Welcome to the Institute Of Women And Ethnic Studies' Quarterly E-Blast. Every November, February, May, and August, look out for this E-Blast to update you on our programs and events.   


Thanks for continuing to be a part of the IWES family!

IWES Joins Community Partner VAYLA-NO in Playstreets event


 On October 20, IWES, in partnership with the Vietnamese American Youth Leaders Association (VAYLA-NO),  participated in a Play Streets NOLA event at Joe Brown Memorial Park in New Orleans East. IWES facilitated an interactive activity where young people and adults made signs about why they loved New Orleans East, as well as took pictures that will be posted on IWES and VAYLA social media outlets. 
"I love Nola because I live in Nola"
" I love the East"

Play Streets closes specific streets to traffic on a routine basis and opens those spaces to the community to encourage physical activity. They offer a high-impact approach to encouraging and increasing physical activity, particularly in neighborhoods that lack sufficient open space for activity.

Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle Film Screenings 
   Created Equal is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America's civil rights history. 

To mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's March on Washington, IWES, in partnership with the Louisiana State Museum, The Louisiana National Endowment for the Humanities, The Louisiana Civil Rights Museum, New Orleans Public Library and Le Mus�e de Free People of Color, will offer a series of screenings, lectures, discussion forums and scholarly footage illustrating the history of civil rights in America. 


IWES is one of 473 institutions across the country (one of seven in Louisiana) awarded the set of four films; Slavery By Another Name, The Abolitionists, Freedom Riders, and The Loving Story. The powerful documentaries include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. Created Equal programs bring communities together to revisit shared history and help bridge deep racial and cultural divides in American civic life.


On Monday, November 18 at 4pm, IWES will host its first screening at the New Orleans Main Public Library (Tulane Ave. & Loyola Ave.) of Slavery By Another Name for students in the 9th-12th grades featuring Hakim Kashif, Behavior and Violence Outreach Coordinator at the City of New Orleans Health Department and other local speakers.

For more information on screenings hosted by IWES please contact Chloe Walters-Wallace
Tulane University Features Dr. Angela Davis
in Public Conversation Series

This month, Tulane University hosts Conversations on Power, Privilege, Race and Justice, a series of events marking the 50th anniversary of legal desegregation of the University and nationwide civil rights achievements.   


On November 18 at 8pm,  the series presents a conversation with Dr. Angela Davis: scholar, author, activist in prison reform, leading figure in radical social resistance and founder of Critical Resistance.


For more information contact Jessica Callahan or email this link. 
Featured IWES Film 

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Follow the links above to like IWES on Facebook and follow IWES on Twitter for interesting articles, events, and opportunities that relate to the health and well-being of women of color and their families. 

That's It: Test
That's It: Test

What is a rapid HIV test like? Is it hard? NOPE. Just an oral swab, no blood, no needles. Results in 20 minutes. Watch the short film That's It: Test to let Ken show you how it's done. 


Follow the link below to the iwesnola YouTube channel for more IWES films.

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Gender, Sexuality, and Hip-Hop Mini Conference in December
In conjunction with Professor Melissa Harris-Perry's Fall 2013 course, Hip-Hop and Feminism, Tulane University, in partnership with the Anna Julia Cooper Project, LLC, will host a mini-conference on gender, sexuality, and hip-hop on December 5th and 6th. The conference will bring together scholars, students, artists, and activists for an intensive series of discussions focused on the contemporary challenges and opportunities at the intersection of gender, sexuality, and hip-hop.  


Sankofa HEAL Project Coordinator 


Sankofa Community Development Corporation (CDC) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that works to support health and wellness with advancement of opportunities in areas of urban revitalization, food access, education, health, and economic development through programs that address inequities that affect vulnerable and under-served populations in New Orleans. Sankofa's HEAL Project works with school-aged youth to understand the benefits of growing and consuming fresh fruits and vegetables through a combination of indoor and outdoor classroom work. Students explore their roles as peer leaders and study the foundations of nutrition and agriculture. The Sankofa Heal Project Coordinator will be responsible for teaching students the importance of healthy eating and cooking and vegetable gardening during the school year. To apply, view the full job announcement here
Note: This is a full-time salaried position. Sankofa CDC offers a competitive benefit package with health/vision insurance.  

Food & Fitness Fair Rescheduled 
Due to rain, the Food & Fitness Fair hosted by Sankofa Community Development Corporation has been rescheduled to:


Saturday, November 23, 2013
Times: TBD
For more information regarding the fair please contact Aurora Tom-Quinn or Callie Kaplan. 
Meet the Newest Members of the YEAH-NOLA Team! 
La'Keidra Mitchell, MPH  
YEAH-NOLA Program Coordinator

La'Keidra rejoined the IWES team in September 2013. She has a previous history with IWES when she worked as a Program Assistant with the PillowTalk and MAP projects in 2004-2005. La'Keidra received her Bachelor's degree from Xavier University with a Major in Biology Pre-med and Minor in Chemistry (2004). She received her Master of Public Health degree in Maternal Child Health and Health Education/Communication from Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (2007). She has worked extensively in the public health sphere with an emphasis on community engagement and service delivery. La'Keidra was also employed as a Consortium Developer by the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals' Office of Behavioral Health with the Louisiana Youth Enhanced Services where she worked with families of youth with behavioral and emotional disorders and state, local, and non-profit agencies to improve and expand children's mental health services. 

Most recently she worked at Alliance Institute as a Community Engagement Specialist with the Gulf Region Health Outreach Project (GRHOP), where she provided oversight to community-based organizations in Louisiana and Alabama to increase community engagement and resident participation in local community health planning efforts following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Settlement. La'Keidra has managed both local and state health care projects and remains committed to working with underserved populations, specifically women and children of color. She is a married mother of two girls and has adopted New Orleans as her home.

Morgan Rumple
AmeriCorps Member

Morgan joined the IWES staff as an AmeriCorps member in August 2013. After graduating from Hanover College with a Bachelor of Science degree in International and Gender Studies, she decided to leave her home state of Indiana and begin work in HIV/AIDS prevention. After receiving the options of agencies where she could complete her AmeriCorps service, Morgan knew IWES was where she wanted to be. As someone who is passionate about women, youth empowerment, and breaking down societal oppression, she is excited to work with programs such as Media Advocates for Prevention and the Teen Outreach Program at IWES. 
IWES & Partners Host Advancing Compassion in Organizations Event

To continue the work set forth by his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on his visit to New Orleans in May 2013, IWES, in partnership with Dr. Linda Usdin, the Tulane University School of Social Work and Clearwater Sanctuary, hosted a conversation on November 1st, encouraging local organizations to implement more compassionate practices in order to create connections and change in the work place. 
Support Local Business 
Bissap Breeze in a Grant Competition

Local small business, Bissap Breeze, is participating in CHASE Mission Main Street, a competition sponsored by CHASE bank supporting local small businesses through a $250,000 grant powered by online votes. Founder Esailama Henry is a part of the IWES family not only as a mentor of the IWES Healing is the Revolution program, but also as an active community member promoting health and wellness through dance. Esailama leads FREE African dance classes every Sunday at Dillard University from 11am-1pm. This week, the Saints play the Cowboys at 7:30pm, so go ahead and dance to the infectious rhythms of African drumming before you indulge in Saints game debauchery! There are only a few days left and they need 100 more votes, so follow this link, enter Bissap Breeze in the search box, and support local NOLA business! 


REACH Across the Aisle Initiative


IWES received a one year grant from AIDS United Southern REACH. Through this project, IWES is able to enhance and expand work related to comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), gender-based and sexual violence awareness, and advocacy. The goals of the project include: increasing and diversifying support and advocacy for CSE within and outside of school systems by focusing on the role of CSE as a part of overall health education; increasing advocacy efforts for policies that address sexual and gender-based violence; and advocating for CSE mandates for public school systems in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas.  


Over the summer, IWES staff developed a CSE advocacy curriculum and implemented it with a group of students participating in the Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools summer program. It included lessons that covered: sexual health and wellness (including HIV/STI transmission and prevention); the Louisiana legislative system; the history of Louisiana CSE advocacy; examples of youth advocacy; and interview techniques specific to collecting research regarding level of support for CSE. The Rethinkers were able to have open and honest conversations with staff about their feelings towards the expansion of CSE in Louisiana and they brainstormed ideas and techniques for how to successfully advocate for it. Since the summer, staff have continued to meet with an engaged group of youth and are currently implementing an expanded CSE advocacy training with the students. The students have helped staff identify community partners to reach out to during the next phase of the initiative. Staff is also working with the Southern University chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice to identify how they can support the advocacy efforts of this project.

Urban Initiatives Project


In June 2013, IWES received funding from the National Institute for Reproductive Health's (NIRH) Urban Initiative to develop and work with a youth and multi-sectoral coalition to promote comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) among key community stakeholders. The goal of the coalition is to create a positive shift in attitudes regarding CSE and to build the capacity of the New Orleans City Council and the Orleans Parish School Board to develop and implement policies and resolutions in New Orleans by the end of May, 2014. 


IWES staff completed formative research which examined the current local landscape in regards to CSE policy and implementation and reviewed strategies successfully implemented in other jurisdictions. Program staff have also disseminated surveys to schools and are collecting data concerning what level of sex education is currently being offered in New Orleans schools. After designing a curriculum to train youth stakeholders, IWES began holding meetings in October and are currently working with youth to design a toolkit to share with the New Orleans City Council and Orleans Parish School Board members. Youth participants assist staff in identifying varied and meaningful adult key stakeholders to invite to participate in a second, multi-sectoral coalition that will work congruently and at times in conjunction with the youth coalition. 


If you would like more information or are interested in participating in the Urban Initiatives Advocacy Project, please contact Melanie Powers 

Media Advocates for Prevention

MAP is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded program adapted from the evidence-based Community PROMISE model. MAP works with a group of Peer Advocates (PAs) ages 15-18 to develop HIV prevention messages for youth in New Orleans.    


This quarter, MAP staff recruited youth for the 2013-2014 MAP cohort via past applicants, former PAs, and school presentations. Meetings began in October and staff conducted a Parent Night on November 4th to introduce the program and its objectives to parents of current participants.


In addition to new PAs, this September the MAP team expanded with the addition of two new staff members, Morgan Rumple and La'Keidra Mitchell. See their bios below to find out more about them. 


As MAP moves into its tenth year, staff prepare to initiate a youth-focused HIV testing program consisting of FREE HIV testing, counseling, and referrals that aligns with the CDC's national HIV High Impact Prevention strategy. In October, La'Keidra and Morgan participated in the Combined HIV Prevention Counseling and Rapid Testing training conducted by the Louisiana Office of Public Health STD/HIV Program. They will soon complete their follow-up tests and observation sessions to become certified counselors. 


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Follow/like @map_nola on Instagram and Twitter and "Media Advocates for Prevention (IWES)" on Facebook for sexual health tips, videos, and other resources.   


 If you or someone you know is a youth aged 12-18, e-mail MAP to receive a FREE MAP kit, or ASK a PA!

Focus on Youth with Informed Parents and Children Together


FOY + ImPACT is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded 8-session evidence-based small group education program that works with youth aged 12-15 to help them develop the skills and knowledge needed to protect themselves from HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).       


In September new staff member, La'Keidra Mitchell, joined the FOY team! She successfully completed her FOY online training through the ETR Associates FOY 24/7 Project. La'Keidra is excited to work with the youth and parents this year.  


Beginning in October, staff began meeting with the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) to plan for a new group of male participants. As always, FOY staff is thrilled to continue partnering with YEP!  This fall, meetings will be held on Tuesday evenings at the YEP facility and begin in Mid-November.


IWES is happy to offer the FOY + ImPACT evidence-based intervention to groups of 10-12 African American youth (all boys, all girls, or co-ed) between the ages of 12-15. If interested, please contact Melanie Powers for more information.

Believe in Youth! - NOLA!

 IWES was one of six entities in Louisiana awarded monies to fund teen responsibility and pregnancy prevention programs through the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. Through this initiative, IWES has created BY!-NOLA!, which serves youth aged 11-13 through the utilization of the 8-module evidence-based Making Proud Choices curriculum along with two additional modules developed by Dr. Denese Shervington which focus on emotional health and resiliency.  


Since the start of the new school year, BY!-NOLA! has participated in Back to School nights at Langston Hughes Academy and Gentilly Terrace Charter School and have participated in outreach events at Lake Area New Tech Early College High School, McDonogh #32 Literacy Charter School and Schaumburg Elementary School. BY-NOLA is off to a strong start, implementing in all three schools.



At Lake Area's Health Fair, IWES staff engaged the entire student body in informal surveys about their comfort in speaking with their parents about sex and about the sources they use to inform them about sexual health and responsibility. Staff shared facts about HIV/AIDS, STIs and teen pregnancy prevention. They also engaged youth in games and activities to teach them important information about sexual health.



BY!-NOLA! also observed Advocates for Youth's "Let's Talk Month," an initiative to spark conversation between parents and teens regarding sexual health. BY!-NOLA! staff created a newsletter for parents that was distributed to over 300 past and present participants to encourage conversation about sexual health and healthy decision making. The newsletter was translated in Spanish and has been distributed to partner organizations serving the local Latino community.  


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 Like "Believe in Youth!-NOLA!" on Facebook, follow "BY_NOLA" on Twitter and "bynola_iwes" on Instagram for more information & updates about the program.
Teen Outreach Program (TOP)
Through the Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health Family Planning Program was awarded a grant to implement the evidence-based Teen Outreach Program (TOP�) throughout the entire state of Louisiana. IWES was selected as one of the agencies qualified to implement TOP�.


TOP� serves youth aged 12-18 through a 9-month program that focuses on teen pregnancy prevention and academic outcomes, including drop-out and course failure rates. The curriculum includes lessons on sexual health, values, goal-setting, relationships with friends and family, and other topics relevant to youth. TOP� also includes a community service-learning component in which participants plan their own service projects, carry them out, and strategize sustainability.


TOP� is in its fourth project year, and thus far, off to another great start with approximately 350 students enrolled in the program. This year TOP� has partnered with: New Orleans Public Libraries, Vietnamese Initiatives in Economic Training (VIET), Harmony Oaks, Dryades YMCA and NFL YET Boys & Girls Club


TOP� has recently received great feedback from both current & past participants and teens:


"When I heard about the TOP program and the work that was done last year with students, I knew I wanted my son in this program. Hopefully, he'll begin to make positive decisions."


"While I always spend time with my dad, this past weekend was different. I felt encouraged to talk to him about personal stuff, something I really haven't done before, and I realized that my dad is actually pretty cool to talk to."


If you have any questions about TOP� contact Ragan Collins.

Peer Advocates Undoing Stigma through Education (PAUSE) 


  PAUSE is a social marketing campaign that grew out of Media Advocates for Prevention (MAP). Formative research conducted with over 175 African American youth in the Greater New Orleans area collected baseline sexual health data, HIV risk practices and beliefs, and ideas for effective campaign strategies. The research showed that many youth engaging in sexual activity with either both sexes or the same sex did not identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. These youth also presented inconsistent protective measures (i.e. condom usage) with sexual partners of different sexes, often when engaging in high-risk behaviors. Taking into account this identification dissonance, the goal of PAUSE is to increase the utilization of HIV testing services and condoms among bisexually-behaving Black youth ages 11-19 to prevent the transmission of HIV and unwanted pregnancy.


This fall PAUSE has been gearing up for the new MAP cohort and the release of its web series. After completing filming this summer, PAUSE staff has been editing the series in time for a premiere on Worlds AIDS Day 2013, December 1. With the beginning of the 2013-2014 MAP cohort, PAUSE will be able to further tailor and shape the campaign and generate new content and ideas on how best to market it.


Check out PAUSE's favorite Instagram photos of the quarter below:


Journeys have multiple paths. If you make a mistake, find a new direction.



"There are times in life when, instead of complaining, you do something about your complaints." 

- Rita Dove

 Advocacy Day 2012 at the LA state capitol


Today = National Coming Out Day! To all of our Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, no label, et.al. family, we love you for being brave and fearless! If you're not "out", whatever! Just stay true to yourself and love who you are. And for the homophobic haters, it's 2013, ain't nobody got time for that!


Bella knows best. No condom. Sleep.


Contact Iman Shervington if you would like to receive PAUSE promotional materials or get involved in the campaign.

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Collective for Healthy Community
CHC, a W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded program, was created in response to the disproportionate negative mental health impact on poor people and people of color in the aftermath of Katrina. IWES developed a division of post-disaster mental health recovery and emotional resiliency to respond to the needs of the community. In an attempt to address the aforementioned concerns, IWES developed several projects; namely, the HIM/Fatherhood Consortium and Community Based Listening Circles. The cultivation of this division has required a concerted effort among professionals from multiple backgrounds (psychiatry, social work, public health, anthropology, and political science). 


On August 28th, CHC held its quarterly steering committee meeting to discuss how CHC can be enhanced by the work of steering committee members' organizations and conversely how CHC can enhance the work of these organizations. 


Also in August, CHC identified a cohort of teachers and social workers that meet with the CHC team on a monthly basis for one year. The cohort serves as liaisons between their respective educational institutions and IWES. The focus of the cohort is to infuse compassion and resilience into the classrooms, school environment, and school culture. The following schools are represented; Warren Easton Charter High School, James M. Singleton Head Start, Lawrence D. Crocker Elementary School, Geraldine Boudreaux Elementary School, and L.B. Landry - O.P. Walker College & Career Preparatory High School.

Through this initiative, CHC will launch its first photovoice project at Warren Easton. The project will consist of exploration and processing of the impact of colorism on local high-school African-American female adolescents through the use of documentary photography created by participants.


On September 24, CHC partnered with the City of New Orleans Health Department to provide an emotional wellness workshop for teachers. The workshop covered the following: 1.) signs and symptoms of emotional distress in youth, 2.) common mental health diagnosis for adolescents, and 3.) ways to integrate management of emotional distress among youth into the school setting. The participants will receive a follow-up training focusing on management of emotional distress in the classroom setting.


CHC remains committed to concentrating on the plasticity and strengths of youth, their family, and their community. To get in touch with CHC, please contact Danielle Wright.

New Orleans East Solutions in Synergy (NOESIS)


IWES has partnered with the Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans (VAYLA-NO) and the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and receives support from the New Orleans Health Department to implement the New Orleans East Solutions in Synergy (NOESIS) program as a part of CHC. NOESIS is  designed to promote community wellness and resilience to create environments where children and their families can thrive.

Through the NOESIS project, CHC has created an environmental scan of New Orleans East to highlight assets that promote revitalization, and to also identify barriers to the revitalization of this geographic area that was one of the hardest hit by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. CHC has strengthened its partnership with VAYLA, a New Orleans East based community organization that serves youth and families. It is the hope of the project that it will give rise to the enhancement of existing youth programming as well as the creation of additional youth programming in this geographic area. In early November, NOESIS staff hosted a site visit with Well Community project funders, the Samueli Institute and CommonHealth ACTION


To find out more about NOESIS, check out the Times Picayune article about it, read the full press release here, or contact program manager Danielle Wright.

The Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies (IWES) is a national non-profit organization founded in 1993 in response to the overwhelming health disparities among women of color.
IWES is dedicated to improving the physical, mental and spiritual health and quality of life of women of color and their families, especially those who are socio-economically disadvantaged.

Thanks for taking a moment to read our Quarterly E-Blast. If you ever have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to email us.