Celebrating Black Excellence During Black History Month

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Black History Month 2020

February marks Black History Month, an annual observance to remember and honor African-Americans and events in history.

Leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Harriet Tubman, and many others, have left a mark on American history that has changed the course for many social justice revolutions across the nation.

To commemorate their work, we take the time to recognize and celebrate their fight for equality and justice. African-American role models have charted new courses in black excellence, helping to create history!

 

 

1991-First African-American woman to serve as mayor for a major U.S. city: Sharon Pratt

1991-First African-American driver to qualify for the Indy 500: Willy T. Ribbs

1992-First African-American woman in space: Dr. Mae Jemison

1993-First African-American appointed surgeon general of the United States: Dr. Joycelyn Elders

1993-First African-American named U.S. poet laureate: Rita Dove

1994-First African-American to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature: Toni Morrison

1994-First African-American to host the Academy Awards: Whoopi Goldberg

1997-First African-American to win the Masters golf tournament: Tiger Woods

1999-First African-American chess international grandmaster: Maurice Ashley

2001-First African-American president of an Ivy League institution: Dr. Ruth Simmons

2001-First African-American billionaire: Robert Johnson. Johnson is an entrepreneur and founder of BET

2001-First African-American named secretary of state: Gen. Colin Powell

2002-First African-American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress: Halle Berry

2002-First African-American to earn a gold medal at the Winter Games: Vonetta Flowers. Vonetta Flowers is awarded gold medal in the women’s bobsled competition during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

2005-First African-American woman named secretary of state: Dr. Condoleezza Rice

2006-First African-American to reach the peak of Mount Everest: Sophia Danenberg

2006-First African-American to earn an individual gold medal at the Winter Games: Shani Davis

2007-First African-American pilot to fly solo around the world: Barrington Irving Jr.

2008-Senator Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be nominated as a major party nominee for president. He subsequently becomes the first African- American to be elected president of the United States.

2008-First African-American to launch his own film and television studio: Tyler Perry

2008-First African-American to referee a Super Bowl: Mike Carey

2009-Barack Obama becomes the first African American president and the country’s 44th president.

2009-First African-American U.S. attorney general: Eric Holder

2009-First African-American to lead the Environmental Protection Agency: Lisa Perez Jackson

2012-Barack Obama is reelected to the presidency.

2013-First African-American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Cheryl Boone Isaacs

2015-First African-American woman named U.S. attorney general: Loretta Lynch

2015-First African-American promoted to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre: Misty Copeland

LA Pride Festival Cancels In-Person Celebration, Will Go Digital

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LA-pride-2019

On its 50th anniversary, the iconic Los Angeles Pride Festival and Parade, which normally draw hundreds of thousands of people to West Hollywood in June, will be going digital because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers recently announced that the festival will instead be held virtually on several digital platforms over a period of months and spanning into 2021.

Back in mid-March, Christopher Street West – the nonprofit group in charge of putting on the festival, announced that it would be postponed. However, it was confirmed that the festival has been canceled the in-person celebrations, and will instead return in 2021.

“Due to the evolving effects surrounding COVID-19, CSW has made the responsible decision to forgo in-person LA Pride celebrations for the remainder of the year,” the group said in a statement. “The organization will instead re-imagine how it will celebrate its 50th anniversary through new and exciting initiatives hosted on its digital platforms, with the hope of returning to a physical celebration in 2021. More details will be announced soon on how Los Angeles will celebrate its 50th Anniversary through exciting digital initiatives.”

The three-day festival is one of the largest LGBTQ celebrations in the nation.

CSW said it would roll out its digital initiatives in the coming months.

Continue on to CBS Los Angeles to read the complete article.

Unique Ways to Thank your Essential Workers

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Thank You to Essential Workers in Fight Against Covid-19

From doctors and nurses to grocery store clerks and pharmacists, our essential workers are showing up every day to keep us safe and healthy during this time.

We are so thankful for each and every one of these workers, but how can we better show our gratitude and encourage them along the way? Here are four unique ways you can thank our essential workers.

1) Make a Sign

This is a relatively easy one that can be done by the whole family. Create a sign to hang from your window, car, or front yard that can be easily seen by essential workers driving or walking by your home. This little sign of encouragement shows they are being appreciated, even when we cannot personally thank every single one of them.

2) Support Their Families

During this time, essential workers are often working longer hours, and many are unable to be fully present for their families during this time. Check up on the families of essential workers in your life, and see what you can do to help. Delivering groceries, making a meal, or simply being a good listener can help ease the stress of the families who are struggling with the new lifestyle of their essential loved one.

3) Feed the Frontlines

Especially for medical professionals working long hours, getting a proper meal may be the last thing on their mind while trying to help others. Ordering food to be delivered to local hospitals, firehouses, grocery stores, and other essential businesses will not only show them your appreciation but could also ease their especially stressful work day. Ordering food will also help restaurants stay in business!

4) Stay at Home

The best way to show respect for those who are working so hard to keep us safe is to adhere to their wishes and stay inside. Washing our hands, keeping ourselves healthy, and social distancing are just a few of the ways that we can all slow the spread of the virus and speed up the process of bringing our essential workers home sooner.

BECOMING – OFFICIAL TRAILER

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MIchelle Obama book jacket cover

BECOMING is an intimate look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama during a moment of profound change, not only for her personally but also for the country she and her husband served over eight impactful years in the White House.

The film offers a rare and up-close look at her life, taking viewers behind the scenes as she embarks on a 34-city tour that highlights the power of community to bridge our divides and the spirit of connection that comes when we openly and honestly share our stories.

Film Release Date: May 6, 2020
Format: Original Documentary Feature

Directed by: Nadia Hallgren
Produced by: Katy Chevigny,
Marilyn Ness, & Lauren Cioffi
Co-Producer: Maureen A. Ryan
Executive Producers:
Priya Swaminathan & Tonia Davis

A NOTE FROM MICHELLE
I’m excited to let you know that on May 6, Netflix will release BECOMING, a documentary film directed by Nadia Hallgren that looks at my life and the experiences I had while touring following the release of my memoir. Those months I spent traveling—meeting and connecting with people in cities across the globe—drove home the idea that what we share in common is deep and real and can’t be messed with.

In groups large and small, young and old, unique and united, we came together and shared stories, filling those spaces with our joys, worries, and dreams.

*BECOMING is the third release from Higher Ground Productions and Netflix*

To view the documentary now available on Netflix visit, netflix.com/Becoming.

#IAmBecoming

5 Tips to Keep Your Hair Zoom Meeting Ready

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Black professional woman with hands up and excited looking at computer monitor while in Zoom meeting

Linda Husser is no stranger to caring for her natural hair during challenging times. While stationed in England as Senior Airman in the Airforce, she had to learn to care for her natural hair without access to the biweekly trip to the hair salon that she was accustomed to before enlisting. 

“I would basically just put my hair into four or five cornrows because our hair had to always comply with service regulations and be above the neck,” she explains. From there, Husser began to use different products to style her hair from the limited options available for black hair at the PBX in England. As she got creative with hairstyles, others began asking her to do their hair and her new career as hairstylist was born. Thirty years later, she owns one of the most successful hair salons specializing in Black Hair in Orange County, California – Linda’s Hair Affair.  

Before the salon closures, the majority of Husser’s clients would schedule every two weeks for their hair to be washed, blow-dried, straightened and styled in a ponytail or loose curls. “A lot of them didn’t think that staying at home still meant they had to look Zoom Meeting Ready’, and have been reaching out to me for advice,” she shares.   

Here are her top tips to keep your hair healthy and Zoom ready during quarantine –  

  1. Do your hair as if you were going to the salon.  Wash and deep condition every two weeks. 
  1. Don’t worry about straightening your hair.  The new growth that’s coming in will be a different texture and your hair is more prone to breakage as a result.  Blowing it out with a blow dryer or putting it in two cornrows is best.  
  1. Moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize.  Use this time to love your hair with oils and butters and conditioners.  Use a silk or cloth scarf to seal it in on your braided hair. 
  1. Use YouTube as a resource to learn how to flat twist, corn row, or experiment with other natural hair styles.   
  1. Wigs are a stylish, easy, and quick protective hairstyle option that actually gives your hair a break if it is thinning from weaves or braids. 

Ultimately, life will go back to face to face meetings and twice a month salon visits. Until then, use these time-tested tips from a former Airman turned Hair Stylist to get by in style. 

Tracy Yassini
Black EOE Journal contributing writer

Truth, Lessons, & Love of all things #BLACKGIRLSROCK

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everly Bond stands in front of large Black Girls Rock red promo background Black Girls Rock

By Tracy Yasinni

Beverly Bond is a woman who takes on massive responsibility in proving that Black Girls Rock! She is a social entrepreneur, model, mentor, DJ and now an author. Gifted with the ability to know what people want, Bond has worked to reshape the narrative of the Black woman and continues to celebrate the importance of #BlackGirlMagic.

This passion comes to life in her book Black Girls Rock, Owning Our Magic & Rocking Our Truth.

Bond views the book as a continuation of the movement and the mission of Black Girls Rock!

She elaborates, “I wanted something that people could have as a takeaway they could refer to at all times. With the awards show, we could only honor so many women at a time, whereas with the book we can share the magic, survival and achievements of Black women in this one space.”

Black Girls Rock, Owning Our Magic & Rocking Our Truth is dedicated to a close friend of the author who passed away from cancer. “I wanted to show that I had her presence in the books and her mantra, her affirmation, was something that I adopted in the book. It was contagious, it was to live true and dance free.

It resonated so much with me because she stood in her truth. She stood for her art. And I think that that’s something that I do as well. I believe in a truth and a justice in us as a people.

So I think that to live true and dance free, which I’m borrowing from Marjorie, who the book is dedicated to, I would say that that would be one of my mantras,” Bond shares.

About Black Girls Rock, Owning Our Magic & Rocking Our TruthBlack Girls Rock promotional book cover
From the founder of the mentoring organization and awards show Black Girls Rock! comes an inspiring and beautifully-designed tribute to the achievements and contributions of black women around the world, featuring moving entries from icons like Kerry Washington, Angela Davis, Misty Copeland, Serena Williams, Shonda Rhimes, Erykah Badu, Tracee Ellis Ross, and more! Discover the beautiful complexity, rich cultural traditions, and bountiful contributions of some of today’s most powerful black women with this one-of-a-kind celebration of their diversity, power, fortitude, spirituality, and tenacity!

Packed with anecdotes, affirmations, and inspirational essays from women of diverse backgrounds, Black Girls Rock! will empower and inspire you to be your best self.

BET Networks Announces Multi-Phased Social Impact Campaign, #ReclaimYourVote

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BET Networks Announcement Promo of the Multi-Phased Social Impact Campaign, #ReclaimYourVote

BET Networks recently announced #ReclaimYourVote, a social change campaign in partnership with the National Urban League and key national organizations committed to harnessing Black collective power and increasing Black participation in the 2020 Census and the 2020 Election.

The nationwide #ReclaimYourVote campaign will layout the most significant issues, break down otherwise confusing processes, and highlight specific ways where we can reclaim our collective power by harnessing the power of media, entertainment, and technology to drive civic engagement.

#ReclaimYourVote will leverage this opportunity through community activations, television spots, compelling print, social and digital media platforms and urge the Black community to be counted in the census and to take a stand and vote.

“The 2020 Census and presidential election are pivotal moments for our communities—and will produce lasting effects for generations to come, so we’re tackling the critical issues of voting rights and voting suppression head on with #ReclaimYourVote,” said Scott Mills, President, BET Networks. “At BET, we take this mission very seriously because we’re uniquely positioned to mobilize our partners across media, entertainment and technology to drive civic engagement outcomes for the black community like no other brand can.”

“Our nation’s pursuit of liberty, justice and economic empowerment for all hinges largely on the right to determine who will govern us and how. But the right of African Americans to vote—our right to participate in the civic processes of this nation— quite simply, is under attack,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said, referring to findings analyzed in the 2019 State of Black America® report. “Campaigns such as #ReclaimYourVote are essential to harness our collective power and protect our fundamental right to vote.”

The year-long non-partisan campaign was revealed during the network’s day-long social impact conference ‘META: 2020’ in Los Angeles. META is designed to explore how the most influential people and platforms across these sectors can work together to impact outcomes for the Black community, with a 2020 focus on driving civic engagement ahead of 2020 elections. The convening featured special guest speakers including Senator Kamala D. Harris, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Angela Rye, Andrew Gillum, Elaine Welteroth, actress Skai Jackson, and many leaders within the social activism space including NAACP President Derrick Johnson, NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change and many more.

The next phases of #ReclaimYourVote will focus on rallying the community around the critical matters that directly affect them with issues-based content and comprehensive analysis.

“Right now, our participation doesn’t match our power. Our goal with #ReclaimYourVote is to build on the long history of work from our national and local organizations to mobilize our community—especially our young voters and African men because their power combined with the proven strength of black women is our true superpower,” said Jeanine Liburd, Chief Social Impact and Communications Officer, BET Networks. “We couldn’t be more excited to launch this campaign with Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, a perfect partner who shares our commitment to amplifying our collective voices.”

Kicking off the campaign are a series of spots that will launch starting Saturday, February 22, during the 51st NAACP Image Awards airing LIVE at 8 PM ET/PT on BET. Watch and share the first spot in the series at bet.com/reclaimyourvote.

Join the conversation on social media by logging on to BET’s multiple social media platforms and using the hashtags: #ReclaimYourVote and #BETVote and following us @BET, @BETVote, and @BETNews.

For more information go to BET.com.

About META convened by BET Networks.
META: Media, Entertainment & Technology Alliance, is BET’s invitation-only social impact conference created to explore how the most influential people and platforms across these sectors can work together to impact outcomes for the African American community. Given the importance of this year’s presidential election, the February 2020 convening is focused exclusively on the importance of galvanizing the Black vote on Election Day and beyond.

About BET Networks
BET Networks, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African American audience. The primary BET channel is in nearly 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks—BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET Networks around the globe.

About The National Urban League
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization established in 1910 dedicated to the economic and political empowerment of Black people residing in urban localities and cities. The Urban League has stayed true to its original mission over the years, providing pathways to home ownership, economic literacy, jobs, educational and professional development to about 2 million constituents each year. The National Urban League conducts most of this work through its 90 Affiliate entities, across 36 states and the District of Columbia.

Bay Area chefs honor Black History Month 2020

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At PLaYT restaurant in Hayward, owner Michael LeBlanc, left, and executive chef Jerome "Spike" Williams will celebrate African-American culinary heritage during February, which is Black History Month. (Photo courtesy of PLaYT)

Chefs in Hayward and San Francisco have created menus for Black History Month that pay tribute to treasured African-American recipes and black-owned wineries.

For executive chef Jerome “Spike” Williams, of PLaYT in Hayward, it’s a chance to trace African-American culinary lineage from Africa and the Caribbean throughout this country.

“To celebrate, my team and I have channeled dishes that span from northern Africa to Oklahoma and all parts of the southern United States,” Williams said. The downtown Hayward restaurant is owned by Michael LeBlanc; both men were formerly with Picán in Oakland.

Chef Banks White, working on specials for One Market restaurant in San Francisco, sees Black History Month as an opportunity to inspire the next generation. “When I was the executive chef at the Hotel Shattuck (in Berkeley) I didn’t realize how much representation mattered until getting calls from other young cooks asking if they could join the team,” he said in a statement. “Most of them never saw themselves in leadership positions and wanted to learn how I became executive chef. I’m humbled to be in this position to inspire other chefs to achieve excellence in their field.”

In Hayward, PLaYT will showcase a different Williams special every week of the month.

From Feb. 3-8 they will be serving Curried Jerked Chicken braised with roasted peanuts, coconut and Cajun spices and served with smoked collard greens.

The Feb. 10-15 menu will feature a dish that Williams says his grandmother, from Lumberton, Northern Carolina, loved: Low and Slow Braised Oxtails with tomato-okra-butterbean succotash over fried red rice.

From Feb. 17-22 the focus becomes an Oklahoma recipe, Smoked Ham Hocks with smoky kidney beans and a side of cast-iron cornbread.

And from Feb 24-29 it will be a PLaYT favorite, Pork Belly and Niman Ranch Beef Meatloaf, with homemade molasses barbecue sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and smoked collard greens.

In San Francisco, chef White (Rambler, the Brixton) has collaborated with One Market’s chef-partner Mark Dommen to present a four-course menu available for both lunch and dinner Feb. 1-29 at the One Market Street site.

Diners may order the prixe menu ($55) or try the dishes a la carte. Ten percent of the proceeds from the prix fixe menu will be donated to the Museum of the African Diaspora.

The first course, Dommen’s Pickled Shrimp Salad, will be followed by White’s adobo chile-glazed South X Southeast Fried Ribs with okra. For the main course, White is preparing Grilled Trout with pineapple black forbidden fried rice, green papaya salad and Malaysian red curry. Capping off the meal will be pastry chef Lyndsay Pullem’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake with brown sugar ice cream.

Featured wines from African-American vintners will include the McBride Sisters, Theopolis, Okapi, Maison Noir, Vision, Bodkin, DarJean Jones, Longevity and Tymphany.

Continue on to The Mercury News to read the complete article.

In Celebration of the 15th Anniversary of Art, Beats and Lyrics Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Makes $15,000 Contribution to National Museum of African American Music

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Jack Daniels logo including the words Art-Beats Lyrics

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey announced its support of the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM), the only museum dedicated to preserving the legacy and celebrating the accomplishments of the many music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans.

The alignment is an extension of the brand’s partnership with Cult Creative to support the wider community of hip-hop and urban artistry through its signature program Art, Beats and Lyrics (AB+L).

Established in 2004, AB+L has celebrated artwork from nationally and internationally known visual artists who span a variety of styles and genres. Throughout the years, the “museum meets concert” experience has showcased innovators and creatives from both the art and music worlds.

“For 15 years AB+L has been a platform dedicated to celebrating culture through music and visual art,” says Keenan Harris, Senior Multicultural Marketing Manager, Brown-Forman. “Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey is excited to expand the celebration of AB+L to support the anticipated grand opening of the National Museum of African American Music.”

NMAAM will be a first-of-its-kind museum dedicated to celebrating and preserving the musical influence of African Americans to the American soundtrack, and is set to open in the summer of 2020, in the heart of Downtown Nashville, backyard to the Jack Daniel distillery in Lynchburg.

In addition to the monetary donation of $15,000, Jack Honey will raise additional funds to support NMAAM by auctioning off original artwork from the traveling AB+L exhibit. The virtual auction will open in January and run through AB+L’s last tour stop in Chicago on February 14th.

Auction Art Piece
Auction Art Piece

For more information on the AB+L virtual auction and the museum’s upcoming grand opening activities, please visit NMAAM.org.

About Jack Daniel’s:
Officially registered by the U.S. Government in 1866 and based in Lynchburg, Tenn., the Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow, proprietor, is the oldest registered distillery in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Jack Daniel’s is the maker of the world-famous Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey, Gentleman Jack Rare Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select, and Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails. Fly Straight. Drink Responsibly.

JACK DANIEL’S TENNESSEE HONEY is a trademark of JACK DANIEL PROPERTIES INC. ©2019. Jack Daniel’s. Whiskey Specialty, 35% ALC./VOL.(70 proof). Produced and Bottled by JACK DANIEL DISTILLERY, Lynchburg, TENNESSEE, U.S.A.

About the National Museum of African American Music:

The National Museum of African American Music, set to open in the summer of 2020, will be the only museum dedicated solely to preserving African American music traditions and celebrating the influence African Americans have had on music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., as part of the Fifth + Broadway development, the museum will share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring musical heroes of the past into the present. For more information, please visit nmaam.org.

Miss Jamaica Crowned 2019 Miss World, Becomes the 5th Black Woman This Year to Win a Major Pageant

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miss jamaica miss world toni ann singh wears her sash on stage with her crown

Yet another Black woman has won a prestigious international beauty pageant. Miss Jamaica Toni-Ann Singh was recently crowned Miss World 2019 becoming the fifth Black woman this year to win a major pageant.

“To that little girl in St. Thomas, Jamaica and all the girls around the world – please believe in yourself. Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams. This crown is not mine but yours. You have a PURPOSE,” Singh wrote on Twitter after the pageant.

Singh, who is 23-years old, was a native of St. Thomas, Jamaica. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree in psychology and women studies. She also planned to attend medical school before the pageant.

During the pageant, Singh wowed the audience with her own rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” on the talent portion and with her answers on the Q&A round.

“I think I represent something special, a generation of women that are pushing forward to change the world,” Singh answered the question of British journalist Piers Morgan.

Singh is the fourth representative from Jamaica that brought home the Miss World crown since it started in 1959. Jamaica has previously won the title in 1963, 1976, and 1993.

Singh’s win came after the historic win of Black women in most prestigious beauty pageants — 2019 Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi, 2019 Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, 2019 Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, and 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin.

Continue on to Black News to read the complete article.

Black girl magic: 4 women are redefining beauty after reigning in major beauty pageants

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Black women beauth pageant winners seated together with their sashes on

When Zozibini Tunzi was crowned the winner of Miss Universe 2019, it wasn’t just a personal victory for the 26-year-old from South Africa — it was history in the making.

For the first time ever, four of the major beauty pageants — Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America — were won by black women.

“I think it’s such a great move forward as … the world and as a society say, ‘Look, women who were in the past never had opportunities to do things like this are now here,’” Tunzi told ABC News’ Linsey Davis in an interview that aired Friday on “Good Morning America.”

In an exclusive interview with three of the four pageant winners, Tunzi, joined by Kaliegh Garris, Miss Teen USA 2019, and Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019, spoke about what it means for all of them to represent other black women and pave the way for women of color across the world.

Nia Franklin also won the Miss America pageant last year.

For decades, a moment like this was not possible. In its first 30 years, black women weren’t even allowed to compete in the Miss America pageant.

“I think there are times where I am disappointed, because people will sometimes comment on our social media,” said Kryst. “And they’ll say, ‘Why are we talking about your race? Like, you guys are just four amazing women.’ Like, yes, we’re four amazing women, but there was a time when we literally could not win.”

Continue on to Good Morning America to read the complete article.

Rosa Parks honored with a statue in Montgomery, Alabama

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Rosa Parks statue unveiling

Rosa Parks was honored with a new statue in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, on Sunday, 64 years to the day she was arrested for refusing to move to the back of a city bus. Sunday marks the second annual Rosa Parks Day in Alabama, after the Legislature approved the honor for the civil rights icon last year.

Events were slated to take place throughout the weekend, including the dedication of a statue Sunday afternoon.

“Today, on the second official Rosa Parks Day, we honor a seamstress and a servant, one whose courage ran counter to her physical stature,” said Mayor Steven Reed, the city’s first African American mayor. “She was a consummate contributor to equality and did so with a quiet humility that is an example for all of us.”

“No person ever stood so tall,” Gov. Kay Ivey said, “as did Rosa Parks when she sat down.”

Parks was on her way home from work on December 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on a public bus for a white man. Her subsequent arrest prompted the 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system, organized by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

A later ruling by the Supreme Court desegregated public transportation in Montgomery, but it wasn’t until the 1964 Civil Rights Act that all public accommodations were desegregated nationwide.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

5 expressions to avoid in formal networking situations

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large group of diverse professionals networking

Networking is a delicate art. While it’s certainly evolved in the past decade, there are still certain situations (and certain industries) where you must abide by a particular set of strict, unspoken rules. Mess one of these up, and you risk missing out on a critical opportunity to advance your career.

When speaking to someone more senior—and business networking usually involves an “ask” for help from senior people—you need to convey respect and recognition of their status.

Remember: People will go out of their way for you if they like you and feel inspired by you. But turn them off, and they’ll tune out.

With that in mind, consider skipping any of the following casual or unprofessional expressions:

1. “Hey, I’m ______”

Introducing yourself casually is fine in most situations. But this language can come across as too casual if you’re introducing yourself to someone older or more senior who might be a good lead for a job.

Saying “Hello” is a better bet. And giving both your first and last names is more professional. You don’t want that other person walking away and thinking, “I met someone named Paul, but I never got his last name.”

2. “I’m VP of sales for company X”

When networking at a business event it’s tempting to rush in with your title. After all, you want your new contact to know you’re a professional with some status. But it will sound arrogant to add this so quickly.

I recently met a young woman at a networking event, and within the first 15 seconds she let me know that she worked for a big Silicon Valley firm and had a good job in IT. She never bothered to ask my name, work situation, or title. I was not interested in speaking to her again because the encounter was one way.

Rather than hurling your job title at a new face, wait until the other person asks for that information. If you ask them about themselves, they will likely raise the same questions about you. It means a lot more when they ask you what you do than when you shout it out to them.

3. “That’s cool”

Once you get into conversation with an executive, your words will define the kind of relationship you want to have with that person. If you’re too casual, you’ll sound like you don’t necessarily aspire to a professional connection.

Suppose you’re in conversation with a vice president who works in a firm you’d like to do business with. You ask, “Who do you hire for your sales training?” When you find out, you might be tempted to say something like “Hey, I know them,” or “Cool.”

Instead, opt for a more polished expression, such as “Yes, I’m familiar with that firm, and I believe we can offer something more.” This positioning will get you further in pursuing a possible business contact.

4. “Can I impose on you to make a call?”

Once you’ve gotten a good conversation going, you may be ready to pitch the other person for a lead. But the “ask” has to be handled with delicacy.

The phrase “can I impose on you” sounds like you haven’t done the groundwork for the “ask.” So go through the steps that will make you feel you are not imposing. This can include a lot of listening and selling yourself. Once you’re convinced you are not imposing, you can confidently say, “I’d love it if you could make a call on my behalf.” Now you’re off and running!

5. “Let me know how it goes”

If someone has been kind enough to speak to someone else on your behalf, be sure you do the follow-up—don’t expect them to get back to you.

Ask your new contact when you should follow up with them. You might also inquire “What is the best way to reach you?” They may give you their business card or phone number or say “Text me at this number.” The point is that you want to close on this networking opportunity, and that means the next step should be very clear.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

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