Sowing Seeds

Cultivators of beauty, brilliance and power

  • 25th February
    2013
  • 25
clutchmag:

Quvenzhane Wallis Will Star In The “Annie” Remake


On the heels of her Oscar nomination for “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, Quvenzhane Wallis will…

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clutchmag:

Quvenzhane Wallis Will Star In The “Annie” Remake

On the heels of her Oscar nomination for “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, Quvenzhane Wallis will…

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  • 25th February
    2013
  • 25
clutchmag:

The Onion Attacks Quvenzhané Wallis, Calls Her The “C-Word”

I struggled with whether to report this or not, but the fact is we can’t allow our women and…

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clutchmag:

The Onion Attacks Quvenzhané Wallis, Calls Her The “C-Word”

I struggled with whether to report this or not, but the fact is we can’t allow our women and…

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  • 8th February
    2013
  • 08
DAY # 31: GABRIELLE “GABBY” DOUGLAS, GYMNAST, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST, FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO WIN GOLD IN THE INDIVIDUAL ALL-AROUND EVENT  
Lived: December 31, 1995
Trait to Admire: RISK TAKER
BIO & LEGACY: 
American gymnast Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas, better known as Gabby Douglas or “Flying Squirrel,” was born on December 31, 1995, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Timothy Douglas and Natalie Hawkins. Her first experience with gymnastics came at the age of 3, when she perfected a straight cartwheel using a technique that she learned from her older sister, Arielle, a former gymnast. By age 4, Douglas had taught herself how to do a one-handed cartwheel.
When Douglas turned 14, she left her hometown and family, and moved to West Des Moines, Iowa, to train with renowned coach Liang Chow. Travis and Missy Parton volunteered to be Douglas’s host family in West Des Moines: According to Douglas’s official website, she plays big sister to the Parton’s four daughters, one of whom is also a student of Chow’s.
 At the 2010 Nastia Liukin SuperGirl Cup, Douglas made her debut on the national scene, placing fourth all-around. She also placed third on the balance beam, sixth on vault and ninth all-around in the junior division of her first elite meet, the 2010 CoverGirl classic in Chicago, Illinois. Douglas went on to win the silver medal on balance beam and fourth all-around at the 2010 U.S. Junior National Championships, and then took the uneven bars title at the 2010 Pan American Championships. Her performance at that event also placed Douglas at fifth all-around and won her a share of the U.S. team gold medal.
Douglas was a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the team finals at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, Japan. She also won the 2012 Olympic Trials, which took place in San Jose, California, and was selected to the national team that will represent the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.
"Her unique blend of power, flexibility, body alignment and form has led her to be compared with three-time Olympian Dominique Dawes," states an article on American-Gymnast.com. Douglas is the first African American to make the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team since Dawes in 2000. She aims to be the second African American woman to win an individual medal, according to a June 2012 Los Angeles Times article.
By 2012, 16-year-old Douglas had proven herself a champion, going from underdog to Olympian in a short time. She became the subject of significant media attention in the summer of 2012: She was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in early July of 2012, along with the rest of the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team, and on one of five covers released by TIME Magazine that same month.
At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Douglas and other members of the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team—Kyla Ross , McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber —took home a team gold medal. Fans worldwide watched as judges announced the team’s medal win—the first gold medal for the American women’s gymnastics team since 1996.
Douglas went on to compete in the individual all-around event, and became the first African American to win gold in the prestigious event. Following her two golds, she competed in the individual uneven bars and individual beam events, but failed to medal in either, placing eight and seventh, respectively.
Ritual Of Remembrance
1. Encouraged by her single mother, Gabby moved to Iowa in order to train to eventually become a record breaking Olympic Gymnast.  She RISKED leaving her family for two years to pursue her passion. What long term sacrifices are you willing to make/RISK in order to pursue your passion?
2. Listen to the story of Natalie Hawkins, Gabby’s single mother of 4, speak about her experience “RAISING AN OLYMPIAN”. Reflect on how important Ms. Hawkins role in supporting Gabby in becoming an Olympic Champion. Reflect on the community’s role in contributing to Gabby’s accomplishments.
3. Thank your mother, father, guardian, teacher, coach, mentor for positively contributing to you. PAY IT FORWARD and powerfully contribute to the life of a child today.   

DAY # 31: GABRIELLE “GABBY” DOUGLAS, GYMNAST, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST, FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO WIN GOLD IN THE INDIVIDUAL ALL-AROUND EVENT  

Lived: December 31, 1995

Trait to Admire: RISK TAKER

BIO & LEGACY:

American gymnast Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas, better known as Gabby Douglas or “Flying Squirrel,” was born on December 31, 1995, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Timothy Douglas and Natalie Hawkins. Her first experience with gymnastics came at the age of 3, when she perfected a straight cartwheel using a technique that she learned from her older sister, Arielle, a former gymnast. By age 4, Douglas had taught herself how to do a one-handed cartwheel.

When Douglas turned 14, she left her hometown and family, and moved to West Des Moines, Iowa, to train with renowned coach Liang Chow. Travis and Missy Parton volunteered to be Douglas’s host family in West Des Moines: According to Douglas’s official website, she plays big sister to the Parton’s four daughters, one of whom is also a student of Chow’s.

 At the 2010 Nastia Liukin SuperGirl Cup, Douglas made her debut on the national scene, placing fourth all-around. She also placed third on the balance beam, sixth on vault and ninth all-around in the junior division of her first elite meet, the 2010 CoverGirl classic in Chicago, Illinois. Douglas went on to win the silver medal on balance beam and fourth all-around at the 2010 U.S. Junior National Championships, and then took the uneven bars title at the 2010 Pan American Championships. Her performance at that event also placed Douglas at fifth all-around and won her a share of the U.S. team gold medal.

Douglas was a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the team finals at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, Japan. She also won the 2012 Olympic Trials, which took place in San Jose, California, and was selected to the national team that will represent the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.

"Her unique blend of power, flexibility, body alignment and form has led her to be compared with three-time Olympian Dominique Dawes," states an article on American-Gymnast.com. Douglas is the first African American to make the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team since Dawes in 2000. She aims to be the second African American woman to win an individual medal, according to a June 2012 Los Angeles Times article.

By 2012, 16-year-old Douglas had proven herself a champion, going from underdog to Olympian in a short time. She became the subject of significant media attention in the summer of 2012: She was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in early July of 2012, along with the rest of the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team, and on one of five covers released by TIME Magazine that same month.

At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Douglas and other members of the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team—Kyla Ross , McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber —took home a team gold medal. Fans worldwide watched as judges announced the team’s medal win—the first gold medal for the American women’s gymnastics team since 1996.

Douglas went on to compete in the individual all-around event, and became the first African American to win gold in the prestigious event. Following her two golds, she competed in the individual uneven bars and individual beam events, but failed to medal in either, placing eight and seventh, respectively.

Ritual Of Remembrance

1. Encouraged by her single mother, Gabby moved to Iowa in order to train to eventually become a record breaking Olympic Gymnast.  She RISKED leaving her family for two years to pursue her passion. What long term sacrifices are you willing to make/RISK in order to pursue your passion?

2. Listen to the story of Natalie Hawkins, Gabby’s single mother of 4, speak about her experience “RAISING AN OLYMPIAN”. Reflect on how important Ms. Hawkins role in supporting Gabby in becoming an Olympic Champion. Reflect on the community’s role in contributing to Gabby’s accomplishments.

3. Thank your mother, father, guardian, teacher, coach, mentor for positively contributing to you. PAY IT FORWARD and powerfully contribute to the life of a child today.   

  • 7th February
    2013
  • 07
 
DAY #30: IYANLA VANZANT, INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER, SPIRITUAL TEACHER, AUTHOR
Born: September 13, 1953 Trait to Admire: HEALER
BIO & LEGACY: 
Iyanla Vanzant has long proven herself to be a woman of purpose, using her platform as a television personality, inspirational speaker, spiritual teacher, and author to help others live out their true purpose and establish healthy relationships with themselves and others.
Vanzant, who is both a Yoruba priestess and ordained New Thought minister, has done the work she puts her clients through. The Brooklyn, NY, native and founder of Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development was motherless at age 3, raped at the young age of 9, and became a single mother at just 16 years of age. By 21, Vanzant had three children and in the nine years that followed she suffered through a physically violent marriage.
Fortunately, her story didn’t end there. At 34, Vanzant became a college graduate and went on to earn a law degree at 38. Not long after she became a spiritual force we now know her to be, publishing 15 books, five of which are New York Time’s Best-Sellers. She’s also frequented a number of television shows from Oprah to The View, and starred in her own NBC daytime drama, Starting Over, where she helped women move on from their hurtful pasts and begin to live again without guilt and shame.
Nowadays, we watch Vanzant dissect broken souls on her OWN series, Iyanla Fix My Life, challenging everyday men and women and celebrities alike to address their demons and right their wrongs. Her work inspires us to examine our own selves and heal our wounds.
Ritual of Remembrance
1. “Until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed”. Listen to Iyanla define PAIN. What are your thoughts  around the topic of pain? What are some of your practices you use to heal yourself of past, current, or reoccurring pain? 
2.Identify one negative reoccurring pattern in your life that you would like to put an end to. Discuss the pattern with a close friend, family member or community HEALER, create steps towards making sustainable change for yourself and have them help you in maintaining your integrity in breaking your negative cycle.
3. Thank a HEALER (Teacher, Pastor, Social Worker, Doctor, Physical Therapist, Life Coach) in your community who devotes their lives to powerfully assisting people to positively transform their lives.

 

DAY #30: IYANLA VANZANT, INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER, SPIRITUAL TEACHER, AUTHOR

Born: September 13, 1953
Trait to Admire: HEALER

BIO & LEGACY:

Iyanla Vanzant has long proven herself to be a woman of purpose, using her platform as a television personality, inspirational speaker, spiritual teacher, and author to help others live out their true purpose and establish healthy relationships with themselves and others.

Vanzant, who is both a Yoruba priestess and ordained New Thought minister, has done the work she puts her clients through. The Brooklyn, NY, native and founder of Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development was motherless at age 3, raped at the young age of 9, and became a single mother at just 16 years of age. By 21, Vanzant had three children and in the nine years that followed she suffered through a physically violent marriage.

Fortunately, her story didn’t end there. At 34, Vanzant became a college graduate and went on to earn a law degree at 38. Not long after she became a spiritual force we now know her to be, publishing 15 books, five of which are New York Time’s Best-Sellers. She’s also frequented a number of television shows from Oprah to The View, and starred in her own NBC daytime drama, Starting Over, where she helped women move on from their hurtful pasts and begin to live again without guilt and shame.

Nowadays, we watch Vanzant dissect broken souls on her OWN series, Iyanla Fix My Life, challenging everyday men and women and celebrities alike to address their demons and right their wrongs. Her work inspires us to examine our own selves and heal our wounds.

Ritual of Remembrance

1. “Until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed”. Listen to Iyanla define PAIN. What are your thoughts  around the topic of pain? What are some of your practices you use to heal yourself of past, current, or reoccurring pain?

2.Identify one negative reoccurring pattern in your life that you would like to put an end to. Discuss the pattern with a close friend, family member or community HEALER, create steps towards making sustainable change for yourself and have them help you in maintaining your integrity in breaking your negative cycle.

3. Thank a HEALER (Teacher, Pastor, Social Worker, Doctor, Physical Therapist, Life Coach) in your community who devotes their lives to powerfully assisting people to positively transform their lives.

  • 6th February
    2013
  • 06
DAY #29: SHONDA RHIMES, SCREENWRITER, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER 
Lived: January 13, 1970
Trait to Admire: DREAM CHASER
BIO & LEGACY: 
Shonda Rhimes is one of the most influential women, let alone Black women, in the television entertainment industry right now. The screenwriter, director, and producer is the creator of three of the most-watched shows on TV right now: Grey’s Anatomy, it’s spin-off Private Practice and Scandal.
Rhimes developed a knack for storytelling as a young girl growing up in Chicago and while at Dartmouth working on her B.A., she further developed a skill, dividing her time between writing fiction and directing and performing in plays. She then went on to study screenwriting at USC, where the talent fully manifested itself into a Master of Fine Arts from the university’s School of Cinema-Television. Ranking at the top of her class, while there Rhimes earned the prestigious Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship Award. 
 Despite the academic recognition, Rhimes found herself in Hollywood and unemployed after college, worked a variety of day jobs, from office administrator to counselor, to make ends meet. All was not lost though, as Rhimes also spent that time working on the 1995 Peabody Award-winning documentary, Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream, and soon after earned an assignment to write the 1999 HBO movie, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, which won numerous awards and established Rhimes as a strong force in the industry.
Ten years and experience writing, producing, and directing several successful movies passed before Rhimes gave birth to Grey’s Anatomy, but since then she’s been an unstoppable force. Grey’s is the highest-rated drama in the 18 - 49 demographic and was preciously ranked as one of the overall top-ten rated shows in the United States. It’s also an exemplary representation of how to do diversity right, and Rhimes has continued to demonstrate that skill in her subsequent projects, especially Scandal, which stars Kerry Washington in the first lead role for an African American woman in 38 years, and the only among the major networks.’
Outside of the professional realm, Rhimes is equally inspirational, having adopted her first daughter, Harper, in June 2002 and another girl named Emerson Pearl in February 2012. For making it her business to display diversity that occupies American Society on the television screen, we salute Shonda Rhimes.
Ritual Of Remembrance
1. Ms. Rhimes had her “eye on the prize” when it came down to manifesting her role as one of the most influential women in the entertainment industry. What DREAM are you currently MANIFESTING into existence? How determined are you to turn your DREAM into REALITY?
2. Watch a clip from Oprah’s interview with Ms. Rhimes on, Ruling The World Through Television. Be inspired by her story and share with your friends who have WRITING, DIRECTING and PRODUCING ambitions.

DAY #29: SHONDA RHIMES, SCREENWRITER, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER

Lived: January 13, 1970

Trait to Admire: DREAM CHASER

BIO & LEGACY:

Shonda Rhimes is one of the most influential women, let alone Black women, in the television entertainment industry right now. The screenwriter, director, and producer is the creator of three of the most-watched shows on TV right now: Grey’s Anatomy, it’s spin-off Private Practice and Scandal.

Rhimes developed a knack for storytelling as a young girl growing up in Chicago and while at Dartmouth working on her B.A., she further developed a skill, dividing her time between writing fiction and directing and performing in plays. She then went on to study screenwriting at USC, where the talent fully manifested itself into a Master of Fine Arts from the university’s School of Cinema-Television. Ranking at the top of her class, while there Rhimes earned the prestigious Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship Award.

 Despite the academic recognition, Rhimes found herself in Hollywood and unemployed after college, worked a variety of day jobs, from office administrator to counselor, to make ends meet. All was not lost though, as Rhimes also spent that time working on the 1995 Peabody Award-winning documentary, Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream, and soon after earned an assignment to write the 1999 HBO movie, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, which won numerous awards and established Rhimes as a strong force in the industry.

Ten years and experience writing, producing, and directing several successful movies passed before Rhimes gave birth to Grey’s Anatomy, but since then she’s been an unstoppable force. Grey’s is the highest-rated drama in the 18 - 49 demographic and was preciously ranked as one of the overall top-ten rated shows in the United States. It’s also an exemplary representation of how to do diversity right, and Rhimes has continued to demonstrate that skill in her subsequent projects, especially Scandal, which stars Kerry Washington in the first lead role for an African American woman in 38 years, and the only among the major networks.’

Outside of the professional realm, Rhimes is equally inspirational, having adopted her first daughter, Harper, in June 2002 and another girl named Emerson Pearl in February 2012. For making it her business to display diversity that occupies American Society on the television screen, we salute Shonda Rhimes.

Ritual Of Remembrance

1. Ms. Rhimes had her “eye on the prize” when it came down to manifesting her role as one of the most influential women in the entertainment industry. What DREAM are you currently MANIFESTING into existence? How determined are you to turn your DREAM into REALITY?

2. Watch a clip from Oprah’s interview with Ms. Rhimes on, Ruling The World Through Television. Be inspired by her story and share with your friends who have WRITING, DIRECTING and PRODUCING ambitions.

  • 5th February
    2013
  • 05

DAY 28: NIKKI HENDERSON: Food Activist, Community Organizer, Educator & Executive Director of The People’s Grocery.

TRAIT TO ADMIRE: SUSTAINABILITY

BIO & LEGACY:
Nikki Henderson, 28, is Executive Director of People’s Grocery in Oakland, CA. Since 2010, she is an award-winning activist in the food and social justice fields. The People’s Grocery began as a mobile food-truck grocery store that would bring fresh food and produce to communities of color in West Oakland, CA. Their vision is evolving as the global conversation around food access strengthens. “At People’s Grocery, our feet are firmly planted in the soil, but we have big dreams. The future of our community – and the world – is at stake, if a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system does not flourish to provide for our children and generations ahead.”

Nikki fundamentally believes that the food justice movement needs community-driven organizations that focus on forward-thinking strategies, proactively shape national dialogue, create spaces to cultivate grassroots leadership, implement replicable local programming, and advocate with a racial justice lens.

Nikki began her work in social justice through the foster care system in Southern California, having been raised with seven older foster brothers. Through mentoring, tutoring, and directing Foster Youth Empowerment Workshops, she developed her passion for youth leadership development among communities of color.

She later shifted into sustainability, developing course curriculum for the University of California system and advocating across the state for environmental justice and political ecology.

She teaches a course called Edible Education 101 at UC Berkeley.  In creating this course, she states, “It was also important for me that people speak for themselves. The whole class could have been taught by people who have written books about other people’s experiences. But we’ll have practitioners like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers [immigrant farm workers who have brought about historic changes for tomato farmers in Florida], for instance, who will come and tell their stories themselves. It’s important for the students to experience that, because one of the dynamics of not having privilege is that you don’t get to tell your own story. Those with means and access get to spend their time telling your story. I wanted to ground the syllabus in the struggle for food justice and food security. There wouldn’t need to be a movement if there weren’t deep injustices happening and divisions within the movement. This college course explores the complexity of these issues within the context of the food movement.”

Nikki has worked closely with Van Jones and Phaedra Ellis Lamkins at Green for All, fighting for a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. She was also a part of Slow Food USA in Brooklyn, NY where President Josh Viertel came to regard her as an “extraordinary leader with a vision for how food and urban farming can be tools of empowerment.”  In 2009, Nikki co-founded Live Real, a national collaborative of food movement organizations committed to strengthening and expanding the youth food movement in the United States. In 2010, Nikki was featured in ELLE magazine as one of the five Gold Awardees. She has a Master’s degree in African American Studies from UCLA, and is originally from Los Angeles, CA.

RITUAL OF REMEMBRANCE
1. All of Nikki’s work is rooted in family. Having grown up with seven foster siblings she learned the value of family. Make time to connect with your family (biological or chosen) to remind them of their value in your life.

2. Sustainability begins with implementing personal practices that keep us rejuvenated. Are you getting enough sleep, exercise, water and laughter each day? Are you engaging in relationships that motivate, inspire and transform?

3. For the next 7 days, eat vegetable based meals? For each serving, make sure that half of your plate is filled with lush vegetables. Record any changes that notice in your body and emotions. Continue this ritual for an additional 14 days. Find a rhythm that works for you.

  • 4th February
    2013
  • 04

Rosa McCauley Parks: Community Organizer & Mother of The Civil Rights Movement

Lived: February 4, 1913 ~ October 25, 2005
Trait to Admire: INTENTIONALITY

BIO & LEGACY:
We have all heard the story about the tired seamstress who randomly decided to stay seated on a public bus instead of yielding her seat to a white person. And yet, there is so much more to Rosa Parks than the sanitized version of her story that we showcase every February. Did you know that she was arrested by the same bus driver, for the same offense a year prior to the Montgomery Bus Boycott? Or that she preferred the teachings of Malcolm X? Here are a few facts about The Rosa Parks You Don’t Know.

Mrs. Parks was intentional in her actions. Whether she was investigating a gang rape of a young Alabama girl, or strategizing on how to shape her local NAACP chapter into an activist branch or choosing December 1, 1955 as the day that she would remain seated on the bus, Mrs. Parks always had a plan.

As we honor Mrs. Rosa Parks’ on her 100th Birthday, let us be reminded of the power and impact of INTENTIONALITY.

Rituals of Remembrance:
1. Say thank you to the elders in the community who with their thoughts, words and actions - large & small; covert & overt; visible & unrecognizable - transformed the world in which we live. Create a ritual in honor of their memory.

2. Connect yourself to the larger movements happening in the world. Connect others in your community to these movements as well. While our individual acts of service make a difference, it is our collective organizing that shifts society.

3. Play the long game. Mrs. Parks was not event-centered or individually focused. She focused on the long-term systemic impact of her actions. She understood the value of garnering smaller victories so that she and others could win at the long game. Ask yourself, if you are playing are long game? If not what actions can you take to expand your visions? If you are, what’s your next move?

  • 3rd February
    2013
  • 03

DAY 26: Anna Arnold Hedgeman ~ Activist for Feminism and Civil Rights

Anna Arnold Hedgeman: Activist for Feminism and Civil Rights. Founding Member of the National Organization  for Women (NOW)

Lived: July 5, 1899 ~ January 17, 1990
Trait to Admire: CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO

BIO & LEGACY:
Anna Arnold was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, to William James Arnold II and Marie Ellen Parker Arnold. She moved with her family to Anoka, Minnesota, when she was very young. She attended Hamline University, and in 1922 became the first African-American graduate, having earned a B.A. degree in English. While in college, she heard W. E. B. Du Bois speak, which inspired her to succeed as an educator. For two years, Hedgeman taught English and History at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, where she experienced the humiliation of segregation for the first time. She would later make Harlem her home with her husband, she married Merritt Hedgeman, an interpreter of African-American folk music and opera.

Anna Arnold Hedgeman was the only woman to serve on the 1963 March on Washington planning committee. Asked to serve with the Big Six (Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Martin Luther King, James Farmer, Whitney Young, and John Lewis) in planning the 1963 March, she found it incredibly disturbing that these men had not thought to include a “Negro woman” speaker at the march. Their initial plan was for Randolph to “ask several Negro women to stand while he reviewed the historic role of Negro women [and then] the women would merely take a bow at the end of his presentation.”

She wouldn’t stand for it, and instead drafted a memorandum to the group, noting that “in light of the role of the Negro women in the struggle for freedom and especially in light of the extra burden they have carried because of the castration of the Negro man in our culture, it is incredible that no woman should appear as a speaker at the historic March on Washington Meeting at the Lincoln Memorial.”

She suggested that they ask either Myrlie Evers, widow of Medgar Evers, or Diane Nash Bevel, a young Civil Rights leader. Roy Wilkins obliged her request. The wives of various Civil Rights leaders were asked to share the dais, Daisy Bates “was asked to say a few words,” and Rosa Parks was presented, Hedgeman notes, “almost casually.”

She would later challenge Dr. King by saying that the “dream” did not belong solely to him. “Your dream of a new frontier is bound up in the dreams of all people who have had a vision beyond the moment; a vision of some people in the world from the beginning of time.” I wanted desperately to say these same words to Martin Luther King, standing in front of 250,000 people who had come to Washington because they had a dream, and in the face of all the men and women of the past who have dreamed in vain, I wished very much that Martin had said, We have a dream.”

Her accomplishments are many:

  • Served as an executive director for the YWCA in Ohio, New Jersey, Harlem, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn.
  • In 1944, she became the executive secretary of the National Council for a Permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) making her the first black person to hold a Federal Security Agency position.
  • In 1946, she served as assistant dean of women at Howard University.
  • In 1954, she became the first African American woman to hold a mayoral cabinet position in the history of New York.
  • In 1959 she was an associate editor and columnist for New York Age.
  • 1963, she served as Coordinator of Special Events for the Commission of Religion and Race of the National Council of Churches.
  • In 1966, serves as the first Executive Vice President of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
  • Owner of Hedgeman Consultant Services in New York City.
  • She ran for U.S Congress and New York City Council President.

Anna Arnold Hedgeman was the first chair of NOW’s Task Force on Women in Poverty. In her 1967 task force report, she called for a meaningful expansion of economic opportunities for women and said there were no jobs or opportunities for women “at the bottom of the heap” to move into. Her suggestions included job training, job creation, regional and city planning, attention to high school dropouts and an end to the ignoring of women and girls in federal job and poverty-related programs.

Hedgeman served as teacher, lecturer, and consultant to numerous educational centers, boards, and colleges and universities, particularly in the area of African-American studies. She traveled to Africa and lectured throughout the United States, especially in black schools and colleges. She stressed to students the importance of understanding history as a basis to achieve equality.

Hedgeman held memberships in numerous organizations, such as the Child Study Association, Community Council of the City of New York, National Urban League, NAACP, United Nations Association, Advisory Committee on Alcoholism, Advisory Committee on Drug Addiction, and the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Hedgeman is author of The Trumpet Sounds (1964), The Gift of Chaos (1977), and articles in numerous organizational publications, newspapers, and journals. Hedgeman, who had been a resident of the Greater Harlem Nursing Home, died on January 17, 1990, in Harlem Hospital.

RITUAL OF REMEMBRANCE:

  1. Listen to Columnist Herb Boyd’s reflection on Hedgeman.
  2. Dedicate today to a woman in your life who embodies the energy of Anna Hedgeman.
  3. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich famously said, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Where in your life do you play it safe? What impact has this had on your being and community?
  4. Practice being part of the WE. Black women are socialized to believe that we must do everything by ourselves. Hedgeman reminds us that the power and strength don’t live in the “I” Power and strength live in the “WE.” Ask for support with your ideas and dreams.

  • 2nd February
    2013
  • 02

Day # 25 Beah (Beulah) Elizabeth Richard, actress, activist, poet

“The world needs to hear what you have to say. The last word has not been spoken.”

Born: July 12, 1920 - September 14, 2000 - Vicksburg, Mississippi

Trait to admire: Master

Bio and Legacy:

Born Beulah Elizabeth Richardson in Vicksburg, Mississippi, her mother was a seamstress and PTA advocate and her father was a Baptist minister. In 1948, she graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans and two years later moved to New York City. Her career started to take off in 1955 when she portrayed an eighty-four-year-old-grandmother in the off-Broadway show Take a Giant Step. She often played the role of a mother or grandmother, and continued acting her entire life.

Beah Richards Facts:

Died just days after receiving Emmy award for ”The Practice”

which was accepted for her by LisaGay Hamilton and delivered to Vicksburg.

  • Married for three years to Hugh Harrell, Jr., an African-American sculptor
  • Appeared in James Baldwin’s “The Amen Corner” on Broadway in 1965, for which she received a Tony nomination as Best Actress (Dramatic).
  • One of her poems, “Keep Climbing, Girls”, has been turned into a picture book inspiring girls’ power. Published in 2006 by Simon & Schuster.
  • Honored with the Paul Robeson Pioneer Award and was inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame.
  • Appeared in “Purlie Victorious” on Broadway, 1961.
  • Appeared in “Take a Giant Step” off-Broadway, 1955.
  • Inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1974.
  • Lisa Gay Hamilton’s documentary about Beah’s life would go on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the AFI Film Festival.
  • Richards championed civil rights alongside Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois
  • She was friends with Langston Hughes and Communist Party leaders William and Louise Parker
  • The FBI kept a file on her from 1951 to 1972, that totaled 100 pages.

“There are a lot of movies out there that I would hate to be paid to do: some real demeaning, real woman-denigrating stuff. It is up to women to change their roles. They are going to have to write the stuff and do it. And they will.”

Ritual of Remembrance:

A Black Women Speaks…….

1. Unleash your inner poet by getting out a notepad/journal and write down your thoughts on Black Womanhood

2. Watch and listen again to Ms. Beah’s recitation of her poem

3. Read the full poem of A Black Woman Speaks of White Womanhood, of White Supremacy, of Peace here

4. Watch the documentary Beah: A Black Woman Speaks

5. Watch Ms. Beah’s stirring speech  as Suggs Holly from the movie Beloved

  • 1st February
    2013
  • 01

Day #24: KATHLEEN NEAL CLEAVER, LAWYER, ACTIVIST, SOUL SISTER, BLACK PANTHER PARTY LEADER

Day #24: KATHLEEN NEAL CLEAVER, LAWYER, ACTIVIST, SOUL SISTER, SNCC & BLACK PANTHER PARTY LEADER, EX-WIFE OF ELDRIDGE CLEAVER

Born: May 13, 1945, Dallas, Texas

Trait to admire: Focused

 

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Bio & Legacy:

Kathleen Neal was born in DallasTexas. Both of her parents had higher education; her father was a sociology professor at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas and her mother had a master’s degree in mathematics. . Soon after Kathleen was born, her father, Ernest Neal, accepted a job as the director of the Rural Life Council of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Six years later, Ernest joined the Foreign Service. The family moved abroad and lived in such countries as IndiaLiberiaSierra Leone, and the Phillippines. Kathleen returned to the United States to attend a Quaker boarding school near Philadelphia, George School. She graduated with honors in 1963. She continued her education at Oberlin College, and later transferred to Barnard College. In 1966, she left college for a secretarial job with the New York office of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Kathleen Cleaver became the Black Panther Party’s National Communications Secretary and helped to organize the campaign to get Huey Newton released from prison. She was also the first woman to be appointed to the Black Panthers Central Committee.As a result of their involvement with the Black Panther Party, the Cleavers were often the target of police investigations.

Eldridge Cleaver staged a deliberate ambush of Oakland police officers during which two police officers were injured. Cleaver was wounded and fellow Black Panther member Bobby Hutton was killed in a shootout following the initial exchange of gunfire. Charged with attempted murder, he jumped bail to flee to Cuba and later went to Algeria.

Cleaver returned to the United States in 1975. Tried for his role in the 1968 shoot-out, Cleaver was found guilty of assault. The court was lenient and Cleaver, now a born-again Christian, received only five year’s probation and directed to perform 2,000 hours of community service.

 Kathleen divorced Eldridge Cleaver in 1985 and went back to school in 1981, receiving a full scholarship from Yale University. She graduated in 1983, summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. In 1987, Kathleen divorced Eldridge Cleaver. She then continued her education by getting her law degree from Yale Law School. After graduating, Cleaver worked for the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and followed this with numerous jobs including: law clerk in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, the faculty of Emory University in Atlanta, visiting faculty member at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, the Graduate School of Yale University and Sarah Lawrence College. In 2005, she was selected an inaugural Fletcher Foundation Fellow. She then worked as a Senior Research Associate at the Yale Law School, and a Senior Lecturer in the African American Studies department at Yale University. She is currently serving as senior lecturer at Yale University.

She is still an advocate for political prisoners, and still delights in watching street protests. She lives in an affluent village near New Haven with St. Clair Bourne, a documentary filmmaker. If Ms. Cleaver’s life today seems like a sharp contrast to the days when her 1968 campaign poster for the California State Assembly pictured her holding a gun, it is only the latest curve in a story that has taken many unpredictable turns.

Ritual of Remembrance: 

 Aluta Continua (” The Struggle Continues”)

1. What role are you playing in the struggle? 

Listen to Kathleen Cleaver explain why we must actively participate in the struggle for justice

2.  Watch Kathleen at a Trayvon Martin Protest

3. Read an article about Kathleen fighting for the rights of the Geechee/Gullah people in Georgia.