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Sistas on the Rise

Award Recipients - 2003

Yomara Velez, Founder

Sistas on the Rise is a collective of young women of color ages 13 to 25, many who are or were teen mothers.  It aims to promote self-esteem, raise political awareness and encourage community activism.  Sistas on the Rise seeks to “create alternatives that allow young women to sustain their lives, cultivate healthy futures and realize their dreams.”  Through workshops and on-going activities, young women exercise leadership, learn organization building skills, participate in campaigns to improve neighborhood conditions and organize for political and social change.  

Sistas on the Rise was launched in 2002 in the Bronx.  From a storefront office, it runs programs open to young women and their children.  In SistaCYPHER, young mothers meet after school to exchange experience and connect to the larger society, social change theories and methodologies.  Workshops have explored topics such as reproductive rights and the welfare system and the depiction of women of color in media.  SistaORGANIZE! is a program where young women explore the meaning of power and learn organizing skills.  The group tackled the conditions and possible closing of a Bronx high school whose students are pregnant teens and young mothers.  SistaSUSTAIN promotes understanding of economic issues and assists young women to pursue their formal education.  SistaSOUL fosters spiritual grounding and healing and deals with health issues such as reproductive rights, nutrition and parenting.


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