I met Shirley Muhammad a few years ago at several meetings that were focusing on solutions to problems that threaten the existence of Black families and communities.
Over those years she convinced me to become an active board member of Your Sisters Project, Inc. It was the first program that I joined in a number of years, because I don’t have the time.
Shirley explained that in 1994 the Nation of Islam had a convention in Ghana, Africa and toured what is described as the Door of No Return where 90 percent of all slaves bound for America passed through. It had a profound and permanent effect on her. Upon returning to America she became involved in a program that fed the needy in the Unity Lutheran Church in Homewood and this was the beginning for Sister Shirley. She founded a program named Sankofa Females Rights to Passage and they produced a play titled “A Nation Can Rise No Higher Than its Women,” and it was a tremendous success. It now became an eye opener to Shirley about the magnitude of problems that Black women, particularly young single mothers were confronted with almost everyday of their lives.
Shirley now makes a lifetime commitment to correct, eliminate and to prevent these problems that were destroying our females and their children, and she filed for a 501c3. On Sept. 11, 2001 she was granted a 501c3 in the name of Your Sisters Project with a commitment to ensure and provide young females with children the tools to become loving, caring, compassionate mothers. The program has helped a number of young parents to finish school, provided them with free brand new computers, college tuitions and even helped secure down payments for several on down payments for houses. Your Sisters Project has expanded and it is now involved in teaching youths the importance of preparation for tomorrow, sewing and financial literacy.
There are an untold number of programs funded by governmental bodies, foundations, and others and 90 percent of these programs are overwhelmingly problem oriented.
However Your Sisters Project is solution driven, its main focus is prevention. For example we held a summer program in Wilkinsburg High School and it was primarily for young residents of Wilkinsburg. It consisted of 40 young persons evenly split between females and males. The classes were gender oriented, students had a dress code, had to be on time, excused absents only, no cell phones and disrespectful conduct was absolutely not permitted. A major component of the program was to prepare the youths for tomorrow and the job market, thereby lessening the need for rehabilitation. The entire class graduated.
A professional organization conducted an oversight of the summer program by interviewing the entire staff and the students and presented an extremely comprehensive positive overview stating in layman’s term, “Job well done, Your Sister’s Project.”
The Kingsley Association still needs your financial support.