In honor of National Girlfriends Day – Celebrated on August 1 – as a day to show gratitude to your friends who are there no matter what. Your sisters that you did not know you needed and the ones giving you much-needed sometimes unsolicited advice or support. There when times are amazing or tough your girlfriends are there through thick or thin. Finding a sister circle that is unmatched and undeniable can elevate your life. Sharing the incredible story of The Calendar Girls that was created by the late Suzzanne Douglas.
Recently we lost Suzzanne Douglas – the Award-winning actress who starred as the matriarch Geraldine “Jerri” Peterson on The WB sitcom The Parent ‘Hood, and in movies such as Jason’s Lyric and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. She was also an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc as well as a lifelong member of the following: Girl Scouts of the USA, The National Council of Negro Women, Jack and Jill of America, and Sigma Alpha Lambda. She also gathered 6 women (including herself) together 12 years ago at the Tea house in Manhattan to create “The Calendar Girls” – a special circle of sisters that now share an incredible sisterly bond. The remaining members of the circle – Barbara Clarke-Ruiz, Janet Smith, Kimberly Givens, Carole, and Mosi Singleton – each share stories of the bond they had with Suzzanne and what made “The Calendar Girls” so special.
“My dear soror Suzzanne asked me what I wanted to do for my 50th birthday; I told her I wanted to have a tea party. I thought it would just be the two of us, which was just fine with me but that would never do for Suzzanne. In true Suzzanne form, she hosted a tea party in my honor. She wanted me to meet some dynamic women that “I know you will just love.” And she was absolutely right. Kim Givens, and my dear sorors Barbara Clarke-Ruiz and Mosi Singleton joined us at the fabulous Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon in New York City. Carole Hopson couldn’t join us that day, but she promised we’d meet in the near future. The birthday girl was decked out in her best hat, tea gloves, and little black dress, and my newest friends allowed me to experience tea time gloriously. We fell in love with each other that day and when I met Carole, the love was instant as well. Suzzanne promised me I would love them, and she was right. She connected people, spirit to spirit and heart to heart. Just one of her many purposes. Our connection was so powerful we each became each other’s person. We committed to monthly meet-ups just because and named ourselves “The Calendar Girls.”
That was many years ago and our love has only grown. Because of Suzzanne. She was a force of nature; her heart so full of love she needed others to help spread it. She never stopped encouraging black women to support each other, however, whenever and whyever. Service was her purpose, and it became our purpose. Through life and death and breakups and makeups, career highs and career lows, laughter and tears, we were there for each other, because Suzzanne connected us. God spoke through her, and she listened, and I’m so grateful she did. These women have changed my life. Suzzanne has changed my life. But that too, was who she was; a life changer. She lived life between the dashes with purpose, on purpose.
I’m grateful the Lord saw fit to bless me with my sister and soror Suzzanne Douglas. I will honor her life in service, with my Calendar Girl sisters, singing, smiling, and connecting beautiful sister friends, just like Suzzanne would want it. “
“I was invited to our illustrious sister circle by Suzanne without ever knowing any of the incredible women she gathered together.
Over the past 10 years, we have become soul sisters, a lifeline to one another, and our sister’s keeper. I also shared a deeper bond with her, Janet, and Mosi with our sorority Delta Sigma Theta.
Suzzanne was funny and loved to laugh. She possessed such a beautiful spirit and was a positive beam of light that radiated with love, kindness, and compassion. She could light up a room and stage with her presence. She was incredibly talented, passionate, and love to share wisdom through her teachings.
Her light, her laughter, and her warmth will be deeply missed.
Our Calendar Girl sisterly bond is unbreakable. I don’t know how to do life without them and for this, I am so grateful our lives touched paths if only for a moment.”
Barbara Clarke- Ruiz
“What led Suzzanne to create this beautiful sisterhood was the space to be herself wholeheartedly.
When she gathered us at Tea house in Manhattan she captured the exquisiteness of our being. She was truly a beautiful Diva. She was very protective and had an unwavering faith in God and all of the creations that were put in front of her. She loved praying and teaching. She was a scholar in her own right. I loved how she allowed herself to be vulnerable with me and knew she could trust me at that moment. She is my sister and I love her dearly. She supported both of my businesses and continued encouraging me to grow my second business with coaching. She was truly a gem.”
“My children loved Suzzanne, she shared a meal with anyone and everyone, she was a superb actor and an exquisite songstress and she was generous beyond measure. Suzzanne made friends and looped in people who could grow together. As a professor she taught, as a friend she loved, she ministered to all through the way she lived and loved. I am grateful that I had the one thing we can never buy more of with Suzzanne…time.
I am glad she made a circle of sisters who surround each other even now. I will miss her until we meet again. And I know when we all meet again, she will be there preparing a place, and she will be there ✨ singing.”
“There are so many special memories of my Sister and Sweet Soror Suzzanne that I hardly know where to begin. But, what I can say is this…
Boy, did we laugh and love and live!
What she did…Bringing us all together was a pure Suzzanne move, straight out of the Suzzanne handbook…She had a way of reading souls. At times, she could look at you and know what you needed before you even figured it out yourself.
Her energy was infectious and she was a walking testimony – Talk about the faith of a mustard seed! Suzzanne had enough faith to fill space and beyond. I like to believe that each one of us is a reflection of her…
A piece of her…
Kim with her compassion
Barbara with her thoughtfulness
Janet with her boundless love
And Carole with her Ride or Die-No Matter What The Circumstances-I Got You To The Wheels Fall Off mindset
Be it our talents, our thirst for knowledge, or adventurous spirits…We now house the best parts of our dear friend, who became our sister and grew to be our family.
I am forever grateful that God chose our paths to collide. Suzzanne expanded my mind and my world…And she forged a bond between all of us that is so strong, an axe couldn’t break it.
For the world mourns an amazing and talented actress, an educator, and an activist…But, to our ‘Calendar Girls’ crew – She will ALWAYS just be known as ‘Peaches.’”
In reading and seeing the connection each of these women had with Suzzanne and each other – I hope that it will inspire you to reflect on your relationships with your girlfriends and continue to foster a bond that is unbreakable and impactful.