Black Women’s Health Imperative, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit has launched the first chapter of the “My Sister’s Keeper” initiative at Howard University and Spelman College.
The program is intended to provide information on a variety of topics including sexual violence, reproductive health, and sexually transmitted diseases, geared towards African American women.
“It’s important that we give young women the tools needed to protect themselves and their sisters, and that they understand that they must be invested in good decision-making—their own, that of their partners, and that of policy makers—around their sexual health and rights,” Linda Goler Blount, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, said in a statement. “We also want young women to know that their sexual health and rights intersect with the reproductive justice movement, started by Black women in 1994, that melds health justice to justice in education, housing and transportation, among many other factors.”
According to the organization, sexual violence, unintended pregnancy and risky sexual activities are among the leading causes of college dropout among women.
Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, the Anna Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College, said she believes that the partnership will highlight the importance of addressing the particular needs of African-American women.
“The Women’s Research & Resource Center at Spelman College has had a long connection with the Black Women’s Health Imperative, which began in 1983 at their first national Black women’s health conference, during which 2,000 women traveled to the Spelman campus for a historic gathering,” she said. “We are thrilled to host on campus the launching of their equally historic My Sister’s Keeper initiative which promises to be as transformative in the lives of Black women.”
“It is fitting for the launch to occur at Spelman, the oldest college for women of African descent in the world,” she added. “For over a century and a half, Spelman has played a significant role as our sister’s keeper locally, nationally, and globally.”
Black Women’s Health Imperative is a nationally-recognized organization dedicated to improving the health and wellness of African American women and girls physically, emotionally and financially.