SMC Student Creates New Group to Support Black Women on Campus
By Jeremy Handel
This article appeared originally in the fall 2021 issue of Frontiers Magazine.
A varied education, character building experiences, diversity, and critical thinking are fundamental elements of a liberal arts education, paving the way for young students to become future leaders. Some students don’t wait until their education is complete to make a difference. Kamilah Cook is taking her shot at changing Spartanburg Methodist College, and the world, for the better for young Black women.
Focused on lifting up, supporting, and highlighting young Black women, Cook has established Soul Sistas as an extracurricular club at SMC.
“Soul Sistas is a group of African American women that demonstrate integrity, perseverance, intelligence, and Black excellence, who are dedicated to giving back to both SMC and the city of Spartanburg,” she said. “I want to show the world what can happen when Black women come together. I want to show the world what magic can take place.
As a rising senior at the College, Cook took note of the fact that there wasn’t a club on campus focused on bringing Black students, particularly women, together for growth, fellowship, and community service. She decided to work with some friends and a couple of mentors at SMC to see if she could build the club she was looking for.
When she proposed the club to Assistant Director of Entrepreneurial Leadership Clara Jane Hallar and Online Program Advisor Dalynn Hare, Cook said both were very supportive and encouraged her to continue. Their support and the addition of the first two members beyond herself, Caryn Hudson and MiKayla Williams, have instilled confidence in building the club with the return of the fall semester.
Cook said they will be focusing on establishing and growing the new group this fall. They plan to meet weekly and host educational events to introduce the group and discuss diversity issues on campus and in the community.
She also intends to develop a strong community service element for the group. She envisions roadside clean-ups, volunteering at local non-profit agencies, and starting a mentoring program for local middle and high school students.
As with any dream, Cook has grand visions for Soul Sistas, growing beyond SMC to other campuses in the area and beyond. But she is grounded enough to know that success has to start at home.
“For now, Soul Sistas is strictly focused on SMC students, but I do intend on expanding beyond SMC,” she said. “Hopefully, in the next five to ten years, we will be on at least three or four more campuses.
”Ultimately, Cook hopes to see her vision expand across the nation, helping to develop Black female CEOs, doctors, lawyers, activists, and more. Through fellowship and a commitment to giving back to their community, Soul Sistas is focused on showing the world what intelligent, driven, and confident young Black women can accomplish.