Ditra Edwards

Ditra Edwards’s mother always told her: “Come back home and do the work that you do here.” Edwards, a Providence native and nonprofit careerist, has strengthened communities of color for decades. When her mom was diagnosed with dementia, Edwards left D.C. and returned to Rhode Island to help care for her. Now, she is fulfilling her mother’s wish. In April, Edwards was awarded a $300,000 Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship from the Rhode Island Foundation to launch Sista Fire RI, a network for young women of color that cultivates a discourse about issues affecting their communities. Over the summer, Edwards and her team interviewed dozens of young women about their civic priorities. Several themes emerged: affordable housing, employment, childcare, health care. “These young women have such fire about what they want to do but had no way to organize,” Edwards says. “I saw their leadership right in front of me. I just want to be able to invest in and support that — not just what I’m doing; what we’re able to do together.”

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