Friday, February 24, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Black Girls Smile

As we make the transition from Black History Month to Women’s History Month, it’s a great opportunity to highlight the work being done by Black Girls Smile.

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Black Girls Smile (BGS) “provides gender-responsive and culturally-affirming mental wellness education, resources, and support geared toward Black women and girls.” Their vision, as explained on the website is “a society that focuses on ensuring all young Black women and girls receive the resources and support necessary to lead mentally healthy lives.”

Programs are focused on Black women and girls between the ages of 13 and 25 and include workshops on creating healthy daily habits, cultivating a healthy body image and a customizable educational and wellness program focused on fostering community. You can watch a Today Show segment to see how BGS built community by talking with young women about hair.

Programming available to schools and community centers focuses on group coaching, conflict mediation and suicide prevention. BGS also provides therapy assistance by connecting Black women and girls with culturally, racially, and gender-competent mental health professionals and providing two to six months of financial support for therapy sessions.

In addition to the programs and events, the BGS website has an extensive list of resources. You can find referrals for mental health professionals, crisis hotlines, and support for specialized disorders such as anxiety and depression, addiction and ADHD. There are also links to connect you with mental health outreach and advocacy organizations, Black-focused mental health-centered professional associations, and community partners that focus on empowering Black women and girls like Black Girls Code, Therapy for Black Girls, and Justice for Black Girls.

Since they began, Black Girls Smile has impacted over 10,000 young women across the United States. If you’d like to get involved, there are many ways you can support their mission. Volunteer your time, donate your money and amplify the work of Black Girls Smile on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram and TikTok @blackgirlssmile.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Black History in Two Minutes

There are a lot of resources to educate yourself during Black History Month and knowing where to start can be difficult. One place I’ve found very useful to get a lot of information in a short period of time is Black History in Two Minutes.

Launched in 2019 by Robert F. Smith, Black History in Two Minutes (or so), is a web series designed for people of all ages and educational backgrounds to be able to immerse themselves in Black history. As they explain on their website, “the digital video series features dozens of short, engaging and factually accurate videos about important historical events or people who have shaped American history.”

The episodes are researched and narrated by historian, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and range in length from two to four minutes. A great place to start exploring is their YouTube channel. Topics of the videos include slavery, civil rights, politics, music, sports, science and profiles of people whose names you do know, or should know. There is something to interest everyone.

In less time than it’s taken me to write this blog, I learned that the first underground railroad in the United States ran from north to south taking slaves to Spanish Florida, that Ella Baker helped organize both the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and that Oscar Micheaux was the first major Black filmmaker to produce and direct his own films - starting in 1917!

Black History in Two Minutes has won 5 Webby Awards and is a great place to get bite sized history lessons. For a more structured approach to learning, there are teaching guides which you can download for use in the classroom: season one teaching guides.

The best way to support the work of Black History in Two Minutes is watch some videos and amplify their message on social media. Like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @blkhistory2min and on Instagram @blackhistoryintwominutes.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Buy From a Black Woman

If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate Black History Month, visit today’s Feel Good Friday organization, Buy From a Black Woman, and support Black entrepreneurs. 

Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Buy From a Black Woman (BFABW) “ensures that Black Women have the tools and resources that will allow them to be successful.” 

As they explain on their website, due to lack of support and awareness, “annual sales for Black Women Business Owners are five times smaller than all Women-owned businesses.” BFABW aims to increase those numbers by educating, empowering and inspiring Black women in business.

Educational resources are designed to help Black women start, maintain and grow their businesses. There are free worksheets you can download that cover topics such as the consumer purchase decision process, price and cost analysis, and setting intentions to keep your vision for your business top of mind. You can also tune into monthly workshops offered as part of BFABW University. From trademarks and order fulfillment to financial management, these courses are streamed live at where recordings are also posted for later viewing.

Empowerment comes through a variety of grants. BFABW awards grants to cover the creation and hosting of an e-commerce website, trademarking a brand name or supporting specific projects that will help advance a current business.

Inspiration comes through connections and events. Classes, gatherings, holiday markets and a multi-city tour across the United States highlighting Black women business owners are some of the ways community members stay engaged and inspired.

The best way to support the entrepreneurs behind Buy From a Black Woman is also the most fun. Get out your credit card and start shopping! Clothing, beauty products, art, furniture, professional services, fitness, travel, and more. There are over 170 shops in this online directory so you’re sure to find something you’ll like.

You can also support BFABW by donating your money and amplifying their message on social media. Follow Buy From a Black Woman on Facebook, on Twitter @BFABWInfo and on Instagram @buyfromablackwoman.


Friday, February 3, 2023

Feel Good Friday - Campaign Zero

Another week when a frustratingly familiar story, this time of a Black man being killed by police, leads me to find an organization working to address policing in the United States. Today’s focus is on Campaign Zero.

Founded in 2015 in response to incidents of civilians being killed by police, Campaign Zero is a national, research-based platform focused on ending police violence in the United States. As they explain on their website, “We can live in a world beyond policing. We can live in a world where the police don’t kill people by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.”

Their research and advocacy projects are focused in five areas: 

  1. Public safety beyond policing
  2. Shrink the reliance and power of the police
  3. End mass incarceration
  4. Fundamental fairness, accountability, and transparency
  5. Direct support & advocacy

Examples of related campaigns include addressing corruption and mismanagement at the Rikers Island jail, working to achieve accountability in cases of injustice like that of Samuel Celestin who was killed by police, and canceling the use of ShotSpotter technology in cities around the country.

The website includes extensive research into the campaigns and issues. In the case of ShotSpotter, a study published in the Journal of Urban Health found it does not reduce violent crime. The city of Oakland, California, where I live, has a 5 million dollar contract with ShotSpotter, and yet 6,053 alerts in the year 2020 led to only 69 weapons being found. You can get more information on all the issues on the research page of the website. 

The work of Campaign Zero is having an impact. One state has repealed its law enforcement officers “bill of rights”, six states have restricted the use of no-knock raids and over 340 cities have restricted use of force policies. 

If you want to help Campaign Zero end police violence in America there are many ways to get involved. Volunteer your time, donate your money, and amplify their message on social medial. Follow Campaign Zero on Facebook, on Twitter @CampaignZero and on Instagram @campaignzero.