|Posted by WOMA on March 27, 2012 at 6:30 PM||comments (0)|
My name is Jan Hice-Smith and this is my womanifesting story.
In 1999, I received the inspiration to pair my passion for photography with my love of playing with words and create a book. This wasn’t to be just any book, but a book that inspired by sharing insights. This was my dream and so, my ‘dream book’. And so with the birth of the dream, the journey began.
At the time, I was a sales executive traveling throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. I had realized my first dream of traveling to Rome, Italy and the thrill of that experience propelled me into the pursuit of my next big dream. I began using my flight time to work on my ‘dream book’.
As I developed my manuscript and began selecting photos for the book, I found myself getting back in touch with my photography. I always loved art and had never really appreciated my own. A very dear friend of mine to whom I give credit for being my ‘believing’ eyes saw my talent and challenged me to acknowledge my photography. Following this dream reconnected me to my inner artist. I reclaimed my passions for photography and writing.
Fast forward eights years…Soul Work: Excerpts From My Journey made its way into reality and onto the coffee table. I was ecstatic to see the finished product! My ‘dream book’ features personal reflections paired with photographs that I captured at unique locations around the world over many years of international business travel and exotic vacations.
Realizing that dream was a journey into my heart to reclaim those parts that I had not fully accepted. I consider it my most unforgettable trip yet. I rediscovered my creative Self and the things that make me come alive- my heart’s joy.
Since self-publishing Soul Work: Excerpts From My Journey, I started a new phase of my journey. I now support others in discovering what makes them come alive. Heart alignment and Self-love are the basis of my coaching philosophy. I draw upon the depth and breadth of my education, life experiences, and unique skill set to support my clients in living their heart’s joy. I also coach groups in workshops that I personally design, develop and deliver. I integrate my artwork into my coaching practice and my workshops. I continue to explore my creativity through my photography and writing and am actively chasing my next big dream.
I invite you to support me in the following ways:
2. Read my blog.
3. Attend a workshop.
5. Share my website - www.janhice.com - and my book, Soul Work: Excerpts From My Journey by Jan Hice.
|Posted by WOMA on March 5, 2012 at 6:30 PM||comments (0)|
My name is Alisha Sommer and this is my womanifesting story. Something inside of me changed with the birth of my daughter. I wanted her to grow up with a strong sense of self. I wanted her to be fearless - to be able to stand up for her beliefs and to not be afraid to express her opinions. I wanted her to know that she is divine - to know that her dreams are worthy of pursuit. However, I needed to believe all of these things for myself.
So I set out on a path of self-recovery. I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and began to write everyday. Through the process of journaling, I remembered all of these dreams that at one time filled my heart, but had been stuffed away, packed up in boxes, and shelved for some indeterminate time.
Every page opened a box, each one containing the same dream that seemed unfamiliar, and yet felt so comfortable, that it could no longer be ignored. I was supposed to be a writer.
Last fall I spent 4 weeks in New Orleans napping, eating cake, laughing with family and watching Alfred Hitchcock every night before bed. I really needed this visit. My body needed it. My mind needed it. My heart needed it.
One Wednesday, I visited the New Orleans Museum of Art. Though housed in a beautiful building, with a nice collection, I was disappointed that a city with such a large black population did not have a significant representation of black artists.
I left the museum frustrated that once again I could not find a reflection of myself. And these feelings of disappointment and confusion have plagued me for the past year. I was so tired of not finding more work by more women who looked like me. After having a conversation with a friend about the need to help women of color gain access and give them exposure, I decided that it was time to act.
Blackberry is born out of my passion to giving others a voice. It will give African-American women a new platform to share their art. Our voice is one that is often silenced. Ignored. Pushed aside. And I am tired of feeling invisible.
This new age of publishing is an opportunity to make our voices heard and it is an opportunity not to be squandered. Our experience is a varied one and by giving our art more exposure we will enrich the entire creative community.
Blackberry is not just the fulfillment of my own dream, but the breath of life into the dreams of other black women.
Submissions for Blackberry www.storiesofsommer.com/blackberry/are now open for the first issue which is set to debut no later than June 2012. My Kickstarter proposal was approved and I will be kicking off my campaign in February 2012. The goal is to raise enough money to fund print and digital editions of the magazine as well as a corresponding website. However, regardless of funding, I hope to see this vision through.
Alisha Sommer is a 20-something mother of three and a writer on a journey to examine the power of her words by sharing stories from the soul. She is a truth-sayer, a soul-whisperer, a seeker. She is a deep thinker, an illuminator and a dreamer. She is an encourager, an inspirer, a word-crafter. And she bares it all at www.AlishaSommer.com
|Posted by WOMA on December 11, 2011 at 9:45 AM||comments (0)|
I’m thinking of rooms,
A large resemblance of rooms,
All the hours spent in rooms.
Someone has been downstairs
In the kitchen soaking chicken flesh
And skin in a steamy bath,
Vegetable oil seeping into napkins
Thin squares, cubed, six of them
Make another room in which
A baby is sleeping, his skin is full
Of soft, repetitive leaks, licks,
The orange cat is cleaning its fur,
Violent, mechanical head throws
To catch all sides of its coat,
Raspy cartilage of its tongue,
Housed in the dark room of its mouth,
A box of moving images buzzes
So steadily it hums, in a room
With no occupants or time worth record.
I scrape the dead,
from his fatted forehead,
Roll the night’s story
from his eyes,
& set him on the closed toilet seat.
Under his soft weight,
air whistles from the sky
I reach over aged porcelain,
water the bristles
until dripping is rushed to ease
The widening of his binding
strands, raise the boar
above his head of still-closing plates,
Unravel brief fuzzy rivulets, again
& again, and when
all is smooth & shiny,
I part my son’s hair,
just above the left temple
like the older women tell me
It is right to do.
Elegies for New York Avenue poems by Melanie Henderson
ISBN:978-1-59948-330-6, 96 pages
Cover/List price: $14 (Only $12 if purchased from the MSR Online Bookstore)
Release date: November 27, 2011.
Melanie Henderson was born, raised and lives in Washington, DC. She is an alumnus of Howard ('04) and Trinity ('07) Universities. Prior to earning an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, she studied poetry at the Voices Summer Writing Workshops (VONA) in San Francisco, CA. Her paintings, photography and poems have appeared in Drumvoices Revue, Fingernails across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS from the Black Diaspora, jubilat, and Southern Women's Review among others. She was selected as a featured reader for the 2009 Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series and as a recipient of the Larry Neal Writers' Award (DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities). She is the Managing Editor of Tidal Basin Review and the mother of a charming little boy.
|Posted by WOMA on November 8, 2011 at 9:25 PM||comments (0)|
My name is Gina Santiago and this is my womanifesting story.
I'm so excited about sharing my journey on starting my business with the world. And if the world doesn't show up, at least I know my mother will read this. So here it goes…do most people say that? Ok, let’s try this…let’s start the journey….
Almost two years ago, I started cooking more in my kitchen instead of on my lovely grill. Now this wasn’t a bad thing for me but a little new so to speak. You see, I’m a grill master and I did most of my cooking on that grill. I would cook inside a few times and had a few “signature” dishes I would brag about but my heart was on that grill. But I decided to cook more meals inside. It started becoming more of a joy to cook on the stove and my meals were pretty darn good. Then I saw a documentary called Food Inc and it changed my eating life. I was taken aback by what I had just witnessed. It was amazing to find out what I was eating and what I was feeding my kids. So as a family, we made a conscious decision to make changes on what we were putting in our bodies. I then experienced the supermarket of all supermarkets…Trader Joe’s. I was in food heaven. It was great and so enlightening that I could buy food and it didn’t have 75 ingredients listed. I was never a label reader but after I watched that documentary, I started to briefly look at the amount of ingredients in my food. I didn’t know you needed a hundred things just to make cheese, apple juice or a green pepper…ok maybe not the green pepper. But have you seen the size of a green pepper? So organic and all natural food became my life. The flavor was amazing! I mean my taste buds were like what is this pleasure happening in my mouth right now?
Now two years later, I’m still cooking up a storm and loving it! I’ve cooked countless dishes that have a flavor just to die for. And of course I’ve made them both on the grill and on the stove. I decided to go back to school to become a Chef and now I’m starting my own business. I’ve finally found my passion and that is to cook. Not only cook but cook with fresh ingredients that just burst with flavor. Now I want to share what I’ve made for my family with the world. If the world decides not to hop on this food bandwagon, you know who will be my number one customer (mom). I’m ready to go all out and give this my all. I’m ready to fall and get back up if need be. I’m ready to succeed at this too. I’m also ready to share the entire experience with you. We will be excited together through this journey that is about to take off. Only joy and laughter will be allowed here because there is no crying in cooking. Well, there is when you dice those onions. But besides that this is going to be a positive adventure that I know you will enjoy. Thanks so much for taking this ride with me!
Until next time!
Enjoy your food with True Flavor
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same - Marianne Williamson
|Posted by WOMA on November 8, 2011 at 8:55 PM||comments (1)|
My name is Benita Robinson Osbey and this is my womanifesting story.
I am Kevin’s wife, Barbara’s daughter, Bennett and Barton’s sister, Willie Edward and Deborah’s niece, and Jeremy, Deven, Joel, Taylor, and Jordyn’s auntie. I am a cousin, Godmother, friend, classmate, UCLA graduate, ardent Obama supporter, diehard Lakers fan, dynamic Soror of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, and Christian woman of strong faith. I hope this is how people see me, and not as Benita with cancer. Cancer does not define me, it is something I live with, but it is not who I am.
March 1, 2011 will forever be etched in my mind. I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. I can remember that day like it was yesterday. What I had on and how I felt before I walked in to the Oncologist’s office. We were having an early spring, so it was a little warmer than it normally is in March. I still recall thinking, “I can’t be sick. Why I am going to see an Oncologist?” That day, I felt like a crisp spring salad with peaches and strawberries on top. Everyone knows I am a hybrid of California and Georgia, so I call myself a strawberry peach girl. In the words of my dear friend Meri Culp, I was looking “fruit sassy.” I had on the cutest dress with bright blossoming colors and some cute peep toe shoes. Because after all, this was some sort of mistake, I could not be sick. When the Oncologist said to me, “You have Ovarian Cancer,” my big brown eyes just stared at him as if he was speaking a foreign language. I remember him taking my hand, placing it on my lower abdomen and pelvis area and saying, “Couldn’t you feel that lump?” I told him, “No, because no one has ever told me to feel there. I have been taught to feel my breasts, in my armpit and even down my arm, but never my abdomen.” He then went to say, "Didn't you notice that your stomach had gotten larger. I turned to him with a head roll and replied, "All of me has gotten larger. My butt, legs, and hips. Why would my stomach getting larger be a cause for alarm?"
“No! This is not happening to me. I went to the doctor regularly,” was all I kept telling myself. A friend’s sister was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in late 2009 and passed away in June 2010. I remember her telling us, as her sister was battling the disease, that her sister had not had a pap smear since the sister's kids were born, 15-20 years prior. Well, I didn't think I was at risk because I had a pap smear on a regular schedule. My OB/GYN had moved me to every other year since I had had a partial hysterectomy and was perimenopausal. So I go along on my merry way not thinking I was at risk. I prayed for her sister and her family. Kevin and I attended the funeral. Nine months later, I was diagnosed with the same thing. My diagnosis was slightly less advanced than her sister’s was. My cancer had spread to other parts of my abdomen but Praise God the cancer was not in the lymph nodes.
After being stunned and in a fog for weeks, I asked God, “Why me?” He whispered back, “Because you have a voice and I need you to speak for all the women who no longer have a voice or who don’t have the strength to speak.” I began to do more research and knew that God had given me a voice to speak up and speak out; to be an inspiration. I began to form a closer relationship with my oncologist, Dr. Alfred Jenkins, asking him question after question. When he informed me that you could not detect Ovarian Cancer with a pap smear, I was stunned. This was further evidence that I needed to become more vocal about Ovarian Cancer.
Five months into my journey, after a diagnosis of Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer, three surgeries including an ileostomy, 3 rounds of chemotherapy, a bald head, a fierce wig and some cute caps, I realized that I was pregnant with THE idea, my baby, TEAL BUTTERFLIES. Eight months in, I have had more chemo, minor setbacks, more surgeries, and some difficult days, but my baby continues to grow. TEAL BUTTERFLIES is on its way and soaring.
Before I share more about TEAL BUTTERFLIES, I would like to say thank you to my husband, Kevin Osbey, who has been my caregiver for the past 8 months. He has made me feel special and loved during my entire illness. I ask each of you to remember the caregivers in your prayers because the disease takes its toll on them as well. I cannot express enough thanks to my mom, Barbara Robinson Knox, who has travelled back and forth from California to Georgia, over and over again to be by my side. My Aunt Deborah, a health care professional, has been a sounding board and a cheerleader, asking everyone she meets to pray for me. My brothers, nephews and nieces have lifted my spirits on the days when my faith waned. My niece’s words, “Auntie , you are beautiful!” always brought a smile to my thinning face. My uncle, calling me just to check in and flying to Atlanta to take me home from the hospital, reminding me he brought me home from the hospital when I was born and he was there to bring me home again.
Tears come to my eyes when I speak of long-time girlfriend, Lori Blackwell, who flew out from Los Angeles to be with me during chemotherapy. My Atlanta bestie, Yolanda Owens, who has been there every step of the way; making sure we wanted for nothing and called everyone she knew to be at my 50th Hospital Birthday Party. Yes, I was in the hospital on my 50th birthday. My partner-in-crime, Tony Hunter, calls me every day just to see if I am okay and make me laugh. Then there is Regenia Cooper, who made sure we had house cleaning services during my illness.
Let me not forget two people who ha
ve been instrumental in providing me excellent care, Dr. Kyra Harvey, Primary Care Physician, and Dr. Alfred Jenkins, Gynecologic Oncologist. I thank God for Dr. Harvey. She did not dismiss my urinary tract infection as routine, went a step further during my examination, and sent me for further testing. There are not enough words that I can write that would sum up Dr. Jenkins. He is brilliant, knowledgeable, precise and honest. He saved my life. I know that I was probably one of his toughest patients and pried into his personal life one time too many, but I needed him to see me as a person and not just a patient. I think I accomplished that.
So many people have prayed for me: from the East Coast to the West Coast and the North and the South; my family, aunts, uncles, cousins, immediate and distant relatives, in-laws and extended; those I've known for a lifetime and a hot minute; friends who I met in Los Angeles and Atlanta; Pastor William Watley, Rev. Larry Jones, Retired Pastor George Moore, and the ministerial staff at Saint Philip AME; Reverends Robert Shaw, Anne Shaw, Robert Hendricks, Daryl Walker, John White III, and Kenneth Paden; church members from Saint Philip AME, First AME, St. James AME, New Philadelphia AME, New Testament Church of Christ Holiness, and Living Word Church of God In Christ; colleagues I worked with while working for the City of Los Angeles, the American Cancer Society, and Macy’s; classmates from Carson High and UCLA; my unwavering sorors of Delta Sigma Theta, especially the jewels on the mountain at Stone Mountain-Lithonia Alumnae Chapter; the dedicated men and women who work with my husband at Clayton County Water Authority; and all the wonderful people who I met on MyBarackObama.com, facebook, Womanifesting, and the Porch. It is because of the prayers of the many that I am able to share my journey. I am humbled and grateful for each and every person who is in my life and who has been on this journey with me. They have made the journey endurable.
More about TEAL BUTTERFLIES:
TEAL BUTTERFLIES was born as a voice for all the women who are no longer with us, as the wind for those who are still soaring and as an educational resource to prevent another woman from taking this journey. I am striving to use the voice that God has given me; and live by the words that many of us have heard sung in church on Sunday mornings: "If I can help somebody, as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody, with a word or song, if I can show somebody, how they're travelling wrong, then my living shall not be in vain." I am not sure what life holds for me, but what I am sure of is that you have to “cut the rope” from this disease, step into your destiny without doubt, take hold of your life, only looking toward what the future has to offer because God is still in control!
TEAL is the color that represents Ovarian Cancer. BUTTERFLIES represent resilience. Butterflies go through many journeys as they soar. Those of us with this disease will go through various phases and journeys, but we will SOAR!
TEAL BUTTERFLIES was created as a vehicle to garner more attention to Ovarian Cancer and as a medium to increase awareness about the disease. It serves as an inspirational tool to share your hopes and success stories, as well as an opportunity to raise money for research and programs specifically focused on Ovarian Cancer. TEAL BUTTERFLIES is dedicated to educating women about early detection of Ovarian Cancer and empowering them with resources and information to become intimate with their bodies and bring awareness to the early symptoms of this disease.
TEAL BUTTERFLIES is working toward becoming a 501(c)3 organization. In the interim, we are working with other organizations, like the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance, to raise funds for Ovarian Cancer awareness. September is designated as Ovarian Cancer awareness month and TEAL BUTTERFLIES accepted the challenge. On Friday, September 2, 2011, we participated in the National Wear Teal Day. People all across the country painted their towns teal from urban America to suburban American, from every hamlet to every hood, from the outhouse to the White House. Some put on a teal shirt, while others dolled up in a teal dress, painted their toe nails sparkly teal, or added a piece of teal jewelry to bring about Ovarian Cancer Awareness- the "other" silent killer. We also participated in an Overcome Ovarian Cancer Walk and raised $4100 dollars to help towards awareness. Team TEAL BUTTERFLIES consisted of approximately 20 dedicated walkers made up of family and friends, who donned their teal tee shirts, caps, and beads in my honor, waving teal pompoms as they canvassed the course. Additionally, we sponsored a Teal Toes Pedicure Party to bring about awareness. This is an event where friends get together and get teal pedicures as a vehicle to spark conversation about Ovarian Cancer. We had fun, made our toes cute, discussed Ovarian Cancer, and raised money. Each guest received a bag of goodies with Ovarian Cancer awareness information along with non-carcinogenic teal nail polish. This event raised enough money to purchase four Ovarian Cancer Bags of Hope for women who have been recently diagnosed.
If you would like to give hope to a woman who was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, go to www.gaovariancancer.org and donate in my honor or in honor of someone else. You can also go to my website www.tealbutterflies.org and find other organizations to support. Also, check out my Teal Butterflies facebook page to stay abreast of Ovarian Cancer information and don’t forget to follow Teal Butterflie on Twitter.
TEAL BUTTERFLIES Tidbits:
Feel your abdomen and pelvic area! Become intimate with your body and not just your breasts!
Don’t just check the “girls”, also check the girls’ best friends ….your ovaries. Talk to your OB/GYN about early detection.
Ovarian Cancer is known as the “other” silent killer of women, most women being diagnosed at Stage 3 or Stage 4. Ovarian cancer accounts for approximately 3 percent of cancers in women. While the ninth most common cancer among women, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women, and is the deadliest of gynecologic cancers.
Ovarian cancer symptoms:
• Pelvic and abdominal pain
• Urinary frequency and urgency
• Increased abdominal size and bloating
• Difficulty eating and feeling full
Other symptoms may include:
• Constipation or diarrhea
• Indigestion or gas
• Abnormal vaginal bleeding
• Unusual fatigue
• Unexplained weight loss or gain
• Shortness of breath
• Low back pain
Who is at risk for ovarian cancer?
• Women with close relatives with ovarian cancer, such as your mother, sister or daughter, especially if she was diagnosed before the age of 40. Having several family members with ovarian or breast cancer also increases risk.
• Women with a personal history of cancer of the breast, uterus, colon or rectum, or a family history of these cancers.
• Women over 55 years of age.
• Women who have never been pregnant.
• Women who have been taking estrogen after menopause for at least 10 years.
• Obese women, particularly if they carry excess weight around the waist.
• It used to be believed that fertility drugs increased a woman's risk of ovarian cancer. Using talcum powder in the vaginal area was also considered a possible risk factor, but neither of these is now felt to produce significant risk.
|Posted by WOMA on March 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
My name is Aiesha Turman and this is my womanifesting story.
I was coordinating an afterschool cultural arts and literacy program for high school students in Brooklyn when I observed that my female students were experiencing a lot of the same issues that I faced when I was their age and thought it would be a great idea to explore these issues with them in a girls-only group because it was important for other young women and girls to realize that they are not alone and there are ways to reach out.
My passion urged me to do more. So I decided to do make a film---First I needed to learn how to make a film, and since I learn by doing, I came up with the idea of having our culminating project that year be, well, a film. I found a curriculum from the Directors Guild of America and set about spending two and a half months teaching a group of 20 12th and 10th graders how to write a movie while I served as director. After we made the film and had our "premiere", it gave me the confidence to do make The Black Girl Project.I called on the help of the young women I initially worked with who were now all either in college or entering college. It took two years, but I made an hour-long documentary, but I wanted to do more.
Knowing that I wanted the film to spark dialogue, I sought fiscal sponsorship and the organization, The Black Girl Project, whose mission is to help equip young women andgirls with the tools needed to become healthy, self-actualized women, was born. I then called on the help of some fabulous scholars, educators, business-womenand creatives to be on my advisory board. Our first big accomplishment was pulling off a big premiere screening at the Spike Lee Screening Room on LongIsland University's Brooklyn campus. We faced challenges with having a very little budget, but what we did have was will. I am fulfilled because of the feedback I have received from the film and the work that the organization hasbeen able to do, such as safer sex outreaches, workshops, and more.
Right now, we are planning an all-girl youth-symposium, co-leading twice-monthly workshops with the Urban Yoga Foundation, and developing a workshop series with the hopes of: expanding, duplicating and packaging the film so that it can get into the hands of as many wonderful folks as possible. I'm creating mini-docs or digital stories of between 10-12 minutes each which will take you a bit deeper into the lives of the young women featured in the film; Publishing a book! The BGP book will explore the why's, what's and how's behind the origins and process of the project, as well as take a look at the young women's lives since the initial filming; and creating curriculum and screening tool-kit. The whole of The BGP is intended as a teaching tool and the curriculum will explore the themes that were explored in the film: family, obstacles, dreams, love and relationships, the media andmore. The screening tool-kit will assist anyone who's interested in hosting a screening create a memorable, educational, and enlightening experience.
How can you help? We're on Kickstarter until the end of March to help raise funds to do all of this, and if you pledge support, there are many tangible rewards you can receive at any level. But we'd also love to hear from you. We're on Facebook and Twitter as well.
Now this is some pretty awesome womanifesting. PLEASE SUPPORT The Black Girl Project. Also, if you have a womanifesting story, please share it with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may be feautured in a future WOMA blog.
Black Girl Project Around the Web:
|Posted by WOMA on March 21, 2011 at 6:19 AM||comments (3)|
On March 19, 2011, WOMA hosted an event, in conjunction with the District of Columbia (DC) Public Library, entitled WOMANIFESTING IN ACTION, in honor of our 1st anniversary and Women’s History Month. The event was held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and brought together local women leaders to share how they use collaboration, community building, and social activism to further their causes and to make a difference. It was a well-attended event with a fair share of men in the audience supportive of the spirit of womanifesting.
The event opened with a welcome from Kathy Jenkins, Manager of the Popular Division, DC Public Library. She spoke of her excitement of partnering with WOMA to bring the event and looked forward with great anticipation of doing more collaborations in the future. Kathy also expressed passionately her vision of the library as a central and neutral meeting place for diverse groups to connect and broaden their circles based on shared interests. Next, Tracy Chiles McGhee, Founder & Executive Director of WOMA, welcomed everyone, explained the definition of womanifesting and promised that several examples would be witnessed at the the event through a conversation with the panelists who epitomize the definition.
One of the highlights of the event came when Yasmine Arrington, a local DC high school student, delivered a riveting "Call to Action" speech to the attendees.Yasmine spoke with great wisdom and clarity of purpose. She uplifted and inspired the audience with her mandate that we not be stingy with our gifts but instead share them by making a difference in the lives of others. As a surprise to Yasmine, Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 of the Council of the District of Columbia presented her with a resolution from the Council honoring her in essence for her outstanding accomplishments, for taking the initiative to establish a scholarship fund for aspiring students with incarcerated parents called ScholarCHIPS, and for being an excellent role model to youth and an inspiration to us all.
After Yasmine effectively set the tone for the event, the moderators, Marita Golden, Acclaimed Author & Master Teacher (pictured to left above) and Nikita T. Mitchell, a young professional and Writer (pictured to right above) introduced the panel and got the discussion going. Both Marita and Nikita did an excellent job in facilitating the informative interchange. Each panelist brought a unique perspective to the table, discussing a range of causes from HIV/AIDS issue advocacy for women to the use of art to promote peace and social justice to "digital sisterhood" to build relationships and deepen impact to the theatrical storytelling of women to claim our place, voice, and awesomeness to the importance of the community coming together to ensure safe places where children can play and learn and have fun. All were passionate and had big dreams for their endeavors. There was a general consensus that in order to realize those dreams, collaboration through a pooling of resources and innovative ideas and unique offerings coupled with a willingness to support one another is crucial.
Members of the audience asked questions and spoke of being inspired to raise their level of involvement and to offer support. One said, "Great event today! I hope that these events continue! I look forward to participating!" Another said, "This was such a moving event. I learned so much and I was touched by these women." Still another said, "The entire panel was very informative. Truly blessed by the knowledge that has been provided here today." Finally, one young lady summed it up, "FABULOUS!"
Tracy closed by offering WOMA as a platform to do just that and invited everyone to become a member of WOMA to continue the conversation and the work. Then to conclude the event, a lucky audience member received a copy of Marita Golden's latest book entitled, "THE WORD: Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing Edited by Marita Golden"and admittance to WOMA's Annual Award event to be held in June 2011.
WOMA sincerely appreciates all the contributors for sharing their brilliance with us and showing us what WOMANIFESTING IN ACTION looks like. We ask that you support the worthwhile missions of WOMA, the moderators, and the panelists. You can learn more about them from their bios below and by visiting their websites. Please check the WOMA calendar for upcoming events. Your presence will be most appreciated.
WOMA would like to thank all that contributed to the event including a lively audience. In addition to the above mentioned participants, a special thank you goes to the following:
CO-PLANNERS, Kathy Jenkins, DC Public Library, Lindsay Young, and Samantha Kirby Caruth; PRESENTER: Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser; SPONSOR: Kimberly A. Woodard; VOLUNTEERS: Enchanta Jackson, Sasha Ariel Alston, and Takeyah Young & SUPPORTERS: Divine Chocolate, Josephine Bias Robinson and Carolyn Woodson
Marita Golden (http://maritagolden.com/)
Marita Golden is the award-winning author of 14 works of fiction and nonfiction. As a teacher of writing, Marita Golden has held appointments at George Mason University, and Virginia Commonwealth University, where she served as a member of the MFA Graduate Creative Writing programs. She has also taught at Emerson College, The University of Lagos (Nigeria), Roxbury Community College, and American University. She served as Writer in Residence at the University of the Districtof Columbia, in Washington, D.C. Marita Golden has lectured on the topic ofliterature, women’s studies, African-American Studies and African American literature nationally and internationally.
As a literary activist, Marita Golden founded and served as the first president of the Washington-D.C. based African-American Writers Guild. In 1990 she co-founded the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, which presents the nation’s only national fiction award for college writers of African descent and an annual summer writer’s workshop for Black writers, Hurston/Wright Writers’ Week, as well as the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for published Black writers. She now serves as President Emeritus of the organization. Marita Golden holds a B.A. from American University in American Studies and English and a Masters Degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.
Nikita T. Mitchell (http://nikitatmitchell.com/blog), Twitter: @NikitaTMitchell
Nikita T. Mitchell is a management consultant at Deloitte Consulting, providing facilitation, communications, strategic planning, organizational strategy, performance measurement, business case analysis and financial management services to her federal clients. A graduate of Howard University, Nikita earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA) in International Business with a concentration in Finance. During her four years at Howard, she held various leadership positions on campus, studied abroad in France and worked in the financial services industry – both in New York City and in London.
Nikita is a passionate and involved member of her community, dedicating asignificant amount of her time to local non-profits committed to youth and women. As a Board Member for the Cultural Academy for Excellence, a localnon profit committed to the development of youth through the performing arts,Nikita continues her early and engaging leadership. She also works with the DC Rape Crisis Center as a counselor on the 24-hour hotline and as an advocate for sexual assault survivors in local hospitals.
In her spare time, Nikita can be found with her head in a book. She has aninnate passion for professional and personal development. She loves social media, writing, and traveling. She dreams of one day running a travel program for young women that promotes cultural education, self-esteem building andacademic achievement.
Yasmine Arrington, local high school student credited with starting a ScholarCHIPS for aspiring college students with incarcerated parents. (http://www.facebook.com/scholarCHIPS)
Yasmine Arrington is a senior at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. She was born and raised in Washington, DC. She is a published and award winning poet.Yasmine has recently earned her Girl Scout Gold Award-the highest communityservice award in Girl Scouting! She lives with her grandmother and two younger brothers, Gary and Michael. Her mother died her freshman year of high schooland her father is currently incarcerated. Despite these setbacks, Yasmine has taken life’s challenges in stride. She has launched her own non-profit entitled ScholarCHIPS (for Children of Incarcerated Parents). ScholarCHIPS is raising $30,000 to gift three graduating seniors with incarcerated parents, who wish to pursue a college degree, with $10,000 each.
Patricia Nalls, Founder & Executive Director, The Women's Collective, 2010 Washingtonian of the Year (www.womenscollective.org)
Patricia Nalls founded The Women’s Collective after several years of living in isolation about her own HIV diagnosis. Patricia committed herself to finding, supporting and organizing women with HIV/AIDS. At first it was from her kitchen table, then from acommunity space and now from offices on U Street with several integral programs for women living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS and families. Unfortunately, her journey, although wonderful, also contains the memories and pain from losing many sisters along the way to the disease. Each day, she recommits herself to the struggle and she is energized by the work she and others have accomplished in combined efforts.
Carrie L. Ellis, Director of Project Management, KaBOOM! & Board Chair, Teaching for Change
Carrie L. Ellis is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta,GA where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Following her undergraduate studies, Carrie moved to California to teach middle school English and Mass Media in LosAngeles through the Teach For America program. She was inspired to pursue a master’s degree in Communication Management from the University of Southern California, where she concentrated in Educational Children’s Media. Once she graduated, Carrie headed to Washington, DC to work for several years on the national staff of Teach For America.
In 2005, Carrie joined the staff of KaBOOM! as the Directorof Project Management, a national nonprofit that creates play spaces throughthe participation and leadership of communities. Every year, her team oversees the planningand installation of over 200 community-built play spaces throughout NorthAmerica. Carrie also serves as the Chairof the Board for Teaching for Change, a nonprofit that provides teachers and parents with the tools to transform schools into centers of justice for students.
Jessica T. Solomon, Founder, The Saartjie Project & ChiefVisionary Officer, Spark Creativity (http://sparkcreativity.info)
As a community artist, Jessica T. Solomon, founded The Saartjie Project,an award-winning theatre ensemble using story and collaborative performance as a vehicle to promote social change. Jessica also serves as a member of the Connectivity Committee at The Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in Washington, DC.She views her work in the performing arts as an extension of her work as an Organization Development practitioner. As a capacity builder and organization development practitioner, Jessica has worked internationally with universities, non-profit organizations, government agencies, creative businesses and individuals to increase impact + uncover solutions. Jessica holds a B.A.’s in African American Studies and Communication Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a M.S. in Organization Development from American University. She is the 2007 Starting Bloc for Social Innovation Fellow and the 2009 American University Hal Kellner Awardee.
Marielle Mariano, East Coast Coordinator, Chalk4Peace (chalk4peace.org)
Marielle Mariano is an art educator, art therapist, East Coast Coordinator of the non-profit organization CHALK4PEACE,Inc., and a fine artist. Since graduating from Georgetown University in ’93, working in the medical sciences and then graduating with a Master of Science in Art Therapy from Eastern Virginia Medical School in ‘99, Marielle has chosen to commit herself to using the creative process to help heal and better others’experiences. She has encouraged them to do so through her work in art education and art therapy in Fairfax County Public Schools and her work with CHALK4PEACE,coordinating outdoor chalk art events that encourage international peace expression and education in a variety of communities around the world. Marielle is passionate about C4P because she feels it challenges people to not just create a visual representation of one’s idea and wish for peace, but to also make peace an active part of one’s life in the hopes that it will spread to others.
Ananda Leeke,Founder of Digital Sisterhood Month & Author of upcoming memoir (www.anandaleeke.com)
Yoga+ Creativity + Internet Geek = Ananda Leeke. Leeke is a lawyer turned “Jill ofmany trades”: innerpreneur, author, artist, coach, and yoga teacher. Hermission is “Empowering U2BU through creativity coaching, Reiki, self-care,social media, volunteerism, and yoga.” She has penned That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’sPoetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (2009) and her debut novel Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One(2007). In December 2010, she launched the Digital Sisterhood Network and Digital Sisterhood Month to give women in social media an opportunity to celebrate their connections, conversations, communities, collaborative partnerships, and commerce. She traveled to Haiti as a blogger ambassador for The Heart of Haiti Campaign, a partnership between Macy's, Fairwinds Trading, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund in February. Currently, Leeke is working with wounded warriors as an artist-in-residence for Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts at the National Navy Medical Center and writing Digital Sisterhood, a memoir (2011).
|Posted by WOMA on February 3, 2011 at 2:36 PM||comments (1)|
WOMA: Mia, you and Sideline Pass are SO WOMA. Tell us a little about your
background and Sideline Pass.
Mia: I’m a sports nut who’s also a businesswoman and mom. I’m a Stanford
grad and so is my daughter, and I love the Cardinal. My recent trip to Miami
as part of the strong alumni travel group at the Orange Bowl was one of my
most treasured sports experiences thus far. As the oldest of six, with three
athletic brothers and passionate sports parents, I had no choice but to learn
to love the games.
Sideline Pass gives the female football fan a place to explore all areas of
fanhood. There’s spirited discussion for the diehard fanatic who reads
newspaper stats. There’s information for the newbie just learning about
sports. And there are the cuties for fans who simply like to see the players
on the field or court.
WOMA: What inspired you to launch Sideline Pass? When did you do it?
Mia: I launched Sideline Pass in 2009. Sideline Pass combines my entrepreneurial
and sports passions. I felt Sideline Pass could bring a voice to other
fanatics like me as well as lure some new fans. I would always see the players
waving to the cameras saluting their mothers after making a huge play or
discussing the importance of their female guardians in their upbringing during
sit-down interviews. Sideline Pass makes a point to talk to the “Hi Mom”
crowd, guardians of active young athletes.
My sisters, cousins and friends are moms of young athletes and many of them
are ignored by major vehicles. However, they often are the ones who are
keeping teams on task. Early on, I noticed that many of the women I
interviewed were wearing many hats. For example, one LA mom Jammie broke down
her job, showing us how detailed the task was – everything from monitoring
weigh-ins, to maintaining paperwork to controlling playing time for each team
player. It was an intricate, detailed process and many have no clue how much
time it takes. And don’t forget the all important snacks! Then there are
the moms who are clueless and have no idea how to manage their children’s
sports career from the onset to provide a stable foundation. In either case,
there is a need for recognition, information and education.
WOMA: Your “About Page” says, “[Women] watch the game differently than
men but no less fervently and passionately.” How so?
Mia: Many women fans are equally as passionate, engaged and excited about
football as our male counterparts - some even more so. We’re fiercely loyal.
But I think at times our nurturing side takes over, especially when we are
following a specific player that we like. Also, many of us are team moms,
requiring us to focus on the whole team and the full realm of kids’ needs. I
think many of us also enjoy the stories that accompany athletics; those tales
of triumph that we can use as teaching examples. And no doubt, we love to look
at the fine specimens out there on the field or court. Our writers are great
examples of this: Patty, our Fantasy Football expert is a triathlete and a mom
of three. Heather, our recipe queen is a teacher and also a mom of three. She,
like Nkeshi our Cuties/feature writer - is a passionate Cowboys fan – and
Nkeshi has three kids, too. What they accomplish while still following
football is incredible.
WOMA: Do you face any challenges in reaching players and team officials to
Mia: While there has been some resistance here or there, I’ve had
overwhelmingly great experiences with the players and team officials. Where I
find the most challenges are out in the field at times, with men who don’t
believe women can have a voice in the game. For example, I was at a local
sports bar and the discussion turned to the hit changes. One of the gentlemen
said, “Excuse me but we don’t discuss football with women because you
can’t understand it.” He asked me if I’d ever talked to anybody who
really made those hits? Fortunately for me, I had – one Carl Eller, a member
of the famed Minnesota Vikings Purple People Eaters. Then, as if on cue, a
group of six women walked in the bar, in their sports gear, ready to catch the
game. I couldn’t have scripted it better.
Just like in any other field, it takes time to remove barriers. Most often,
those barriers are imaginary, as they have little to nothing to do with actual
ability. The number of men who follow us, read my newsletter and comment on my
Facebook page always surprises me. I have two followers, Frank from Australia
and Roger from Boston, who really keep me on my toes. When Frank can’t get
access to what he needs Down Under, he shoots me a message to get on it and
keep him updated. Recently my brother, a diehard Saint fan, couldn’t get to
a TV so he posted on the Facebook wall: “SP get the updates.” It did shock
me, no doubt. But then again, if they love football and they love women, what
better place for them to be than sidelinepass.com?
WOMA: What is the next play for Sideline Pass?
Mia: I’m getting many requests for other sports, particularly basketball.
Just yesterday, a female fan told me that she needed her other B’s
basketball and boxing. This year we will add much more basketball to the mix
– including the WNBA. We’ve also left it open for discussion on our
Facebook page. College sports are big and the baseball fans really got into
the playoffs this year. Bottom line, we’re game.
WOMA: What is your womanifesting dream for Sideline Pass?
Mia: In my dreams, Sideline Pass will grow to be a first stop for the female
sports fan. It’ll take time, patience and even a few missteps – but I
believe in the dream.
WOMA: Keep believing in your dream, Mia. How can the womanifesting community support you?
Mia: First and foremost, tell us what you want to read, hear and see. It’s
important that the events we schedule and stories we write reflect the
interests of our readers. Also, share the story! Tell your sports friends to
check us out and give us critical feedback – that’s the only way we get
better. Even for those not focused on sports, we have recipes, style tips and
of course, the Cuties. Ladies, follow us on twitter @Sidelinepass or on
Facebook at www.facebook.com/SidelinePass. Comment on the feature stories thatyou like so that we cancreate more of them. Ultimately, we need your voice.
WOMA: One last question, where do you plan to watch the Super Bowl and who
will you root for?
Mia: I will be at the Super Bowl watching in Dallas – rooting for the
Pittsburgh Steelers. I’m actually a Raider fan but for the day, I’ll be
pulling for Coach Tomlin and the guys.
WOMA: Awesome. Thanks Mia. See you at the game and on Sideline Pass!
Mia with Coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers
|Posted by WOMA on January 8, 2011 at 9:39 PM||comments (0)|
WOMA celebrates the release of PATRICIA SPEARS JONES' poetry collection, PAINKILLER, (Tia Chuca Press). Jones is January's Featured artist for both her poetry and womanifesting spirit that keeps her grounded in community and able to face her truth whether clothed in beauty or anguish.
Jones Poetic Statement:
Painkiller is to me the final book in a trilogy of collections that started with The Weather That Kills (CoffeeHouse, 1995) and Femme du Monde (Tia Chucha, 1996). Of these three collections, the poems in Painkiller are the most emotional and intimate, and yet they are also the most universal as they look at the consequences of love found and lost; passions unleashed; terror from human conduct and the awesome power of natural disaster.
While this is a collection that responds in part to 9-11, many poems were written prior to that event, to the injury to the city and our psychic well-being. Those portents and that injury set the collection’s tone. Painkiller explores one poet’s vision of the city, her friends, her lover, her losses and connects those individual perceptions to a suffering world in turmoil. In the poem “In Like Paradise/Out Like the Blues”, a poem from The Weather That Kills, I wrote “Each of turns to the hunger of stars/and wipes the crumbs from our mouths.” Painkiller is about that feast.
We are at the genesis of a bolero
eyes, lips, thick, kinky dreads
beds, cars, stars
a singer’s words curve
through memory and shadow
rhythms stumble and stop,
come again, the night air a willing audience.
men huddle near a long, brass bar rail,
shoes gleaming, lips smiling, eyes lit
as women, young and old, stroll pass them
on their way to the powder room
las mujeres motion a dream of sand and waves
a Cuba that only the restaurant owner
and his waiters may have truly seen, heard.
late winter, rains slicking the streets of lower Manhattan,
Son Cubano’s portals reveal a theater of nostalgia
the scent of Havana scripts so well.
And we play along
mouths flavored with rum, lime, sugar, our tongues playing
the kisses stolen game as the song phrases
a fierce sadness promised
in the wake of lust’s mercurial ascent
We flee these orchestrated memories
our hands in each others, our mouths hungry for each other.
Our song is bluer, harsher, North American
the rhythms African, yes, as dearly measured in drama and depth.
Our exile is internal. There is little longing
for the good old days when Havana was a mean place
for dark people, but a real fascination
for these songs and their makers.
Your arms cascade a trumpet solo, the piano’s
harmonics thrill my back.
My lips are waiting for yours.
This is our bolero
lovemaking Friday night New York City
Everybody’s from the South.
Amethyst for encouragement
Debbie’s kind, tired voice on telephone
early morning, keeping me alive
thankful, am I
the Japanese beetles are passionately swarming
a mating dance in Virginiagrasses. They bounce against our skin,glinting.
Bergamot, lavender, summer hay perfume my nighttime walk
There is mercy. It comes when needed like a red moonrise.
Obsidian for power
She said you said you were in control of your life.
Oh really, when did I say that
Well you speak with such confidence, she said. I laugh. It seems
as if I have the power to control my sliver of the great cosmic order.
Well, no. But, what little power have I, is hard won and precious. Black.
Carnelian for security
There has not been one moment in my life that was not compromised.
Lack of money or love or grander dreams, perhaps, strange luck. And now
as my body radically changes, I am anchored by strong spirit.What’s up
with the sun?
And when did I turn my cheeks toward heat?
Patricia Spears Jones is an African American poet and playwright. She is author of three poetry collections Painkiller (2010), Femme du Monde (2006) and The Weather That Kills (1994) and editor of Think: Poems About Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Hat/ (2009) and Ordinary Women: Poetry by New York City Women (1978 ). Her poems are in several anthologies including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry; Bowery WomenPoets; broken land: Poems of Brooklyn,and Best American Poetry, 2000. Her arts and cultural criticism can be found in Bomb, The Village Voice, Essence, Black Issues Book Review and www.tribes.org. The internationally renowned theater company Mabou Mines commissioned ‘Mother’, music composed by CarterBurwell and Song for New York: What Women Do When Men Sit Knitting, music composed by Lisa Gukin. She is a contributing editor to Bomb Magazine. She received grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the Goethe Institute and is a fellow at the Black Earth Institute, www.blackearthinstitute.org;and received residencies to Yaddo,VCCA. Bread Loaf, and the Millay Colony. She has read and/or led workshops at PoetsHouse; St. Mark’s Poetry Project; California College of Art; Woodland Pattern, Barnard College; Brandeis University, Southern Illinois University, Chicago State University; Naropa University, Columbia College, Pine Manor College, Medgar Evers College and University of Rhode Island. www.psjones.com.
|Posted by WOMA on December 29, 2010 at 9:54 AM||comments (2)|
Resolution #1 – Dare To Womanifest Your Dreams Into Reality Through The Power of the Written Word
At the year’s end, we traditionally take time to reflect upon the year past and anticipate what is in store for the upcoming year. For some, conversations start centering on the infamous concept of “New Year’s Resolutions” as we share and compare our goals with one another. There are others, however, that have completely abandoned the concept and even with a flair of pride believe that they have no need for any tenuous “Resolutions”, resigning that the practice is artificial, illusory and does not effectuate true change.
Is the writing of resolutions an artificial exercise? Yes and no. First, we’ll start with the “Yes”. If you do not intend to make any changes, to improve your life or the lives around you,then resolution writing is absolutely an artificial exercise. In fact, I strongly encourage you not to waste time, nor energy writing any resolutions, nor reading anything further on the topic. Resolution writing is not advisablefor those that are content with their status quo. You would not want to risk the possibility of having one of your resolutions come into fruition, for that would require some additional changes that you may not be ready for. So if you’re not ready for change, put the pen down…and slowly back away.
Now as to the “No”, drafting resolutions is an exercise that can lead to some significant changes in your life. On what basis you may ask? Well for starters, the written word is powerful. The written word forms governments, conveys the laws of the land, begins and ends wars and secures peace in the form of treaties among nations. On a more personal level, it serves as the foundation for many spiritual beliefs, begins and ends marriages, employment and business opportunities, determines ou rfinancial status and responsibilities and facilitates services for our health and well-being. Even our educational and professional credentials are validated through degrees, certificates, etc.There are no significant occurrences in our lives that are not based upon some form of a written document. The written word brings comfort, security and assurance. It can also invoke commitment, obligation and liability (hence, the hesitancy in resolution drafting). Even in colloquial parlay, we usually do not consider an agreement or arrangement valid until we, “put it on paper.” Overall, documented words provide direction and guidance in how to perform the functions of our daily life.
Imagine what life would be like if every activity we performed were based upon only word of mouth - if there were no written laws, no contracts, no employee handbooks, no manuals, no prescriptions, no deeds, no street signs, no educational degrees or licenses of any kind. Of course, we would all like to contemplate life without letters from creditors, but even they have their value, as unbridled consumption with no accountability has a negative impact on personal lives and our economy. If in all these areas and more, documents and the words that rest upon them bear such importance in determining our welfare, why then do we shy away from or even dismiss the process of writing down goals in order to move our lives in a particular direction? The answer lies in our understanding of how important weare to ourselves and to those around us. It is not that we do not believe written goals are important, for we operate in every other area of our lives around written goals and commitments. It is more so our belief that we are not important enough to honor ourselves in that manner.
You are not an afterthought. You matter and what you have to share with the world matters. You have dreams and goals that will benefit those around you. As caretakers and nurturers, women tend to care for themselves last and not embrace how important their personal goals and dreams are. In order to continue to serve ,uplift and inspire others you will need to feel inspired within yourself.Capturing your personal goals and vision for your life on paper helps you to stay motivated as you give to others. It centers you and reaffirms purpose, especially when life’s curve balls arethrown at you. How is that possible? Once we transcribe our thoughts, dreams or goals onto paper something happens. The words are solemnized and somehow become official. The thought then becomes a formalized idea, the idea can turn into plans, plans then can turn into actions and we have thereafter have potentially changed the trajectory of our lives in that particular area.
Are resolutions worth your time? The answer is an overwhelming…YES! Do you need to have goals for your life? Absolutely! The alternative is to have none and to remain subject to the whims of outside factors and persons. Do you need to write them down? Most definitely! Why? Because you want to see them turn in reality. So let’s start by putting those goals or “Resolutions” on paper and wait and see the great things that are in store for your life.
For those that need some extra motivation, below are a few practical tips to assist you.Resolution Writing Made Easy The WOMA Way: Choose from areas below and decide upon two goals for each area. One goal should reflect how you intend to develop your brilliance in that area and another goal should reflect how you plan to share your brilliance with those around you in 2011. WOMA is here to support you along the way.
1) Health & Wellness
2) Career Development
3) Financial Literacy
4) Civic & Cultural Engagement
5) Empowerment for Girls
Best wishes for optimal womanifesting in 2011!
Melissa Maddox-Barnes serves as Interim Chairperson on the Womanifesting, Inc., Board of Directors and is a passionate advocate for the empowerment of women and children. Ms. Maddox-Barnes is the General Counsel for the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston, SC which administers affordable housing programs for low to moderate income persons.