Bloody Sunday, a day to remember

Bloody Sunday, a day to remember

March 7, 1965 is a day the world will not forget. Given the name “Bloody Sunday” due to the events that unfolded on that day in Selma, Alabama, hundreds of African Americans were beaten as they marched for the racial equality and the right to vote.

Bloody Sunday followed the horrendous event that occurred a month earlier in a nearby town, Marion, where a Black demonstrator, 26-year-old Jimmie Lee Jackson, was fatally shot during a protest. Jackson was attempting to protect his mother from the police, who were clubbing protesters. His assassination was what spurred voting right marches, starting in Selma and ending in Montgomery.

Photo by Getty Images

On Bloody Sunday’s march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in this very segregated Jim Crow state, John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) did not expect the events to unfold as they did.

The marchers were met with a wall of state troopers wearing gas masks and wielding billy clubs, as well as deputies of Jim Clark, the Dallas County sheriff, and Confederate-flag-waving white onlookers.

Lewis, Williams, and the other marchers continued on, despite the warnings of troopers who called out that continuing the march would be “detrimental” to their safety. The troopers then advanced to the crowd, fighting them to the ground, delivering blows, and spraying tear gas. The marchers, abiding by their nonviolent activism stance, did not fight back.

Photo by Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

This grisly event soon made national news, as there were television cameras present that documented the happenings of that dark day in Selma. The footage shown on the tv screens of millions of Americans were not only appalling, but it brought to the forefront the injustices that the Black community was facing in the United States.

Many people around the world set up traffic blockades and staged sit-ins to show support to the plight of African Americans and to stand in solidarity with them against the wrongdoings of the troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Following the march, President Lyndon Johnson issued a statement against the actions of the troopers and soon sent a voting rights bill to Congress on March 15. In Johnson’s speech in support of the marchers he said, “It is wrong to deny any person full equality because of the color of his skin.”

On August 6, 1965, the bill was signed into law, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited discriminatory voting practices in various southern states. 

Photo by Wikipedia

It has been less than six decades since the shocking events of Bloody Sunday, and there is still much work to be done in the fight for equality for African Americans. We will not forget the work that generations before us have done, and we must continue to stand tall in the face of injustice.

Check out this video on Bloody Sunday by NBC News.

Black Entrepreneur Program Makes a Big Wave

Black Entrepreneur Program Makes a Big Wave

On April 8th, 2021 the Entrepreneur Business Basics (EBB) held their latest graduation and pitch contest. The participants completed an extensive 12-week program learning how to effectively start and grow a business, and this particular event was nothing short of amazing. 

Kira Cheree, business coach, author, and CEO of EBB, started this company in 2014, and while doing one-on-one business consulting for Black entrepreneurs, she began to fall in love with the process. However,  she soon noticed something missing from the African American entrepreneurial scene.

“I saw so many disparities and so many gaps in the community for Black entrepreneurs,” said Kira. “It was easy to see right away what those gaps were – access to capital, networking, trust for our community, and cultural competency.”

Kira has made it her mission to help these budding entrepreneurs with the fundamentals of business by offering a number of programs to those in the greater Kansas City area and surrounding regions. This year the company has graduated 100 African American entrepreneurs, and their most recent graduation and pitch contest was nothing short of amazing.

“It was so profound because the last go-around was full of Black women entrepreneurs. This particular cohort was just full of Black girl magic and Black girl power.”  

I had the pleasure of speaking with the three winners of the pitch contest, and they shared their experience with EBB and how the 12-week program helped prepare them for the next step in their entrepreneurial journey.

Kayla McClellan won first place at the pitch contest. She’s the co-owner of Queen Vibes KC, a wellness studio for Black women that offers dance and fitness classes by professionals who represent them. Kayla said that she and her business partner, Olivia, noticed the lack of Black women fitness spaces.

“But why? It’s not like Black women don’t work out. Why is it that we’re usually the two Black girls making eye contact in the room?”

She continued to tell me that after doing some research, she noticed many Black women prioritize community when visiting fitness facilities and due the lack of representation, it can sometimes be difficult for them to make fitness a regular routine. With Queen Vibes KC, she wants to provide a space for Black women to feel comfortable in their skin and ultimately encourage more women to get on their fitness journey.

“We need a space where the music speaks to our soul; we need a space that’s for us.” 

Wanting to make this vision a reality, Kayla spoke about her research on starting a business and how easy it can be to get lost in a sea of information. She then went to her aunt for business advice, who directed her to EBB and their 12-week business program. 

“It fit into my schedule and it’s geared toward Black entrepreneurs and I was like, that’s a space I want to be in.” 

She explained how well thought out the curriculum was and how Kira showed them how to apply it to their business. She also emphasized the community aspect of the program and how she never felt she was on her own.

“It’s so helpful that she [Kira] walks you through it. It’s one thing to read something and fill in the blanks, but during the lessons, she asked what we thought about this or what we thought about that, so it was really helpful.”

Though the course was challenging, Kayla said that it prepared her and her business partner for many aspects of their growing business.

LaRonda Lanera, owner of We Got It Covered Catering, won second place at the pitch contest. After combining her love of cooking and DIY projects, she created her catering business.

“Cooking for my friends and family is something that I enjoy doing, so I turned it into a business.”

After winning a G.I.F.T. (Generating Income For Tomorrow) grant, she was gifted with an accountant, a marketing team, a business lawyer, and a business consultant to take her business to the next level. Her business consultant was Kira, the CEO of Entrepreneur Business Basics, and she informed LaRonda of the business program.

“I learned so much. Going through EBB is literally like going through a college course.”

LaRonda said that after going through the entrepreneurial program, she reformed her entire business plan. She also mentioned that the program directors made her and her cohort feel as if they were part of a community. She spoke of how the directors were easily reachable and were there to answer any questions she had.

“They’re very hands-on, they’re very thorough with the work, and they break everything down.”

Thinking back to the pitch contest she was in last month, she said it was similar to the entrepreneur reality show, “Shark Tank.”  She said that from day one, they learned how to properly write and deliver a business pitch, so when the day arrived, she felt very prepared.

During her time in the EBB program, LaRonda even got an offer from a children’s camp to do food management. 

“They needed me to do a bid, and I’m a little nervous because I had never done one before. I called Kira and she walked through it, and I got that bid, and they sent me two more camps.”

Since the graduation and pitch contest, LaRonda has been busy working with camps, offering catering and food management, and she attributes much of her success to EBB and all that she learned during the program. She one day hopes to own a warehouse in the inner city and hire more people for her catering company who are in need of work.

I had the chance to talk with Champagne Washington, owner of Peace in Pain Candles. Champagne won third place in EBB’s pitch contest and she informed me how her business came to fruition.

“My business is all about mental healing with aromatherapy. I started my business two years ago due to me needing to find something to do to get me out of my own depression.”

Champagne shared that she lost her father to gun violence and that making candles helped her cope during that difficult time. She got introduced to EBB during an event she was a part of.  Her company received a surprise spotlight segment during the event and Kira happened to be one of the guest speakers.

“One day on Facebook she just surprised me with a scholarship for EBB and it really shocked me. I didn’t expect it, it came out of nowhere. I was really happy.”

Champagne stated that she didn’t initially think of selling her products because it was a hobby for her, but she soon received much support and people interested in buying, so she took a chance and transitioned Peace in Pain Candles to a business.

“I just started meeting all these people that saw something in me. They took chances, and that’s what Kira did for me with EBB, she took a chance on me. It helped me learn more about running a business.”

She said the program’s curriculum was extremely helpful, and each week she was able to incorporate what they were learning in class into her business.

I also spoke with Champagne in regards to the graduation and pitch contest, and she stated that it was an amazing experience. She admitted that although she was a little nervous, she loved having the chance to showcase her business, as well as hear more about the businesses of the other participants.

“It was amazing to see how much the classes were helping all of us.”

The program has given Champagne the tools she needs to continue bettering the lives of others through her candles and other aromatherapy products.

Entrepreneur Business Basics is doing great work in the African American community and shows that it’s possible for us to create successful businesses. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, I urge you to check out the programs EBB offers and continue to strive for excellence.

If you would like to view EBB’s latest graduation and pitch contest, click here and enter the following passcode: &16y.3hc

Different Ways to Love Yourself

Different Ways to Love Yourself

As we continue to navigate the global pandemic, it’s essential that you take time to properly love yourself. It can be easy to get off track and disregard the routine you’ve created for yourself, so there are a few things you can start doing (or doing again) to practice self-love during these times of uncertainty.

happy woman smiling

Positive Affirmations

Adding positive affirmations to your daily routine can help tremendously in loving yourself.  When you have a lot going on in your life, negative self-talk can begin creeping in. You may question if you’re good enough, if you’re doing the right things, and if you’re meeting everyone’s needs effectively.

By changing the way you think of yourself, and by making small changes to your internal dialogue, you’ll be amazed at how great you’ll feel.

If you’re someone who usually engages in negative self-talk, try saying some of these phrases to yourself each day.

  • I am good enough.
  • I have everything under control.
  • I will prioritize my needs because I am important.
  • Everything will work itself out.
  • I’m surrounded by helpful people who love me.
  • I have a balanced life.

Positive affirmations can be life-changing, so do yourself a favor and start adding them to your vernacular today.

Set Boundaries

Sometimes you have to say no, and that’s ok. An important way to love yourself is by knowing your limits and learning not to overextend yourself. We all have obligations, from work to family to school, and if you’re constantly pouring from an empty cup, you’ll soon experience burnout.

Experts say that setting boundaries can help in reducing stress and can give you more control over your life.

I know that some of us can have difficulty with setting boundaries because we don’t want to let another person down, but think of this as a way of prioritizing yourself and your time. Once you set clear boundaries, you’re able to show up to the world as the best version of yourself, and you’ll be better equipped to help your community.

Cook a Healthy Meal

Cooking can be very therapeutic when you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. When you’re busy running errands or doing other daily tasks, it can be very tempting to stop at a fast food restaurant for a quick meal. I strongly advise against this because you’re often left with less energy than you started with before you ate the meal.

Instead, I recommend making time each week to cook a healthy meal because you’ll feel much better about what you are putting into your body. Slowing down and being more intentional with your meals is a great way to love yourself.

If you’re looking for a tasty and healthy meal to try out, I recommend checking out Deliciously Ella.

There are various ways to love yourself as you move through this “new normal.” In order to operate at your absolute best, find time to take care of yourself, even in the smallest of ways.

5 Indoor Plants You Absolutely Need in Your Home

5 Indoor Plants You Absolutely Need in Your Home

Spring has sprung, and that means it’s time for a trip to your local plant nursery to buy some indoor plants!  Not only can plants liven up an area in your house, but they can also improve your mood.

I know that not everyone wants to get their hands dirty working in a garden, so I’ve rounded up five top plants that you can grow indoors and ones that won’t take much work on your part.

Plant 1 – Snake Plant 

Snake plants are a popular, beginner-friendly indoor plant that you can add to your plant family. These plants do better in warmer weather, they grow best in indirect sunlight, and they don’t require much water (typically water every three weeks). Add a little plant fertilizer in the soil, and you’re good to go! 

Plant 2 – Aloe Vera

You may have heard of people using  this versatile plant for sunburns, hair treatments, as a moisturizer, and much more.

Aloe vera plants are great for indoors because these succulents don’t require a lot of work. After placing it in bright, indirect light, you only need to water it about every two to three weeks during the warmer climate, and even less during the colder months! 

Be sure not to overwater this plant or else the roots will rot (trust me on this one!).

If you’re in the market for an aloe vera plant, visit Natty Garden.

Plant 3 – Fiddle Leaf Fig

The fiddle leaf fig adds a touch of sophistication to a room and is a favorite amongst plant lovers. To give this indoor plant the best home, put it in indirect, but bright sunlight. If it does have to be in direct sunlight, limit it to only five to six hours a day.

You’ll also want to water your plant baby about every seven to ten days when the soil feels dry to touch (If its leaves droop, you may not be watering enough). While this can sometimes be a moody plant, its beautiful, shiny leaves and the way it brightens up a room make it all worth it.

Plant 4 – ZZ Plant

The zz plant is a certified conversation starter. This interesting indoor plant, indigenous to Africa, is widely popular and instantly jazzes up a room.

If you’re the Plant Parent to a zz plant, you’ll be glad to know that it’s pretty hands-off. It grows best in bright, indirect sunlight, and doesn’t require much watering. Typically, you’ll want to water your zz plant whenever it’s fully dry, which can range anywhere from two to four weeks, depending on where you live. 

If you’re in a warmer climate, we’d recommend checking in with your plant once a week to ensure it isn’t dehydrated.

Planting With P has a cute mini zz plant that you may want to check out! 

Plant 5 – Kalanchoe

Kalanchoes are such beautiful plants that come in an array of colors. If you’re thinking of adding one to your collection of indoor plants, it’s best to keep it in full sunlight in a moderately warm climate. If you’re a forgetful plant waterer, like myself, you’ll be happy to know this plant doesn’t require many watering duties.

Water your kalanchoe every two to three weeks, or whenever the soil is completely dry. If your plant begins to droop, you’ll know that it needs a drink!

Now is the perfect time to add some indoor plants to your living space. They’ll brighten your mood, they’re not difficult to care for, and they’re great conversation pieces for other like-minded plant lovers.

If you’re looking for some great indoor gardening tips and inspiration, we recommend you check out Black Girls With Gardens

What will be the first indoor plant that you buy?

Simple ways to care for yourself during the pandemic

Simple ways to care for yourself during the pandemic

It can be easy to neglect yourself as we navigate the global pandemic that’s been changing our lives for the past year. Whether you are out of work, working more hours, adjusting to new schedules, or trying to stay as healthy as possible, it can be a lot to handle.

Healthcare professionals advocate the importance of caring for yourself during the pandemic, as it can do wonders for your mental and physical health.

Dr. Laura Maphis, a psychologist at Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania said, “No matter which situation you find yourself in, remember that taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally plays a big part in your overall health.”

By not properly caring for yourself during such a pivotal time, you’re more likely to experience feelings of anger, stress, or depression.

This article by Elizabeth Scott gives some great information on self-care and how important it is to stress management.

There are various ways that you can practice self-care during COVID-19. Healthcare providers suggest doing the following to feel your best:

  • Daily exercise
  • Eating healthy food, supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Making a routine for yourself and your family
  • Making time to practice a hobby
  • Reaching out to your loved ones via phone or video chats
  • Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night
  • Taking time to relax and enjoy your own company

Although it can be challenging to practice self-care, it’s imperative to incorporate it into your daily routine so you can operate at your most optimum level.