MY SISTER CIRCLE(S)
Sister circles are informal or formal groups that contribute to the well-being of Black women through communal support that is safe and authentic (Bacon, 2014; Cupid, 2020; McLane-Davison, Quinn, Harley and Smith, 2018; Neal-Barnett, Stadulis, Murray, Payne, Thomas and Salley, 2011).
Below you will find some of the women who make up my sister circles, from childhood to present. I view my circles as concentric and webbed, as some women intersect directly across various contexts, while others intersect indirectly.
is a Registered Nurse born and raised in Baltimore City. She received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Nursing. Keshara currently works as a nurse in a West Baltimore hospital and has plans to further her education to become a Nurse Midwife. Tackling the maternal health disparities that affect Black girls and women inspired her to pursue a career in healthcare and enter the world of birth work.
With over 15 years in higher education administration, Sonya is passionate about empowering others through education. She began her career counseling Pittsburgh city youth. Presently as the Assistant Vice Provost, Applied & Off- Campus Programs (UMBC), Sonya oversees the institution’s applied graduate programs and UMBC at the Universities at Shady Grove. Additionally, Sonya is a third year doctoral student in the Language, Literacy, Culture (LLC) program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Due to her professional experience in higher education administration, Sonya’s research interest considers how Black women administrators’ navigation of predominantly White institutions (PWI) influence their advancement, voice, and representation. Additionally, she studies the emerging field of Black girlhood studies, specifically focusing on ways Black girls are reclaiming their bodies and finding their voice through spatial interventions.
is a doctoral candidate in the Language, Literacy and Culture Department at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she serves as a teaching and research assistant in the Department of Education. With fifteen years of educational experience, including a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education English from DePaul University and a master’s degree in School Leadership from Concordia University, Montia seeks to support the scholarship on how social capital supports teachers, students and institutional agents in the development of strategies that support academic advancement for students. Her other educational interests include Spirituality and Pre-Service Teacher Efficacy, Rosenwald Schools in the American South, Literacy as Capital for the Enslaved, and The Reproductive Resistance of Enslaved Women in the Antebellum South. Montia is also the founder of the Math and Reading Summer Enrichment Program and Building our Brilliance Workshop Series for Teachers. She has served as the President of the Children’s Reading Foundation of Greater Indiana and is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa.
is a graphic designer residing in Los Angeles, CA but she was born and raised in Hartford, CT. She started my natural hair journey in 2015 and has since then been obsessed. She had learned so much about her hair texture, and all the different hairstyles and products she could choose from. She became more confident in herself to let her hair be free and unapologetically natural. AfroGirl by Hannah is for all the kinky, curly, coily, and wavy hair girls who love and are proud of their natural hair. This line celebrates living the natural life and expressing yourself through your hair.
Tahira Mahdi, PhD
is a community psychologist based in the Baltimore-Washington, DC region. She earned her B.A. in Psychology and her M.A. & Ph.D. in Human Services Psychology as a Meyerhoff Graduate Fellow at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her background includes radio, television, print, and digital media, but her most recent creative endeavor is filmmaking with Threezeromedia. She is Vice President at Take Me Out To the Go-Go, the #1 trusted source of information about go-go music and culture. Not too long ago, she appeared in music videos, a comedy web series, and a true crime series, and performed the intro on a go-go rap song. Before all that, she wrote a bestselling book for young Black women called God Laughs, Too: Incidents in the Life of a Black Chick (Tuff Crowd Conglomerate, 2003). At times, she blogs at DCBrand99.com, but all the academic stuff is at TahiraMahdi.com.
is a marketing and advertising professional with expertise in audience measurement and analytics. She explores media usage and audience behaviors across screens, with experience in various areas of the media industry, including broadcast, agency and cable. A Philadelphia native, Andréa earned her B.S. in Entertainment & Arts Management and M.S. in Television Management from Drexel University. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, listening to jazz albums and shopping for the latest in fashion and home decor. She currently resides in Philadelphia with her husband and fellow dragon, Eugene.