We Celebrate Women’s History Month and Empower Young Women & Girls

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Dear Readers,

As we continue to applaud the achievements of women around the globe, we must embrace young women and girls as they make their way in the world.

Despite our “busyness” we must advocate for needs of our younger sisters as often, and as loudly, as we can.  Our commitment to empowering the next generation is truly a collaborative effort — one that will require great resources if we are to succeed.  This endeavor is not without its challenges, but I am confident that we can do this.

Leymah Gbowee - via Mic.com

Leymah Gbowee – via Mic.com

I opened today’s post with a video by Leymah Gbowee, the Liberian activist and 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, who shares the story of her personal transformation and implores us to find ways to unlock the untapped potential of girls.  If you are reading this post on your smart phone or table, and cannot see the video, please follow this link to the Ted Talks website. Once there, type Leymah Gbowee into the site’s search engine.

Here is a brief overview of Ms. Gbowee’s amazing achievements from Mic.com.

Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee was sick of enduring the civil war that had been ravaging her country since 1999. Using her education in peace studies and in collaboration with the organization Women in Peacebuilding Network, Gbowee led a mass women’s movement of peaceful protests and strikes. The group also enacted a now-infamous sex strike, in which many Liberian women refused to sleep with their partners until peace was achieved.

The movement culminated in Gbowee and her comrades daringly holding the delegates responsible for peace talks hostage until they reached an agreement. Harnessing the power of women banning together and the tactic of peace, Gbowee successfully helped bring the Second Liberian Civil War to an end in 2003. “It’s time for women to stop being politely angry,” Gbowee once said.  Thankfully, Gbowee continues to lead by example and loudly continues to demand justice, through writing, speaking and her work with the Gbowee Peace Foundation.

Brooklyn Legends is pleased to join with the Gbowee Peace Foundation, and organizations world-wide, in advancing the cause of women and girls. We hope that you will join us in this endeavor.  There is plenty of work to do.

Fondly,
Monique

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Credits:
50 Years From Now, Here Are the Trailblazing Women We’ll Be Celebrating as Poineers – via Mic.com
Leymah Gordon’s speech – Unlock the Intelligence of Women and Girls – via Ted.com

Celebrating Women & Cracking the Confidence Code

Dear Readers,

Women throughout the world have made tremendous personal and professional accomplishments.  As leaders in our homes and in our communities, in business and industry, we continue to emerge as trail blazers and change agents.

Yet, in spite of all that we have achieved, many statisticians confirm we have a long way to go before achieving parity with our male counterparts.

In May 2014, The Atlantic Magazine published The Confidence Gap; a poignant article written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, that gives key reasons why women do not ascend to executive leadership status at the same rate as men.

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In The Atlantic Magazine article, Ms. Kay and Ms. Shipman share the following insights:

And yet, as we’ve worked, ever diligent, the men around us have continued to get promoted faster and be paid more.  The statistics are well-known: at the top, especially, women are nearly absent, and our numbers are barely increasing.  Half a century since women first forced open the boardroom doors, our career trajectories still look very different from men’s.

Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men— and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence.

Despite our achievements, we often resist owning just how great we are. When I was growing up, it was seen as “inappropriate” for girls and women to be seen and noticed.  Such behavior was considered to be brash and arrogant.  As a result I, and countless girls and women, had to navigate the world with fear and trepidation.  There were times when I felt obligated to downplay who I was, and apologize for the ideals I held.

IMG_0161When you have a moment, I encourage you to read the entire article by following this link.  At the start of today’s post, I included a brief video of our author’s conversation about The Confidence Code.

Please remember that we love hearing from you and would love to know what you think.

Fondly,
Monique
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Credits:
The Confidence Gap – The Atlantic Magazine, May 2014
The Confidence Code by Kitty Kay and Claire Shipman

A Plea for Gender Equality – International Women’s Day 2015

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Dear Readers,

UN Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka makes a plea to “all countries to ‘step it up’ for gender equality.”

At Brooklyn Legends we celebrate the achievements of amazing women from the African diaspora everyday.  It is our privilege to join the world in celebrating International Women’s Day, and to add our voice to the plea for gender equality.  Won’t you join us?

Please take a few moments to follow today’s conversation on Twitter @womensday or @Women_on_IWD.

Fondly,
Monique

Celebrating International Women’s Day & Women’s History Month

Dear Readers,

Welcome to Women’s History Month!  The past few weeks have been filled with appointments and deadlines that would not let up.  Please know that I truly miss connecting with you, and I am glad to be back on track. During recent conversations with some of my sister-friends, we each shared a common feeling — time is speeding by and we are racing to catch up.  We have so much to do.  Yet, as hard as we work, we continue to feel as if very little is getting done.  Of course these feelings are simply an illusion.

The important contributions that we make — as wife, mother, nurturer or caretaker; entrepreneur, trusted colleague, advisor or volunteer; community leader, change agent or visionary — underscore the value we have added to contemporary society and throughout history.  While our contributions may not always receive public fanfare or recognition, the appreciation we receive, from those we have helped along this journey, is priceless.

At Brooklyn Legends we celebrate the achievements of amazing women from the African diaspora everyday.  We are thrilled to join the world in celebrating International Women’s Day, which is today, Sunday, March 8th, and Women’s History Month, which lasts throughout March.

Julieanna Richardson - via Chicagomag.com

Julieanna Richardson – via Chicagomag.com

Recently, I read an interesting article, The Insider: Julieanna Richardson, Founder of The HistoryMakers, on the #Blackgivesback blog.  This article provided the perfect segue for our Women’s History Month salute.

Founded in 1999, “The HistoryMakers is a leader in helping to educate and enlighten millions worldwide through refashioning a more inclusive record of American history.”  Ms. Richardson has changed the conversation with the impressive video interviews she has conducted to document the lives of African-Americans, their triumphs and challenges.  To read the entire article from the #Blackgivesback blog please click here.  To experience the priceless treasures on The HistoryMakers site, please follow this link.

Ms. Richardson and her team have also interviewed some phenomenal women from Brooklyn.  The photo montage at the start of today’s post, provides a glimpse of some of these trailblazers.  As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it will be my privilege to share more information with you about each of these Legends.  We invite you to join us as we recognize:

  • Dr. Josephine English, a medical pioneer and the first African-American woman to have an OB/GYN practice in the state of New York.  Dr. English died in 2012 at the age of 91 years old.
  • Ernesta Procope, an entrepreneur who used her business savvy to grow her insurance and real estate business from a small storefront in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn to the first minority-owned company on Wall Street.
  • Rev. Julie Johnson Staples, who prior to her career as an ordained minister worked as: a journalist, a Wall Street finance executive and a correspondent for the Justice Department and the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Lynn Nottage, a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, screenwriter, Associate Professor of Theater at Columbia University and lecturer at Yale University.
  • Bethann Hardison, a trailblazing model and businesswoman, an outspoken advocate for greater representation of people of color in the modeling industry and creator of The Black Girls Collective.
  • Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, Ph.D., an American historian and author, who focuses on early African-American history and African-American women’s history, who is also a Professor Emerita at Morgan State University.

As you can see, we have a great deal in store for March.  We invite you to continue this journey with us.

Enjoy your day!
Monique

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Credits:

Information about Ms. Richardson and The HistoryMakers comes from the Black Gives Back Blog – http://www.Blackgivesback.com
The HistoryMakers – http://www.historymakers.com
Dr. Josephine English – The History Makers and City University of New York, www1.cuny.edu
Ernesta Procope – The History Makers and Black Enterprise Magazine, blackenterprise.com
Rev. Julie Johnson Staples – The History Makers and The Riverside Church, http://www.theriversidechurchny.org
Lynn Nottage – The History Makers and Lynn Nottage, http://www.lynnnottage.com
Bethann Hardison – The History Makers and Elle Magazine, http://www.elle.com
Rosalyn Terborg-Penn – The History Makers and BWHxG – Cross Generational Dialogues in Black Women’s History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Search Of A Cause? Try T.E.A.L. (revised May 7, 2013)

RibbonOn Sunday, April 14, 2013, I was privileged to attend the inaugural Tell Every Amazing Lady about Ovarian Cancer Brunch (T.E.A.L.) at El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn, New York.  For me, this event had the feel of a family gathering, while maintaining the precision of a well-planned event that I appreciate in my role as a professional event fundraiser.  I was impressed as guests listened attentively as each speaker shared her personal journey with Ovarian Cancer.

Race Taylor, a popular DJ with WPLJ radio, served as Master of Ceremonies.  Despite the topic at hand, he instinctively knew when to lighten the mood.  Appropriately, there were tears when Jenn Sommerman, a highly regarded triathlete and Ovarian Cancer survivor, shared how this experience influenced her to commit to 50 triathlons, in 50 states, by the time she turns 50 years old.  Jenn’s goal is to raise $100,000 for Ovarian Cancer research.  To learn more about her progress, please click here.

Ivette Alecia, an elegant woman who is also an Ovarian Cancer survivor, shared her determination to triumph over this disease which attacked her, when she was pregnant with her daughter Amanda, more than twenty years ago.  The crowd shared Ivette’s pride when Amanda, a beautiful and poised young woman who was recently crowned Miss Staten Island, stood with her mother.  The only word that came to my mind was priceless!  I was equally proud of my sisters in Lionism, Lion Paula Spann and Lion Linda Scipio, who volunteered to help at this event.  Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy.

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A Brief History of T.E.A.L.

Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer Louisa M. McGregor Ovarian Cancer Foundation has seen significant growth since its founding in 2007, which is the same year Louisa was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.  With the love and support of her sister Pamela Esposito-Amery, Louisa started T.E.A.L. to raise awareness around this disease.  As Louisa sought treatment options, she realized very little information was available and the tools required for early detection were just as scarce.  The goal of T.E.A.L. is to speed the process of research and understanding, while bringing a cure for Ovarian Cancer closer to the forefront, but there is much work to do.  In most instances, where there is a lack of knowledge, tools and treatment options, there is also a lack of funding.

Pamela and Louisa McGregor

Pamela Esposito-Amery and Louisa McGregor

Committed to making a difference, Louisa and Pamela designed various ways to enlist financial support; including the popular T.E.A.L Walk for Ovarian Cancer, which takes every September, which is also designated as Ovarian Cancer month.  This year’s walk is set for September 7, 2013 in beautiful Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY.  To learn more please click here.

T.E.A.L. Walk participant

T.E.A.L. Walk participant

Since 2009, T.E.A.L. has raised over $287,000 for Ovarian Cancer research.  This is truly an amazing accomplishment for T.E.A.L. does not receive support from the foundation or corporate community.  The organization does not have a public spokesperson, but it does have the love and dedication of Louisa’s family, friends and their circle of influence, survivors of Ovarian Cancer, volunteers and contributors from the Brooklyn community.  Within my circle, there is one organization committed to supporting the work of the Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer Louisa M. McGregor Ovarian Cancer FoundationLions Club International.  For full disclosure, I am completing my second year as President of the Brooklyn Metropolis Lions Club, an exemplary group of women and men who have demonstrated their commitment to service.

Before succumbing to this disease in 2011, Louisa received numerous awards for her efforts.  She was sought after by many organizations and, even with her health challenges, Louisa made many public appearances for notable organizations including: Gilda’s Club, Stand Up To Cancer and The Today Show.  She was also featured in “The Whisper” a documentary that shared her battle with the disease.  She received many awards for the work she did while undergoing treatment including an honor by the New York State Senate for Women’s History Month, a Lions Club International Humanitarian Award and a Brooklyn Women of Distinction Award.  Here is a segment of Louisa on the Today Show. 

T.E.A.L. Contributions for Ovarian Cancer Research

I encourage you to learn more about the impressive contributions this organization has made toward Ovarian Cancer research.  Presently, T.E.A.L. is funding a grant, which began in 2012 and extends through 2013, totaling $40,000 to evaluate the effectiveness of a triple screen for Ovarian Cancer.  This two and a half-year study is headed by Dr. Barbara Goff at The University of Washington.  It is evident that T.E.A.L. is poised to change the conversation around this deadly disease.

What’s Next?

Please take the time to become more familiar with the symptoms of this disease.  At this year’s T.E.A.L. brunch, I met so many amazing women who all had a story to tell.  There was one point during the program when all of the survivors in the room were asked to stand, and there were many.  Several women have been affected and, this year, more cases will be discovered.  I truly hope there is a breakthrough in treatment options on the horizon.

As a woman, I am making a personal commitment to Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer and I hope that you will partner with Brooklyn Legends on September 7th for this year’s walk in Prospect Park.  Additionally, if there is a second annual T.E.A.L. Brunch, it is my dream that Brooklyn Legends will sponsor a table so that others may join in the conversation.  This is one secret we should not keep.  For additional information about T.E.A.L. and to read about survivors of Ovarian Cancer please see our blog roll.

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Credits:
Ovarian Cancer Ribbon – mdanderson.org
Background about Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer Louisa M. McGregor Ovarian Cancer Foundation – http://www.tealwalk.org
Photos from the April 14, 2013 T.E.A.L. Bruch – Monique Brizz-Walker
Photo of Pamela Esposito-Amery and Louisa McGregor – http://www.tealwalk.org
Photo of T.E.A.L. Walk participant – http://www.tealwalk.org
Today Show Segment – youtube.com
Ovarian Cancer (September) Ribbon – googleimages.com