Dear Community Members,
As we reflect on the legacy of where we began as an organization, it is with care and pride that we announce the closing and sunsetting of S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective by June 2023 at the close of our fiscal year.
S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective (SSLC) was piloted in 2014, out of a need for gender-specific programming that met the unique needs of girls, femmes, and gender-expansive youth. These communities understood and could identify with the intersectional struggles of gender marginalization in the age of My Brother’s Keeper, 5000 Role Models, and other established initiatives for boys. On February 16th, 2015, S.O.U.L. Sisters was officially founded in Miami and New York City (NYC) with our co-founding Youth Leaders Board (YLB) members logan meza, Andralique Byrdsong, Jazandrea Byrdsong, Keisha Campbell, Jazzline Vergara, Joy Morin, Danelvi Rosario, Hannah Matias, Tenisha Hope, Hawa Adula, Silvia Albarracin, Savannah Reid, Catrina Wiltshire, Victoria Byfield, and adult co-founders Tanisha “Wakumi” Douglas and Caitlin Gibb.
Throughout our founding leadership and the leadership that has followed, we are proud of all we have accomplished in this season of our evolution, especially:
- Investing in gender justice with inclusive programs for gender-expansive youth
- Supporting our communities by developing the leadership of hundreds of young people
- Joining in the creation of a policy platform with Black Girls Matter Miami
- Building restorative justice diversion programs and alternative responses to conflict and harm in Miami and NYC
- Co-organizing initiatives like Black Girls Day at the Capitol and the Florida March for Black Women
- Traveling across the globe for various workshops and conferences
- Leading rapid response initiatives and mobilizations, and so much more that we can’t even begin to cover here (you can learn more about our journey in our 2020 Impact Report, Youth Co-Founder 5 Year Anniversary Video, and our Five Year Anniversary Reel).
The programs and tools we developed during our journey together can continue to support organizations serving queer and transgender youth. S.O.U.L. Sister Leadership Collective will remain active as a learning resource, featuring a toolkit of templates created in partnership with community and organizations in Florida and New York.
We know our work has been great and deeply impactful in the lives of girls of color and gender-expansive young people. We honor this work, and accept that organizations are not meant to last forever – dissolving SSLC was not an easy decision to make. However, it is our responsibility to be adaptive and responsive to our internal conditions and those that shape our ecosystem, which requires honesty and truth-telling to determine when it is time to lay an organization to rest.
S.O.U.L. Sisters’ doors will be closing on December 31st, 2022 and our social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok) and website will be updated to reflect a time capsule of our work over the past eight years.
Our hearts are filled with gratitude for all of the ways that young people, community, and partners have held us, supported us, and taken a chance on us even when you didn’t know much about us. We could not have done the work that we’ve done without each and every one of you. SOUL Sisters as an organization may not have been able to see what liberation looks like in our lifetime, but we hope that the seeds that we have sown will continue to grow into fruit-bearing trees to nourish future generations and support the pathway forward.
Please be on the lookout for additional updates and ways to stay connected and engaged with our people and work.
Thank you for all your support,
S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective
Sisters Organizing for Understanding & Leadership