Sister Circle provides safe space for discussion


0914 Sister Circle

Samantha Karam

Sister Circle, a group on campus meant to bring young women of color together to speak on tough issues such as fears and anxieties, held their second meeting of the semester Monday night. The session was dedicated to a lecture on self-care and was led by three Kent State professors.

The club has been building its presence on campus over the past two or three years, and the turnout for this meeting came to about 20 or 30 students, according to Sister Circle’s communications specialist Bobbi Broome.

Broome said the members of Sister Circle also address dialogue about racism-related issues within their community and beyond.

For example, they speak on microaggressions such as, “you’re pretty for a dark girl,” to colorism, which, according to Broome, is a serious concern within the black community.

Sister Circle’s mentality is that, with enough awareness, issues like microaggressions and colorism, which are so deeply rooted into our society, will decrease.

“It’s a positive place for us,” Broome said.

Kent State professors Amoaba Gooden and Kamesha Spates and University of Akron professor Oghenetoja Okoh, who presented the lecture, focused on positive ways to deal with stress, what students consider to be stressors, coping mechanisms and self-care practices like meditation.

According to Spates, who studies mental health and suicidology, the study of suicide, within the black community, concludes that one-third of black students have considered suicide within the last 12 months.

Spates said there is a mental health crisis among black college students.

Okoh, Gooden and Spates encouraged their audience to remain aware of how they are feeling because women need to take care of themselves in order to take care of and support each other.

“Things can go from okay to crisis in a matter of days,” Spates said. “So take (mental health) seriously.”

Broome said the club saved her. She was considering transferring her freshman year because she didn’t feel like she fit in at Kent State, but after meeting and talking with the girls from Sister Circle, she found her place.

“They helped me feel like I have a family here,” Broome said.

In addition to conversing about issues women of color face every day, topics discussed by the club can be universal.

Broome said Sister Circle is about empowerment, making sure women are maintaining their mental and physical health and bringing others together to work toward a brighter future.

“We’re trying to reach out to other groups of people,” Broome said. “It really is for everyone. So if you ever need to talk (no matter the color of your skin) we’ll be here.”

Samantha Karam is a diversity reporter, contact her at [email protected].