Sister Outsider

Award Recipients - 2001

Rachel Pfeffer, Shawnta Smith, Co-Founders

Sister Outside (S.O.), is a grassroots organization run by and for young women of color living in Brownsville and East Flatbush, Brooklyn.  Launched in 2000 by Rachel Pfeffer and Shawnta Smith, the group’s self described mission is to “creatively instigate new economic, educational, wellness, spiritual and leadership opportunities for young women of color who are supporting themselves, living in poor and working class communities in order to build new cultural institutions and end poverty.”  The program is staffed by young women from the neighborhood who receive a living wage with benefits, economic-literacy training and access to a special fund for college classes.  
Sister Outsider’s priority is leadership development.  Young women are trained in legal rights, HIV/AIDS prevention, self-defense, homophobia, CPR/first aid, and other areas.  They are trained as public policy experts to do research, analyze data, perform media outreach, negotiate with policy makers and coalitions.  Programmatically, S.O.’s focus is community health, and staff members do street outreach two times weekly to distribute information and free materials related to harm reduction, drugs, violence and HIV/STD prevention.  A Juvenile Justice Organizing Project focuses on organizing young women who have been in juvenile detention and is working with young women, 11 to 15 years old, who live at Crossroads, a Brooklyn facility.

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