Page 1

SPECIAL

ALL NEW

SECTION

INSIDE

- HAIRCREDIBLE - SINGLE DOPE BLACK CHICK - ICONIC MOMENT 6.0 WITH GARY ARIEL WASHINGTON - AND SO MUCH MORE!

Maisha Beard IN HER OWN WORDS


{ A LOOK AT OUR TEAM }

PUBLISHER

Kelly Breuer

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Tammy Reese

CREATIVE DIRECTOR/GRAPHIC DESIGN

Kelly Breuer

PHOTOGRAPHY

Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell Charlene Mann Regina Smith Tammy Reese Gary Ariel Washington Jessica Lewis Yolanda Smilez Sheila Young Ayanna Jackson Latiffany Anderson Tracy Simone Maisha Beard

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Kelly Breuer,

ADVERTISING SALES

Katie Ann

SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR

The Next Design

WEB DESIGN & MANAGEMENT

T T

ON OUR COVER

The fabulous and inspiring Maisha Beard’s cover photoshoot for the latest edition of RWO’s “Something For The Sisters” was shot in studio with the amazing Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell. Hair credit to Regina Doyle and Make-up by Desmoni Meeks and Nina On The Beat.

Rochester Woman ONLINE is the premier professional woman’s online publication in the greater Rochester area. Our feature articles address major topics that interest local women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local area women. The electronic magazines are distributed freely through your favorite app store and will be in your inbox electronically by the first week of every month. The publication is available free of charge. Please feel free to contact publisher Kelly Breuer at 585.727.9120 or you can email us at networkrocqueen@gmail.com. Download our current media kit at www. rochesterwomanonline.com. The magazine is published 12 times a year by Rochester Woman ONLINE. Copyright © 2017 Rochester Woman ONLINE. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publisher. Rochester Woman ONLINE is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of Rochester Woman ONLINE and will not be returned.


{ COVER STORY }

6

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ COVER STORY }

MAISHA BEARD...IN HER OWN WORDS BY MAISHA BEARD I PHOTOS BY CHRISTOPHER “GOODKNEWS” CARDWELL

Hey, Sis! As I peruse my mind in hopes of writing something inspirational, relatable, and worthy of your time, I have decided to share an inspiration talk that I shared at my First Annual “Mai’ Musings” Symposium. The title of this publication is “Something for the Sisters.” I conclude that the term “Sisters” is alluding to black women specifically and we as black women endure some experiences that are highly prevalent, specifically to us.

of their separate effects. Isn’t that a profound definition? Let that simmer for a few minutes before you continue to read… now, let’s take a look at the word life. Life is a multi-dimensional expression of the way by which we actively live. We can be alive and lack the luster of living. Therefore, we can

The thought and visualization of all of your beautiful faces is touching my heart in a profound way. From a young, shy, bullied girl, who grew up in poverty and domestic violence, to an entrepreneur, poet, speaker, hairstylist, author, and positive influencer of women, the most joyous aspect of who I am is being a Black Woman. We change the world, we give birth, we are the balance that gives this world life, hope and honor. It is through us that humanity is born and it is also through us that our lives will be uplifted as we recognize the divinity first within ourselves, and then in others. So, as I write to you, I want to focus and interact with you through these pages by the synergizing of life, love, and purpose. What does it look to synergize life, love, and purpose? Well, let’s take a look at what Synergy means. Synergy is the interaction or cooperation of two or more agents that produce a combined effect greater than the sum

let’s define purpose. Purpose is why we were born! We are here, on this planet, in this dimension, in this moment in time to fulfill our Divine purpose, which is to answer the calling of our souls by doing what we love to do and what we do best. In doing this, we contribute to the brilliance of humanity—And like our ancestors, their contributions to the world is infinite because we Re-present them and their legacy, whether in the form of another human, in the form of intangibles, or the way that we touched the lives of others. Our purpose and presence are infinite! Life, Love, & Purpose…When we synergize all three, we possess an infinite capacity to live the highest vision and version of ourselves. Like Erykah Badu sings, “Oh, on and on and on and on…my cypher keeps moving like a rolling stone…”

have a life, but we cannot live it without love. Ponder upon that for a moment… Love is the most powerful and the most subjective. Its meaning is different based upon an individual’s interpretation of its meaning. Therefore, love simply is. Next,

How can we live as the expression of our highest and truest selves? We do this by removing the selfimposed limitations so that we can see ourselves as we truly are—which is a perfect emanation and expression of the Divine Presence of The Most High (or whatever name you call the God of your understanding). We do this by accepting that everything in our past cannot change and through this radical acceptance, we can end our suffering. Refrain from replaying the past like movies within our minds eye so that we can lovingly accept ourselves, and therefore, see the beauty within which correlates with how we love ourselves! Are y’all with me? Take a moment to process what you’ve read. I am with you! Next, how do we (Black Women) SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

7


“I challenge all of you who are reading this, including myself, to embrace all that we are—to speak love, life and light over our bodies, and to accept ourselves as we are in this moment, recognizing that change happens over time. �


{{ COVER COVER STORY STORY STORY }} { COVER } “ Let’s love ourselves fully and completely as we evolve toward our greatest yet-to-be. Acceptance of what is, ends suffering.”

perceive beauty. What does beauty look like? Is it tangible? Intangible? From whose lens do we define beauty? Is it aesthetic? Or is it unseen? How about both? Oxford dictionary defines beauty as “A combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.

body is 60% water. Separately, the brain is composed of 73% water. So, let’s tie it back to “beauty-love and our self-messaging and the messages that we convey when we look at other women. When we speak words about ourselves that are not rooted in love, gratitude, and affirming acceptance, we

What do we do when we wake up in the morning? Do we look in the mirror and say “Hey gorgeous! Hey Beautiful! You are stunning! You are a unique way by which God expresses! You are pure love!” Or do we say, “Look at the dark circles under my eyes, my arms have gotten bigger, where is my waist trainer? Is that a new mole on my face? My stomach is big…etc. etc. Who’s guilty of some aspect of this?” I most certainly am! There was a study done on water by Dr. Masaru Emoto who researched how water responds to words. In summary, what he discovered was that thoughts and feelings affect physical reality. By producing different focused intentions through written and spoken words and music to the same water samples, the water appeared to change the water’s expression and shape. The water that responded to loving words crystalized into a beautiful array of shapes, similar to that of a kaleidoscope. The water sample that was subjected to mean words formed ugly shaped, similar to what disease looks like under a microscope. Now, according to science, the human 10

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

are creating within our bodies dis-ease and dis-like. When we behave in the previously mentioned manner, we are dissing and dismissing the essence of who we are as Black Women! We are altering the Divine thoughts, beauty, and elegance that we were born with.

Then, we transmute this dis-ease in our relationships and interactions with others. Even as adult women, we are continuously evolving, growing, and learning. And although I am writing this for you, my sista, I am absorbing these words with you! So, what is beautiful? How do we define beauty? Through whose lens? Societal? Our significant other’s? Social media’s? The oxford dictionary’s definition? Or most importantly, can we define it for ourselves and in doing so, create an internal atmosphere that cultivates optimal health, joy, love, peace, elegance, creative intelligence, and perfect peace? A few months ago, I told myself that my weight was a struggled until I spoke to a beautiful soul who changed my life with one conversation. I told her about my need to lose weight—that my tummy was big, that I gained weight when my mom lived with me while she battled cancer. She said to me, “Maisha, everything is for you and nothing is against you. What you have on your midsection are emotional molecules that buffered the heaviness that you faced during that time. Those emotional molecules were for your protection in that moment. Now, you can release them with love!” Just as we can release the emotional molecules with love, we can also do so with relationships that do not serve our highest good. My Daddy is a domestic violence intervention specialist and he taught me


SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

11


“I Honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light, and of peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one.�


{ {{SHIFT+CONTROL COVER COVER STORY STORY STORY }} } { COVER } “I’m going to take you on a journey on non-resistance and dreams manifested.”

some things about love and relationships. I want to begin by saying that any relationship that ends with someone leaving you, has absolutely nothing to do with you. Nothing. People have every right to change their minds, which is why we must cultivate such a radical love of self that even if he or she walks away, the crux and essence of who we are remains intact. I challenge all of you who are reading this, including myself, to embrace all that we are—to speak love, life and light over our bodies, and to accept ourselves as we are in this moment, recognizing that change happens over time. Let’s love ourselves fully and completely as we evolve toward our greatest yet-to-be. Acceptance of what is, ends suffering. Now that we have explored Life and SelfLove, it is time to visit purpose. What is your purpose? Let is simmer and really be intentional about your answer. Why are you here? What is the calling of your 14

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

soul? It’s ok not to know the full answer because we are still living and becoming. However, we can speak to our purpose! Do you have dream and want to do something but are attached to a “what if ” outcome? What if no one shows up? What if no one cares? What if? Why not say, “What if it’s a success? What if it’s a learning experience? What if— in the words of my business coach, Cheryl Grant, “Your ideas are your answered prayers?” Are your creative ideas sitting on your hearts shelf, waiting for you to pick it up? What do you love to do? What do you do best? I’m going to take you on a journey on non-resistance and dreams manifested.

when you are speaking again.” The next day, I started before I was ready. I began to look for venues. But even before that, I created the events page, with no budget, and no venue; but what I did have was a fearless mindset, because I knew that my ideas are my answered prayers.

One day, I spoke at an event. Someone shared video footage of said event. I receive an inbox from a young lady who asked, “I loved your video. When are you speaking again? I said, “Oh, The Autumn Rise Foundation has their Tea Time event every month. She said, “Thank you, but I would like to know

May every reader experience the richest of blessings in every are of your lives.

Now, Let’s Synergize Life, Love & Purpose! We can do this! Let’s do it together! I want to leave you with a tribute: I Honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light, and of peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are one.

Love, Maisha


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

15


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

18

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

19


{ CNY BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT } { SHIFT+CONTROL }

20

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ CNY BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT } { SHIFT+CONTROL }

HAIRCREDIBLE BY TAMMY REESE

Tell us about yourself? My name is Lavada Wright and I am Founder and CEO of Haircredible, Author, Creator, Wife, and mother of 6. I am born and raised in Jersey City, NJ. I have an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice and as of this past year I am now an Award Winning Beauty Entrepreneur and proud to have made history in Target! What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? I started Haircredible due to my constant hair loss with not only alopecia but postpartum as well stress and anemia. When in search of the right product that can help my fine hair strands, it was extremely stressful with all hair care lines catering to “All Hair Types”. How can something made for thick beautiful hair be right for my fine beautiful hair? All the products I tried weighed my hair down extremely and when I found I lightweight product it was filled with toxic ingredients. There was no formula on the market to cater to my hair needs. I decided to do something about it and started my research. In 2014 Haircredible was in the works and once I found the perfect formulas... I launched Haircredible Hair Care. Tell us about your business? Haircredible Hair Care caters to Fine Natural Hair and Thin Hair in the Multicultural and Ethnic Market. We are the first and only brand that specifically

caters to fine and thin hair to launch in the “Textured Market”. How long have you been in business? Although I started this a couple of years ago, I finally made Haircredible an LLC and was up for business in 2016.

empowering woman to others because if women really stuck together we would be further in our careers then we are now. The power of a woman is unstoppable and we are super powerful standing on our own two feet. We always get the job done and our brains are like a sponge. Imagine if we all helped eachother? There would be more powerful woman at the table then powerful men. What advice would you have for woman wanting to become an entrepreneur? Entrepreneurship is hard and you will get defeated multiple of times. My advice is finding a mentor, but most importantly finding a counselor or therapist. Your mental health and staying level headed when going through the sacrifices, hardships, and failures is super important. YOU WILL FAIL MULTIPLE TIMES! However learning cope methods and how to bounce back is everything and not everybody is strong enough to get out of depression on their own.

Where is your business located? We currently reside in Bayonne NJ. What does women empowerment mean to you? Woman Empowerment means everything to me because when I started haircredible I had no mentors or anyone to help me through my journey. So I try to be the

Best Regards, Ms. Lavada Wright *Founder & Chief Executive Officer* Legacy Beauty LLC dba Haircredible Office Hours: 9am-6pm, Monday- Friday Email: lavada@haircredible.com Alt Email: lavadadale@gmail.com SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

21


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

22

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

“The power of a woman is unstoppable and we are super powerful standing on our own two feet.”

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

23


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

WWW.HAIRCR


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

REDIBLE.COM


26

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ VISIONARY MINDS }

MARIA MALDONADO-LEWIS BY TAMMY REESE I PHOTO BY A.J. WILLIAMS

Maria Maldonado-Lewis born in Brooklyn NY, raised in Schenectady NY came to Syracuse NY when she was 10 years old with her family. Attending all of the public schools in Syracuse, which include McKinley Brighton Magnet School, Clary, Lincoln, YMED, Fowler High School and Columbia College. Raised on the South Side of Syracuse on Brighton Avenue and South Avenue for most of her youth years. As a young lady there was very little life direction and not many goals in mind. Becoming pregnant with her son at the age of 15 and birthed him at 16 years old. After having her son she grew up really fast. Maria’s son changed her life for the better and being a young mom made Maria start dreaming and creating goals. Starting a beauty school in Downtown Syracuse at Contemporary Beauty School, but they closed down before she was able to graduate, so she found a job and started working at Family Planning Services for a few years and that is when Maria’s career started. Thanks to the mentors at the time Cynthia Pace and Dana Jackson at

the Results Program Maria started to volunteer at the Spanish Action League and Seymour Elementary through a great program called Americorps. After volunteering she stayed as a full time employee with The Spanish Action League and created a program called The

Festival Chair, Co Chair and Parade Coordinator for over 5 years, Jubilee Homes Showcase Sundays MC and Coordinator for over 4 years and MC for CJack Productions with Charles Jackson at The New York State Fair for over 7 years. With her husband Keenan Lewis they share 3 children Antwan DaysMy Marine, Kamari and Kiara Lewis. Keenan is a Supervisor for ACR Health in the Health Home Department, which is a program that helps families with multiple health issues.

Learning Program. It was dedicated for youth ages 12 through 21 to keep them in school, learn life skills, abstinence and counsel them and their families with anything they need and referred them to other Community Resources. Volunteering for many years in the Syracuse community at The Southwest Community Center as a MC for Juneteeth for over 3 years, The Latino

With her husband Keenan Lewis together they have started a radio program called I Know I Can Radio. Starting the Radio program in order to Uplift and Empower the Community. After noticing a lot of negative news and negative social media feeds they both felt the community needed some Positive Life skill real talk, Health and Mental Health discussions and tips and uplifting music with guest speakers from the community that will provide community resources. The radio program is every Thursday at 7pm. You can listen online at wvoaradio. com/ 87.7FM or Tune In phone App. To contact this Visionary Leader you can by emailing Mmmariam6@gmail.com SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

27


{ TRACY IS TALKING }

WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN BY TRACY SIMONE

Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. Let’s face it, women are not always very nice to each other. There can be some cattiness, jealousy, envy, and even hatred. This is not specific to women….. people in a lot of groups fail to support one another, but that does not excuse the behavior. We can do better than this, ladies. It i s a w e l l known fact that some successful women in corporate America absolutely refuse to help other women succeed.The mindset is that they worked hard and clawed their way into their positions, competing with men who generally did not feel that they deserved a place alongside them, so, why should they help the next woman when no one helped them? It is true that many men, and some women, do not feel that a woman’s place is in the boardroom or in any other prominent position that is traditionally held by males. That is too bad. It is also not true.

28

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

Some of us have a very damaging, limiting, and dangerous mindset. Why is it when we learn that our partner has cheated on us that we tend to automatically blame the other woman and generally give the man a pass? That is just another example of a woman assuming that a woman is the enemy, when a lot of times, the other woman was not even aware

of us as the wife or girlfriend. We have been conditioned to believe that somehow, in most situations, we do not deserve to win. We even have cultures and religions that regularly marginalize women. Collectively, we play along. Only we can change this. There are so many women who have bought into the stereotype that women do not and/or do not have to

get equal pay for doing the same jobs as men. In some cases, they do get paid the same, and in others, they do not. It is, however, promoted as the case and therefore, some women go along with it and settle for less. It is true that we reap what we sow and anyone who puts in the work, male or female, deserves to be elevated, promoted, compensated appropriately, and celebrated. A lot of times, women are not given the same opportunities as some men. They are not necessarily invited to the events where some of the big deals are made. They are often times passed over for promotions that they deserve or are discounted because the assumption is that at some point in a woman’s career, she will take a chunk of time off to raise a family. Well ladies, in some cases, a new employer is the answer. Why stick with a job that does not encourage growth and upward mobility? We must demand our rightful place when we have earned it. However, we must also choose our battles. In the days of layoffs and sometimes


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

29


“Let’s have a goal to build each other up and support one another. Women rock!”


{ TRACY IS TALKING } “As much as we like to think we are independent and do not need anyone, the reality is that none of us got where we are 100% by ourselves. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could help another woman to achieve her goals?”

32

needing multiple incomes to make ends meet, we must be strategic in how we approach those who provide the paychecks. Having said that, I must encourage everyone, but women especially, to reach back and help those who are still coming up. If you find yourself in a position to help others, female or not, you should consider it while also making sure to help yourself.

are the caregivers, nurturers, love interests, home makers, keepers of the band aids, and in many cases, the primary breadwinners. Most of us need help in some form or another even when we look like we are doing well. We are certainly a force to be reckoned with and we can do anything we desire, but things are always better when we can support each other.

Generally speaking, women have been taught to put on a brave face and not show their struggles. We

As much as we like to think we are independent and do not need anyone, the reality is that none of us got where

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

we are 100% by ourselves. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could help another woman to achieve her goals? Maybe it is just an ear that she needs….. someone to listen when she has something to say. Maybe we have a skill or two from which she could benefit. Maybe, even though she does not show it, she finds herself stuck in a relationship that she should not be in. Let’s have a goal to build each other up and support one another. Women rock!


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

33


{ MAI MUSINGS }

BEAT IT! BY MAISHA BEARD

The burnt orange walls were her safe haven. Her Zen table centered with sage as her cow-girl boot candles shined through the darkness. The sound of rainstorms were her lullaby and her consciousness were somewhere in between asleep and awake. Her bedroom door opened and a tall silhouette entered her room. “Come and lay down sweet pea,” she said as she opened her arms to embrace her child. “It’s me,” the voice said. She opened her eyes and realized that it was her sister. “I have to tell you something.” She sat up and noticed that her sister’s voice was melancholic. Something was wrong. “Nobody died but you need to take a few deep breaths.” Her naked body sat up on the edge of her bed and her sister whispered, “Mommy has stage 4 metastatic bone cancer…” Her life—no, their lives changed at that moment. She showered, applied lotion to her body and struggled to put on a cut up and fringed tee shirt that she frequently wears. She didn’t know whether to put her hair in a ponytail or to leave it hanging. She couldn’t complete the simplest tasks. She left the house on route to the hospital and she couldn’t navigate through the City. She called a friend and cried as she drove. The tears were blurring her vision and she struggled to keep her car in 34

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

between the white lines. The hospital was a foreign place. South Avenue was unfindable and unrecognizable.

“Mommy, please, let’s just wait. Maya will put your hair in a ponytail.” We went to sleep.

Life was unrecognizable. Their lives changed on that day…

Another day in our unrecognizable lives…

The previously written is my recollection of the day that Mommy went to the Highland Hospital’s Emergency Department for what she believed to be a common cold, but was told that she had metastatic cancer. Ultimately, we learned that the cancer’s origin was the in the breast and our worse fear had come to pass.

I slept in Monday morning. It was about 11am and like clockwork, I open Mommy’s door, in anguish, just to look at her. On this day, I looked at her and screamed. Mommy’s hair was gone— resting in a Wegmans plastic bag near her bed. I screamed and cried. “They said that it wouldn’t fall out!”

Another day in our unrecognizable life planted us in the oncologist’s office. It was cold and we were afraid. I heard very few words because my mind couldn’t conceptualize that this was our truth. Mommy’s body was being invaded by cells that have gone CRAZY! In the midst of it all, I was told that Mommy may not lose her hair with the new chemotherapy treatment. If mommy doesn’t lose her hair, then she won’t die. Another day in our unrecognizable lives… It was a Sunday. Mommy was up and dressing for church. “Maisha, does my hair look thin?” “Mommy, your hair looks beautiful.” I drove her to church and she visited another service in a nearby city. When returned home, I noticed that the spaces in between her locs were wider. “Maisha, I think it’s coming out!”

Another day—1 year later On last Sunday, Mommy gave her testimony. She beat cancer for the second time! But GOD! To every survivor, you BEAT IT! Your body may look different, but YOU are a beautiful emanation of God’s Divine and miraculous healing! To the woman who is now enduring treatment and in the throughs of the fight, YOU are not alone! You are supported and loved and your life is worth fighting for! For all of the loves who have taken their rightful place in the spirit realm, we will continue your fight and your legacy. To the woman who is 40 years old and afraid to get a mammogram, call a friend or family member for support! Schedule your appointments together! As I had my mammogram last week, I counted 34 ladies. Only 3 of us were African American! Let’s change the statistics! Let’s do it together! Early detection saves lives! Love, Mai’


{ MAI MUSINGS }

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

35


{ IN HER OWN WORDS }


{ ICONIC MOMENT }

PEOPLE OF INFLUENCE BY GARY ARIEL WASHINGTON

THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Foursquare, and all media’s in between the world of pageantry has a brand new judge we must impress. Having a social media account has moved past just a leisure activity, it has become the most distinctive way to bring upon impact for the world at large. If you think about how this fun fact, in 2018: 2.77 billion people identified as subscribers who actively engage on various social media accounts. This figure takes into account those who are viewing, liking, sharing, and subscribing to others accounts which is focuses around the engagement that is created,. That number alone is remarkable which makes it even more important that your social media presence is strong, effective, and engaging enough to gain the proper exposure needed to be a figure of distinction. How does this fit into the world of pageantry? Exposure & visibility of the title has moved past a simple headshot, appearances, and local engagement, its has become a must we as titleholders have a following. This idea now is the make and mark of a titleholder always being remembered, in demand, and

considered as one those influential figures everyone should want to follow. Influence is now a silent judge that most titleholders are now learning that can make or break a lot of what we do & how we do it. Having a dedicated audience on social media allows others to see how effective you are as a public figure. The standard of

holding a title also now includes the power of social media, defining what influence your expected to have during your reign is critical. The posts we do as titleholders surprisingly holds a substantial amount of weight, it shapes the public’s perception of who you are as a person. We often forget the power a post may have for those following regardless the tambour of the actual post itself. I always suggest as a pageant coach to

follow a schedule in which your posts follow, so it’s the right amount of content for the viewer to really fall into understanding who you are. Examples of this I employ for my team would include: Motivational Monday, Titleholder Tuesday, Workweek Wedsenday, Throwback Thursday, Flamingo Friday, Weekends open content. Having something along these lines with your favorite topics allows you the titleholder the chance to present the full breath of your voice for the viewer. In return, your giving the audience a perspective that they can connect or utilize for themselves in return adds to a positive grade of execution towards social engagement. Also, don’t forget about variety because often times pageant professionals are only seen in one light, this offers the viewer to see a full 365 degree view of you. That is important to be able to make that viewer have a positive response to your post, when you have achieved that your on your way to being an amazing titleholder with a memorable presence. We often find inspiration in the strangest places, and with the amount of viewership that is on social media your post may be seen and shared. so the best way to gain the exposure you need in your title is to establish your vibe, never deviate from that and allow your heart & brand to speak for itself. Make sure that each post you create is authentic, thoughtful, and more importantly unapologetically yourself. The viewership of these can automatically


{ ICONIC MOMENT }

“Don’t be afraid to also post about the struggles you may have as a person. The moments we strugg is to use your voice effectively sparking th ”

detect when someone is “being authentic” the noun but your goal is to “be authentic” the verb always. Reminder have fun when your posting! don’t lose sight on capturing those in between moments for your viewers. Those types of posts often capture a relatability that many want to see from a titleholder. I myself take random selfies in my sash out in the community to the subways in New York City to the local trader Joe’s for my ten items for less. Don’t make it a job to create a post for your account also! We often times as people lose the enjoyment of doing something when it feels like a job rather a moment you just had to share. Again, your viewers can tell when your posting just to post versus when its just a spontaneous moment. Keep in mind also your posting pattern, follow a specific algorithm that is comfortable for you. Loyal viewers will like every post you do, but often times from posting too much you run the risk of posts being skipped over. The best titleholders have the influence and power of there social media to gain the consistency to reach everyone at all times. Don’t be afraid to also post about the struggles you may have as a person. The moments we struggle in, someone else is dealing with the very same thing. Your responsibility through social media is to use your voice effectively sparking the change you want to see in the world. Those who often provide some form of vulnerability gives a viewer the feeling that you have a story worth listening to, a Devine purpose, a platform to open a network for growth. Often times those struggles are what make us want to aspire to be like you, because you shared how you overcame those obstacles which in return makes the viewer believe that if you can that they can do to! Be 38

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

transparent, speak your truth, and never fear that content maybe too much for your viewers because those are the post have stronger impact on readers then you know. Often times the struggles you have become the greater platforms to work with because it engages the community, spreads awareness, and hopefully opens the proper conversations needed to again make change. Last reminder, keep your social media as clean and non controversial as possible. As titleholders were seen as role models and leaders to the billions, the last thing you want to do is offend anyone! Keep in mind the language you use, the backgrounds or events your taking photos in with your regalia. Lead by example, don’t draw negative or unwanted controversy towards yourself. Go through your social media and EDIT! Take down any posts that don’t reflect you in the best light or may cause a unnecessary conversation. Be mindful of the difference between your personal leisure and titleholder expectations because they don’t always need to be shared. Again, use your best judgement on what you post, your posts have weight with your viewers remember that! In theory, your social media is your first judge before you step onto the stage. Take into consideration the amount of power you choose to use as a titleholder may make or break the perception the masses have of you. Take the proper time to cultivate a honest, relatable, and intriguing place for viewers to go visit you will immediately see your like count go up. Never underestimate at anytime that you can make bigger, better, and more meaningful impacts using your social media for the greater good. Trust and believe that moving

forward in the world with technology becoming more crucial to everyday life, taking the investment into your social media can a very smart move. Never underestimate the power you have, don’t take for granted the platform, and use it to establish yourself In history as someone to follow. Use your social media to make your title relevant, inspire those to chase after there dreams, be a leader and take social media towards the next levels for the future. Take your social media as your way to show the world what 365 days of reign would look like in your eyes, take the spotlight 24/7 through what you post. You will be surprised the people you touch, the lives you change, and opportunities you have gained by investing in the power of your influence through social media. Please follow Me & My Team I Coach: @gromance0804 & @TeamIconsfanpage on Instagram On Facebook: www.facebook.com/ Gromance0804 & www.facebook.com/ THREENAMEDWONDER0804 & www. facebook.com/TEAMICONSFANPAGE


{ ICONIC MOMENT }

ggle in, someone else is dealing with the very same thing. Your responsibility through social media he change you want to see in the world.” ”

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

39


{ IN HER OWN WORDS }

40

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ ICONIC MOMENT }

THE SILVER RULE BY GARY ARIEL WASHINGTON

5 STEPS TO ICONIC SPORTSMANSHIP Pageantry is not a contact sport! This statement is extremely prolific statement yet highly truthful in every sense of the thought.. Many of the rules that majority of the “physical sports” adhere to are specific in its guidelines to invoke fairness. This can also be seen in various individualized physical sports like tennis, gymnastics, and luge. But what allows pageantry to “fit the mold” of the rest of the athletics is that we follow the same rules with variations. Now you’re wondering, where is he going with this? Competing in a pageant with the right prep is absolutely important. Winning the pageant and reigning properly is beyond essential. However, conducting thy self in a gentlemanly/womanly fashion is mandatory. All too often than not, the reason someone may not compete or rejoin that system is because the atmosphere was/is toxic. In real terms, something or someone or a bunch of suspicious behavior may have occurred. This leads to allegations, speculations, rumors, and ultimately a negative feeling for that contestant. This article investigates my Silver Rule to pageantry in how to properly conduct the right package of a sportsman or sportswoman like behavior. These steps in my opinion will help you achieve the crown in the backstage sense in 5 easy and super simple steps. As we all know, everyone is completely different and that’s just life. This is why the world is so diverse and why we love life. We all carry our own set of beliefs which also

includes pageantry. Step one is following at all times is the mastering of code of conducts set by the system/organization. I know when we think we do, but to a proper pageant leader is to be present in doing what is asked and set. If you have questions, general to complex never assume the answer always ask. Follow your chain of commands of the contest organizers

in the backstage of the pageant. As most systems/organizations will often look for their titleholders to be rule abiding. Just as important to getting the 1st rule mastered, step two towards ICONIC sportsmanship as a competitor is what professionalism is and how to implement in the backstage. I always say “professionalism is NEVER OPTIONAL but mandatory. Again, no wiggle room here or variations allowed, we know the rights from our wrongs right? If you don’t live by everything this word means, you will have a horrible reign by every standard. When I say a horrible reign, I mean in the following ways. #1, you will leave a bad taste in the organization/system memory about you. This is extremely detrimental to you and could follow you while perusing other titles and opportunities. A major note, never assume that owners/ organizers/promoters/chair heads don’t converse, because they do.

and follow what they tell you wisely. This from an interior sense will show that you have a strong commitment to this rule and will deserve getting rewarded in the long run. This can lead to recognition towards recognition from your fellow contestants, other supporters, and even the directors maybe a director’s award. Beyond recognition and awards, it’s the proper way to behave

#2, this leads a bad impression to fellow competitors and will cause them to rethink that contest. Reminder, your job is to retain contestants while bringing in new faces. These competitors look to you for that example or more importantly the embodiment of the systems ideals, morals, values, and image. You’re the face with the heavy job to be likable, aspirational, and diplomatic all at once. #3, this is your legacy and history that you’re building during your reign. The general public will know what you did, what you said, wore, photographed, Facebooked, SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

41


42

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{{ ICONIC SHIFT+CONTROL MOMENT }} “Pageantry is not a contact sport! This statement is an extremely prolific statement yet highly truthful in every sense of the thought.”

Instagrammed, quoted and more. This is about creating the right message about yourself is the goal which hopefully then everyone watching will invest in you and the contest more. Be the one who sets the presidents, be on time, have that extra for contestants may it be earrings, lint brush, or donuts! Pageant folk, enjoy donuts when were allowed to eat them. The smallest things like this will engrain in so many minds. Be mindful that big brother & sister is watching, judging, idolizing, or disregarding don’t make the bad list. Taking professionalism a step further is step three which is all about editing. Now, I am guilty of breaking the 4th wall of this rule at points but the goal is to relate/approach vs offend/disrespect those who are watching. When I said that I broke this rule, I sometimes allow real life situations influence some of my posts in hopes for my own healing. Most times, I connect with someone dealing with a similar issue. Usually in the off chance there is one who feels that what you’re talking about is not appropriate as a titleholder. Matter of opinion, right? But who has to answer that complaint? Not the system/organization, owners, formers, but the reigning titleholder. Taking the time to really edit your thoughts upon posting subjectively is crucial. Choosing the correct caption, image, message to whatever your promoting is the biggest take away from rule three. It falls back into what people will remember you for. No titleholder should ever be photographed in any activities that can be looked as damaging. Regalia should be worn with respect, not in any offensive manner but with dignity and respect. All posts should be in good taste, no profanities, slang

(unless related to the post), always proofread everything and push for no grammatical issues. All accounts from personal to professional should be clean in content. Avoid nudity, vulgarities of poses, hand gestures, wardrobe, and even sometimes stances or causes depending. All of these things can take away from a titleholder and that legacy your building. Always strive to stay mindful that “we titleholders are meant to be aspirational & inspirational figures that can change the world.”

with a fellow contestant. Now, do we use a level of psychological warfare of strategy in pageantry, yes we do. But what were not supposed to do with that warfare is tear down our opposition but to win cleanly. When a contestant sights this reason, sabotaging, or making those “illegal contact sport violations” I call and wins the pageant, what should we think? Gee, mmmm….I wonder what will be said, pretty much everything that you don’t want to think or believe could that systems backstage culture.

The more we give a proper edit of yourself the more opportunities that will be truly become available. Do I suggest to not create a moment or two that is off brand or “WOW” at points? Not necessarily, I am saying weigh out how beneficial will this be for your career and this is just in general. We are individuals need to keep our moral codes close especially in a industry so trivialized and but we need to know what is the best choices to show everyone that making this choice actually was the better decision.

Take a Firm grip that this is a serious but true learning moment for us all to take serious.

Now, your most likely wondering what is left to add towards the amount of editing, professionalism, and mastership of codes of conduct you have mastered, it’s time for step four accountability. Being iconic in every sense of the word has the highest level of taking accountability for absolutely everything. All too often, we as a society have been witnessing an increase of bullying in many situations where it shouldn’t have been and this is becoming generational. However, pageantry in my view is the creative, competitive, safest outlet offered and contrary to the judges scoring is a nonjudgmental space. To many contestants I’ve noticed have been sighting bad experiences to relations SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

43


46

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ I LOVE SMILEZ }

STATE OF EMERGENCY BY YOLANDA SMILEZ

Welcome to the “I Love Smilez” column. This column promises to make you smile by the end of every read. I hope that here, you will find that you can smile, even when things in your life are not going right. Keep this in mind, “No matter what you been or going through, you will smile, again”.

to visit and call now, those who are close to me but when I was alive, you never stopped by my home or called. You were too busy. I laughed at these tears you cry over my casket, saying how much you miss me. You’re screaming about how great I was and how you would do anything to bring me back.

Have you ever been in a state of emergency with yourself? Ready to call every first responder to your situation? It’s these days when you have nothing else to give. You’re so empty, your heart rate is dropping. No matter who tries to do CPR, you are flat lining. You pulled from every part of life to build yourself up. You quote Bible scriptures to yourself. You write positive message to yourself like, “You go girl, you got this”! You listen to positive people, but there is something in the inside not connecting with the things people say will heal you. You start to feel lost. There you are, laying on the hospital bed, lifeless. Everyone you poured into or came to their rescue is telling their story remembering you as you lay there lifeless. All these great memories they have about you. The question is “Where were they when you were dying inside? Ask yourself, when given the chance to have a conversation with those who now sit around your lifeless body what would you say? It probably would go like this: You find the strength or time

Where were you, when I was alive? You had time to express these feelings. You took advantage of my life and presents. You thought you had time. Now look at you, crying, being so theatrical to prove to a bunch of people you loved me. You are arguing with people about T shirts. What picture should be on the memorial shirts? Also, fighting about what my obituary should say, because you know me so well but in my last days, you were nowhere to be found.

You will carry this act out for a few days and maybe even a few weeks. Your time is up, get off the emotional roller coaster and go back to your regular life. The one you had before you got the call, I was dead. Stop acting like you care. You’re just emotional! We got but one life to live. Life does get busy. Obligations take over, work, the kids, our spouse, you know. It is never too late to stop and smell the roses. Feeling regret after the fact is not a pleasant or welcoming feeling. Remembering the last conversation, you had with your loved one, was it inspiring? Sad? Something you will always remember? Did you fight? Maybe you didn’t have a recent conversation. Your thoughts are now flooded with regret. If only I called them back. I wonder what they wanted to talk about. The moral of the story is do not let that be you. Cherish your loved ones. Tell them how much you love them. Call and check in. Give them their flowers, while they are alive. You never know the day or the hour someone is going to be called to their last days on earth. You don’t know the time you are going to have with them. Make sure you pour into them and let them know on a daily basis, you are there. This will eliminate you from being the theatrical person at the casket acting like you really care! Especially when your actions when they were alive said you did not.

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

47


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

50

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ SINGLE { SHIFT+CONTROL DOPE BLACK CHICK } }

LIFE’S JOURNEY BY DR. SHARITTA GROSS

As children we have little to no choice of the environment we grow up in. As adults we have a choice in how we process those past hurts and what we allow ourselves to be exposed to. Such a process can be a rigorous, painful one, requiring us to ask difficult questions of those who brought us into this world. I don’t know about you, but I was taught that you don’t question your parents. Yet as we age, how else does one address those deep-seeded matters of the heart that shapes how we view and value relationships? I had to be a different level of patient, creating higher pain threshold as the child of an addict. I often allowed certain situations to be around past their expiration date, creating a stink. I ‘Febreezed it’ as opposed to looking at the root cause—doing the work to extract it. The little girl in me awaiting the change that an addict hasn’t yet agreed to in their spirit and/or mind resulted in my giving undeserving individuals full admission to a front row seat of my life as an adult. This is not to suggest that people are dispensable, as we should value people and relationships above material possessions. My intended point here is that with an addict you must believe in the

possibility of a significant change. I often told myself I’m not perfect and yet God loves me, so I needed to be patient with my ‘friends’ or that significant other. But despite attempting to see folk through God’s eyes, I concluded that loving someone where they are doesn’t mean granting them continued access to you. It can promote maintaining relationships that we think will get better, putting

a period in your life’s story where there should be a comma or colon. You know—that red flag we pass off as magenta? Speaking to my mother about the pain her absence caused while telling her that I know she did the best she could and I loved her no matter what, resulted in a better understanding of the areas I needed to pay most attention to emotionally

and spiritually. I’m proud to say that my mother has over two decades of clean time, yet she’s often carried guilt over what I saw and experienced as her eldest child. Once I realized that if I didn’t forgive her I’d be missing out on the relationship I could have with her and the healing we both needed, I knew I’d have to be prepared to have some uncomfortable conversations. Without honesty a relationships’ foundation is unstable, so I had to express what I needed from her to facilitate her being as much of a mom as possible to a child who grew up without her. I share this part of my life’s journey in hopes of helping someone else change their narrative of success. There’s many bottlenecks and detours, however, if you don’t face it you can’t figure out what steps need be taken. And if it’s therapy that helps you along, take a deep breath, then GO. Often we’re told it’s for crazy people or something is wrong with you. That unbiased, private safe space can provide that needed first step. And as they say, the journey of a thousand miles indeed begins with a single step.

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

51


{ {BEHIND SHIFT+CONTROL THE SCENES} }

54

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ {BEHIND SHIFT+CONTROL THE SCENES} }

TRINISHA SANJURJO BY TAMMY REESE I PHOTOS BY CLYDE ANDERSON

Trinisha Sanjurjo Entrepreneur Syracuse, NY Trinisha Sanjurjo, Mother of 3 originally from Syracuse , NY lived in Florida for about 8 years before she moved back to gain support and comfort from loved ones due to an unexpected loss of her husband passing away. While in Florida she opened a dance studio helping troubled teens many who were pushed away or given up on find their passions, seek guidance and have role models. The kids were so appreciative to Trinisha. The impact she made in that region touched the lives of so many children , which made her continue to help the youth when she made her Syracuse return. She never thought having an title was important . She lives her life doing things she loves including her Phleb Express Mobile Phlebotomy business or closing on houses in the real estate business. It wasn’t until recently when many people asked what she does she realized she is an entrepreneur. Even though what Trinisha does makes her money, the passion and fun is overall why she became an entrepreneur. Another business she has is TSM Entertainment. Starting just this

year because she loves to entertain and want others to have the joy to be entertained as well. Seeing there isn’t many opportunities for well known artists to come to the region she

to support and enjoy. At first being behind the scenes not wanting to display that TSM Entertainment is her business due to lack of support that can sometimes arise . Time passed and she decided to let it be known that it is her business indeed hosting amazing events. This beautiful, determined, strong , creative woman with ideas , goals has a mindset of selflessness. She is humble and courageous yet deals with envy due to some think she is competition. She doesn’t see herself as anyone’s competition. Tr i n i s h a w a n t s t o incorporate the entire community in what she brings to the table as a business woman.

wanted to give back to the community by bringing successful artists like singer Kourtney Heart into town. Events like this is vital for the community

When asked what does women empowerment mean to her she stated, “ Being a leader, someone who can stand for everybody.” Standing for everyone is what Trinisha is all about. Helping the youth, the community, and coming soon a program will be in motion in the Central NY region called the Everett Safe House CNY. Founded by Trinisha Sanjurjo and Kareem Royalty Everett, which will provide safety ,shelter, and support for SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

55


{ {BEHIND SHIFT+CONTROL THE SCENES} } “ Being a leader, someone who can stand for everybody.”

individuals with chronic illnesses, experiencing homelessness or HIV. The services will help people make informed choices about their future. It serves as a haven for individuals seeking safe and a comfortable living environment. The Everett Safe House will have 24hour residential staff to provide medication reminders , meal preparations, living necessities, group meetings, budgeting and daily outings. Transportation will be provided for doctor appointments. All the services will be free and confidential. The program will be designed to graduate it’s residence into a home and job. Trinisha feels no one should be struggling with a place to live, a 56

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

place to eat or a place to even brush their teeth. This program inspired by Trinisha and Kareem could use much community involvement . This business will create jobs in the community. There are many positions needing to be filled including HR, nutritionists, program coordinators, nurses, cooks ,social workers, mental health professionals, and more. Advice Trinisha has for women wanting to become an entrepreneur is to love what you do, be around big thinkers like yourself. If you fail at something just try again. Don’t be scared to invest in yourself. Keep pushing , ask questions , shine bright and be great. Trinisha has a whole lot of

love to give her community. She is on a mission of seeking knowledge, putting out positive energy only while continuing growing for herself, her businesses and those in need. For more information on the coming soon Everett Safe House contact Kareem Royalty Everett or Trinisha Sanjurjo at Keverett@smnfswcc.org.


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

57


{ BEAUTY LIES WITHIN }

58

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ BEAUTY LIES WITHIN }

GIVING UP IS NOT AN OPTION BY SHEILA YOUNG I PHOTO ON LEFT BY ARIEL KING

Being a Hairstylist can be challenging and difficult at some point in time.. I have had my fair share of ups and downs in this industry.. I have been in several shops and incounter with some great and not so great people.. I tend to 2nd guess myself at anything I do.. As a perfectionist you want everything to be fantastic and on point. I have come to realize that at some point in time God has a way of showing your gift when he is ready..

best.. I specialize in Coloring, Short hair cuts, Sew Ins, Lace frontals and Growing your natural and chemical hair.. What I find exciting is growing back damaged hair, creating beauty within your hair and bringing back

make a person feel not so great about themselves.. So being a Hairstylist can be the greatest gift created.. Not only are we hairstylist but we are counselors, friend or even just a place of relaxation and peace that one person needs for a couple hours. Another advice and suggestion is what makes it so great is location, location and location.. Wherever you are and no matter where you process hair, make sure that your location is convenient and accessible for anyone who comes into your shop.. When a client cannot find your shop or its difficult for them to enter or leave your business it makes it uncomfortable and undesirable to come back.. Parking and Acessibiltiy is the key to success and greatness..

The most challenging times that I have come across is learning a new and up to date styles regarding braids and the braiding techniques. Now I am a braider however braiding has not been my likeable moments.. For example you have the lemonade braids, faux locs, Hannah braids and feed ins.. All these hair styles can take some time and patience.. When you are in these moments of being a hairstylists, it can be challenging and a bit difficult..

a great feeling to whomever sits in my chair..

My advice is in these times you should reach out to a class or another stylists that can assist you into growing if that is what you desire. In my opinion if braids is not your number one selling point, focus on what you can do

What most don’t realize is hair is a way of a person feeling great about themselves especially when it is healthy and growing.. Some woman and men may have Alophecia, bad dandruff or even going bald and that can

Leaving you with this in mind.. Know your business, Know your desires, Be confident in what you do and how you do. Know what makes you happy within yourself and what you want from 5-10 years from now as being a stylist and business owner.. ~Beauty Lies within~ Sheila Young Phli Divas Shop 1460 Lyell Ave SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

59


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

62

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ {TIME SHIFT+CONTROL TO FLY LADIES} }

DEVON MCLEOD BY DEVON MCLOED

A column by Central New York Native Devon McLeod inspires women to dream big and not limit what they can achieve. Devon is an NYU Stern School of Business Graduate, MLK Scholar, and NYC Director of the New York Institute of Dance & Education who has made her success landing a job in one of the most prestigious group of institutions in the world - Lincoln Center. Devon is an Associate of Major Gifts and Development at New York City Ballet. Dear Ladies, A big happy hello to y’all! Since this is our first go around of “Time to Fly, Ladies” I thought I might as well start from the beginning. My name is Devon, I’m a 24 year old biracial CNY native living in Manhattan. I was born and raised in Auburn, NY, Harriet’s free home and the site of my favorite place on earth: Wegmans. Y’all know what I’m talking about! Sidenote: there is a Wegmans opening in Brooklyn and I already have a field trip with my friends planned. Real talk, I’ve had it planned since they announced the groundbreaking in 2016….but let me get back on track. I live in an adorable (NYC code for small but livable) apartment with my roommate Sam who is also a CNY native, from Skaneateles. My days are filled by my day job as Associate, Major Gifts & Development at New York City Ballet in Lincoln Center. I just passed my two-year anniversary and I still get goosebumps when I sit on the iconic fountain, looking up at our Theater. I began my NYCB career fresh off of graduating from NYU Stern School of Business concentrating in Management and Organizations, with a minor in European and Mediterranean Studies. I was an MLK Scholar, Stern Orientation Leader, a student admissions ambassador, and Vice Chair of our student-led scholarship fund the 1831 Fund. I sat on the NYU

Stern Diversity Task Force and worked on diversity, inclusion, and equity policy. It was the most incredible four years I could have ever imagined, and I have a very vivid imagination let me tell you. Before NYU, I graduated from Auburn High School. I was President of the school choir, active member of our Business Association and student council, won a Maya Angelou poetry writing contest where I got to read it and meet her, took AP and college courses, and became absolutely expert at finishing my math homework on the bus in the morning. Now that might seem like a lot of background but to anyone who knows me, they’ll be wondering about an underlying thread that I haven’t mentioned yet. It’s a constant in my life that, no matter how much is on my plate, will always be there. The New York Institute of Dance & Education and the Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre. Since the day I was born, I have been part of these two incredible companies. Founded by my dad Sean McLeod, NYIDE and KDT work hand in hand to do some truly incredible work to uplift women, people of color, and any human who has ever been made to feel like they were not worthy of investment. You’ll find I refer to my time with these companies fairly often and while I don’t have every article planned out yet, I’m sure I’ll dive more into my work. Now that you have some background, let’s talk about why I’m here talking to you. I have to say my life is a dream. Living in NYC has always been my dream. I’ve been in this city for 6 years and I still get giddy and straight up skip down the street at least once a week. I work at one of the premier dance companies in the world. I went to my dream school, the only school I applied to, that I had loved since I was

three years old. But this dream has some sharp edges. There have been and still are moments that I feel so alone in a room for a number of reasons. I’m the only woman. I’m the only biracial woman. I’m the only one person of color period. Feeling that “otherness” for too long can make you feel like no one understands. Even when you have the support of a wonderful family and good friends you can still feel alone. I’ll say my journey as a biracial woman was a lonely one at times. Having your racial identity analyzed like a fun puzzle by those you just met, the guessing games of “which parent is the black one?”, the decision of whether you’re going to pull out the “McLeod is actually from the black side, I’m not Scottish. The people that owned my family probably were.” With a stranger. It can drain you, to go on that journey alone. But the ability to look up and see another woman, see another person of color and share that knowing smile of “I’ve got you. I see you. I feel you.” That can be the moment you need to push forward and continue the journey towards your joy. Almost everyone has a part of their identity that makes them feel like an “other”. My goal is to be that knowing smile that makes you feel like someone has got you, just by telling my story. I’m going to talk about some of the best days of my life, like my trip to Thailand with my best friends from school or the day I graduated from NYU. I’m going to talk about when I have run up against struggles, both here in New York City and home in Central New York. I’ll share old writings of mine, favorite photos, favorite recipes and products. My goal is for this to be an open book that my CNY sisters, that all my sisters (and brothers) can read and realize that none of us are alone. Even down here in the other NY with a C, I’ve got you. And with that ladies, it’s time to fly. SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

63


{ { SHIFT+CONTROL WOMEN SPEAK }}

64

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{ WOMEN SPEAK }

DEKA DANCIL BY TAMMY REESE

Deka Dancil is a community activist and advocate, focusing efforts on her hometown of Syracuse, NY. She grew up on every side of town as a child, being part of a transient family. She is the eldest sister of nine children to a single mother with mental disabilities. Deka attended Henninger High School and then went on to receive her Bachelor’s in Policy Studies with a minor in Real Estate from Syracuse University.

Syracuse. Her personal mission is to use her experience growing up in extreme poverty to empower others living the experience now to overcome. She is most proud to be a mother of her 3 year old son, Maximilian.

Deka was able to escape extreme poverty with the help of programs such as Say Yes to Education, On Point for College, and the Lemoyne STEP ,which helped her navigate the college preparation, search, and application process. Deka is a proud black knight and she bleeds orange! Deka currently works for Syracuse University as Manager of Bias Response and Education. Prior to this role, Deka was the Director of Teen Programming for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Syracuse. She serves as the President of the Urban Jobs Task Force, a local 501(c)4 that advocates for equal access to employment opportunities for city residents, especially minorities. She is a founding member and Core Trainer for RiseUp for Social Action which provides training, education, and consultation to activists, organizers, institutions, and organizations to incite social change. Deka also is a recipient of this year’s YWCA of Syracuse & Onondaga County Champions of Diversity Award, a TEDx Speaker, and in this year’s class of Leadership Greater

What type of things have you done in the community that have provided an positive impact to women ? In my role as President of UJTF, I am fighting for them every day, for them to have more and better employment opportunities. I give motivational talks at Women’s Empowerment events. The most recent is On Point for College students and alumni. I created a girls lounge at the Shonnard St. Boys & Girls Club Teen Center as they have never had their own space and the boys have always dominated the club. I also created and/or implemented new and innovative programming for them, including a teen pregnancy prevention program. What type of role models do young girls need to become successful women when they grow up?

What does woman empowerment mean to you ? To me women empowerment means giving them the tools and confidence to advocate for and be their best selves.

Young girls need positive and fearless role models. Not afraid to take up too much space. Not afraid to speak their mind. Not afraid of being too smart. Not afraid of stealing a man’s role or position. Not afraid to be herself and love herself for who she truly is. They need to see women who uplift other women. I also think it’s important that young girls are exposed to women in leadership positions whether they be entrepreneurial, professional, political, or etc. One of my role models is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who exemplifies all of these qualities.

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

65


{{ SHIFT+CONTROL WOMEN SPEAK } }

“ I was able to increase the membership at the Shonnard St. Boys & Girls Club Teen Center by $30,000 in donations for teen prog

What social issues is important for women to be discussing today to make change ? Women’s health for starters. They are trying to take away our right of choice over what happens with our bodies and how we can plan a family. Also immigration policies, mothers are being ripped away from their children every day and of course laws regarding sexual assault. What social issues are dear to you ? Poverty and racism. What are some highlights of your career so far? I was able to increase the membership at the Shonnard St. Boys & Girls Club Teen Center by over 300% within my first 6 months as Director of Teen Programming. I also secured over $30,000 in donations for teen programming within my first year. I am extremely proud of co-authoring the Urban Jobs Task Force and Legal Services of CNY’s Racial Equity Impact Statement, Building Equity. We spent over 18 months to produce the 150+ page report which was the first ever comprehensive study of the construction trades industry in Onondaga County. Just recently I was honored with a proclamation from NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli for my service to the Syracuse community. Any obstacles you have overcame that made you become a better woman? Yes, there were several. However, 66

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


WOMEN SPEAK } } {{ SHIFT+CONTROL

y over 300% within my first 6 months as Director of Teen Programming. I also secured over gramming within my first year.”

motherhood helped me overcome one of the most challenging obstacles I have encountered in my life: an emotionally abusive relationship that I endured for years. When my son was born, I had no choice but to muster the strength and leave, for him. I could not allow myself to be weak, knowing how much he needed me. Choosing to walk away for the benefit of my child was the best thing I ever did. Instantly, I found a full-time job, an apartment, and really stepped in my true calling as a community activist. It was then that I truly learned to love myself unconditionally, while being the best mother I could be. Always choose you first. What is some advice you would give our readers who may be discouraged about their current path? The glow up happens quickly! Many of my major accomplishments have happened within the last three years, and yours could happen faster! It’s never too late for a fresh start. Make choices that invest in you, big or small, and do it continually. It will pay off. Things aren’t always as they seem and all of those people who you are comparing yourself to could have been in your spot, or worse, not too long ago so be patient with yourself. To contact Deka Dancil email tadancil@ syr.edu

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

67


{ SHIFT+CONTROL }

68

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019


{{ HEALTHY SHIFT+CONTROL WOMAN} }

MONIQUE: THE FACE OF UTERINE FIBROID’S BY LATOYA JONES BS, HSA LPN

It is vital as women that we take control of our health. It’s often that we naturally put our family and the rewards of nurturing first.

will roar through a woman’s body at anytime.

As Monique began to age she looked in the mirror and promised herself better health. 2013 was the year of redemption. Little did she know her body was being invaded by Uterine Fibroid’s. Uterine Fibroid’s are noncancerous tumors that will invade a woman’s uterus. A very common pelvic tumor. The cause of this growing fibroid is still a mystery. Like many other women, it was not known why Monique began to develop these tumors. There are a number of women who are diagnosed e v e r y d a y. T h e symptoms of Uterine Fibroid’s

Studies show that black women will suffer from uterine fibroid’s

at a higher rate than white women. These women may also be diagnosed at a younger age like Monique. The fibroid’s rapidly developed one, then two and finally seven. Mo n i q u e w a s faced with a life changing decision. As fibroid’s can be life threatening. Although she followed the suggested treatment regimen. It was now time to make that decision. Would she continue to suffer or have a hysterectomy. She made the decision and her life changed forever. There continues to be a fight between women and fibroid’s. A fight where the fibroid’s will not win! Take control of your annual health before it takes control of you.

SOMETHING FOR THE SISTERS :: NOVEMBER EDITION 2019

69


Profile for Rochester Woman Online

RWO'S Something for the Sisters NOV 2019  

Rochester Woman Online is very excited to bring you the next edition of our "sister" publication, the November 2019 edition of Something For...

RWO'S Something for the Sisters NOV 2019  

Rochester Woman Online is very excited to bring you the next edition of our "sister" publication, the November 2019 edition of Something For...