Strengthen Our Sisters
Simply put, Sandra Ramos knows how to get things done. Sandra, who founded North America’s first shelter for battered women in the seventies, is brilliant at pinpointing a crisis—and then moving heaven and earth to make things right. For almost forty years, Sandra, a passionate advocate for women, has done whatever it takes—organizing marches, staging sit-ins and defying court orders—to protect women and children from abuse.
Her community-based nonprofit organization, Strengthen Our Sisters, is a high-quality 177-bed shelter program with seven shelters, a computer school where women can upgrade their skills, two thrift stores, a daycare center and a car-donation program. Strengthen Our Sisters’ mission is to break the cycle of domestic violence, poverty and abuse by restoring balance and harmony through individual empowerment.
Although she says she feels optimistic, Sandra’s work sadly never seems done. With one woman physically assaulted in her home every fifteen seconds in the United States and nearly six million women battered in a single year, Strengthen Our Sisters has its work cut out for it. Yet thousands of women have found, and continue to find, not only a sanctuary of safety, but also a place to rebuild self-esteem.
At the core of Strengthen Our Sisters’ frenetic energy is Sandra. At sixty-seven years young, Sandra continues to go to work most days, and runs a weekly battered-women’s support group. Abiding by her philosophy, "Dare to struggle, dare to win," Sandra is a source of inspiration to multitudes. However, it is the battered, molested and abused women in the process of finding the help they need to live full and fearless lives who inspire Sandra. As she contends, when women blossom and grow they’re saying, "I am not afraid anymore. I can survive. I can stand up. I deserve more."
Sandra has no immediate plans to slow down as there is still so much work to do.