Sister Soldiers
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‘Sister soldiers’

Shirley Harris, left, and Myraline Morris Whitaker fix up care packages to send to female African American soldiers in Iraq. Their Sisterfriends book club “adopted” the soldiers after Morris Whitaker got wind of the issues they face. “We want to give them nourishment for the soul, as well as for their hair,” said Morris Whitaker. (Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times)
Dawn Sutherland’s living room is scattered with items to send the soldiers, including hair care products, magazines and manicure sets. Morris Whitaker, center, scans the floor for more items to box up. (Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times)
Edwina Dowell, a Sisterfriends member, writes a letter to a soldier. Each soldier receives a hand-writtten letter along with a care package. (Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times)
A request by Sgt. 1st Class Tamara Williams, shown at Camp Victory in Baghdad, on the military support website was especially poignant to Morris Whitaker. She promptly sent Williams many of the items she had requested. “I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to connect with some beautiful women who encourage without even trying,” wrote Williams in a recent e-mail to the book club. (Ann Simmons / Los Angeles Times)
Some of the soldiers who have benefited from Sisterfriends are shown at Camp Stryker in Baghdad. From top left, clockwise: Sgt. Quiannette Crowder, a supply sergeant from Palmdale; Spec. Shani Lee, a supply clerk from Queens, N.Y.; Staff Sgt. Kathaleen Wright, a fuel transporter from Augusta, Ga.; and Sgt. 1st Class Kerensa Hardy, a public affairs officer from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Ann Simmons / Los Angeles Times)