She’s Pretty and Black Owned: Meet Cyrena Martin

Cyrena Martin is the proud mother of two beautiful daughters who ROCK!!! Both of her girls were born and raised in the city of Milwaukee. Cyrena believes in nurturing a strong relationship with both of her daughters and encouraging them to embrace their beautiful unique gifts and talents. No matter what she’s been through in life, the Love and Adoration from her daughters, has been the best compliment to her life.  

 Cyrena is committed to bringing forth awareness to Women’s wellness Mind, Body, Spirit & Family) and Community concerns. She’s a Survivor and certified advocate for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault. She has dedicated her life as an advocate against Domestic Violence; Vowing to fight for the remaining victims, honoring her fellow Survivors, and Never forgetting the loved ones we have lost. Her mission is to end generational cycles of domestic violence and abuse in the community by supporting Survivors and their families. Cyrena is willing to speak, motivate, inspire, and advocate for domestic violence matters.  

Ms. Martin has a strong passion for breast cancer awareness. Annually hosts an Honoring Survivors Breast Cancer Awareness event to educate and build strength among women in the community. This event is a time for fellow Survivors to be honored, fellowship together, and share testimonies with others. We have the resources available for mammograms, self-exams, and post-diagnosis support. 

Cyrena is the Founder & CEO of Mahogany C.A.R.E.S (Community ~Awareness~ Resources~ Education~ Support a 501c3 organization with a mission to advocate, educate, empower and bring forth awareness to the many problems that plague women, children, and families in our community. As Mahogany CARES’s Executive Director she can focus on advocating and empowering women who are healing from traumatic experiences.  

 She has a bachelor’s degree in Human Services and is now a current GradUATE student at Mount Mary University to obtain my master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling with a focus in Trauma. Currently employed at Aurora -Sinai as a Healing Advocate for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault patients. Cyrena is a God-loving woman who has been truly blessed with many woman mentors; friends and family members who have offered their advice, experience, and encouragement which have basically kept me from a lot of unnecessary heartaches and pain. They have uplifted me and inspired me to keep going when I felt like giving up…

 “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Dr. Maya Angelou

What inspired the start of “Mahogany C.A.R.E.S”?
My journey of domestic violence and how much I felt alone, confused, embarrassed, and unsupported. I really didn’t know what domestic violence was just knew I wanted to be loved. I didn’t grow up around domestic violence and found I didn’t like it, knew it was wrong, and had to figure out something quick. Now I chose to advocate, be the voice for others when they cannot. When Survivors are feeling confused, scared, in love, and tired with no more options, we will be there to uplift, encourage and empower them through it. Together we can figure out a plan that is safe and find out what each individual desires for their future. My motto is to advocate for those still in danger, love & honor fellow survivors, and never forget those we have lost.

What has been the biggest challenge of running a brand like “Mahogany C.A.R.E.S”?
Everything we do is confidential, and we would never break that confidentiality. Often people wonder what we do and do not understand the importance of not disclosing anything about our clients. Their lives are at risk. We must be careful when supporting clients who have not yet decided whether they are ready to leave their current situation or want to leave but are being isolated or held hostage. Our own safety can get compromised and we must think and move quickly. We do not have regular office business hours, most of our work is nights, weekends, and often holidays are when things tend to escalate. Being a self-funded grassroots organization is challenging because we want to do more, we want to provide resources and opportunities to our clients which they deserve and need to start a new life violence-free.

How does “Mahogany C.A.R.E.S” impact the community?
CARES ( Community~ Awareness~ Resources~ Education~ Support)- we take on a responsibility in getting the community involved through education. Our awareness events are interactive, and we welcome collaboration to reach as many members of the community as we can. We provide resources to families in need. Our focus is Women’s wellness- mind, body, spirit, and Family m(which includes everyone. Our Survivor like Me campaign is how we show others that they are not alone, and many survivors are now successful and living amazing lives free from violence and abuse.

You joined the nonprofit world when you created “Mahogany C.A.R.E.S”, can you tell us about the work you are doing?
I am currently a graduate student pursuing my Clinical & Rehabilitation Mental Health Counseling master’s degree. I’ve found a need for healing and counseling for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. I work part-time as a Sexual Assault Advocate and Coordinator at a local hospital. I accompany Survivors during their medical exams when they report to the emergency room for care. I don’t see enough black nurses and even fewer Black doctors caring for Survivors of Color. I want to be a person who they can see after a crisis and decide to begin their healing process. My graduation date is December 2022. I will then become a Licensed Professional Counselor with a trauma specialization working with clients who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault.

Where do you hope to see your brand in the next 3-5 years?
I hope to see Mahogany CARES as a national brand for Survivors who are on their healing journey and need to connect with others who have also survived abuse or violence and now working on starting a healthy relationship starting with themselves. Relationships are so often mimicked and if you have never seen a healthy relationship how you would know what it feels like to be in one. Our mission is to end the generational cycles of domestic violence and abuse. We are committed to working with youth to assist them with building healthy relationships in all their connections. mother/daughter, sibling, friendships, and their relationship in their community- give back, show up and Be Kind!!!

What advice do you have for the next generation of entrepreneurs?
Pray! Ask for clarity and claim success. Self-Love – be your best cheerleader, give yourself the same grace you would give your BFF or significant other. Remember we are all here for a purpose, take your time and find your passion. Always Believe in Yourself!

What does being “Pretty and Black Owned” mean to you?
It means the world to me, growing up I did not see many women who looked like me excelling in business, entertainment, and running their own businesses. I did not see women like me going to Graduate school obtaining Ph.D.’s or becoming CEOs, I love being a role model to my daughters, nieces and now I have a grandson. Our ancestors paved the way and I will honor them by being the BEST version of me!

Jakia Cheatham - Myles

CEO/Founder of Pretty Women Hustle Magazine

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