She ROCKS It Magazine Spring Edition 2021

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SheROCKSIt SPRING 21'

SHE ROCKS IT MAGAZINE the Magazine where SHE Belongs

She's

ESSENTIAL

CELEBRATING WOMEN WHO ROCK

SHE WROTE THAT

Authors you should know

BRAND NEWS SHE

Speaks

Women's History Month Edition


SHE ROCKS IT MAGAZINE

INSIDE THIS EDITION Celebrating Women's History Month

Celebrating Essential Workers

Celebrating Women who ROCK

March is Women's History Month and what better way to honor who SHE is than to have her grace the pages of She ROCKS It Magazine. Inside this edition we have put the spotlight on women across the US who are essential workers. These women serve daily to ensure others are taken care of. We honor them for their work and dedication during this pandemic. They are truly some women you should know and women worthy of honor. Inside this edition you will also find several amazing articles written by some phenomenal women. Their stories are empowering, inspiring, motivational, encouraging and uplifting. Please take a moment and read their articles. This edition also features authors and entrepreneurs with amazing books, products and services. Enjoy! Featured in this photo: Front row seated: (L-R) Shenitha Burton and Ylandus "True" Roundy, Top row: (L-R) Shonal Burnett, Madilyn Wiley, Sherry Tutson, Cassandra Bell and Founder of She ROCKS It Joyce Dawkins.

She ROCKS It Celebrating Women Who ROCK during Women's History Month

Featured Location: Chicago South Loop Loft courtesy of Sib's Breakfast Club/ owner: Sibyl Holloway Photographer: A. Beauford Photography

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SHE ROCKS IT MAGAZINE

CONTENTS CELEBRATING WOMEN WHO ROCK

05 EDITOR'S NOTES A word from the Founder of She ROCKS It and Creator of She ROCKS It Magazine

10 SHE COOKED THAT Meet Zita Cooks the amazing chef who serves up delicious dishes, Yes SHE Cooked That!

13 IF I BE LIFTED UP, LIFE AFTER LYMPHOMA

Article by Nicole Bullock

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SHANAE HALL Creating a Better Life During a Pandemic

28 CODE BLUE OF GRATITUDE DECEMBER 2020

Article by Taria Gordon

33 MISSING AND BLACK-WOMEN OF COLOR, THE FORGOTTEN VICTIMS Article by Dr. Keisha Roberts-Tabb

SHE'S ESSENTIAL A photo tribute to women across the US who are Essential Workers.

19 SHE WROTE THAT Meet the authors and add these amazing books to your list of must reads this spring.

41 BLACK DANDELION Article by Najamah Davis MSW, LCSW, CCTS

SHE ROCKS IT P.O.BOX 1004 LOCKPORT IL 60440

HTTPS://WWW.SHEROCKSIT.COM

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SRI MAGAZINE| ISSUE 02

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Editor's Note "Give yourself permission to go after your dreams and what what happens."

I gave myself permission to go after my dreams and this is what happened; She ROCKS It and She ROCKS It Magazine! Wow! The 2nd Edition! This is an awesome feeling to watch your vision blossom into a piece of work that women all across the world are reading. She ROCKS It Magazine launched on November 27, 2020 and in just over 3 months, we have had over 2000 readers look at our magazine online. It’s amazing seeing readers from places like Ireland and Italy, places I have never been before. All I could say is Thank you God for this gift! This edition of She ROCKS It Magazine was super special to me because it is being released in March which is Women’s History Month. It's also dropping on March 8th which is International Women's Day and I AM SHE Day, a day for women to affirm "I AM"(I believe whatever follows your I AM is your truth), so what better way to celebrate who SHE is! I am thankful for this platform that I have been given. This platform allows me to introduce the world to some amazing women. These women are the unsung shero's, those you don't know but are certainly women you should know.

JOYCE DAWKINS

Editor-in-Chief Creator of She ROCKS It Magazine

Photos by: A. Beauford Photography Hair by: Agnes Adjeiwaah Purmann-Marth's Bolingbrook, IL

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S H E R O C K S I T Magazine T E A M

Staci Holt Magazine Project Manager

Tamika Hinton Director of Digital Communication

Ylandus "True" Roundy Director of Community Relations

Shenitha Burton Director of Business Strategy

She ROCKS It Magazine is pleased to have a team of dedicated women who work diligently to make sure our magazine has all the working pieces in place. During Women's History Month, we honor these women who give of their time outside of their own businesses and careers to work timelessly with us. She ROCKS It Magazine is excited to share this edition with you. If you would like to contribute by advertising or submitting an article contact us for all the details. Be sure to follow us on all social media platforms.

SHE ROCKS IT P.O. BOX 1004 , LOCKPORT, IL 60441 +1 312-885-4160 | connectwithsherocksit@outlook.com https://www.sherocksit.com Facebook @sheerocksit Instagram @she_rocks_it_ Twitter @she_rocks_it

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Pam Greer Real Estate Downpayment Assistance Program Up to $10,000 Ask Me How To Qualify

Pam Greer is a Real Estate Agent, Professional Real Estate Consultant, Real Estate Investor, and Developer. Pam has a passion for working with first time home buyers as well as a love for redeveloping properties to strengthen communities and to make affordable homeownership available to others. Pam is also the founder and Ceo of PRG PROPERTIES, LLC. A Realestate acquisition,

rehabilitation, development, sales and investment company headquartered in Chicago, IL.. Pam believes that homeownership is the cornerstone of building wealth and sustainable communities. She is committed to helping others reach their financial goals through Real Estate ownership and Investment.

Her Motto Is: " If you work as hard for yourself as you work for someone else it's no way you can't be successful."

PAM GREER REAL ESATE 815-545-5825 LINKTR.EE/PAMGREERREALTOR HTTPS://WWW.PAMGREERSELLS.COM IG:PAMGREERREALTOR FB:PAMGREERREALTOR

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CREATING A BETTER LIFE DURING A PANDEMIC By Shanae Hall This worked because it fit my personality and I enjoy meeting people, laughing, and having conversations. That job, with all the big male egos, didn’t quite pan out the way it was promised nor in the manner that I imagined but it was a spectacular learning opportunity and a spring board that helped me to get to where I am now in wisdom and career dreams.

The pandemic gave us all reason to pause whether we wanted it or not. The quarantine locked us in and made us sit down and be still. For the first time in many years, we all had nothing but time. They say idle time is the devil’s workshop but for me that idle time allowed me the opportunity to design a life that I would love for years to come. After my divorce in 2008, I went back to college to get my bachelor’s degree in television production. In 2010 I accomplished my goal and graduated from college despite the struggle of raising three small children and learning to navigate being a divorce. Many nights I had to bring my kids to class because I didn’t have childcare. We made it through. While in school, I co-wrote an Amazon bestselling book with my Mom Rhonda called Why Do I have To Think Like A Man? Which to this day boggles my mind because I can’t understand how I made time to write, go to school and navigate the single parent life. I attribute it to a desire to win and focus and sheer determination. After school I landed on one of Atlanta’s, Georgia’s top urban radio station as an occasional guest host and producer.

Fast forward to pandemic and all of its hidden blessings. Once Covid-19 set in all over the world, I realized that I had to adjust to the time. For one, when schools closed, I became a teacher parent for my teen son, like millions of other parents. I had to take a leave of absence from the job I was working for the last 5 years, as a live sports producer to ensure that his grades didn’t slip. There were too many days where I was at a loss but we buckled down and made it through. It was at this time when I also reevaluated my life and decided to refocus on what I could do in my career that would add joy, be pleasurable and in line with my dreams. There was no time like the present. During this “idle” time I asked myself what I would do if I could do anything. Two things came to mind. One, I would probably go to law school, and two I would start a podcast so that my voice and opinions could be heard without having a man run down the halls to tell me what I can and cannot say (radio life). After coming to the realization that there were options for positive change and dreams, tucked away in this forty-year old body, I put together a plan to make them a reality.

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In August 2020, I began studying for the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test). In November 2020 I took the exam and did well enough to get into law school, nothing to brag about but certainly high enough to keep me in the pack. I’m currently waiting to see which schools accept my application for admission.

I want to conclude this article by offering my ladies out there who are working their way through this crazy pandemic and single life as a woman and mother, to keep moving forward. Take this time to think about your life and dreams and change course if you need to.

My next goal was to get my podcast going. I reached out to my mom and a couple girlfriends of mine and asked would they be my co-hosts. From that dream, What She Said Podcast emerged. Our very first guest was T.I. which aired January 27th on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes Podcast and all the other major podcast sites. Our second guest was Cedric the Entertainer, and our list of great talents and personalities is steadily growing.

"Everything starts in your mind, there is no such thing as idle time. Change starts with a pause and quiet time. It also starts with clearing out the clutter".

As of this moment, I can honestly say this is the only job that I have loved, and I have had some amazing opportunities in my life. I was a guest panelist on HLN/ CNN for over 5 years, I’ve written two books, I have been a guest on several national news programs, and I have never loved anything like I love hosting this podcast. Do not get me wrong. It is a lot of work. I am like the proverbial Jamaican with all the jobs. I am the talent booker, the editor, the hair and make-up lady, and I create the topics, purchase the equipment, design a marketing plan, hunt for sponsors, etc. That said, there’s nothing I would rather do. I love what I am doing! If it is true what they say that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Then I should be on my way to great wealth.

Clutter can be removing toxic people from your life. Clutter can be throwing out all the old clothes, furniture and other things that are no longer useful or that no longer bring you joy. Clutter can be learning to get out your own damn way and stop looking for reasons why things will fail but allowing yourself enough grace and confidence to trust in the process. Lord knows that I do not have all the answers, but every day I make it a point to seek clarity and better understanding, and every day I imagine a better life, a happier life all while appreciating the one I am living now. Lastly, I let God handle His business, I find it easier to handle mine! Now, go be great on purpose and make COVID-19 work for you.

-Shanae Hall/ Host of : What She Said Podcast

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Zita Cooks Catering is a local Chicago Based woman-owned business specializing in contemporary American cuisine with a global influence along w/ modern takes on classics! All our cuisine is made with bold flavors, fresh ingredients, fresh herbs! specializes in contemporary American cuisine with a global influence along w/ modern takes on classics! All our cuisine is made with bold flavors, fresh ingredients, fresh herbs! A customized boutique catering experience is what sets us apart. Your event is special and should reflect a personalized menu suited just for you!! If you love a unique and inspiring food experience, ZitaCooks catering is IT. Premium in Home Private Chef Services available as well. ENJOY ZITACOOKS CATERING WEEKLY FAMILY PAN MENU SPECIALS which can be found on her FB business page: Zita Cooks Catering. Zita also launched her seasoning line-Soteria Seasonings, Inc with business partner Dwan Stevens in August 2020. Now her unique flavor and spice blends can be enjoyed all over the world. Seasoning line Website: https://soteriaseasonings.com Contact Zita Cooks Catering directly via Social media: IG: @zitacooks FB: @zitacooks (FB business page)

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Recipe Peruvian Fish Peruvian-Style Roast Fish with Cilantro Cream Sauce By Zita Smith of ZitaCooks Catering. Mild and flakey Peruvian seasoned fish seared and served with a spicy, luscious green sauce. Servings: 4 Cook Time: 20 Minutes Total Time: 30 minutes INGREDIENTS: FOR THE FISH: 3 tablespoons avocado oil (Extra virgin Olive Oil works as well) 1/4 cup lime juice, from 1 limes 1/4 tablespoon kosher salt 2 teaspoons paprika 1 teaspoon of garlic powder 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 tablespoon cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano 2 teaspoons turmeric 4 Fillets Swai Fish ( can use Salmon, Mahi Mahi, Snapper, or any delicate fish)

FOR THE GREEN SAUCE 1-2 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded if desired (I use about half the seeds for a medium-hot sauce), and roughly chopped (see note) 1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (optional: this can be done to help blender along)

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE FISH: Combine all of the dry ingredients and mix together to form a seasoning blend. Take your fillets and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and juice of one lime. Next, season fillets liberally on both sides with seasoning mixture. Set aside while you make the green sauce. Place a medium sized non stick skillet/sauce pan on stove over medium high heat and drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Once oil is hot(one minute) place seasoned fish down in to the pan. (You should hear it sizzle). Allow to sear on both sides for 2 minutes. Remove fish from pan with spatula and place in plate. FOR THE GREEN SAUCE Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend into a smooth sauce. With the motor running, open lid and slowly drizzle in olive oil if needed. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Note: Be sure to wash your hands well after handling hot peppers, and do not touch your eyes while working with them.

Sautéed String Beans with Shallots & Garlic INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoons avocado oil or unsalted butter 2 large shallots, diced shallots 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1/4 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay) 2 cups French string beans (haricots verts), trimmed 1/2 teaspoon salt & black pepper 1 teaspoon dry seasoning blend that was used to season the fish Pinch sugar INSTRUCTIONS Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Do not brown. Add the beans, salt, pepper, seasoning and white wine; bring to a boil. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 6 minutes. Remove the lid and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is evaporated, the beans are tender, and the shallots are jammy, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar if needed. Serve warm. PLATING: Place seared fish on plate along with green beans. Next drizzle with a spoon as much of the green sauce as you would like on top of the fish or on the side of the plate for dipping. OPTION: Serve with a side of Spanish Rice to round out the meal.

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High School Teacher by Day ~ Black Romance Author by Night BY

In the year 2020, I ended and began my fifteenth and sixteenth year as a high school Business Education teacher in the most unexpected ways. Never, in a million years, would I have thought that there would be a need for me to teach my high school students from home. However, because of the deadly effects of Covid-19, there I was, and here I still am. It was, and still is, a huge adjustment, and I miss teaching my students live and in-person, as well as conversing with my fellow teachers and other staff members. I am grateful that the classes that I teach weren’t too difficult to adapt to a virtual format, but I’ll be the first to say that nothing beats in-person teaching and learning. Prior to March of 2020, our lives were hectic and as terrible as this pandemic has been, there have been some positives. I work in a school district that is an hour away from my home, so it’s been nice not having to make that drive to and from work, five days a week. My husband is a high school dean and also referees basketball and football games in his spare time, and his busy schedule came to a halt for an extended period of time. Our daughter came home from college to finish out her junior year virtually, as did my son for his junior year of high school. The opportunity to slow down and spend quality time with the ones I love has been more than a blessing. So, instead of complaining about the changes that have occurred, I’ve made the absolute most of it because I know that this is temporary, and the pace of my life will pick up speed again, and I won’t have this kind of time. In June 2018, I became a published author. By the time March 2020 came around, I’d written and published twelve books; eleven of them Black Romance books under the pen name Kay Shanee, and one of them, a children’s book that I co-wrote with my son, under my given name. Being quarantined for several months gave me the time, energy,

KATRINA

ANDERSON

Romance books and another children’s book, which I cowrote with my daughter, bringing me to a total of twenty books in two and a half years. That may not seem like a lot to some, but it’s a huge accomplishment for me. When I published my first book, I didn’t do it thinking I’d ever get to this point. However, writing has become an amazing outlet for me, sort of like therapy. I’ve become known for giving life to stories about the dopeness of Black Love. All too often, Black people are portrayed in a negative light, and society is under the impression that we don’t love ourselves or each other, and that is simply not true. I use my platform to promote all things Black Love. My characters have flaws, but they are strong, successful, and ready to love and be loved, as they seek their happily ever after. And yes, all of my books end with a happy ending, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t write about serious issues. Although my books are fiction, I write about life, so serious topics cannot be avoided. There are many genres from which authors can choose to write. I chose Black Romance because I am inspired by my own marriage and the marriages of some of my closest friends. We are the examples that society should turn to when highlighting relationships between Black couples and their families. Love between Black people isn’t uncommon or some sort of anomaly. It’s everywhere and needs to be promoted and celebrated. If you love to read and enjoy getting lost in the fictional lives of others, you can purchase one of my signed paperback books on my website at https://www.AuthorKayShanee.com. They are also available on Amazon in eBook and paperback form. Feel free to connect with me on Instagram at @authorkayshanee, Twitter at @authorkayshanee, and Facebook at @AuthorKayShanee.

and inspiration to write…and write…and write some more. In ten months, I wrote and published seven more Black

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IF I BE LIFTED UP, LIFE AFTER LYMPHOMA BY: NICOLE C. BULLOCK THE EMPOWERMENT COACH In the fall of 2016, my life would forever be changed by hearing these four words: Nicole, you have cancer. For months, my body had been giving me signals that something was wrong. It began with unexplained tiredness, decreased appetite, weight loss, night sweats, and a constant feeling as though something was stuck in my throat. After visiting two different doctors, they both diagnosed me with acid reflux. I take the prescribed meds for two months waiting for relief that never came. I finally see my primary doctor who orders an CT-scan of my chest and makes the correct diagnosis. Yes, I went from being diagnosed with a little acid reflux to Stage 2b NonHodgkin Lymphoma. There was a mass the size of an eggplant in my chest pressing on my trachea, which explained the sensation in my throat. Can you image how devastated I was? Then I was told the typical patient with this aggressive form of cancer is Caucasian, male, over the age of 60, overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle. Say what? Now, I had to laugh to myself because here I was an African American, female, 46 yrs. old, in the best shape of my life and leading an extremely busy life with my family, career demands, and community service. I did not fit the profile. In that moment, I knew God allowed this to happen for a reason far greater than little old me. Questions began to flood my brain, What is lymphoma? How did I get it? How do I tell my children? Lymphoma is a blood cancer that originates in the white blood cells called lymphocytes. Doctors don’t know what causes this disease and there is nothing I could have done to have prevented it.

After the initial shock wore off, I put on the armor of God and began fighting for my life. Treatment for the subtype I had, Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL), required six straight months of inpatient chemotherapy and seventeen rounds of radiation. One year later, I was finally declared “NED” no evidence of disease. However, my God said “HEALED!” On my hospital bed, I founded The Nicole Cares Foundation, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization with a mission to raise awareness about lymphoma, raise funds for research and a cure, and assist patients and families from diagnosis into survivorship. Like me, many of my family and friends had no clue what lymphoma was so there was plenty of work to be done. Many times, I wonder what may have happened to me if I had not advocated for myself by returning to the doctor several times until finally receiving the correct diagnosis. When I speak to audiences, I encourage people to take control of their health by getting recommended screenings and speaking up for themselves or loved ones. Remember, no one knows your body better than you. If something doesn’t seem right get it checked out. If you’re like me and receive a diagnosis but don’t feel any better, go back, go back, and go back again! Insist they keep looking until the problem is identified! Last year during the Covid-19 pandemic, many of The Nicole Cares Foundation’s outreach programs were canceled. Particularly our Hospital “TLC” (Tender Loving Care) Program which consists of volunteers going into the hospitals offering prayer and delivering care packages to patients battling all forms of cancer. During that time, I repeatedly watched news reports about how people with Covid-19 were suffering alone in the hospitals and my thoughts immediately turned to cancer patients.

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Not only were they battling cancer during Covid, but now they had to do it alone without the support of family and friends. The reports also shed light on an increased number of people suffering from depression, stress, grief, loneliness, and anxiety from sheltering in place. God placed it on my heart to create something to uplift people during these horrible times. “If I Be lifted Up” a stress-relieving coloring therapy book for the SOUL was born. The book contains over 50 intricate designs with a corresponding bible verse or positive affirmation on each page and is great for all ages. The cover was intentionally created to showcase a choir of beautiful African Americans singing because in addition to the pandemic, the summer of 2020 was filled with racial unjust and the Black Lives Matter movement. For this very reason I know how much representation matters. Throughout my life, it has been my faith in God that has sustained me and I pray the scriptures in this book can do the same for everyone it reaches.

Today, I’m cancer-free and using my life to promote health and wellness which includes access to good healthcare. In addition to the foundation, my journey birthed a new career as a motivational speaker known as the “empowerment strategist.” Through my words and experiences, I empower people to live life abundantly and make their health a top priority. I’m also the CEO of Worldwide Solutions Group, LLC, a premier consulting firm assisting clients by improving communication and profitability. Be E.M.P.O.W.E.R.E.D (Encouraged, Motivated, Persistent, Outgoing, Well, Engaged, and Responsible), and remember your health is your wealth. Photos by Michelle Dokes Photography

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https://www.delalicosmetics.com Page 15


Prepared to Pivot: How to Pandemic Proof Your Life and Your Business

BY LASHANDA HENRY When the pandemic hit, I watched as people scrambled around me trying to figure out how to change with all the changes. All of a sudden it felt like everyone needed to know how to work from home, how to homeschool, how to start a homebased business, how to create financial security and maintain a sense of normalcy with the help of online technology. On some level we all had to quickly adjust to doing things differently, but on a lot of levels I was already well adjusted and prepared to pivot. As a work at home mom with an online business that I’ve been building for two decades, I was already accustomed to the digital home-based lifestyle that has now become our new normal. Whether it be a pandemic or some other unexpected life change, there are a few things that you too can do to be prepared to pivot.

It has been said that “You can always be fired from a job, but if you find your gift, you will never be out of work.” If the recent pandemic has taught us anything, it is that having one job is a liability that can be here today and gone tomorrow. Having multiple streams of income is crucial. As an entrepreneur, if you learn how to monetize your gifts you can always find a way to generate revenue independent of being employed by someone else. Follow this famous saying, “Find three hobbies you love: One to make you money, one to keep you in shape and one to be creative.” If you can find one thing that hits all three, then you’ve truly hit the jackpot!

In the midst of the pandemic, I was able to generate revenue by selling digital products, offering my services as a web designer, mentoring clients, hosting virtual events and promoting other people’s products as an affiliate marketer. All of these income streams are connected to my gifts as a creative, a writer, and someone with a degree in computer science. Learning how to tap into your gifts is like unleashing a superpower that no one can take from you. Whether it be a side hustle or full time gig, knowing how to make money without needing a paycheck from anyone else will give you the ability to maintain financial security even in the midst of challenging, uncertain times.

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I personally eat, sleep and drink all things business. My main website SistaSense.com is all about me helping others make sense of making money online. Even still, I know that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. For this reason, you should also work on building financial security by other means. Consider dabbling in investing, buying property, or simply maintaining good credit in case you ever need to borrow funds. At the very least, you should currently have or work towards having a savings account that can help to keep you afloat for at least three to six months in case of an emergency or times of crisis.

Point being, if you have yet to truly embrace technology, it’s time to start, so that common online activities don’t leave you flustered, frustrated or left behind.

Beyond owning my own business and having multiple streams of income, I’ve also invested my time and money into technology. We all live in a digital world, which means you should invest in a good computer, a webcam, a camera and any other useful electronic device or digital tools that will keep you up with the times. When the pandemic hit, too many people were lost struggling to find sold out tools or learn how to use the internet, use zoom, build a website or seek out other online solutions to address real world restrictions and limitations. Between closed stores and cancelled events, doing things virtually is practically mandatory. Fortunately for me, working remotely has always been a normal way of life for me.

If you truly want to be prepared to pivot, start asking yourself the hard questions. What can you do to become financially independent and maintain a level of financial security for you and your family?

Call me physic, but just before “Pivot” became a pandemic buzzword, I had selfpublished a book entitled, “Pivot: 5 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make and How to Fix them.” One of the things that I share is my belief that successful pivoting requires P.I.V.O.T. Preparation, Innovation, Visualization, Observation, and Transformation. Every woman who is truly open to doing all of the above should have her own personal survival kit filled with resources, tools, and revenue streams she can tap into at any given time.

What are you doing to stay current when it comes to technology? And are you able to quickly overcome and thrive during unexpected challenges or do you struggle with change? Keep in mind that in life, it is not what happens to you but how you prepare for and handle the things that happen to you that matters most.

LaShanda Henry is an entrepreneur, web designer and online business expert. Ms Henry is the founder of SistaSense and the Black Business Women Online Network. Visit https://www.sistasense.com to learn more. Download your copy of Pivot for Entrepreneurs at https://www.sistasense.com/pivot

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Founder Linae Harper, Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, Product of a single mother beating the odds to becoming a professional women's basketball athlete. Completed her BA at The Ohio State University with a remaining year left with her Masters. Linae has competed on 7 USA Jr Olympic teams totaling 7 medals, played for Chicago Sky in 2018 and is actively playing professional basketball. In 2019 she founded THAT HARPER KID NFP, she has a passion for creating opportunities for underserved youth in her community. https://thkmerch.online/

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SHE WROTE THAT Are you free Enough, that is the question. A book that draws the attention of questioning oneself whether you are free enough spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially . it is a romance fiction novel with the most relatable, twisted, suspense, thrill and empowerment message. It revolves around a love affair between a devoted married man and his lover or who he called his "forever love." The entire book is speaking from the voice of Michelle the lover of Michael's life, she will take you on a comical, sexually and true romance between the two of them on each page. Even though we depict love affair with a negative connotation the writing shows that we can also have a love affair with ourselves and how we must strive to overcome such. This is a book of today, and tomorrow's relationships for those who are seeking to be in love knowing God isable to do the impossible.

Verona Willis-Brown, Author

"Trust not yourself; only God."

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SHE WROTE THAT FROM GODS MOUTH TO YOUR EARS A Heart to Heart Devotion

One of the great fears we face is that despite our efforts, we will discover that we have wasted our life. This book gives you the tools to overcome your fears and reach your dreams https://nyasiahfloydha milton.com/news/

Beautiful You Encouraging The Hearts of Women As women many of us have felt broken, torn and abused. In spite all we face;God has instilled within us true beauty that makes us all unique. He specifcally made you the amazing person you are; That "Beautiful You" https://valeciabooks.com

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SHE WROTE THAT

The Audacity of Overcoming

The Last Laugh

was birthed by an author who was almost not born. From the very beginning, Andrea Thompson has been larger than life and resilient through events that someone with less faith and less heart would not have survived. Sharing some of the pits, pitfalls and outright miracles of her journey so far, as well as connection clues from other persistent overcomes, this book will help you navigate your way through the challenges in your life. So what’s GITUP? It’s part selflove and part self-help. It’s part memoir and part resource directory. It’s transparent, transforming and transcendent. GITUP will have you laughing, crying and contemplating your existence. Put your seat belt on, lean back and get ready for lift off!

Definition of last laugh : the satisfaction of ultimate triumph or success especially after being scorned or regarded as a failure. If you say that you have the last laugh, you mean that you become successful at something so that people who criticize or oppose you look foolish. Many times we set out on a mission to get the last laugh to prove the naysayers wrong in order to quiet the slander and hatred filled banter. The fuel from the doubt of others is indeed an extremely compelling force. It will make you GITUP to tap in, but the negative fuel alone doesn’t have the power to sustain you at new altitudes. God is the Ultimate Plug for The Audacity of Overcoming!

This book gives you the T.E.A. on resiliency with real life stories and defining moments that serve as a testimony to the power of unwavering faith! Get ready to apply the lessons and implement your own Audacious story of moving beyond simply surviving to totally thriving!

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SHE WROTE THAT https://www.yoyodontplaythat.com

Yoyo Don't Play That address social and psychological issues children face daily and teaches them how to make gThe books address social and MYRTIS psychological issues children face daily and teaches them RANDOLPH how to make good decisions when faced with such issues. ood decisions when faced with such issues.

The Rancher in Stilettos, is a romantic novel based on a group of six black women whose relationship spans their entire lives. They met as children in the small Texas town where they grew up and forged a bond that would last a lifetime. Though not biological, "The Dreamers" are sisters in every sense of the word, and when life struggles present themselves, the women form their "Dreamers Circle" of protection against outside forces. You can't stereotype Zaide Grace and her friends. Try to put "The Dreamers" in a box and they will decorate it with every color and invite the world in for a tour.

In May 2020, Myrtis received a grant to have her children’s books as a cartoon series. The Yoyo Don’t Play That! cartoon series currently airs on Saturday mornings and On Demand on the Preach the Word Worldwide Television Network. The network has a viewership of 50 million homes and devices, allowing the cartoon series to be viewed globally on television and on the website. Myrtis hopes to motivate children around the world to see themselves as the Creator of the Universe sees them and to live their best lives. Her work is inspired by the biblical scripture in Proverbs 22:6, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are older, they will not turn from it” (New International Version).

https://marciawilliamscromer.com

MARCIA WILLIAMS CROMER

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SHE WROTE THAT Learning how not to Faint: How to Press on in the Face of Adversity

The book Learning How to Not Faint takes us on Denise's spiritual journey through some of her personal experiences...both the highs and lows. This book invites you to experience and learn more about God as we see God working in and through Denise's life. Denise’s story of her experiences is honest and transparent, demonstrating how to trust God even in the midst of uncertainty. Denise's moments of self-reflection are designed to help you reframe your understanding of the trials and circumstances you face. Learning How Not to Faint provides practical ways of moving through what may feel like your most challenging time in life. Available on Amazon

Hello Queen By Author Tacardra Rountree I Am An African Queen. My mind stays sharp and keen. My head is always held erect and high. Far enough to reach the sky. My arms spread over the continent with much grace. Touching lives and the human race. When I dance, people start to stare. And I meet their eyes with a penetrating glare. My presence is surrounded by beauty and style. That can be seen from the distance of a mile. When I uplift my powerful voice, All crowds stand to rejoice. My skin is of a golden honey, I care for it more than riches or money. Many wonder why I am so unique. It could be my charm, wit, or even my physique. I search for protection, respect, and love. Maybe it will be sent from heaven above.

https:www.authortrountree.com/ The words of this poem comprise the children's book

"Hello Queen"

I AM An African Queen!

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In It Together BY DOMINIQUE ROBINSON They don’t understand how badly we just want to run away to our She Sheds with a glass of wine, a blanket, a good book and SILENCE. However, remember we are in it together so this does not have to be hard. Let’s start with educating them to the best of your ability of the seriousness of the virus, this will give them a better understanding. You want to be as open and transparent as possible, allow them to ask questions and don’t feel bad for saying “I don’t know”, things are changing everyday no need to add “pandemic expert” to your resume.

As a certified parenting coach and youth mentor I am a serial advocate for building healthy long-lasting relationships between moms and their child(ren). As a parent myself I recognize the difficulty of parenting and the stress that can cause rifts in relationships, especially during a pandemic. As we have officially entered into 2021, we still face many challenges of our “New Normal” and the emotional roller coaster ride that comes along with it. As moms our children expect for us to be able to manage everyday stress, and adversity while also managing them. As a coach to moms, I have heard the many different struggles from being unable to keep our children entertained, keep them away from their friends, and managing virtual schooling. Overnight you became mom, teacher, a tech specialist, and a therapist, adding more to your already full plate.

Virtual learning is not ideal but no need to dwell on it, the more you do the more frustrated you will become and your child will feed off of that and follow suit. The goal is finding a way to get through the long days and not feel totally depleted at the end of them. TIPS! Those with smaller children arts and crafts are always good, and the messier the better. Lord knows I am not a fan of the cold, however my kids wanted to go outside build a snowman and have a snowball fight. So, my husband and I suited up and did just that. My hands and feet are still defrosting but it’s something my kids will always remember. Tik Tok, hear me out our tweens and teens are already on it so mom step outside of your comfort zone and watch some videos with them, heck make some videos with them. Have family game night, movie night, cooking together night etc. Then when it is all said and done don’t be afraid to say “mom needs some me time”. Consult with your community of other moms, utilize your resources ie. Coaches, mentors, educators, articles etc. it’s time to think outside of the box. At the end of the day parenting is not one size fits all, do what is best for you and your family, based on what works.

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ME

First

By:Tawana Trammell Licensed Clinical Social Worker

As women we are created to nurture, love, and assist. We often put others’ needs before our own. As a result our physical, mental, and spiritual health sometime suffer. Without thinking we continue making things happen in spite of what we feel. We ignore the inner voice that instructs us to take a break, get some rest, or pursue our

I totally agree with this principle but I believe you cannot depend on others to take better care of you then you do. You cannot be a good daughter, wife, mother, friend, employee, or even church member if you are

goals. The voice that tells us it’s alright to

not a healthy you. You take yourself

say NO often falls on our death ears. It’s

everywhere you go and how you show up is

ironic that we can hear everyone else voice

determined by how you take care of yourself.

and see their needs and habitually ignore

Have you ever noticed that your mood dictates

our own.

how you treat others, perceive situations and present yourself? This speaks to the need for

As a child we were taught not to be selfish and to share. As adults we continue to live according to this principal. It’s my belief that it is alright to be selfish with you. It’s

you to take care of yourself so that you show up in the world as your phenomenal authentic self! So while you are treating others great don’t forget about yourself. After your love for

alright to give yourself permission to put yourself first regardless of what others think,

God, self-love is the greatest love.

say, or feel. There is no law that states you must continuously share your energy, time, or resources with others. Is it nice to do, yes

I encourage you to feed your soul, take care of your health, heal your emotions and

but not to your detriment. The Golden Rule

manifest your dreams. You are intelligent,

states that we should “Do unto others as

capable and deserving of all good things.

you would have others do unto you”.

Remember, it’s alright to be selfish!

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TARIA

GORDON

Code Blue of Gratitude December 2020 Tragedy My daughter, Simone, and I were involved in a fatal car accident on Dec 16, 2020. Upon admission to the hospital, my daughter was diagnosed with Covid 19. I was later diagnosed with Covid as well during post-op. Lesson After having major reconstruction surgery on the wrist and ankle, I was charged with seeing life as a gift by the Creator that is always in control. How I Made It Over While in the hospital, I was often awakened at night to the sound of an announcement of CODE BLUE- Rapid Response. It is an indication of an hospital medical emergency. It seemed that this major hospital was understaffed during this Covid Christmas Season. Or maybe it was due to employee exhaustion but the closer it got to Dec 25th, the more frequent I noticed the call. After my surgery, I was placed into a room with an elderly African American woman diagnosed with cancer. She had free range to administer Morphine into her IV, thus this was an indication she was in the latter stages

Counselor at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice

I overheard her talking on the phone with her relatives about her admittance into the hospital, thus no violations of HIPPA occurred. Our spaces were separated by a curtain and I never received the opportunity to meet her on 7 South. Once my own health began to decline/ display symptoms of Covid, I was retested and removed to the Isolation Unit in Tower One bed 13 of the hospital where my doctor and nursing staff changed. Anyone who entered my room was required to wear PPE- gloves, gowns, eye and mouth protection along with their masks. I want to emphasize that the closer it got to the Christmas holiday, the more I heard CODE BLUE. Several members of the isolation unit and the hospital did not see Dec. 25th morning. Their families were beginning the gifting season with grief/loss and preparing a Homegoing Celebration. The call, at first was like counting sheep, just something to do in the dark while I lay in bed. One night it became disturbing, thus I stopped counting them. My male nurse came into my room one night to check my vitals after a CODE BLUE call and told me that he would not be there on Christmas Day but he didn't want to see when he returned.

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He asked me to do whatever I could to go home. He was overwhelmed with grief and I could see the tears developing in his eyes. I figured that God was giving the best Christmas present- wisdom. From that point on, I made and completed daily tasks in preparation to get back home, i.e. teaching myself to use my recessive left hand to write, learning to balance on one leg while using the medical bed for support, and taking an active participation in my own well-being. Waking up with gratitude and the will to live when others around me were losing their battle to Covid, car accidents, and other tragedies that brought them to the hospital.

Becoming strong mentally and physically became my new daily bread; while they spiritually filled me with life stories of their own clients’ of survival, tips on living home-bound, and good ol fashion listening to me filter through these maze of emotions. As a past volunteer at Hines VA Hospital in the Rehabilitation/ Hospice Unit, I meet incredible individuals clinging onto their past selves. Secretly wishing that they had more time to live, love, and make better life decisions. What I learned from them, that life does not end until they are ready. They will outlive the doctor’s diagnosis until they complete their most important task; hearing from a loved one, waiting for Several days later, I was released to a their children to visit, or seeing their rehabilitation facility. I kept my promise to favourite movie for the last time. Their my nurse to get outta there. I developed a motivation - the right to complete their GORDIN plan for myself to see home again. I was circle of life one their own terms. My one of the youngest patients in the rehab, road to recovery is paved with hope and when I went to the gym to learn how to as well as pitfalls. My daughter and I exercise, the elders looked at me for beat death and Covid- Phase 1 but we inspiration. I was wrapped up with casts, are dealing with Covid- Phase 2 are The fractured spine and nerve damage trying Long Lasting Effects. We are also living in spite of my circumstances. Please do not life on our own terms; not taking life and underestimate my trails, it was not easy…. health for granted, materializing our it’s still not easy. My surgeons healed my dreams, and investing in our passions. wounds but my occupational and physical therapists laid the groundwork for getting back to normal by teaching me to embrace the new me and that this rehab race is not for the swift.

TARIA

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How We Made it Through Faith…..in the Spiritual Divine - Guidance Family….. Enhances your spiritual beliefs and provides balance Friends…. that hold you accountable to this life Message of Encouragement to Our Youth

TARIA

You are my wildest dreams not just your ancestors. Your generation has seen a African American President and a African American Vice President, and the great State of Georgia is now blue. You are necessary to the building of this more perfect nation. Generation Z is zealous in itsGORDIN art of changing humanity. Generation Y yearns for its youthful rebellion and

social change. While, we in Generation X are xenial of your efforts and support your mission and vision. Use the tools the God has given you; the internet, social media platforms to make your ideas clear and concise. Your bold approach to the 2020 election, BLM, technology and the future. Your greatest gift is not only your melanin but use your unique blessing to offer pride to your culture. Create the future that we all dreamed of by not assimilating. Find your fate, identify your strengths and experience Heaven on Earth. Be Bold, Be Heard, Be Seen.

Let Confident ME help create a more Confident You. Founder Nakisha James is a Certified Life Coach, Author and Empowerment Speaker. Connect with Confident Me, L.L.C at the link below https://confidentmellc.com/

Blessings and Grace Lady Outreach Fighting poverty and restoring dignity, one bag filled with toiletries at a time. https://www.bagladyoutreach.org/? lightbox=dataItem-k73asof8

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She is also the founder of the “The Purple Carpet Project” that seeks to fundraise for scholarships for minority college students of color in fashion, beauty and art via student competitions and the Black Fashion Week runway events. In 2017, Melody had the honor of receiving one of the “Outstanding women in fashion” awards designated by the Honorable Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court Cook County in Chicago IL. In 2018 Melody was awarded by The Classy Lady women’s social club in the Chicagoland area and is a volunteer speaker at local Chicago Public Schools CPS for career day educating kids about the fun and exciting careers in the fashion industry.

t e e M

MELODY BOYKIN

A Chicago-born fashionista and the founder of Black Fashion America LLC. She has taken her education and experiences in fashion, marketing, and Black American studies to service her clients nationwide via fashion production, marketing, and media. She currently produces and attends fashion shows capturing and archiving the essence of fashion collections designed by African American designers. In recent years, she has been featured on several media outlets such as Good Day Chicago FOX 32, ABC7 Chicago, Madam Noir, and a host of media outlets for her role in the Black Fashion Week |USA events in Chicago and Houston.

Recently During Black History Month 2021, She launched the book "The Little Black Boutique Guide” a publication that serves as a way of increasing the economic empowerment of Black-owned businesses by supporting the current “Buy Black” movement that has widely spread across the US in the midst of the global pandemic and Black Lives Matter social justice movement. Her book available on Amazon.com & Barnes & Noble.com is the first of its kind in the nation spotlighting Black Fashion boutiques by neighborhoods in Chicago, nearby Blackowned restaurants, cultural institutions, art galleries, book stores, beauty supply, and spa businesses; all very important in making a shopping trip worthwhile and uniting Black fashion communities. She even includes first-time shoppers discounts to retailers, bonus listings of black-owned stores across the nation, a fashion glossary, and a body figure guide to help everyday women improve their self-image. Melody’s Motto is to always connect, promote and inspire consumers about the Black Fashion Industry. Follow Melody Boykin on FB, IG & Youtube @ BlackFashionWeekUSA

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I provide one on one coaching to Startup, Come-up and Blow-up Business Owners by listening to your every need. I create a plan for your pathway to success. I help entrepreneurs who want to position their business with a purpose. Business owners who want to operate and fully function their company and generate revenue. If you know that you want coaching and you are ready to Level UP. Let's Get Started Today!!! https://www.mspennie.com

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Missing and Black: Women of Color the Forgotten Victims By Dr. Kisha Roberts-Tabb Shemika Cosey, Ashantay Jones, Keaisha HayesParker, Laronda Branson, Jordan Valentine, Keirra Cole, Cheretha Morrison, and, Jerrica Laws all black female, missing, forgotten, and ignored. Jerrica left her home on August 17, 2015 at approximately 7:00pm to go for a walk through her Park Forest neighborhood, with no purse, no money, and no identification; never to be seen again. Her case was reported to the Park Forest Police who ignored the cries of her mother Shantinel Howard. Cries that continued to go unheard until her employer Com Ed Electric Company reached out to the municipality demanding attention. Still only little efforts were made, that is, until her picture was included in mailers from Com Ed, causing a social media frenzy. “To deal with the municipalities and the police department was a struggle. It was a struggle to get her story in the media.” Sentiments expressed by Jarrica’s mother during a recent taping of The Munir Muhammad Show. US Legal defines a missing person as any person 18 years old or older whose disappearance is possibly not voluntary, or a child whose whereabouts are unknown to the child's legal custodian, the circumstances of whose absence indicate that: The child did not voluntarily leave the care and control of the custodian, and the taking of the child was not authorized by law; or The child voluntarily left the care and control of the child's legal custodian without the custodian's consent and without intent to return. State agencies work to coordinate reports of missing persons with federal agencies, such as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). In states with an Amber Alert Plan, parents of a missing or abducted child can contact their local police or sheriff’s department to file a Missing Person Report. If a child is missing and believed to be in danger, there is no 24-hour waiting period. The law enforcement agency will immediately enter information about the missing child into the Missing Person’s database and the National Crime Information Center’s Missing Person File.

However, what is not specified in the definition of a missing person is the role race and gender plays in the response to such cases. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2019 there were a total of 613,000 missing people in the United States. Natalie Wilson, founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, confirmed 230,000 of missing persons in the US were people of color. Women of color, specifically those who identify as Black or African-American account for 64,000 of all missing persons nationally, representing just under ten percent. According to Robert Lowery director of NCMEC reported that roughly 800,000 Americans go missing each year, with African-Americans making up about 60 %, despite only making up 13% of the United States Population. The drastic gap in the statistics are believed to be an indication that many black women and teens are seen as runaways and not victims of an abduction. As a result of the labeling of missing cases of color, only 5% of these cases are covered in the news. In Jerrica’s case there were key factors that indicated that foul play had occurred. Jerrica was described as having a mental disability. Jerrica had never stayed out over night without her mother knowing of her whereabouts, which indicated that this was outside of her normal routine. Jerrica left the home leaving all her personal belongings; which indicated that she had intentions of returning.

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Best practices, protocol, and policies have been established by which sworn law enforcement officers across jurisdictions regarding procedures to be followed in the reporting and investigation of missing and unidentified adults and children, including abducted, abandoned, runaway, or other missing persons. However when the missing person is a Black woman or girl, protocol, policy, and procedures are often ignored and or forgotten. Best practices suggest that a law enforcement agency shall accept without delay any report of a missing person. No law enforcement agency may refuse to accept a missing person report. Often times in incidents of missing black women and girls families are told that a missing person report cannot be filed until twenty-four hours after the person was last seen. Other best practices include; law enforcement agency that receives a report of a missing person shall be the lead law enforcement agency in charge of the missing person investigation, and shall continue in that capacity unless another law enforcement agency assumes primary responsibility over the investigation. The lead law enforcement agency shall be entitled to the cooperation of any other law enforcement agency in the state. In cases of missing black women and girls, specifically that of Jerrica Laws there were no collaboration or communication between neighboring municipalities, let along across the state of Illinois. To add insult to injury the FBI stated on their site, that Jerrica left her home to meet an unidentified person which implies agreement on her part and would lead one to believe that she left with an acquaintance.When responding to the pressure of social media and community advocacy groups; instead of sending live sniffing dogs, the Park Forest Police used cadaver dogs to search Ms. Howard’s home, where Jerrica had recently moved back to.Ms. Howard described her treatment by law enforcement as both disrespectful and dismissive.

However, holding to the hope that her daughter will one day be found alive, Shantinel Howard refuses to stop searching for her child, explaining; “When Jerrica is found I do not want her to be able to look at me and ask, Ma why didn’t you look for me.” This is a sentiment that as a Black community we must grab a hold to and put into action. We cannot stop searching for our missing women and girls. The adultification and criminalization of our women and girls have led to common practices of their abduction , exploitation and murder to go ignored. Below you can find some suggested common practice safety precautions along with things to be aware of when your love one leaves the home. Suggested Safety Precautions for Women and Girls Turn off all location settings on both social media accounts and cellular devices. Create an accountability partner by sharing your cell phone setting with someone you trust. Be aware of your surroundings, by paying attention to cars or individuals on bikes that you see frequently. Do not stop for individuals appearing to be hurt, instead contact the authorities, and give them the location of the person. Try not to be predictable by taking different routes when possible. Do not put every moment of the day on social media. Do not accept friend request from individuals you do not know. Information Needed When Reporting Missing Person Date and time of last sight. Height and weight of missing individual. Description of clothing last worn; color, wording, and shoe type. Distinguishing body marks and tattoos. For more information or services contact:

24-Hour Care Line (570) HELPHER

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GIVING MYSELF THE MOTIVATION NEEDED TO

Lisa D. Adams Seed Sowing Maven

Live

If you have ever sat and taken a rearview glance at your life you must admit there was some good, bad, and the real ugly you gotta be kidding me stuff that has transpired. Nevertheless there is and was something embedded within you that ruffled your tail feathers and urged you to embark for change.

Your word says we have not because we ask not. How much asking am I required to do? God where are you? I do not have the capability of withstanding this area of familiar territory again. This emotional pain is far too much! Those are the words I repeated as I made an effort to change my story.

The you I am referring to is me. I often wonder if it was the prayers of my praying grandmother that propelled me? Maybe it was the prayers of my loving mom who made us go to church every Sunday until we were in our late teens and allowed us to make the decision upon ourselves if we wanted to continue this ritual. Heck it could have been the fact that I was too doggone stubborn to settle in the space that I was in.

As the woman behind Sessions of Self Love and Motivation Academy I am transparent with what it takes to redeem yourself from former insecurities. The person I am today differs from the broken and depressed person I was 7 years ago. Intentionally, I allowed the battle scars of prior relationships to heal. Subsequently the control it had over me was released.

It really does not matter what prompted the cape of strength, the cape of accountability, and the cape of restoration. I made the conscious decision to add these various capes to my wardrobe and become a part of the 911 rescue team on a quest to resuscitate my life. On that day I said to myself, Lisa, I give you permission to live and breathe. At no time was this easy but I was worth fighting for. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Okay God I just want to know why? You promised you would never leave nor forsake me. You also said you would never put more on me than I can bear. I am not understanding.

Sessions of Self Love and Motivation Academy is for the woman who is ready to accept accountability of her role of her present life. It is also for the woman who is ready to take needed steps to give her story a new title. I am also on a journey to restore our young men. Help Me Help My Son is a documentary I directed and produced. As a result Help Me Help My Son the Ongoing Conversation is now a tv show and will air in the fall. Life is not easy but it is worth living. Through self love and motivation nothing is impossible.

http://bit.ly/selfloveandmotivation

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She's

ESSENTIAL

CELEBRATING WOMEN WHO ROCK, A PHOTO TRIBUTE TO ESSENTIAL WORKERS

She has been on the frontline from the beginning. Her strength, courage, compassion and love for her career is shown by her dedication to others. During Women's History Month we Celebrate who SHE is! Page 38


Madilyn W.-Illinois Elementary Educator

Cassandra B.-Illinois Juvenile Detention Asst. Team Leader

Sherry T.-Illinois Pediatric Neurology Clinical Research Coordinator

Shonal B.-Illinois Urgent Care Manager (staff pictured on next pg.)

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Michelle, Illinois Medical Professional

Amanda, Illinois Medical Professional

Cindy, Illinois Medical Professional

Team work makes the dream work! These Co-workers are on the frontline of the pandemic making a difference in the lives they help each day. We Salute you!

Selina, Illinois Medical Professional

Markeisha, Illinois Medical Professional

Mayya, Illinois Physician Assistant Page 40


BLACK

Dandelions BY: NAJAMAH DAVIS, MSW, LCSW, CCTS Historically, black women have battled with a great deal of trauma, adversity, and oppression. No one could have fully prepared us for the odds stacked. In every day life, we are subjected to microaggressions and biases simply because of our gender and the amount of melanin within our skin. Black women have endured and continue to face varying levels of racism and sexism in our society. As a black woman, I often felt like I couldn’t be myself in certain environments. No matter how well I performed in the classroom or in the workplace, I always felt the need to push myself harder. I recall going to an interview for a social work position and being asked, “What are you? Your name looks ethnic”. Another time someone inquired, “Are you really black? Black people do not have hair like you.” In the workplace, black women are often stereotyped and compared to other black women despite work being the only connection between them. This is a microcosm of society as a whole. Women of color are often marginalized, overlooked or the last to be considered for opportunities regardless of their level of education, work ethic, and experience. Whereas, opportunities are given to those with less credentials and experience. Women of color have the unique experience of having to endure both racial and gender discrimination. A box within a box. Our past and future reduced to a narrative that begins with trauma

from enslavement, dismantling of the black family, sexualized violence, and police brutality. In addition to these unfortunate tragedies, women of color are relied on to protect the structure of their families while carrying the weight of a hostile world. It is in this, we find our inner strength. Black women are the epitome of RESILIENCY. There is a POWER that no one can take away from us, even in the face of great hardship. We soar like dandelions. As with dandelions, black women have endured many challenges. In spite of the barriers, sisters continue to thrive like proud warriors clad in armor and soar in the wind with our essence. We are making a tremendous impact in the world starting trends, breaking glass ceilings, and creating our own opportunities. We are advancing in our careers and making great efforts to become more visible in the executive arena. It is important that we continue to positively position ourselves to stand up in our power. Standing in power is to fight for full equality and fair treatment, no matter the cost .

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Lachelle-Illinois Public Transit Worker

Subrena-Memphis, TN Medical Professional

Anleeta-Illinois Educator

Women's History Month Celebrating Women who are Essential Workers Dr. Kenya-Psy.D., CCHP-MHWashington D.C. Deputy Director of Health Services

Gratia, RN-Atlanta, GA. Medical Professional

Aisha-Illinois Educator

Yolanda, MPH, MS, RN Wisconsin, Nurse Consultant

Erica, Dallas TX. Medical Professional Page 42


Jayda-Illinois Elementary Educator

Greonna-Atlanta Ga, School Counselor

Taria-Illinois Juvenile Counselor Dameka- Illinois Law Enforcement

Makeda-RNMississippi Correctional Facility Medical Supervisor

Women's History Month Celebrating Women who are Essential Workers

Tiffany-Indiana Medical Professional

Victoria-Illinois Postal Worker

Mona-Illinois Medical Professional Page 43


HerGrit, Grind, and Goals Galore By Kimberley Carter Spivey

Though I was somewhat a shy and timid small-town girl back then, eventually, I found my roaring voice to become a more courageous woman today. And I leaped into my journey because I finally faced my fear and continued to hear my mother's boisterous voice, her mothering words of wisdom echoing to me, "You can do anything you set your mind to." After many times of internal cowering, my creator and craft also gave me the strongest nudge I needed to fulfill my calling and unleash the writer within a few years ago. At an unexpected moment in time, it was in the stillness that I heard God say, it's time. My realization—the moment I understood that I was devoted to, committed to, bound to, this identity as a writer. No longer was I going to disregard it.

Writing. I've loved it effortlessly, and it's loved me right back—never wavering on our commitment to each other. I'm not sure if enough words can express the surge of joy that courses through my veins when I put my pen to paper or hear the taps of my fingertips sway across my keyboard. That's the thing about words. There are so much power and promise in them. Falling in love with language means falling in love with the rhythm, how they make you feel an emotional connection, and how they make you latch on to anticipate the following sentence as your eyes glide across the page. They have no boundaries. They are endless, which allows me to go deep into my thoughts. Dare I say it—they take me to another dimension—a place unveiling limitless possibilities. In other words, writing gives me an escape, a magical feeling of hopefulness to something greater. I write to declutter my mind to see clearly through the eyes of the world. To relate to people. To freeze moments in time that I can keep safe and tucked away. I've sought solace in writing when I've cringed at the thought of what seems like infinite calamities of racial injustice, social inequality, political propaganda, and much more, in a world that circles my existence. But most importantly, I've used written words to be a sounding voice, an inspirational compass, and to invoke positive transformation and change. If someone would have told me many years ago that I'd become a professional writer one day for publications, an editor, author, blogger, or start a freelancing business, perhaps, I would have laughed in their face. But I do have a confession—yes—there's a caveat to this. Here is my transparency moment, my raw and real credence to you, dear reader. Secretly, I declared myself as a writer at seven-years-old. That's right, I secretly did, long before anyone rattled it off to me. I felt that if I kept it buried deep inside for decades, my reality would never be a fleeting glimpse for anyone to poke fun at my expense. With a deeply rooted belief that I was perpetually not enough and not good enough. Solely operating from a place of fear that paralyzed and tainted me from believing my wondrous work, a gift from my creator wasn't worthy of a byline brag.

I vowed to hone my artistry, as it led me to write my first book, Bloom: How to Get from Good Enough to a Life You Love, published in September of 2020. The inspiration behind Bloom is being a woman. I specifically wrote it for women, which is part self-help and memoir. And being a woman, I felt that other women would not only just relate to it, but find it meaningful and purposeful—a call to action. An awakening of sorts to shake up their dreams and goals that's been lying doormat for way too long. Throughout the pages of my book, I leave nothing unturned. It reflects my vulnerability and authenticity— unapologetically. It's a jolt of positivity, purpose, and preparation. It unveils hard truths (sharing my personal experiences) and it allows you, the reader, to discover or rediscover the plans to achieve your goals, step outside of your comfort zone, block out the voices of dissent, and spark your courage. It's a gift to the everyday women who face many of life's lingering challenges. But also, a work that retells my journey (the pitfalls, adventures, self-doubt, fears, and success). To every woman, young woman, and girls who dare to dream—the world is yours. Repeat after me, I will no longer let my fears linger in existence. My bravery will be my compass, my guiding light to seek the magic in what my life beholds. My insecurities are unfounded. I have a drive in my heart that's magnetic—I will cling to my life's purpose. I will trust myself. I will let my self-worth wrap its arms around me because I deserve everything good. My success is divine, and I am uniquely equipped to overcome my failures. I'm ready to embrace what lies in the depths of my soul. To embark on my journey of hope and happiness while taking every step with confidence and grace. I can and I will. There's no secret to success. No one said it would be easy, but it's time to claim what's yours. It's time to shift the narrative and quiet the little voice of self-doubt and fear. If you're ready to bloom into your next level, my book is for you. Bloom: How to Get from Good Enough to a Life You Love is available on Amazon. Signed copies are available at https://www.girlyouwrite.com. Follow me on Instagram @girlyouwrite.

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