Black Queens Support Group is a space to talk, relate, relax

The+Center+for+Diversity+and+Inclusion+offers+initiatives+known+as+community+circles%2C+including+Black+Queens+Support+Group.

Photo by Sarah Kuhns

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion offers initiatives known as community circles, including Black Queens Support Group.

There is a new leader at Marquette University: Her name is Shakari Lewis. Lewis, the only Black female mental health counselor at Marquette, is taking over the Black Queens Support Group.

Although any student can see Lewis, she likes to work closely with Black Marquette students. “My coordination area is with Black and African American students, and so it doesn’t necessarily mean not only see Black and African American students, but I like to do a lot of programming and outreaching around that particular population,” Lewis said.

Lewis was approached by Tiffany Fulford, the coordinator of cultural engagement programs and services, to take over the Black Queens Support Group. Lewis thought it would be a perfect opportunity to further reach Black students.

The Black Queens Support Group has a loose atmosphere. A highlight of the group is Black women who work at Marquette are invited, so group members can connect with women who work on campus and can relate to their experiences. Best of all, there will be food. Daddy’s Soul Food and Grille, a Black-owned business, was ordered for the first meeting. Lewis hopes to make the group stronger than ever.

Chigozie Okuagu, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, is one of the participants of the Black Queens Support Group. She said it felt very powerful for a Black woman to create a space for Black women.

“All of our experiences are different, so giving us a space to decompress and just talk about things that we might go through as Black women is really nice,” Okuagu  said.

Okuagu said she enjoyed playing games and getting to know everyone who attended.

“If you don’t feel like you have anyone to talk [to], there are people that you know [that] will support you and help you grow,” Okuagu said.

Tiffany Fulford was not available for comment, but Demetria Anderson spoke on her behalf. Anderson is Tiffany’s supervisor and the director of the Office of Engagement and Inclusion.

“Black Queens is one of our campus Community Circles coordinated by the Center for Engagement and Inclusion. Black Queens continues the tradition of Malkia Circle, the original name of the group, and is a celebration of Black women and provides a safe space for Black female-identified students to dwell and grow amongst other Black [women] on Marquette’s Campus,” Anderson said.

Anderson believes the Black Queens Support Group provides a necessary space for Black girls to connect. She hopes Black girls will have self-awareness, empowerment and sisterhood among each other.

“Our community circles are important because they demonstrate the importance of communal space for students,” Anderson said. Community circles are a way to support marginalized communities. Anderson said Marquette should continue to promote groups like this and participation. She hopes students will continue to come to the space.

The date for the next meeting is tentative. The meetings take place once a month on a Thursday between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. in Center for Engagement and Inclusion, located in the Alumni Memorial.

Email Lewis or the Center for Engagement and Inclusion at [email protected] for more information, or you can stop by the Center for Engagement and Inclusion room.

This story was written by Jonillia Davis. She can be reached at [email protected]