This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
7 Jan, 2016

When Women & Girls of Color Share Our IUD Stories

By | 2016-10-25T01:47:59+00:00 January 7th, 2016|Categories: Reproductive Justice|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments



So, I got an intrauterine device, or IUD, and I had it inserted at Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC).

Given everything that happened in 2015 regarding the continuous attacks on women’s reproductive health and rights, (also also being a member of PPNYC’s Activist Council), it meant a lot to me to have my IUD inserted at Planned Parenthood. Several hours after I left the health center, I briefly announced it on Twitter, Instagram, and my personal Facebook profile what I had done.

What happened next included reading and interacting with friends and family members on their own experience with getting the IUD, some common myths and misconceptions (that even I held for a long time) about the device, ways to deal with the anxiety and the cramps (the heating pad is your new best friend), and resource sharing.

Contrary to popular belief, many women and girls don’t often make reproductive healthcare decision in a vacuum. We consider our options and how they can potentially fit into our lives. We consult with our friends, families, classmates, colleagues, doctors, and even our spouses and partners. In the end, we try to equip ourselves with the knowledge and resources necessary to make an informed decision.

Sharing your story is powerful, and nothing’s more powerful than sharing a personal story about birth control. Here is what led me to choose the IUD.

(…and if you’re into long stories, you’re in for a treat!)


10 Apr, 2014

Ask Nicole: “Why Do You Only Care About Women and Girls of Color?”

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:03+00:00 April 10th, 2014|Categories: Ask Nicole|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments


Do you have a question that other Raise Your Voice community members can benefit from? Contact me and I’ll answer it!

I recently received the following question from a woman who is interested in starting her own nonprofit:

Hello, Nicole.  I am very impressed with your blog and I enjoy reading it for more ways to get inspiration.

I’m interested in creating a nonprofit organization for teen girls, focusing on empowerment, education, and sports. I am Latina, and while I enjoy working with young Latinas, I’m wondering if I should focus my business around working with all teen girls, regardless of race or ethnicity. I see that your business focuses exclusively on women and young women of color. Do you ever get asked, “Why do you only care about women and girls of color?” Do you ever feel that you may be limiting yourself? I feel that if I create a business that focuses on all teen girls I will look more attractive to potential clients and will be able to grow my business more quickly, but if I focus on Latina teens, I would feel that I have more of an investment beyond getting paid for my services. I believe deep down that I know what I should do, but I don’t want to limit myself. And I’m afraid of overextending myself.

Thank you again for your inspiration! I look forward to your reply.

This is a really great question, and I’m happy to answer it!

I’ve been asked “Why do you only care about women and girls of color?” in a variety of ways for a long time. I think the first time I was asked was years ago, long before I could even envision what my business would look like today. But instead of being asked by a woman, I was being asked by men, who wanted to know what makes women and girls of color more important than working with entire communities of color. I was given advice on how I can include more men and young boys of color into what I wanted to do, how young men and boys of color “have it worse” compared to young women and girls of color, and how communities of color needed someone like me to provide inspiration to all young people, not just young girls of color. I’ve also be questioned on why I, as a Black woman, focus on all women and girls of color and not just Black women and girls.

(It’s always interesting how people who have the most ideas on what you need to do, never seem to have the time or interest in making these improvements themselves. But that’s another matter!)

I’ll answer this question in three parts: 1) Why I’m invested in all women and girls of color, 2) the benefits of creating a niche and 3) the fear of limiting yourself:

Like our reader, I’m invested in women and girls of color because I am one. While I don’t doubt that men and boys of color need services that cater to their needs, and while I believe that want I do as a program evaluator and speaker can lent themselves into working with men and boys of color, I tend to point interested people to organizations and people I know who are doing the work of providing services for men and boys of color (and to the organizations that serve them). I don’t believe that women and girls are superior than men and boys. My life experience as a girl of color and now as a woman of color just lends itself more to wanting to devote my time to improving the quality of life for women and girls of color in any way I can. Also, I feel that what I do with program evaluation and speaking works great for all organizations that provide services for women and girls of color. It helps me to be more culturally competent and helps me to recognize the strengths of all women and girls of color, not just Black women and girls. Communities of color are resourceful and there are many people (regardless of gender) who are on the ground offering their perspectives, talents, and insights that we are the better for.  (more…)

16 Jan, 2013

How Has Mentoring Transformed Your Life?

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:06+00:00 January 16th, 2013|Categories: Miscellaneous|Tags: , , , |0 Comments


January is National Mentoring Month, a month dedicated to encouraging more adults to become mentors to young people. While I have been fortunate enough to have been mentored by some wonderful women throughout my life, I’ve noticed that many young women of color cannot say the same.

For lower-income communities and communities of color, it’s especially important that younger people are able to have tangible proof that what they want to be in life is actually possible.

And mentoring isn’t just for younger people. Women and young women of color are often entering new territory in which we’ve been told that we don’t have the knowledge and tools to succeed. We look around and notice that there aren’t many of us around, and we’re bombarded daily with stereotypical images that don’t show us in a positive light.

Why is mentoring important?

According to the Young Women of Color Advocates and Leadership, a tool developed by the Women of Color Network, mentoring is a relationship of mutual understanding and trust between someone with more experience (the mentor) and someone with less experience (the mentee). Mentoring relationships allows for the building of new relationships and also an exchange of ideas and advice. Mentoring, when done right, allows for the mentee and the mentor to have a constant exchange of various perspectives and knowledge building that are beneficial to both.

With mentors serving in a variety of roles, such coach, teacher, and advisor, mentees benefit from mentoring relationships because they increase their knowledge of a particular subject (a career field, sport, or passion), they build their skills and self awareness, and are introduced to new ways of thinking about themselves and about life. Being mentored by someone who has “been there and done that”, allows for mentees to avoid many pitfalls on their way to becoming who they envision themselves to be. (more…)

29 Aug, 2012

Ask Nicole: How Can We Create More Affirming Spaces for Women & Girls of Color?

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:11+00:00 August 29th, 2012|Categories: Ask Nicole|Tags: , |0 Comments


Do you have a question that other Raise Your Voice community members can benefit from? Contact me and I’ll answer it!

I recently received an email from a young woman of color and a recent college graduate. She contacted me to ask if I could point her in the direction of women of color organizations in her area that are open to having volunteers, as the organizations she’s already contacted currently do not have any volunteer opportunities. She shared with me that, being a recent college graduate, Latina, and the first of her family to attend college, she has a passion to give back to her community and to empower others.

What heightened my interest in her email was that she mentioned that she was an active member of a women of color group on her college campus. She described the campus group as a multi-generational safe space for women of color on campus, which meets monthly. The monthly gathering, complete with food and fellowship, invites current students and staff to share experiences and advice over a chosen topic of the month (spiritual wellness, intellectual wellness, environmental wellness, among others.) Her group has also hosted a woman of color retreat on campus as well as a gala to recognize the many contributions of the women of color on campus.

I responded back to her, letting her know that I will look into women of color organizations in her area, but I also gave her the suggestion of creating a similar supportive group based on her campus group. Here in New York City, I am part of the New York City Reproductive Justice Coalition. We meet once a month to discuss what’s happening locally and nationally around reproductive justice and women and girls of color. What we’re currently doing every month sounds very similar to what her campus does: We connect, inform, enlighten, strategize, and fellowship.

The need for more spaces for women and girls of color to grow, connect, and be affirmed in a world that tells us that we’re in the minority is crucial. Instead of it being a matter of chance, women and girls of color spaces need to be a given, a space where women and girls of color are mentored and supported by peers who have their best interest in mind. In a perfect world, there would be no need for spaces like these. Until then, the more spaces we have that tell women and girls like us that we matter, the more likely we will be able to step up and pay it forward.

Are you interested in starting a space for women and girls of color in your community or on campus? Here are a few ideas to get you started: (more…)

16 Aug, 2012

Stepping Up: 10 Young Women of Color Making a Difference

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:11+00:00 August 16th, 2012|Categories: Activism|Tags: , , |0 Comments

(Pictured left to right): Shalee Forney, Angy Rivera, Andy Marra, and Jerin Arifa

Last week, I shared my list of 10 women of color who are game changers in helping to make the world a better place for girls. This week, I’m highlighting 10 young women of color who are paving the way for the next generation of youth of color activists.

They say that young people are complacent. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Young people today (known as millennials) are influencing many social issues today: from same-sex marriage to gender rights to even technology and how we connect with each other. More importantly, young people have proven time and time again that when they stand up for what they believe in, they can bring about enormous change. As with last week’s post, connect with these young women, share ways that you can work together, and become inspired. And don’t forget to share what you’ve learned in this post with the women and girls of color in your lives.

Without further ado, here are 10 young women of color that are making a difference: (more…)