive.”
One of the pillars of the program is the staff and faculty mentorship program. Through this partnership, sisters participate in one-on-one tailored conversations around their needs and create action plans based on individual goals crafted during the inaugural MSK meetings.
Sisters select to join a mentor in one of the following areas:
Leadership and Conflict Management
Health and Wellness
Programming and Empowerment
Personal Advocacy and Agency
“I can see my growth from week to week,” Ashley Oliver says of the time she’s spent in the program, “Not only that, but I can truly say that I trust my sisters to hold me accountable to the goals I set out to accomplish. It truly is a sisterhood.”
Students, faculty and staff interested in participating in MSK can contact Gabe Christian-Solá, Newcomb Institute’s Senior Program Coordinator of Student Engagement.