The Jahajee Sisters: Empowering Indo-Caribbean Women
New York, focus on domestic/gender based violence, serving Indo-Caribbean women
About the Organization:
Jahajee Sisters is a healing and political home for Indo-Caribbeans who have survived or are at risk for experiencing gender-based violence, and we organize with them to achieve gender justice.
Fleeing social unrest in their home countries beginning in the 70’s, Indo-Caribbeans migrated to New York City forming Little Guyana & Little Trinidad in Richmond Hill, Queens. We are now the fifth largest immigrant group in the City based in South Queens and in areas of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Though we are a sizable immigrant community, we are still under-resourced and little is known about our needs. Most importantly, gender-based violence is a severe issue plaguing our community. This is evidenced by the large numbers of Indo-Caribbean women who have lost their lives to abusive partners. In fact, this was the catalyst for Jahajee Sisters starting– we formed in response to the murders of two young women in 2007, 23-year-old Guiatree Hardat and 22-year-old Natasha Ramen.
Jahajee Sisters is a healing and political home for Indo-Caribbeans who have survived or are at risk for experiencing gender-based violence, and we organize with them to achieve gender justice. Our members are immigrant and first-generation survivors, child witnesses, and working class women vulnerable to abuse at home and on the job. Our main programs include the following:
- Organizing & Advocacy: We meet with our members monthly to organize toward city and state-wide campaign goals and engage in issue-based coalition advocacy focused on immigrant rights, economic justice, and reproductive justice;
- Community Circles: Our monthly Community Circles are healing & wellness spaces that allow survivors to have a community of support;
- Annual Summit: The Indo-Caribbean Women’s Empowerment Summit convenes 500 community members and partners for a weekend of dialogue about gender justice;
- Bi-annual Leadership & Empowerment Institute: This program moves participants through a guided personal change and healing process while supporting them to build their intersectional gender justice analysis and skills for organizing our community;
- Emergency Fund: We provide micro grants to survivors who are fleeing gender based violence in order to cover critical costs like travel, childcare, rent, and legal support;
- Case Management: We assess the needs of survivors of gender-based violence in our community, provide emotional support, and connect them to a range of direct services; and
- Arts & Activism Residency: We house an Indo-Caribbean community artist and support their development of socially conscious art/creative projects that address gender-based violence in order to build awareness about the issue and inspire our community to take action.