Sister Circle meets Fridays

Sister Circle, a support group for women of color, holds meetings every Friday, noon-1 p.m. in the Women’s Center, room 338 in the Nebraska Union.

“It is our hope that students who previously felt unheard and invisible have a place to come for support and respite,” said Charlesette Foster, mental health practitioner with Counseling and Psychological Services at University Health Center. “The support that is needed to thrive in this type of academic situation is the underlying theme that is reiterated to members again and again.”

Foster took on the leadership role of Sister Circle when she came to the university in 2001. Prior to her role, the group was student-led. Today, Foster runs the group with the help of a graduate student from UNL’s counseling psychology program.

Foster said group meetings focus on an array of topics like maintaining healthy relationships, dealing with issues related to being first-generation students or addressing racism and stereotyping.

“I hope that students walk away from group meetings feeling supported and inspired to do the work that they came to UNL to complete,” Foster said. “If one has been feeling alone and invisible, it should be more than motivating to be suddenly heard and supported.”

During meetings, the communal nature of many ethnic groups is discussed among the members. Participants are invited to bring their lunch and talk about their experiences in the comfortable environment of the Women’s Center group room.

“Women of all ethnicities and backgrounds are invited,” Foster said. “The focus is logically about the experiences of women of color at a predominantly white institution.”

The group’s name is rooted in a historical context; the term “sister” is a common term of endearment among African-American women.

“It feels quite sisterly to be in this type of group,” Foster said. “New group members are welcomed into the fold and encouraged to talk about their experiences (because) each participant brings a unique perspective as a woman of color on this campus.”

- Mekita Rivas, University Communications