NEW ORLEANS— The nonprofit Sister Hearts performs an important service in our city.
Funder Maryam Henderson Uloho says, “When people come home from prison, we suffer from a trauma that society doesn’t talk about. An there’s absolutely no place that we’ve been able to find that helps us to reverse the trauma that we incur from being in prison.”
The reversal of this post prison trauma is at the heart of Sister Hearts.
Uloho’s work includes interacting with people while they’re still incarcerated, in advance of the difficulties housing, employment and other obstacles once they’re released.
It’s a process Uloho calls decarceration, “The collateral consequences of incarceration is that even after we’ve come home from prison, we are still penalized for having been there.”
Uloho should know. She’s an ex offender and decided she wanted to train other to function in society once they get out.
Sister Heart operates a thrift story in Arabi and it’s there that valuable experience and work is given to the formerly incarcerated.
Anthony Carl Taylor Sr., a Sister Hearts worker says, “I’ve gained stability, I’ve gained confidence is the biggest thing that I have right now.”
Until last Tuesday, Sister Hearts also operated a higher end boutique on Claiborne Ave. in Treme, but a truck rammed into the store. The building was heavily damaged and much of their inventory was destroyed, along with that leg of the nonprofit.
According to Uloho “(The boutique) is part of the training in the decarceration program as it relates to helping us to elevate our self-esteem and our confidence. We’re going up higher and higher.”
The building repairs will take some time, but Uloho suggests that the best way to support Sister Hearts is by patronizing their thrift store on W. Judge Perez Dr. in Arabi.