Our Constituency and Leadership
Jahajee Sisters’ constituency is comprised of a diverse group of inter-generational Indo-Caribbean women, ages 15-60, with ancestral roots in South Asia and born in the Caribbean and South American countries: Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname and Jamaica. Our constituency is also comprised of a younger generation of women, ages 15-35 born and raised in New York City, who identify as Indo-Caribbean. An Advisory committee that practices a consensus driven, collective decision-making process currently leads Jahajee Sisters. We embrace reflective practices, team-building and dialogue to establish a strong core group or organizers and leaders who recognize and identify with the challenges women in our community face and share a common vision for change.
Our Steering Committee
Nadia Bourne is an Indo-Guyanese artist and educator who graduated from the first Jahajee Sisters Young Women’s Leadership Institute. She was a youth leader and blogger at SPARK Movement, a girl-fueled, intergenerational activist organization working online to ignite an anti-racist gender justice movement. Nadia often collaborates with other Indo-Caribbean community-based organizations by performing poetry and music. She is an Apprentice Engineer at the Rajkumari Cultural Center where she coordinates the audio and video needs of performers and producers, and develops content and strategies for recording. Nadia received her B.A. in English from St. John’s University.
Simone Devi Jhingoor is an Indo-Caribbean writer, activist and educator. She entered the world of social justice at the age of 16 as the youngest member of Blackout Arts Collective, a national network of artists, educators and activists. It was through her youth development work with Blackout that she became grounded in an approach that utilizes the arts as an instrumental tool to catalyze social change in disenfranchised and marginalized communities. Adopting this method in all aspects of her work for the past decade, Simone believes in the integral connection of the arts to activism, and also to a transformative process that enables healing from personal trauma. She has led arts-based activism, political education and leadership development programs with youth of color and an inter-generational group of South Asian women city-wide through various community based organizations, including South Asian Youth Action, SAKHI for South Asian Women and Harlem Children's Zone, to name a few. As a spoken word artist, she has performed her poetry extensively in New York and in the Caribbean. In 2007, Simone had a strong desire to bring her arts and activism work back to her Indo-Caribbean community full scale and is proud to be a founding member of Jahajee Sisters.
Shivana Jorawar is a queer second-generation Guyanese American and professional policy advocate who believes in intersectional feminism and unapologetically speaking truth to power. She currently serves as State Legislative Counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, and previously served as Federal Policy Director for the National Abortion Federation. For four years, she directed reproductive justice priorities for the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF). Her additional experience includes working with the anti-domestic violence organization Sakhi for South Asian Women, where she led outreach in the Indo-Caribbean neighborhood of Richmond Hill, Queens. She currently sits on the board of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, and her writing and commentary have been featured in The Hill, The American Prospect, Colorlines, the Nation, the Associated Press and the Harvard Asian American Law Journal. Originally from the Bronx, Shivana holds a BA in Political Science from Fordham University and a JD from Emory University School of Law. She is licensed to practice law in New York state. Follow Shivana on Twitter @shivspeaks.
Taij Kumarie Moteelall has blazed successful paths in the arts, activism and philanthropy, consistently increasing opportunity and access for society’s most marginalized. As a co-founder of Blackout Arts Collective, she grew a local NY-based group into a national network, and was recognized with a Union Square Award. As the former Executive Director of Resource Generation, she helped to move millions of dollars to social justice causes. Taij’s work within her Indo-Caribbean community has lead to several awards, including a Proclamation from the City of New York. Much of her scholarly and artistic work reflects both her academic research and field study conducted in India and throughout the Caribbean, especially in Guyana and Trinidad. Taij has completed an extensive body of poetry, a full-length stage play, and a thesis on the history of Indo-Caribbean Women. She was recognized in the Guyana Chronicle as an artist that is "boldly carrying the torch of creative endeavor." She is currently the Director of Strategic Consulting at Media Sutra. Taij received her BA from Hampshire College in History and Cultural Studies, and completed her MA at New York University in Media and Communications.
Vianne Singh is a current student at the University at Albany-SUNY pursuing a degree in Political Science. She is a social-justice activist and an advocate for not just the rights of Indo-Caribbean women, but the rights of women and LGBTQ persons across all platforms. She comes from a loving, vibrant, supportive Indo-Trinidadian home and utilizes this environment to pursue her passions outside of academics. Vianne is a dancer, poet/writer at Brown Girl Magazine, president of the South Asian student organization at UAlbany. When she is not finding ways to be involved in the communities she identifies with, she is found obsessing over her dog, updating social media, or spending time with the people she loves. Vianne believes in creating spaces where our culture is not only healthily discussed, but appreciated, explored and connected to the lives of Indo-Caribbean people from all walks of life and experiences.