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 IWES programs and events. Thanks for continuing to be a part of the IWES family!
Are you ready for a 
IWES presents a two day conference commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to centralize the ongoing struggles and strength of communities of color in post-Katrina New Orleans. International, national and local thought leaders will discuss the concept of resilience while exploring the role of culture as both a protective factor against stress and a transformative way to move forward. 

Date: August 20th-21st, 2015
Location: Ellis Marsalis Center for Music
1901 Bartholomew Street

To learn more and sign up, click here.

Featuring Performances by 
Stephanie Mckee & Company
Michaela Harrison & Company
Chuck Perkins

Thursday, August 20th.
Doors open at 6.30pm. Show starts at 7pm.
Get tickets HERE.

@iwes_nola  #katrina10 #reframeresilience #iwes 
Creating Our Own Lens (COOL) Internship Program
Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Young Men's Voices (have) Power in New Orleans (YMVP-NOLA), IWES is working to dismantle the complex challenges & barriers young men of color face to set them on a path to success. IWES' Creating Our Own Lens (COOL) is a 15-month long internship and job placement program for young men of color in New Orleans. COOL utilizes a trauma-informed model which combines technical skills and job training with emotional wellness, healing and stress management. The program is designed to build educational and career momentum among young men of color and increase their ability to manage social and emotional needs.
Through a partnership with the New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC) and the City's Office of Cultural Economy, the COOL program will provide extensive training and job placement assistance for interns in the film industry. Additionally, they will support IWES' city-wide social marketing campaign designed to reframe narratives about African American youth.
Expected outcomes for COOL interns include:
  1. Increased economic security through job training and employment assistance.
  2. Increased emotional stability as a result of collective and individual healing work and self-care plans.
  3. Improved interpersonal relationships through one-on-one mentorship and stress management strategies.

To learn more about COOL, contact Chloe Walters-Wallace.
Check out our new website 

Learn more about IWES' leadership centralizing the struggle and power of communities of color at our new landing page: 

Be sure to check out links to our newly released Emotional Wellness Survey Report and Resiliency White Paper!
  Featured IWES Film 
Whole People Create Whole Communities: Kendall & Kentrell Holmes
Whole People Create Whole Communities: Kendall & Kentrell Holmes
In collaboration with the 2012 Annual Report, IWES interviewed participants, parents, and partners involved in programming to talk about how together, we create whole people and whole communities. This interview was with Kendall & Kentrell Holmes, youth that participated in IWES' Believe In Youth! - NOLA! (BY!-NOLA!) program.

  View our videos on YouTube    

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Joan Mitchell Center
2275 Bayou Road
New Orleans, LA 70119

The event will feature tours of the location's newly designed living and studio spaces, where the inaugural group of artists-in-residence will showcase artwork.

For more information, check out their website.   

KATRINA BABIES is a feature-length documentary film that relays the traumas and triumphs that young adults who lived through Hurricane Katrina continue to experience. The film will be accompanied by an anthological text featuring the visual and written scholarship of emerging Black writers, artists, educators, academics, and activists who were under the age of 16 and living in New Orleans at the time of Katrina. 
For more information, see the Katrina Babies website.
Kiki with BreakOUT!!
Support  BreakOUT  Friday, August 14th at the Bolden Bar in the  Peoples Health New Orleans Jazz Market!  A Happy Hour Fundraiser will kick off at 5pm. Simply fill out a card and present it to one of the bartenders at the end of the night and BreakOUT! will receive 20% of the proceeds from your drinks!
For more information check out the event's Facebook page.

Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies's photo.

Peace By Piece NOLA supported by AFSC is hosting the US premiere of their short documentary about Hurricane Katrina and the effects of disaster capitalism on the city of New Orleans following the storm on Saturday, August 29 from 6-8 pm at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center. The short film was created in collaboration with youth from PxP NOLA, Friend of a Friend and The Real News Network. Following the documentary, there will be a panel discussion with local intellectuals, activists and organizers. Free and open to the public. Refreshments to be served. See the flyer for more details!

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. 


Starting in May, WE-CAN conducted focus groups with parents and educators to learn more about adult perspectives on community issues and how they affect the health, well-being, and resiliency of young people. Additional focus groups and interviews with community members will continue through the end of August. 

The Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) project wrapped up in June. From December 2014 to June 2015, 12-15 young people: learned about conducting research; identified a research topic related to community health, wellness, and resiliency; and conducted their own research by collecting data using surveys and focus groups. While the youth selected racism as their research topic, they also collected data on police brutality, sexism, underpaid workers, and substance abuse and how these issues affect the community. In mid-June, YPAR participants held an event for their parents and WE-CAN partner organizations to showcase what they learned. YPAR research findings will be presented to the community through a podcast, which is currently being developed. The YPAR participants also created a mural that depicts how they view the effects of oppression on their community, which will be available for viewing starting in August. 


WE-CAN continues to partner with the City of New Orleans' Fit NOLA Project, as well. WE-CAN staff co-chair the project's School and Out-of-School sector, which aims to increase opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating for New Orleans' youth. WE-CAN also manages the Fit NOLA School Survey. 

If you would like to participate in a focus group/interview to share your thoughts, experiences or feelings on your community, or for more information on WE-CAN, contact Danielle Broussard. 

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.  


Over the last five years the BY!-NOLA! program has served approximately 2,500 youth in the Greater New Orleans area.  Since September 2014, BY!-NOLA! has reached over 459 students in eight schools and two summer camps. The program has been adapted to include a trauma-informed approach to better meet the needs of the youth and has prioritized increasing parental engagement and community support. As a result of the program's successes the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) has selected the BY-NOLA program as a teen pregnancy prevention grantee success story and will feature the program on their website. BY-NOLA has reached the end of its federal funding, yet it's impact will continue to be felt through a new OAH funded grant that IWES is excited to announce below. 



IWES was recently awarded a teen pregnancy prevention grant in the category: Replicating Evidence-Based TPP Programs to scale in communities with the greatest need (Tier 1B) from OAH. The Believe in Youth - Louisiana (BY-LA) program is designed to reach at least 4,000 African American and Latino youth ages 11-19 annually from 2015-2019. The program prioritizes quality program delivery, providing safe spaces for participants who identify as LGBTQ, incorporating positive youth development practices, and institutionalizing a trauma-informed approach. The program aims to reach youth with multiple interventions over the course of their adolescence.
For more information on BY-LA! contact Brittany McBride .

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Peer Advocates Undoing Stigma through Education (PAUSE) 
PAUSE  is a 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.
On April 10, PAUSE recognized National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day by disseminating 135 safer sex kits during the French Quarter Festival. On May 4 and 6, PAUSE partnered with IWES' Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP) to offer testing to teens at Harmony Oaks Apartments and Rosa Keller Library. June 27 marked National HIV Testing Day! For the second year, in partnership with Greater Than AIDS and Walgreens, Inc., IWES offered HIV testing at local Walgreens stores. Staff and volunteers conducted testing on June 25, 26 & 27 and tested 55 people!

PAUSE successfully concluded HIV testing and referral services and sexual health education programming for the 2015-2016 program year. During this pilot year, staff focused on creating a testing program catered to youth in New Orleans. Staff established policies and procedures for a testing program, became trained in various rapid HIV test techniques, built partners with community organizations to support patient navigation and linkage to care, and tested a total of 536 people in the Greater New Orleans area. Staff are very grateful to partners and colleagues who helped get the program off of the ground. In particular, IWES appreciates the partnership of the Connect 2 Protect SMILE program, Crescent Care, and the Louisiana Office of Public Health STD/HIV Program! IWES looks forward to refining and enhancing the current HIV counseling, testing and referral initiative.

IWES is thrilled to be one of the three organizations awarded funding in Louisiana for five years to expand HIV testing efforts under the Comprehensive High-Impact HIV Prevention Projects for Community-Based Organizations cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This funding will allow staff to expand prevention education, testing, linkage to care, and referrals to supportive services currently being offered by IWES to a greater number of African American and Latino youth ages 13-29 in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. Staff look forward to establishing and strengthening partnerships and increasing the organization's ability to offer services to youth at greatest risk for HIV transmission

IWES would like to thank AmeriCorps team member Caitlin Wahlers for an incredible year of service! Caitlin contributed greatly to the development and implementation of the IWES testing program, thoughtfully supported other IWES initiatives and staff, and brought a lot of energy and joy to the team. IWES and PAUSE wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors! For the months of June and July, IWES was also delighted to host Steffani Bangel, an MPH candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill. Steffani brings with her a wealth of HIV testing experience and knowledge and was an asset to both the testing program and to the LYFT council!
IWES is actively recruiting HIV testing volunteers. If interested, please contact Aurora at pause.iwes@gmail.com.
For more information, contact Aurora Tom-Quinn  and  find PAUSE on social media below.
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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.


The CrAFT curriculum pilot project was completed at Akili Academy in June with 52 seventh grade students. CrAFT will continue at Akili Academy next fall and will expand to Paul Habans Elementary on the West Bank, as well.


As the 2015 legislative session kicked into high gear, the LYFT council concentrated their collective efforts on garnering support for two local bills: HB326 and HB359 (SB31) sponsored by Representative Wesley Bishop and Senator JP Morrell. HB326 called for comprehensive, medically accurate, age and developmentally appropriate and evidence-informed sexual health education for all students 7th grade and higher. HB359 and its senate equivalent, SB 31, called for the lifting of the provision in the state sex-ed law wherein students cannot be quizzed or surveyed about their sexual beliefs or practices for the purpose of the CDC-sponsored Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance SystemLYFT council member Paris Scott testified before the Orleans Parish School Board to provide information, personal testimony and encourage passing a resolution in support of House Bills 326 and 359; the resolution passed. The LYFT council also created a petition in support of the legislation and collected over 400 signatures. While all bills were ultimately defeated in the legislature, IWES would like to thank Representative Bishop and Senator Morrell for their support and commitment to adolescent health.


On June 19, in partnership with the African American Policy Forum, IWES held and participated in a town hall hearing on women of color in New Orleans as a part of the National Organization for Women (NOW) National Conference. The town hall featured powerful testimony from individuals and representatives from local organizations working across New Orleans. IWES would like to thank Professor KimberlĂ© Crenshaw and all of the individuals who provided testimony and served as commissioners. 


 For more information about CRAFT, 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). 
Last month concluded the Crooked Room Conversation Series. The final meeting focused on the theme of healing old wounds to move forward and was an extremely moving, supportive evening. Thank you to Kelly Harris-Deberry, CHC's partner in this endeavor, the Mckenna Museum of African American Art, and all other partners who hosted Crooked Room events over the last few months. Be sure to look out for the second edition of The Crooked Room: Stories from New Orleans next year.

CHC is also in the formative stages of a citywide social marketing campaign. Staff have reviewed existing literature, and conducted surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews. Upon the completion of the formative research, look out for a launch this fall.
To learn more about CHC, please contact  Chloe Walters Wallace .
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.