Forming a Sisterhood

Few can sum up the power of Black women better than electrical engineer Kimberly Bryant, who says, “Any time you get more than a couple Black women together, you’re creating this powerful mechanism for change.”

It is that mindset that led to the creation of the Black Women Leadership Association at Nicholls State University in 2018. A safe space for Black women on campus to come together and make an impact on each other, on campus and in the community. That concept spoke to Iriel Nunnery, president, and Myria Druilhet, vice president.

“These women helped me open up and their love and support have shaped who I am.” – N’Dia Ramsey

 

“I have always had a passion for creating unity between Black women,” Nunnery says. “We are always put in such a box where we have to be separated or put in competition. Instead, we should be focused on empowering and encouraging one another. I couldn’t say no to this opportunity.”

The mission of the organization is to create a safe space for Black women on campus. But it’s more than a safe space. It’s a place where a group of individuals who have typically felt underrepresented and underestimated can
be themselves.

“Here, you have an ally. You have someone you can talk to,” Nunnery says. “That’s why this organization and all Black organizations are important. I feel like I can talk to this person, because they look like me. It makes me
feel comfortable.”

The ladies of the Black Women's Leadership Association are not only creating future leaders, but making an impact in the community, as well.

As a freshman, N’Dia Ramsey was nervous about getting involved. That’s when members of the BWLA approached her at the Student Union and recruited her to join. The 2020 Nicholls Homecoming Queen says it was that moment that changed the trajectory of her time on campus.

“These women helped me open up and their love and support have shaped who I am,” she says. “It also helped push me to want to join other organizations as well.”

Besides their general meetings and study sessions, the group also holds monthly sisterhood events. Topics range from colorism to professional development to beauty tips for Black skin and hair.

“Our hair is often looked at as unprofessional, but that is part of our culture. So, we held this event to appreciate our hair and appreciate our culture,” Druilhet says. “I want every Black woman to know they’re beautiful.”

While much of their mission is based on creating a haven and opportunities for Black women on campus, the organization focuses much of its attention on the community. The members have written letters to the elderly in the community, took part in Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Raceland and visited nursing homes.

“My favorite part of being in BWLA is seeing the smiles that we put on people’s faces,” Druilhet says. “We held a bingo night at one of the nursing homes and when we were leaving, they kept coming up to us and asking when we were coming back.

Ultimately, the best part of BWLA is the people.

“When I first started, I didn’t know anybody on campus. BWLA opened their arms up and welcomed me,” Ramsey says. “Meeting these people and this organization has been one of the top moments of my time at Nicholls. I have developed a sisterhood with these women in the organization and I know that when I graduate, I will still be in contact with my sisters.” – Jacob Batte

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