R.E.A.L. Women of Cincinnati

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 The Sister Collection HeldMarch 30, 2012 

OnMarch 30, 2012R.E.A.L. Women of Cincinnati (Reaching out to Elevate and Advocate for Love of self among our African American Sisters) hosted The Sister Collection at Hamilton County Community Action Agency, located inJordan’s Crossing.  The Sister Collection was a platform for women and women’s organizations dedicated to the betterment of African American girls and young women to fellowship, to dialogue and to identify areas of opportunity for collaboration that will place our African American sisters “at promise,” rather than “at risk.”

Considering the lack of funding for The Sister Collection “event”, some may be amazed how prayer, vision and determination led a group of about 20 African American women to plan and hold an event that welcomed and fed over 200 people, informing them of the current state of the lives and health of girls and women inCincinnatito move them to say, “Enough!  We are taking our sisters back…” 

The “Take Back ” seemed to be the underlying theme from Mistress of Ceremony Faith Daniels’ opening prayer which reclaimed the lives of our African American Sisters bound by poverty, bound by abandonment, bound by drugs, bound by depression and bound by circumstance to the closing remarks from R.E.A.L. Women of Cincinnati’s, Cynthia Smith and Dr.Karen Bankston, proclaiming this movement, “only the beginning.”  Each testimony shared, each bit of information exchanged and each call to action accepted served to reinforce this notion of empowerment.

For those who volunteered their services, time, resources and skill to make this happen, “Victory is ours!”  For those who took time from their busy days to make an appearance in support of this powerful and necessary movement, “Victory is ours!”  For those who are ready to press the battle on, “Victory is ours!”  For those sisters who felt hope was lost, who felt no one heard your cry, or heard and just chose not to respond, know that Victory is Yours! Help is on the way!

The next affair hosted by R.E.A.L. Women of Cincinnati, scheduled to take place this fall, will not only involve organizations and women dedicated to the betterment of girls and young women but will include the girls and young women, calling them to action.  The “Take Back” continues as we conduct the Rise Sister Rise Study, a study that assesses African American girls’ resilience in dealing with the challenges leading to this epidemic of STD’s and teen pregnancy that now plagues our community.  Join us in this movement!  Be a part of the solution, and reclaim the lives of our future!

For more information contact Cynthia Smith at (513)946-7901.  Like R.E.A.L. Women of Cincinnati on Facebook, and visit R.E.A.L. Women of Cincinnati on Twitter.


  WOMEN & INFANT VITALITY NETWORK has formed an initiative in response to findings from the Rise Sister Rise Research Study conducted with African American girls in four Ohio cities.  REAL Women of Cincinnati began on July 25, 1011, when Cynthia Smith, Director of Women & Infant Vitality Network, gathered a group of women to hear the facts about women’s health and infant mortality in Hamilton County, review the findings of the Rise Sister Rise study, and discuss the potential for using this information to improve birth outcomes among African American women in Hamilton County.  The group decided to draw from their own experiences of resiliency and use community connections to engage and support Hamilton County girls in the promotion of physical, mental and spiritual health and wellness activities.    

Since July, the REAL Women initiative has mobilized two dozen women with diverse areas of expertise and a desire to give back.  They have begun to compile an inventory of girls’ programs and services in preparation for a Networking Resource Fair, and arranged for a Rise Sister Rise Data sharing session on Friday, November 18, 2011.      

For more information contact:  Cynthia.Smith@hamilton-co.orgor call (513) 946-7901. 

R.E.A.L. Women of Cincinnati Participants 

        “REAL – Reaching out to Elevate and Advocate for Love of self”

 Cynthia Smith                                                Karen Bankston

Laura Ford-Harris                                         A.J. Office

Ruby Crawford-Hemphill                          Terresa Adams

Tracy Stillwell                                                Evelyn Sears

Monica Burns                                                 Gail Lewis

Phylesha White                                             Faye McEwen

Lisa May Evans                                             Rev. Almetric Terry

Anita Brentley                                               Kim Sullivan

Stephanie Byrd                                    Willie Rose Haywood-Alexander

Gwen Robinson-Benning                      Terri Betts

Annie Ruth                                                     Toilynn O’Neal

Monica Mitchell                                          Jenny Laster

Just-ArNetta                                                  Melissa Graves

Tammie Pavlik-Maus                              Belinda Carter

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