Sisterhood club strives for intersectional empowerment of Black women

This week, Black History Month is ending, and Women’s History Month is kicking off. While March will recognize accomplished women all month long, both identities intersect at the UCCS Sisterhood club.

Sisterhood club presidents Samrawit Kopessa and Amber Davis founded the club during their freshman year after seeing a need for a space catering to Black women on campus.

According to Kopessa, the club meets every other Monday at 5:30 in MOSAIC and is meant to be “a safe haven for Black women and people that support Black women.”

Club meetings have varying themes and activities, including movie nights, study sessions and painting activities, but always with a discussion topic relevant to Black women that allows members a space to share their experiences.

“Black women have a unique intersectional experience, and we just feel like it’s important that they can actually discuss that,” Davis said.

Club meetings typically include discussions on things like haircare and stepping into your femininity, and occasionally touch on serious topics like intimate partner violence, though Davis and Kopessa emphasize the importance of relaxation and safety during meetings.

“This is supposed to be a place where you can actually come and relax and it’s supposed to feel like you’re hanging out with your friends,” Davis said.

Davis spoke on the challenging adjustment that Black students face coming into a predominantly white institution like UCCS. “Going from such a diverse [high school] to a PWI, it can be hard to find that sense of belonging,” she said. “So, that’s mostly why we wanted to [create] it, because it’s just important for people to feel like they have a space.”

In addition to their biweekly meetings, the club has a couple of larger events each year.

The club holds an annual women’s empowerment dinner for Women’s History Month. According to Kopessa, last year’s dinner had a great turnout, and they are excited to host it again.

Sisterhood club officers also attend the annual Big 12 Conference on Black Student Government, which will be hosted this year by Iowa State University from Feb. 29 to Mar. 2. Each of the seven club officers are offered the chance to attend, and the club uses any remaining funding to send at least one club member along.

“I remember one year, I wasn’t there, but Angela Davis came to [Big 12],” Kopessa said. “There’s also workshops and career fairs, and then a lot of networking because not only do those big 12 schools come but even outside schools [do].”

While the club focuses on Black women, everyone is welcome. “If you’re comfortable talking about Black issues and stuff, and even making yourself more knowledgeable, we would love to have [you],” Kopessa said.

Kopessa also encouraged students interested in joining to follow the club on Instagram @sisterhood_uccs or visit Mountain Lion Connect.

Sisterhood Club presidents Samrawit Kopessa (left) and Amber Davis (right). Photo by Josiah Dolan.