Who We Are

Our Mission

The Resilient Sisterhood Project’s mission is to educate and empower women of African descent regarding common yet rarely discussed diseases of the reproductive system that disproportionately affect them. We approach these diseases and associated issues through a cultural and social justice lens—as we believe that poor knowledge of reproductive health is primarily related to health, racial, and socioeconomic disparities.

Our Vision

Transforming communities to engage in conversations in regards to diseases of the reproductive system and other reproductive health conditions that disproportionally affect Black women.

The Resilient Sisterhood Project (RSP), founded in 2012, is a non-profit based in Boston raising awareness and empowering women and young adults of African descent affected by diseases of the reproductive system.

RSP works in partnership with—rather than on behalf of black women and young adults in our communities as we mobilize to address deeply-rooted racial discrimination and internalized racism, health and medical inequities, oppressive cultural and gender norms, environmental and food injustice, and other social determinants of health that perpetuate the silence, secrecy, and inaction surrounding these diseases. We make a conscious decision to bring a unique social and cultural approach to the discourse of these diseases.

Our educational programs represent a venue of support for advocacy, activism, and empowerment. We organize both structured and informal dialogue to provide a culturally sensitive safe space where women of African descent can speak freely and gain knowledge about their reproductive health.

RSP brings an expansive definition to and understanding of the word “women” to include transgender women, cisgender women, gender queer, and gender non-conforming people who have a female reproductive system.

cactus (2)

Our founder, Lilly Marcelin chose the bamboo plant as a symbol and a metaphor for RSP. In many cultures, bamboo serves as a symbol of strength, flexibility, and resiliency. When a storm comes, bamboos bend with the wind and when the storm stops, they resume their up-right position. Their ability to cope with adversity is inspirational.

Our Core Educational Programs for Workshops and Trainings

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Community Education and Outreach

This core program tackles issues with regard to knowledge gaps about reproductive health and rights as well as diseases of the reproductive system and other health conditions. In addition, we provide education about equity, preventative screenings, harmful medical practices, maternal health, and stress and “weathering” as they pertain to reproductive health. We also focus on in-depth education about preconception and postpartum health.

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Sisterhood Empowerment Circle

This program focuses on creating a safe space to explore our reproductive rights as well as our resiliency and strengths while we critically examine the structured inequities that make us more vulnerable to diseases and other conditions of the reproductive system.

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Environmental Justice and Reproductive Health

This RSP program educates community members about the historical legacy of environmental injustice and its deleterious effects on Black women’s reproductive health. In addition, we examine racialized beauty norms that drive Black women and girls to products specifically marketed to them that contain harmful chemicals.

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Art and Reproductive Justice

This program uses art as a catalyst—and draws on the Sankofa principle of looking to the past to understand the present. Through curated artwork, we tell the stories of historical injustices, but we also honor our ancestors and show the empowerment of Black women over time. Consistent with this vision, we educate the public, inspire introspection, and encourage people to learn more about the lives of those who came before them. RSP’s commissioned artwork educates the public about instances of past medical malfeasance and the history of pseudoscience used to justify the institution of slavery and the social construct of race.

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Incarceration and Reproductive Health

This program examines the reproductive health needs and rights of formerly incarcerated women of color in the US prison system. Prisons are sites of reproductive violence as well as reproductive health inequities. Increasing numbers of these women and girls represent a growing proportion of incarcerated people in the US correctional system. The implications of incarceration are profound given that most of these women are of reproductive age and largely from disadvantaged communities.

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Reproductive Health and Immigration

The goal of this program is to address harsh anti-immigration policies and the many challenges that documented and undocumented immigrant women of color often face accessing reproductive health and rights services.