Cleopatra’s Sisters celebrate 30 years of sisterhood

By Sophie Foster
Copy Editor

The year 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of Cleopatra’s Sisters, an organization that has become a staple in fostering fellowship for many women of color on campus. 

According to the sisterhood’s Instagram, they are “a group of diverse women dedicated to service and advocacy for women’s issues.” 

Unique to Washington College, previous Elm coverage defined the club as a group that “specializes in building a community to spread empowerment and positivity.”

In recognition of the enduring sisterhood and sense of community found in Cleopatra’s Sisters, the club will celebrate its anniversary with a reunion on Saturday, April 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., inviting both former and current members to come and commemorate the occasion. 

The reunion will come at the end of Cleo’s Week, which will align with their work for the month of April. April was designated the National Month of Hope by Mothers in Crisis, a non-profit organization that, according to their Facebook page, “is committed to linking families and communities together for families to live productive, empowered, hope-filled lives.”  

Throughout this month, students are encouraged to partake in the Cleopatra’s Sisters Donation Drive, which will be held from April 10 to April 30. Donations of white undergarments, looseleaf paper, composition notebooks, and envelopes can be brought to the donation boxes in Hodson Hall and the McLain Atrium in the John S. Toll Science Center. At the end of the month, they will be given to the Kent County Detention Center, according to an email sent on April 11 by Community Service Chair senior Zairel Luna. 

According to Luna, this will be an effort in support of Cleopatra’s Sisters’ “focused philanthropy for incarcerated women.” Monetary donations can also be made via Cashapp to the group’s advisor, Christalyn Grandison ’11, at $CGRAND723. 

The anniversary and the work being put in to honor it “signifies perseverance,” according to Grandison. 

“Cleopatra’s Sisters was created as Cleopatra’s Daughters in 1992 to fill a void in campus life that left some students, specifically women of color, without a sense of belonging — a safe space,” Grandison said, indicating the establishment of support, the uplifting of one another, service, women’s causes, and public good as key tenets of the group’s philosophy. 

In the future, Cleopatra’s Sisters will continue their philanthropy well beyond donations to the detention center.

According to Grandison, they hope to garner increased support from members, alumni, and the community alike; work to preserve their support systems; and build on established partnerships with local organizations such as Minary’s Dream Alliance, Inc., the James Taylor Justice Coalition, and Sumner Hall. 

Minary’s Dream Alliance, a nonprofit organization near Chestertown, is devoted to transforming “the lives of youth, families, and communities through education, resource development and community engagement.” The alliance will host Cleopatra’s Sisters’ reunion brunch, which will come after a talk from founder Zylia Knowlin ’95 at the Rose O’Neill Literary House on Friday, April 15. 

To stay updated on the approaching anniversary celebration and other endeavors of the sisterhood, Cleopatra’s Sisters can be followed on Instagram at @cleopatra_sisters_wac.

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