Lawrence native Rochelle Logan said she was surprised that not much had changed for minority residents in the nine years during the 1970s when she was away from the city.
Lawrence physically had changed there were new buildings and roads but culturally, it was like time had stood still, said Logan, who moved to Oakland, Calif., in 1970.
When she returned to Lawrence in 1979, Logan said she was surprised to see that there still were few minority-owned businesses. She said there was no sense of "prospering" among minority residents.
For many years after she returned, Logan said she pretty much kept to herself. She didn't feel she was part of any network.
But things are turning around for Logan and other black women in Lawrence. Logan said that a group recently formed, Integral Sisters in Society, is helping to uplift local black women.
NAMED FOR the Egyptian goddess of fertility, ISIS formed earlier this year from concerns raised at meetings of the Community Life Coalition, a branch of the Lawrence Alliance. Stephanie Coleman-Marks, a coalition member and an organizer of ISIS, said many black women, such as Logan, felt they did not fit into existing groups.
"I was tired of keeping in my own world," Logan said, explaining why she joined ISIS.
She said members of ISIS not only talk about problems local black women encounter, such as discrimination, but are working toward finding solutions.
Coleman-Marks said about 50 people have expressed an interest in the group, which meets the third Tuesday of every month.
ALTHOUGH the group does not discriminate women of other races and men can belong Coleman-Marks stressed that people who are interested in the group must accept the group's agenda, which is to improve the lives of local black women. Coleman-Marks said the group would not stray from that purpose and would not be dominated by the interests of members who are not black women.
Eventually, the group hopes to become incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. Plans members of ISIS have discussed include sponsoring workshops, community events, minority programs and networking with other groups in the community.
One event already off the ground is being billed as ISIS' "First Annual Easter Extravangza." Free and open to the public, the event is a spinoff of past Easter egg hunts organized by local resident Charles Tolbert.
THE EASTER egg hunt, featuring prizes and refreshments, is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. April 19 at Clinton Park at Fifth and Illinois streets.
More information about the Easter egg hunt and about ISIS meetings is available by calling Coleman-Marks at Women's Transitional Care Services at 841-6887.