BOTWC - 5 Articles In Black Excellence You Need To Read This Week https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/blogs/newsletter BOTWC Weekly Roundup 2019-01-21T13:03:27Z She Just Made History as the First Black Editor-in-Chief of Law Review at Houston’s Oldest Law School https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/botwc-firsts/2nd-year-law-student-makes-history-as-first-black-editor-in-chief-of-south-texas-law-review 2019-06-20T17:04:49Z Eunique Jones Gibson Kenesha Starling recently became the first Black Editor-in-Chief of the South Texas Law Review. Her historic achievement at Houston’s oldest law school has undoubtedly shattered a glass ceiling that has been in place since the school was established in 1923. “There is a lot of pressure that comes with being the first in anything because people see you as a role model,” she said in an interview with the school. “They... Kenesha Starling recently became the first Black Editor-in-Chief of the South Texas Law Review. Her historic achievement at Houston’s oldest law school has undoubtedly shattered a glass ceiling that has been in place since the school was established in 1923. “There is a lot of pressure that comes with being the first in anything because people see you as a role model,” she said in an interview with the school. “They wonder if you’ll fall into a certain stereotype or be better or worse than your predecessors. Most of all, you must do your best, more for those coming behind you than for yourself. Because the reality is — if you don’t knock it out of the park — that ‘failure’ becomes a stigma and follows everyone who looks like you. That’s a weighty but exciting opportunity.” Starling’s professional background has prepared her for a successful tenure and to leave the door open for those who come behind her.   “Having a professional background, I tend to see things a bit differently from my peers,” said Starling. “Generally, when people think of diversity, they only consider color or ethnicity, but I think diversity is also background, age, and the wealth of experiences that go along with that.” Starling attended Texas Southern University for undergrad and obtained her MBA from the University of Houston Clear Lake. In addition to managing her course load and new responsibilities as Editor-in-Chief, she also successfully juggles motherhood and a full-time career with the federal government. Congratulations Kenesha! Sara Boone Becomes First African-American Fire Chief in Portland https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/botwc-firsts/sara-boone-becomes-first-african-american-fire-chief-in-portland 2019-06-18T13:53:33Z Eunique Jones Gibson Sara Boone, a 24-year veteran of Portland, Oregon’s fire department is making history with her recent appointment as the city’s first African-American fire chief.  Boone was promoted to the role by Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who in January became Portland’s first African-American female city councilor, reports Oregon Live.  Hardesty says that Boone was appointed to the role because she impressed a panel of interviewers with “her commitment to community, her... Sara Boone, a 24-year veteran of Portland, Oregon’s fire department is making history with her recent appointment as the city’s first African-American fire chief.  Boone was promoted to the role by Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who in January became Portland’s first African-American female city councilor, reports Oregon Live.  Hardesty says that Boone was appointed to the role because she impressed a panel of interviewers with “her commitment to community, her technical knowledge, her passion for the fire service and her leadership style.” Boone, who was raised in Northeast Portland, became the city’s first Black female firefighter in 1995 when she joined Portland’s Fire & Rescue Department. Since then, she has worked her way up the ranks, serving as the division chief who led medical services and training before stepping into her most recent role.  “I am deeply honored to be the next fire chief of Portland Fire & Rescue, a bureau I hold in high esteem because of the men and women who serve with honor, integrity and sacrifice,” she said in a statement. “My mission has always been caring for the city where I was raised. I am committed to ensuring that our responsiveness and our professionalism live up to the highest ideals of service, integrity and equity.”  According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, Portland now has two Black women leading its major public safety agencies including Boone at Portland Fire & Rescue and Danielle Outlaw as the city’s police chief.  Go ladies! Billionaire Robert F. Smith Creates Internship Program for Underrepresented Youth https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/news/billionaire-robert-f-smith-creates-internship-program-for-underrepresented-youth 2019-06-20T18:35:20Z Eunique Jones Gibson Less than a month after announcing his plans to pay off the student loan debt for Morehouse’s 2019 graduating class, billionaire entrepreneur Robert F. Smith has launched an internship program for ethnically underrepresented students, reports Essence.  Smith, who is the CEO of Vista Equity Partners, started Intern X to connect rising sophomores with a 2.8 GPA or higher to STEM-related internship positions in finance, marketing, software, real estate and not-for-profit... Less than a month after announcing his plans to pay off the student loan debt for Morehouse’s 2019 graduating class, billionaire entrepreneur Robert F. Smith has launched an internship program for ethnically underrepresented students, reports Essence.  Smith, who is the CEO of Vista Equity Partners, started Intern X to connect rising sophomores with a 2.8 GPA or higher to STEM-related internship positions in finance, marketing, software, real estate and not-for-profit sectors. So far, Smith has partnered with Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Deloitte, Citi and his own Vista Equity Partners to provide summer internship opportunities to young adults.  According to Intern X’s website, participating students will receive eight weeks of paid experience, mentorship, networking and robust assignments that will prepare them for professional success after college.  Smith’s internship program is an extension of his Fund II Foundation, which has a mission to “preserve the African-American experience; safeguard human rights; provide music education; preserve the environment while promoting the benefits of the outdoors; and sustain the critical American values such as entrepreneurialism.”   Though Smith has only recently become a household name due to his commitment to Morehouse students, the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist has a long history of giving back. Earlier this year, he donated $1.5 million to Morehouse College to create a scholarship program in his name and to help design and create a park on campus. Additionally, in 2013 he donated $20 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. According to The Washington Post, he is the second-biggest private donor to the museum, with Oprah Winfrey’s $21 million donation coming in at No. 1.  Sisters Who Started Cheesecake Business During the Government Shutdown are Headed to Walmart https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/news/sisters-who-started-cheesecake-business-during-the-government-shutdown-are-headed-to-walmart 2019-06-20T13:15:59Z Eunique Jones Gibson Sisters Nikki Howard and Jaqui Wright made headlines this past January after they started a cheesecake business to help cover their expenses during the government furlough. Now they’ve quit their government jobs and their cakes are headed to Walmart this August. “We furloughed the government,” Wright told Because of Them We Can during a meet and greet at DC’s Dream Village. Appropriately named, Furlough Cheesecake, their attempts to generate revenue during... Sisters Nikki Howard and Jaqui Wright made headlines this past January after they started a cheesecake business to help cover their expenses during the government furlough. Now they’ve quit their government jobs and their cakes are headed to Walmart this August. “We furloughed the government,” Wright told Because of Them We Can during a meet and greet at DC’s Dream Village. Appropriately named, Furlough Cheesecake, their attempts to generate revenue during the longest government shutdown in U.S. history exceeded their wildest dreams. “We went from a bake sale to a bakery in week,” Howard explained when discussing their rapid success. After going viral and selling thousands of cheesecakes, including one to Ellen for a whopping $20k, their Furlough Cheesecake brand will now be available at 100 Walmart stores in the Washington region this August. “We’re so very excited we’re able to share a little slice of smile,” Howard said in an interview with WJLA. “Walmart! The Walmart! Our cheesecakes will be there in August!” So how did their meeting with Walmart come about? The sisters said that it came together thanks to Founder and CEO of Curls Beauty Brands,  Mahisha Dellinger. After Dellinger learned about their business she reached out to the sisters, had a meeting and then connected them to the decision makers at Walmart. That’s the epitome of Black girl magic and sisters helping sisters! While they’re excited about their success and where it will lead them, the sisters admit they’ve always been big dreamers. And that prior to the cheesecake business, they tinkered with a few other ideas before finding the one that took off. “As a family we are dreamers and we have had this excitement and expectation for years. We could taste it but we didn’t know it was cheesecake,” Wright recalled. Their advice for others who find themselves wanting more is to stay the course. “Don’t be deterred when people aren’t excited about your vision.” Congratulations ladies! We can’t wait to see and support your brand in stores! Over 100 Dads Gathered in NYC to Take Their Kids on a Stroll https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/the-feels/over-100-dads-gathered-in-nyc-to-take-their-kids-on-a-stroll 2019-06-16T22:23:54Z Eunique Jones Gibson Last Sunday over 100 dads and their children gathered in New York City to take a stroll through the park for their inaugural "Strollin' With the Homies" event. The walk was organized by Sean Williams, founder of The Dad Gang. “We’re all about creating events that are not just fun for dads and their kids to participate in but also socially and visually impactful as well. We knew that as the... Last Sunday over 100 dads and their children gathered in New York City to take a stroll through the park for their inaugural "Strollin' With the Homies" event. The walk was organized by Sean Williams, founder of The Dad Gang. “We’re all about creating events that are not just fun for dads and their kids to participate in but also socially and visually impactful as well. We knew that as the weather in NYC warmed up, Sunday mornings at the park will get busy and give us the perfect opportunity to turn some heads and start the conversation around Black fatherhood,” Willams told Because of Them We Can. The Dad Gang was established in 2016 and is focused on changing the way the world views Black fathers. In addition to their monthly gatherings, they organize larger events that give them a chance to change the optics and narrative on Black dads and their children. “We want to capture the true essence of Black fatherhood and set the standard of what it means to be raised by a Black man in today’s society,” Williams said. According to Williams, one hundred Black men pushing strollers and playing with their kids in the park was a welcomed sight.  “People started cheering, some waved and our kids smiled and waved back. A few women who saw us cried.” The group plans to launch a tour that will bring the dad stroll to every major city. And to make sure the work extends beyond a walk in the park, they plans to establish Dad Gang chapters to ensure the dads have a community of peers they can connect with on fatherhood.  To learn more visit thedadgang.com. Nonverbal 4-Year-Old with Autism Surprises Mom By Singing ‘Old Town Road’ https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/the-feels/nonverbal-4-year-old-with-autism-surprises-mom-by-singing-old-town-road 2019-06-11T20:12:59Z Eunique Jones Gibson Lil Nas X’s wildly successful hit, ‘Old Town Road’ has taken the billboard charts and social media by storm, but for one family in Minnesota, it’s a miraculous melody.  Last Tuesday Sheletta Brundidge shared a video that showed her 4-year-old son, Daniel, singing the lyrics to ‘Old Town Road.’ And while there is no shortage of kids singing the song, what makes his rendition special is Daniel has autism and... Lil Nas X’s wildly successful hit, ‘Old Town Road’ has taken the billboard charts and social media by storm, but for one family in Minnesota, it’s a miraculous melody.  Last Tuesday Sheletta Brundidge shared a video that showed her 4-year-old son, Daniel, singing the lyrics to ‘Old Town Road.’ And while there is no shortage of kids singing the song, what makes his rendition special is Daniel has autism and doesn’t talk.  Brundidge told Because of Them We Can that she noticed Daniel humming the lyrics first. Then, the miracle occurred.  “I noticed he was responding to the song on Monday afternoon. The house was quiet. My older children were reading books and doing homework because school hadn't let out yet for the summer. And he was standing in front of me opening and closing my house gown buttons when he hummed the tune. Then he started singing the words to the song and that's when I grabbed the phone and took a 10 second clip. I didn't do more cause I wanted to be in the moment with my baby and enjoy the miracle I was watching,” she told Because of Them We Can.    We had an #oldtownroad miracle at my house. My son Daniel has #autism and doesn't talk. We caught him humming the @LilNasX and @billyraycyrus tune the other day. Then Bless God, my baby started singing the song on his own. His therapists have started to use it in his sessions! pic.twitter.com/vtCNWeg6ax — Sheletta Brundidge (@TwoHauteMamas1) June 4, 2019   Daniel has three siblings, two of them also have autism. He was diagnosed when he was one year old. “I'm just excited to see what God is going to do in Daniel through music. We tried everything but music and I'm not sure why. Probably because music therapy isn't covered by insurance. But where there is a will there is a way.” The power of music can’t be understated. Sheletta shared that when Daniel was diagnosed, her Sunday school teacher suggested they try using music to help.  “I should have listened to Sister Daisy McKenzie when she gave me that nugget of information three years ago,” she said.  When Lil Nas X learned about the miracle, he retweeted Sheletta’s original post with the caption, “what a king.” We agree and we can’t wait to see where music takes Daniel next!  Google Didn't Create a Doodle for Juneteenth So This Artist Took Matters Into His Own Hands https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/culture/google-didnt-create-a-doodle-for-juneteenth-so-this-artist-took-matters-into-his-own-hands 2019-06-19T23:22:57Z Eunique Jones Gibson When artist Davian Chester, 26, woke up and realized that Google didn't create a Google Doodle to celebrate Juneteenth, he decided to sketch his own version of what the image should've looked like.  According to Google’s website: Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists. Because of Them We Can spoke with... When artist Davian Chester, 26, woke up and realized that Google didn't create a Google Doodle to celebrate Juneteenth, he decided to sketch his own version of what the image should've looked like.  According to Google’s website: Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists. Because of Them We Can spoke with Chester to learn more about his inspiration behind the poignant art work which features a Black person's hands breaking free of shackles. In it he used the broken chain to form the word "Google."  "I feel it's very important for us to know as much as we can about our ancestors. So I feel Juneteenth is already something that isn't being spread across as much as it should be. I was planning on making an art piece for it anyway, but I noticed Google did not do anything at all. And for a large company like that to create doodles for literally everything under the sun and have nothing at all today, I thought it was odd." Instead of ignoring the oversight, Chester viewed it as an opportunity. "I always wanted to create a Google Doodle anyway. So I took matters into my own hands." The image has been shared across social media thousands of times prompting people to talk about what Juneteenth means. While others have questioned Google about the miss, we believe Davian's talent and proactive approach puts him in position to create the official Juneteenth Google Doodle for the company next year.  To see more of Davian's work visit his Instagram page at real_toons. 10 Juneteenth Stories That Prove We Are Our Ancestors Wildest Dreams https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com//blogs/culture/10-juneteenth-stories-that-prove-we-are-our-ancestors-wildest-dreams 2019-06-19T20:26:36Z Eunique Jones Gibson Juneteenth is a celebration of Freedom Day, a holiday that commemorates the last enslaved African Americans in the United States being declared free.. This year, a few people have taken to social media to share personal stories of their ancestors and to highlight how not so long ago slavery was. The common thread amongst them all is the resilience that flows through our DNA. We are truly our ancestors’ wildest dreams! View... Juneteenth is a celebration of Freedom Day, a holiday that commemorates the last enslaved African Americans in the United States being declared free.. This year, a few people have taken to social media to share personal stories of their ancestors and to highlight how not so long ago slavery was. The common thread amongst them all is the resilience that flows through our DNA. We are truly our ancestors’ wildest dreams! View this post on Instagram This is my Granny Cellie. Her full name was Celia Chandler. She was a former slave on the WheatLand Plantation. I have been hearing so many stories about her, how she became head chef and how her recipes made a name for her, how she would hand polish each crystal on the chandelier in the parlor, how she carried our family through some dark times. Today, being Juneteenth, a day we celebrate the legal abolition of slavery, I remember her and speak her name. When people say slavery was so long ago, I remember her. When people attempt to whitewash the contributions of Black people in this country, I think of her. I have a photo to prove slavery actually wasn’t that long ago, and that as far as we have come, we have so much further to go. Let’s remember that and how this nation owes an immense debt to Black People, like my Granny Cellie. . . . . . #reclaimedlivin #browngirlbloggers #blackgirlswhoblog #blackswhoblog #blackbloggersunited #blackbloggers #blackcreatives #juneteenth #freedom #blacklivesmatter #blackhistory #americanhistory #staywoke #familyhistory #throwback #liveauthentic #ourstory #fashionblogger #Styleblogger #bblogger #lifestyleblogger #phillyblogger #weremember #sankofa A post shared by WHITNEY ALESE (@thereclaimed) on Jun 19, 2019 at 6:15am PDT      View this post on Instagram Freedom. ✊🏾 Whenever I hear the word freedom, I think of my great grandmother Mary Bailey born on November 22, 1891. Her mother Jane Appling (I’m STILL researching Appling, Georgia and why that city’s name has significance in my blood line) was born a slave and was freed at the age of 6. My great grandmother was the first freed woman in our lineage on American soil and in her time on this earth- she accomplished so much. She bought 6 homes in Augusta, Ga. 2 of which we still own TODAY. She organized, was a poll worker and took my mother and aunt Jane with her to the polls and gave them their first jobs as volunteers registering people to vote. When I hear stories about the shrewd businesswoman, mother and leader she was, I always smile. She was an Eastern Star, a faithful member of her organization’s and her church and could be seen walking up and down the street collecting her rents. She never took shit from anyone regardless of the times she lived in and it is in that spirit and legacy that I celebrate Juneteenth today. 154 years after the announcement that the slaves were freed in Texas- I stand as a free woman not accepting of shit from anyone. I stand on the back of this mini giant who planted seeds that I and my descendants may one day eat off the fruit from her trees. Thank you Bubba for your legacy, for your tireless commitment to freedom in deed, in action and in thought. I celebrate you today..... #gotfreedom #Juneteenth #NextNation #legacy #deeds #ownership #realestate #votingrights #Ibragdifferent #IcomefromsomethingGREAT #nochoicebuttobeGREAT #weallwegot #CMB #MRM #family #Bailey #Wilburn #Sapp #Dorsey #Henley #Jennings #Key #Alston #TMC #wegotNeXt A post shared by Sylvia K. Alston (@allaboutsyl) on Jun 19, 2019 at 8:12am PDT      I've shared this story before but the father of my great grandfather, Papa OJ, worked this East TX land as a slave. Now, my Uncle Bubba owns 44 acres of it. #Juneteenth pic.twitter.com/K4ED4KLTKW — Gennette Cordova (@GNCordova) June 19, 2019   Today is #Juneteenth let’s put it into perspective. Of the 13 people pictured in this family photo, MY family photo, only the three young boys were never slaves. One of those boys is my great grandfather. I am my ancestor’s wildest dreams! pic.twitter.com/2wdCmrQg5L — Karissa Culbreath (@KarissaPhD) June 19, 2019   On #JUNETEENTH, a story....My Great Great Grandfather Rev. Pompey Lavallie was enslavedas a boy.My Great Grandmother Rosa Lavallie made a quilt with patches from his “britches.” My Grandma Rosa Lee put me to sleep under his quiltas a boy.Was slavery that long ago? pic.twitter.com/FYFRmCkXMm — Rev. Cornell William Brooks (@CornellWBrooks) June 19, 2019 View this post on Instagram My dad was AMAZING! 1st generation sharecropper, he was the child of slaves, who were from Georgia 🍑⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Sharecroppers was the generation following slavery. This group was "allowed" to stay on the property, most of the time their former slave plantation quarters, in exchange for the crops they produced (sound familiar).⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ With the great migration, his favorite aunt grabbed him a few siblings and brought them north. He worked in the J&L steel mill for several years, then taking what he learned and opened his own garage, becoming Aliquippa's friendly neighborhood mechanic 😊⠀⠀ This Juneteenth I honor Willie Frank Davis Sr. Aka Frank aka France aka Junebug aka Frankie Poo (as my mom affectionately called him lol).⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ He was such an amazing father, even with limited formal education he taught me sooo much & gave me the world. He passed May 18, 2009 at the age of 74, but my siblings and I carry him with us daily and in every way we can.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ It's because of him I am!!!⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Thanks @thereclaimed for inspiring this post 😘....Who do you celebrate this Juneteenth 2019?⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ This is #evolutionNprogress ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ #juneteenth #opt2evolve #becauseofthemwecan #blackfatherhood⠀⠀ #entrepreneurship #southern #sharecroppers #freedom #bornofaprince #daughterofaking ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ @blacklovepage @becauseofthem @blackandmarried @blackparentingmagazine A post shared by Alexia "Lexi" Azogu (@milestone_pros) on Jun 19, 2019 at 8:30am PDT   This is my grandmother. Born in Goodwill, Texas 106 years ago. She is very much alive. Her grandfather was born enslaved and was freed on #Juneteenth. She can recall family accounts of slavery. This is recent history. American history. #Reparations pic.twitter.com/9fRnbafzQZ — Sonya Childress (@SonyaChildress) June 19, 2019   In commemorating this day, I share images of my great-great grandmother born a slave & died free and her son my great grandfather, a son of the plantation owner, who went on to own his own farm as a free man. Their endurance & dignity are two of my greatest prides. #Juneteenth pic.twitter.com/155DEV6ghY — Charniele Herring (@C_Herring) June 19, 2019   Happy Juneteenth!! My great-great-great grandmother’s official freedom papers! I am forever grateful for you! ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/GHkCCwk6PL — Sativa Princess 🧚🏾‍♂️✨ (@_angelesque) June 19, 2019 #Juneteenth Daddy with his Great Grandmother Eliza in Gonzales TX in the early 1920s. Born around 1830, formerly enslaved throughout the South, probably was in Texas for the 1st Juneteenth. She was also the GGM of Harlem Renaissance's Gwendolyn Bennett. @BWheeler_PhD pic.twitter.com/TiMWSJ40Xr — GloriaDea (@GloriaDea) June 19, 2019