Programs

Young Women’s Leadership Development (YWLI)

The Young Women’s Leadership Development Program is dedicated to creating safe, caring and empowering spaces for young Southern rural Black women from our target counties. The program offers young women the opportunity to engage in local, state and regional activities that pave their way to becoming mature, productive and creative individuals.

YWLI is dedicated to bringing up a new generation of Southern rural Black women who stand up for social and economic justice through education and advocacy surrounding the issues that impact their lives most.

The Unita Blackwell Young Women’s Leadership Institute

Named for the first Black woman elected mayor in Mississippi, the Unita Blackwell Young Women’s Leadership Institute hosts an annual gathering for 100 young women, ages 14-19, who apply from SRBWI target counties.

The Unita Blackwell Young Women’s Leadership Institute is an intensive 6-day program that focuses on enhancing leadership skills, educating on Human Rights advocacy and honoring the rich, vibrant legacy of Southern rural Black women.

New Visions

“New Visions,” an advanced track of the Blackwell Institute, mentors 15 young women annually in the art of storytelling and filmmaking. This apprenticeship training enables these young women to tell their stories through a different medium, giving them a platform to be heard while also teaching marketable skills.

Women in Agriculture

“With roots as deep as ours, flavor is assured.”

SRBWI’s Women in Agriculture is a profound act of agricultural pride and the first Black women’s cooperative in the state of Mississippi.

These women grew up among the fields of the South. Their history is a richly woven textile with roots in slavery, but also in freedom and the lasting legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. Their hands are as strong as their will, demonstrated in every harvest.

More than just a co-op, Women in Agriculture embodies a legacy that spans generations and reaches across the globe.

Sustainable Growth

From these deep roots comes a great love of the land and the community that inhabits it. Women in Agriculture coordinates family farmers across five Mississippi counties who come together to work the land. True to their heritage, any crops not harvested for sale are available to anyone in the community.

The members of Women in Agriculture believe not only in the sustainability of our communities and crops, but in ethical consumerism. Their buyers know where our crops come from and the rich agricultural history that comes with them. Women in Agriculture works together to bring the best crops at the best prices to customers.

The Flavor in Southern Tradition

Informed by deep-rooted agricultural practices, Women in Agriculture members grow sweet potatoes that are unmatched in quality. Their variety is called beauregard — a buttery, rich sweet potato developed in Louisiana, adapted and ideal for the climate of the South.

Sweet potatoes have become a staple food not only in the South, but across the country. Our farmers are constantly experimenting with new crops and recipes, guided by generations of agricultural expertise.

For more information on Women in Agriculture, download the brochure.
To tour the Women in Agriculture farms, contact Gloria Sturdevant at gsturdevant@childrensdefense.org.

Human Rights Commissions

Our Voices for a Better Future

SRBWI believes that education and training in Human Rights is key to effective advocacy.

We work with Human Rights Commissions, led by Black women and elected officials, in 11 communities across three states, providing training and guidance as women work to change policies and systems to fight for social and economic justice.

Our Human Rights Commissions draw on the power of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948 in addressing issues of economic and social justice for southern rural black women today.

Southern Journeys

Southern Journeys is a worker-owned enterprise that brings Black craftswomen together to create products steeped in West African tradition.

Their work is a celebration of their heritage and creativity, seen in every stitch. With the past as an inspiration, these women move their future forward. Members of this collective come from rural communities across Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

Connect with Southern Journeys on Facebook and visit their online store.
To get involved with Southern Journeys, contact Sarah Bobrow-Williams at sarahbobrowwilliams@gmail.com.