Rosalyn McIntosh and Nyasha Adams Rivera (100493)

Rosalyn McIntosh and Nyasha Adams Rivera are the mother and daughter co-founders of Sisters Building Sisters in Brooklyn, N.Y. Sisters Building Sisters is a nonprofit organization focused on uplifting, encouraging and motivating women.

McIntosh is the youngest of seven children who were significantly affected by domestic violence. She grew up hearing, “What happens in this house, stays in this house.” She now understands the desperate need for women in domestic violence situations to speak and be helped through their problems.

Recently, in a workshop that they held in East New York, Brooklyn, a young Pakistani woman with four young daughters touched their hearts in a major way. She shared her own story of domestic violence and how her husband rejected her because she had not produced a son. She showed them her scars and expressed how the seminar has helped her.

“Domestic violence, or any violence for that matter, has no creed. It has nothing to do with creed, color, age or anything,” McIntosh said, reflecting on the painful memory.

McIntosh’s daughter, Rivera, is fortunate enough not to have to deal with domestic violence first hand. She does see the effect it has on her mother and other family members. After completing her master’s degree, she made it her duty to work hard at helping her mother empower other woman.

While describing working with her daughter, McIntosh said, “I’m at a place now, that if I had to go to Africa or anywhere on a business trip, Sisters Building Sisters would be ok. It would be like Rosalyn is still there. It is not because she is my daughter—because there are so many people who have children, and their children are not into what they are doing. I couldn’t ask for a better partner”

Sisters Building Sisters isn’t just about domestic violence. They work to help woman and girls of all ages to become better people. They sponsor marches, conduct workshops and even visit schools to help young girls understand their greatness. Recently, while visiting P.S. 174, they conducted an exercise in which the young girls had to look into a mirror and name their positive attributes. The students went from being apprehensive to being eagerly engrossed.

Rivera said, “We set out to empower women, and in that we empower ourselves.”

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