By Ariana Gibbs “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” Those are the words of Malcolm X, spoken in 1962. And it is the sentiment that motivated Alana Brown to found The Safe Sisters Circle. Founded in 2018, The Safe Sisters Circle is an organization that provides support and healing to black women survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. Brown, who is originally from Washington, D.C., noticed throughout her work as a prosecutor and later, as an advocate for survivors, there often existed a cultural disconnect between legal service providers and clients. Brown noticed that many lawyers did not look like the clients they served. Moreover, “It occurred to me, despite the growing number of reports of domestic and sexual violence reported among black women, few resources existed which aimed specifically to support and help black women suffering from that violence. I decided something should be done to remedy that,” says Brown. Hence, The Safe Sisters Circle was created. “It was important to me, in founding The Safe Sisters Circle, that the organization be a space for marginalized women to feel comfortable and safe within their own community,” says Brown. The Safe Sisters Circle’s services are provided in the heart of Ward 8 in the East of the River community. Of the community that lives in Ward 7 and 8, 95% are black. Additionally, Wards 7 and 8 have the highest rates of domestic violence in the District. By being embedded in the community, Brown intends for The Safe Sisters Circle to be a known safe haven within the neighborhood. “All women, regardless of race or ethnicity, are invited. This is a safe space for all survivors to receive support, be empowered, and to connect with other survivors in their community,” says Brown. The Safe Sisters Circle provides free legal representation to survivors in Civil Protection Order hearings, family law cases, and cases related to survivors’ underlying abuse. To learn more about the organization, or to volunteer, visit www.safesisterscircle.org. or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All are welcome! Ariana Gibbs is a member of the East of the River Profiles committee.
By Peter Nye Ward 7 blogger and community activist Susie Cambria has worked on District policy and public-interest initiatives for more than two decades, partnering with local nonprofits and the DC city government before launching Susie's Budget and Policy Corner in 2009. But she first got involved in community issues early in her childhood. Her parents led her in that direction: “Being an activist was just something that we did.” When she was seven, her father, a Shriner, took her to the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts. She was influenced by the patients’ problems, especially those of a seven-year-old amputee who pushed himself around in a cart. Susie promptly hosted a neighborhood fair to raise money for the patients. She raised seven dollars; impressed by her dedication, the Shriners donated twice as much. (more…)