Books, tea, great conversation and a support group. A Tulsa, Oklahoma book club is taking reading to a whole new high.
Sisters Sippin Tea, or SST for short, is made up of African American women from all walks of life. There are wives, mothers, business owners, ministers, authors, chefs, planners, educators and more. They have amalgamated their experience and strengths into one vision. A commitment “to providing an opportunity for African American women from all walks of life to come together for a common and primary goal… reading and promoting literacy through our community service outreach programs”
The women of SST began meeting casually with only their love of books in common. This soon turned into a vision and personal mission for each woman. The Tulsa group has thirteen women from age thirty and up.
These literary ladies meet for a few hours each month to talk about books relevant to African American women. The books either feature African American women or are written by African American women… or both. Each month the website highlights three – eight new African American related releases. There is also a planned reading schedule laid out a few months ahead. It doesn’t stop there.
The SST are taking a common reading group to the next level by bestowing their good fortune, knowledge and strength on to their surrounding community with their personal commitment to being “better citizens”. This is done through random acts of kindness, literacy promotion, mentoring, counseling, and outreach programs. The Sisters also sponsor a yearly scholarship where potential African American high school students (or recent graduates) in the Tulsa Metropolitan area can submit a theme based 1000 word essay for judging. The chosen recipient must also demonstrate and interest in literacy and their community as well as have their academic acuity fall within a required range. Each scholarship guarantees a minimum of $500 to be used toward their college education. As someone who’s been advantaged from a similar kind of award I can attest to how important these kinds of scholarships are.
The original group or chapter is in Tulsa but there are twenty-seven chapters spread all over the US: California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. There is even one in Egypt. Exact locations and contact information can be found on the site.
This piece was originally published on 6/20/2007 at Literary Fiction, BellaOnline.