Historic black women’s organization establishes SIU chapter


Lauren Wilson, a sophomore from Chicago studying psychology, left, Patrice Phillips, a senior from Fort Wayne, Ind., studying psychology, and Diamond Flournoy, a junior from Bolingbrook studying social work, take a selfie at the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs induction reception Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, in the Student Center. Phillips, the registered student organization’s founding president, said many historically African-American colleges have chapters, and this is the first RSO of its kind at SIU. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

By Diamond Jones

The National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, the parent organization of a new student club at SIU, inducted 11 members Saturday afternoon at a ceremony in the Student Center.

Founder of the university’s chapter, Patrice Phillips, a senior from Fort Wayne, Ind., studying psychology, said she brought the national organization to campus in response to the racially driven incidents that took place at SIU in the spring. On Saturday, students, friends and family members gathered to celebrate the newly instated addition of a 120-year-old organization to SIU’s campus.

“One of the main things our leaders stressed to us is sisterhood,” said member Jasmine Remmer, a sophomore from Chicago studying social work.


She said the organization is aimed to give all women and students a safe place to talk about problems they have on campus and help participate in community service activities. 

The organization’s newly formed chapter is calling itself the Women of Action Southern Illinois University Young Adult Club.

Remmer said she hopes the RSO gives her a better understanding of the issues that black people face, while also making connections and helping her build the skills she needs for her plans after college.

“This organization wants to work to bring the campus together as a community and build communication amongst one another,” she said.

Founded in July 1896 in Washington, D.C., by Ida B. Wells, Frances Harper and Mary Church Terrell, the organization includes women and youth in 32 states, and is dedicated to “raising to the highest plane the home life, moral standards and civic life of our race,” according to the NACWC website.

Chapter members from throughout Illinois, including students from SIU-Edwardsville, Illinois State University and Eastern Illinois University, also attended the ceremony.

Briana Walker, a senior at Eastern Illinois University, eats dinner at the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs reception Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, in the Student Center. Walker is a member of EIU’s chapter and came to assist SIU’s chapter with its first induction ceremony. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

Pamela Smoot, a clinical assistant professor in Africana Studies and coordinator of recruitment, retention and outreach for the College of Liberal Arts, will serve as the RSO’s campus advisor. 


“I will make sure the young ladies remain young ladies and put in the work in appreciation of those who came before them,” Smoot said.

The inducted club members include Remmer, Phillips, Carissa Charrier, Diamond Flournoy, Kendall Gross, Shyenda Jacobs, Deja Perry, Ashley Porter, Jasmine Royal, Taylor Walker and Lauren Wilson.

The organization plans to help the community and students by handing out food to the homeless, cleaning up the neighborhood and hosting support groups for issues like sexual assault awareness.

Remmer said each member had to go through an interview and take a national test to determine induction. She said members showed cooperation and dedication during the process by working the organization’s requirements into their busy schedules.

“African-American women are very powerful when we come together,” Remmer said. “We want to empower and promote understanding and bring colored women together.”

Staff writer Diamond Jones can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @_dimewrites.

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