The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) is a Washington. D.C.-based nonprofit organization, whose stated goal is “changing Black women’s lives through advocacy and public policy, health education, research and leadership development. The Imperative works to advance health equity and social justice for Black women across the lifespan.
Now the BWHI has announced the establishment of a new initiative called “My Sister’s Keeper.” The new program will target African American women on college campuses, providing information on wide variety of topics including sexual violence, reproductive health, and sexually transmitted disease. The goal of the initiative is to mentor students so that they can become tomorrow’s leaders on women’s and reproductive health.
The BWHI points out that after financial considerations, sexual violence, unintended pregnancy and the consequences of risky sexual behavior are among the major reasons why women choose to dropout of college. “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,” said Linda Goler Blount, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative.
President Blount is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds a master of public health degree from the University of Michigan.
The first chapters of My Sister’s Keeper are being established on the campuses of Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Spelman College in Atlanta.
“The Women’s Research & Resource Center at Spelman College has had a long connection with the Black Women’s Health Imperative,” reports Beverly Guy-Sheftall, the Anna Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies at Spelman College. “It is fitting for the launch to occur at Spelman, the oldest college for women of African descent in the world. For over a century and a half, Spelman has played a significant role as our sister’s keeper locally, nationally, and globally. We anticipate that this renewed partnership will underscore the importance of making visible the urgency of addressing the particular needs of Black women as we continue to struggle for race and gender justice.”
Professor Guy-Sheftall is a graduate of Spelman College and holds a master’s degree from Atlanta University and a Ph.D. from Emory University.