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!

A Tribute to George Carter III
Last week New Orleans lost another beautiful young boy to the senseless violence that plagues our youth in this city. George was an incredibly conscientious youth and activist as part of the Kids Rethink program, as well as an eloquent contributor on education reform to the 2012 IWES conference on mental health, The Root of It All, where he reminded us all to think of our youth as individuals with experiences and not as test scores. He advocated for the children of this city who too often just like George, suffer the same fate every day. Please watch Melissa Harris Perry's emotional tribute on George Carter III here

We at IWES wish to honor his memory and send the greatest of condolences to his family and friends. 

To donate towards George Carter's funeral services please see here
Meet the Newest IWES Staff Members!
Sean G. Clark - TOP Facilitator
Sean G. Clark joined IWES in August 2014 to serve as a Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP) facilitator. Sean received his BS in Biology with a concentration in Public Health and African-American Studies from Morehouse College (2011). In Sean's previous experience he has served as a Health Educator for the 4Real Health/Orleans Teen Pregnancy Prevention Project and Community Healthcorps Navigator. When Sean is not facilitating TOP he spends his time as an artist.
Caitlin Wahlers, AIDS United AmeriCorps Member

Originally from Seattle, WA, Caitlin joined IWES in August 2014 as an AmeriCorps member through AIDS United.  She received her BA in International Affairs from Northeastern University, where she developed a passion for public health and HIV/AIDS work. Prior to moving to New Orleans, she interned at Pathfinder International, a sexual and reproductive health organization, where she assisted backstopping programs in Africa and South America. Now serving as an AmeriCorps member, Caitlin works to fill the gap in HIV prevention services, by conducting HIV outreach, counseling and testing. 


Brittany McBride, MPH 

BY!-NOLA! Program Manager

Brittany McBride joined the IWES team in August 2014 as a BY! NOLA! program coordinator.  Prior to this, Brittany worked in academia as a program coordinator of a randomized control trial at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.  She also offered her insight as a consultant for a local charter school in the development of a positive life skill curriculum.  She graduated from Tulane SPHTM with a Masters in Public Health and earned a B.S. in Biology/Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana.  Brittany's area of interest include: adolescent reproductive and sexual health, positive communication and self-advocacy of young patients, and reproductive justice. As a New Orleans native Brittany is committed to improving her community by investing in the powerful youth of New Orleans.  She is a wife and mother of one beautiful daughter.

IWES Publication the 
Crooked Room: Stories from New Orleans 
is available now! 

In the aftermath of the human tragedy Hurricane Katrina (2005), wrought upon previously disenfranchised and oppressed communities of color in New Orleans, the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies adopted the ancient practice of Wisdom Circles. These Circles were utilized to create safe spaces in which community members could come together to support each other, problem-solve, recover and heal wounds. Wisdom Circles have been utilized over the ages by tribal and indigenous peoples to harvest communal wisdom as to how to survive, hope and dream. 

With help from Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, IWES conducted Wisdom Circles with African American women of varying socioeconomic status and age in New Orleans. The focus was on the constant and frequent racial and gender stereotypes encountered by Black women, which make up their crooked room. Their stories, experiences, and insights as related to misrecognition, shame, stress, and internalized oppression were compiled into the Crooked Room: Stories from New Orleans, which is now available.

IWES will also host a book launch on Saturday, December 13th. Keep an eye on our facebook page for further details 
Featured IWES Film 
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter
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. 

Video Premiere: "the PAUSE Genie" 
Like a good conscience, PAUSE GENIE come here!"
Forget a condom? Need some sexual health advice? Wanna get tested for HIV but don't know if you can? Then you need a PAUSE genie! 

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

 View our videos on YouTube   

Voters in Louisiana will elect one member to the U.S. Senate in the election on November 4, 2014.

The election will fill the Senate seat currently held by Mary Landrieu (D). Whatever your political inclination make sure to exercise your right to vote! 

For more information about registration, locations etc, see the Rock the Vote website

Free Job Training!
Urban Strategies has formed a new partnership with Magnolia Market Place to offer Customer Service training for employment in the new retail center located in Central City. They will be hosting an information & enrollment session for Customer Service next Tuesday, November 4th (GO VOTE, then go to the session) & Thursday, November 6th. Training starts on November 17th. This session is for Customer Service only - high school diploma or GED is not required. 
See the flyer above for more details! 
3rd Annual Neighborhoods Summit kicks off November 8th! 

The Third Annual Greater New Orleans Neighborhoods Summit is a one-day civic skill development and networking conference for neighborhood residents and government agencies in the Greater New Orleans Region presented in partnership by The City of New Orleans Mayor's Neighborhood Engagement Office and the Neighborhoods Partnership Network.

In 2012, the Neighborhood Engagement Office launched the first-ever City of New Orleans Neighborhoods Summit (which was repeated in 2013) as a way to support the civic efforts of neighborhood leaders and their partnership with local government. The first two years of the Neighborhoods Summit offered capacity development, information sharing, and networking opportunities for neighborhood leaders and civic-minded groups. With more and more resident leaders stepping up and embracing the notion that working as partners with government is a critical aspect of civic life, a vital new tradition that strengthens government's relationship with its resident leaders has developed that requires support. The 2014 Neighborhoods Summit builds on this working paradigm that Mayor Landrieu has championed and expands the opportunities to other regional residents and civic-minded groups. 

For more information see their facebook event page
Job Opportunity with Bike Easy! 

Bike Easy is hiring a Schools and Community Outreach Coordinator to increase our capacity to do youth and community bicycle programs in New Orleans.

To apply for this position please submit a cover letter and resume to Anneka Olson, Community Education Manager, at anneka@bikeeasy.org, or email/call with questions: (504) 861-4022. Position starts immediately. For more information see their posting


Application deadline is 

Wednesday, November 12 at 5:00pm.


Bike Easy is the leading bike advocacy group in Greater New Orleans with the mission to improve biking in and around the city by ensuring that it's fun, safe and an accessible mode of transportation and recreation for all.

Still I Rise: A Musical Triubute to Maya Angelou 

SISTAWORKS, INC. presents a fabulous line-up of New Orleans most talented female musicians, poets, and artists for "Still I Rise: A Musical Tribute to Maya Angelou." 

The evening celebrates the collective talent of New Orleans' women and girls and will pay homage to the phenomenal voice of America known as Maya Angelou, who was an African-American author, poet, dancer, actress and singer, as well as a civil rights activist. The evening will include an opening dinner reception, open wine/beer bar throughout the event, silent auction and a variety of artistic performances honoring Maya Angelou's legacy.  


For more information and tickets see the event page

Wellness Evaluation Community Action Network (WE-CAN!)

Founded in September 2013 as the research and evaluation arm of the Collective for Healthy Communities, WE-CAN! is rooted in participatory action research (PAR) theory and collaborations with various groups and organizations. It is designed to provide space for community conversations to catalyze individual, community and/or systems level change, while shaping the tools to measure that change. The tools created will be used to better understand well-being and community-defined resiliency in New Orleans, and the information gathering and sharing processes utilized by WE-CAN! will be shared as a model for true community partnership in equity and justice-driven research. 


The WE-CAN launched the Youth Participatory Action Research  (YPAR) group in October 2014 with a cohort of youth 13 to 21 years of age.  Collaboration with other youth-serving organizations is the foundation of this project, which currently includes participation from young people served by VAYLA, Kids Rethink and the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP).  Through a process of training on action research methods and data collection conducted by youth, the YPAR cohort will help to amplify the voices of young on issues related to community health and wellness.  

As a part of that effort, IWES participated in a panel discussion  on October 29, 2014 organized by the Youth Empowerment Project and artist Jonathan Ferrara  to complement the exhibit Guns in the Hands of Artists showing at the John Ferrara GalleryThe panel discussion focused on issues around gun violence, its impact on the youth, and potential solutions. Other participating organizations were VAYLA and Covenant House..


For more information on WE-CAN contact Della Wright.

Believe in Youth! - NOLA!

 IWES was one of six entities in Louisiana funded to provide teen 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.  


With the new school year underway, BY!-NOLA! is entering its fifth year of providing comprehensive teen pregnancy and HIV prevention programming to youth throughout New Orleans. In September and October, BY!-NOLA! reached approximately 100 students in three schools and will be starting at one additional school in November.


BY!-NOLA! continues its efforts to engage parents in its programming. On October 8th, BY!-NOLA! held its first Parent Advisory Team (PAT) meeting at the Rosa Keller Library. PAT was created to bring together parents from across the city to share their experiences with raising youth in New Orleans. Areas of focus include adolescent sexual health and emotional wellbeing. The meeting was a tremendous success, with 20 parent participants.


The next PAT meeting will be held on December 10th. The group will continue to meet quarterly throughout the year.


On November 18th, BY!-NOLA! is hosting its first stakeholders meeting. The event will bring together leaders from the greater New Orleans area to discuss factors that influence adolescent risk taking behavior.


For more information on BY-NOLA! contact Brittany McBride.

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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�)TOP� is a 9-month youth development program that focuses on teen pregnancy prevention and academic outcomes serving youth aged 12-18. TOP� utilizes the Changing Scenes curriculum� which includes lessons on sexual health, values, goal-setting, relationships with friends and family, and other topics relevant to youth development. IWES is in its 5th year of implementing TOP� and have reached approximately 950 teens.


TOP� is currently being implemented with 235 teens and servicing ten TOP clubs: 6 clubs at McDonogh 35 Senior High School; 2 clubs at Fannie C. Williams Charter School; 1 club at Lake Area New Tech Early College High School; and 1 club at James M. Singleton Charter School/Dryades YMCA. By May 2015, all clubs will have completed at least 25 weeks of educational peer group meetings and at minimum 20 hours of Community Service Learning (CSL) activities.




TOP� enjoys helping teens increase their knowledge, skills and abilities; supporting teens in their CSL projects; and providing an emotional and physical safe haven for teens to develop positive relationships with their facilitator(s) and club members. 


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

Peer Advocates Undoing Stigma through Education (PAUSE) 

PAUSE is a targeted, multi-pronged social marketing campaign and HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral (CTR) program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce HIV stigma and encourage African American youth in New Orleans to access HIV testing services. Between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 PAUSE will provide HIV CTR to a minimum of 450 African American youth ages 13-24 in the greater New Orleans area.

This quarter PAUSE has released 6 new media projects! In August, PAUSE premiered a 5 episode web series, risk, that followed a circle of friends on summer break as they navigated relationships, identity, friendships and their health. Check out the series below (will insert links for each chapter in CC - Iman) and take a moment to briefly interact with each chapter and give us feedback about it on the innovative new platform from Interlude, as well! 


PAUSE also premiered a new short film, PAUSE Genie, a comical reminder to be safe and get tested starring former MAP Peer Advocates and staff.

In addition to new media, PAUSE staff have continued HIV testing at Walgreens every Monday from 3-7 pm.  We have also been able to increase our testing efforts with our new AIDS United New Orleans AmeriCorps member, Caitlin Wahlers.   Caitlin joined us in August and is a great addition to our team!


Starting October 2nd, IWES began testing at Walgreens on 1100 Elysian Fields Ave. every Thursday from 3-7 pm. PAUSE staff began in office testing on October 7th.  This takes place every first Tuesday of the month from 5-7 pm in the IWES office.  This testing event is geared specifically to youth and also includes food, movies, and games.  


For more information, please contact Aurora or Caitlin at 504-99-7712.

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Creating A Future Together (CrAFT)

Creating a Future Together (CrAFT) is a comprehensive, multi-pronged initiative that focuses on addressing gaps in sexual and reproductive health, with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes among communities of color in the South. The program is supported by the Packard Foundation, and Advocates for Youth. CrAFT focuses on four areas: gender transformative comprehensive 

youth sexual health education (CSE); sexual and reproductive health advocacy with HBCUs; Affordable Care Act (ACA) information dissemination; and,  advocacy around CSE in New Orleans schools.


Louisiana Youth For Truth in Washington D.C.

Louisiana Youth for Truth (LYFT) is a youth-led council group that advocates for honest, accurate and inclusive comprehensive sexuality education in Louisiana schools. LYFT kicked off their year at the 2014 Advocates for Youth Urban Retreat. There, they met with fellow activists from around the country to discuss youth sexual health and rights, and lobbied on Capitol Hill, where they encouraged Louisiana leaders to support comprehensive sexuality education for all youth.  LYFT will be partnering with other youth-serving organizations to mobilize young people around the city to demand honest sex-ed for everyone. For more information on the council, check out the LYFT Facebook page 




CrAFT Gender Transformative Programming Begins!

Creating a Future Together (CrAFT) staff began program implementation on October 22 at Akili Academy. CrAFT staff members will be working with 14 seventh-graders to discuss sexual health, human rights, gender, and power through an innovative new gender-transformative curriculum.


Open Enrollment is Coming: Get Yourself Covered!

Open Enrollment begins November 15 across the country. IWES, in partnership with the City of New Orleans Department of Health and Raising Women's Voices, will be disseminating information about open enrollment resources available around New Orleans. Stay tuned for a list of upcoming enrollment events, and more information on enrollment assistance and navigation sites!

As part of a "Get Yourself Covered" social media campaign in partnership with the Ms. Foundation, we are asking for your "getting covered" story. Did you get insurance on the exchange last year? Did you sign up for Medicaid through an enrollment assistant? Share your story with us so that others can get covered too!


 For more information about CRAFT, and to share your story please contact Kaitlyn Marchesano.

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. The cultivation of this division has required a concerted effort among professionals from multiple backgrounds (psychiatry, social work, public health, anthropology, and political science). 


Over the last few months, the Collective for Healthy Communities (CHC) team has been very busy. On August 26th, a NOESIS Repair and Resiliency-building (R&R) Circle was held with 8 health care providers and service utilizers. They discussed long Emergency Room and Emergency Medical Services wait times in New Orleans East, as well as poor quality of service. These themes, along with potential opportunities for collaboration, were discussed in a folloup conversation with the CEO of the new New Orleans East Hospital,
Mario Garner. 
Another R&R Circle was held on October 19th at VAYLA with 12 youth participants. The youth discussed frustration with the lack of mental health and translation services available in schools, as well as the lack of extracurricular activities for youth. Their experiences related to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath were also discussed, and students shared what they feel New Orleans needs to become a youth-friendly city.





On October 15th, IWES and Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools co-hosted a Youth Town Hall event, funded by the William K. Kellogg Foundation. Held at Xavier University, students from 6 New Orleans schools as well as students from Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, participated and discussed their experiences as youth in New Orleans through a visioning activity led by the Rethinkers. The event also featured a student-created arts showcase and a preview of the Institute's upcoming documentary on black male youth. Additionally, there was an intergenerational panel that included youth from IWES programs and Rethinkers, as well as Councilman Jason Williams, Crocker College Prep Principal Amanda Aiken, and Tiffany Henderson from Workforce Development. The panel discussed strategies to create a youth-centered New Orleans. Check the IWES page for more photos of the event!


The School Resiliency Tool has been administered to 7 schools so far. Common themes have included that school staff overwhelmed by elevated levels of mental distress in young people, that schools feel they have a lack of mental health resources, and that the strict focus on achievement and testing places limitations on student input and teacher autonomy. The Resiliency Tool will be administered to more schools before the end of 2014.


CHC also completed PhotoVoice cohorts with both Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools and the IWES staff. A new cohort of PhotoVoice is currently being implemented at ReNew Sci Tech AcademyThe final CHC Steering Committee meeting on October 1st discussed ways to share the information learned through CHC thus far.


To learn more about CHC, please contact Rachel Van Parys.

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.