While attending the peaceful protest held on campus last spring, Georgette Hall-Peterson, director of the Counseling Center for Wellness, saw a need among Black, female Neumann University students. Listening to Black women speak at this event, Hall-Peterson realized these students felt as though they did not have a voice and she set out to create a space for their emotions. That space is called the Brown Sugar Sisters (BSS) Support Group.
According to Hall-Peterson, the group provides an opportunity for Black women who are NU students to share their experiences, pain, passions, hopes and dreams. It is a place where their voices are heard and valued. The group is a place for participants to connect, receive support, and be encouraged.
The BSS met eight times during the fall semester and will continue meeting this semester as well. The group has specific topics that are discussed each week. Some of these topics have included colorism and relationships – both friendship and romantic.
“The students find it very encouraging and supportive. It is a safe space where they feel supported. The women who come are very consistent in their attendance,” Hall-Peterson explained. “We value the right of each person to have their opinion.”
Davia Campbell, a junior Biology/Pre-Med major, joined the support group to have a safe space to talk about various topics of importance to her. This past semester had been a struggle for her for many reasons, number one being learning during a pandemic.
“I wanted to find somewhere where I could go and talk and no one would judge you,” Campbell said. “We now have a group we can talk to about our problems. This group was obviously needed.”
Junior Psychology major Ashley Beasley had been very interested in creating what she called a sisterhood for black women on Neumann’s campus. She saw the BSS as a good starting point.
“I do think this group is needed just for the sake of being accepted and feeling that it’s okay to be Black,” Beasley said.
Hall-Peterson plans on keeping the Brown Sugar Sisters a small group because she feels the sharing of feelings flows more freely in a more intimate setting. This mission of the BSS will remain a priority in the work she does because of her background.
“I will always have a passion for women and helping them find their voice. That’s been with me before,” said Hall-Peterson. “But at that rally, I just listened to the women speaking and it hit me that these women were holding some stuff that was detrimental to them.”