A Message from Lilly Marcelin, RSP’s Founding Director:
I am often asked what motivated me to start the Resilient Sisterhood Project. I always wish that I could respond with a quick and simple answer. In reality, the concept for this organization is a culmination of my steadfast beliefs in women’s rights and health, my love of science, and many years of advocating and working in partnership with underserved women who experience(d): incest, domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking, domestic servitude, labor exploitation, and other forms of social injustice.
While working with many of these women I became keenly aware of their countless health burdens, particularly around diseases of the reproductive system such as: uterine fibroids, endometriosis, infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome as well as breast, cervical, ovarian, and uterine cancers. This awareness compelled me to inquire about the prevalence and impact of these diseases in women of African descent. The findings from my inquiries gave me a more in-depth understanding regarding the seriousness and consequences of these diseases in our lives and communities.
In addition, I gained greater insights into:
The prevalence of these diseases in many women of African descent including young adult girls
The pervasive under-diagnosis and under-treatment by medical professionals
The general lack of attention to these diseases for this racial group
Class and racial stereotypes
Stark medical and social inequities
Limited or no knowledge of these diseases
Emotional, familial, financial, and other hardships
A culture of silence and secrecy in dealing with these diseases
The impact of environmental toxins and synthetic hormones in our food and common household products
These are some of the reasons behind the genesis of RSP—with its unwavering commitment for transformative social change toward more equitable reproductive health policies, and healthier women in our communities.