MSU criminal justice senior Aaniya Carroll, alongside human biology junior Imaniyah Howard-Drain have formed a new student organization called “Ladies of Elevation.”
The group aims to “create a safe space for marginalized women through sisterhood and leadership development.”
“It's a support system; It's a safety net,” Carroll said. “That's the main thing that we're trying to provide, just giving people somewhere to feel secure. You can have a voice because for so long, African Americans and other minorities have had their voice silenced, so we are completely encouraging everybody to have a voice within this organization and be able to work within the community and do something impactful.”
Carroll and Howard-Drain serve as the organization’s president and vice president respectively. Carroll was inspired while working as a Juvenile Detention Specialist where she saw a need to help girls in the Lansing community while speaking at local high schools. From there, the two worked to bring the group to MSU as a registered student organization and even create a meaningful name.
“Our organization is geared to people who identify as women so we wanted to construct a name that displays we are improving,” Carroll said. “You're a lady, maybe you're not a woman yet, but you're a lady. I'm a lady. We're elevating and we're elevating as a whole, so that's pretty much where the name came from, just constant leadership development not as a girl but as a lady.”
The organization is open to all women at MSU and focuses on three key components: creating friendships, career building and networking, and community service.
Through general member meetings, Carroll hopes members can create long lasting friendships while also advancing their career goals and serving the community. The meetings will serve as a way for members to talk and connect with each other and professionals in the fields they are pursuing.
For example, Carrol is on a pre-law track, so she said she wants to have a lawyer come in and speak with her and other members interested in the field. Professional speakers will be tailored towards member interests as well as exposing them to other careers to expand their horizons.
On top of career building, the group will also focus on giving back to the community by going to local schools to act as mentors and having discussions with students on what they need to hear. In the past, Carroll says discussions with students have consisted of setting boundaries, the importance of finishing high school, abuse awareness, and whatever else is going on in a student’s life that they need to talk about and might not be able to at home.
“We're here to support and comfort and provide that conversation that maybe everybody's parents are not open to having,” Carroll said.
For students interested in joining, the organization is currently in the process of finalizing the e-board positions and recruiting general members for the upcoming school year. To keep up with the latest news and to stay up to date with events, follow Ladies of Elevation on Instagram at @msuloe.
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