"Nurture the seeds of love, equality, social justice, freedom & human rights that are planted into our hearts & minds but too often neglected." --Forest Whitaker, Award winning Actor, Humanitarian, Philanthropist
The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) was founded by Forest Whitaker in 2012 to foster peace and reconciliation in disadvantaged and fragile communities in the different regions of the world, including Africa, Latin America and the United States. The non-profit organization working along with other like-minded organizations promote youth empowerment, cultural diversity, continuous learning, capacity building, and access to internet connectivity and digital technologies. Find out more at wpdi.org
"It is important for women to feel beautiful when she looks in the mirror, and I tell women, 'If you don't feel beautiful, find one thing that you can look in that mirror and say, 'That is beautiful.'"
"Once you're coming up with ways you can't do something, you're not going to do it. So I think that...stop finding ways that you can't do something and find all the ways that you can and just go for it." --Issa Rae, Writer, Actress, Director & Producer
"The most ordinary human being has within him profound anguish. You don't have to go to Kings and Queens of the earth. Every human being is in enormous conflict about something. Even if it's how you get to work in the morning. And I thought that it would be very interesting to explore the most ordinary man say on the South Side of Chicago."
--Lorraine Hansberry, Author and Playwright
Lorraine Hansberry was born on May 19, 1930 in segregated Chicago, Illinois to Carl and Nannie Louise Hansberry. She was the youngest of four children and grew up on the South Side of Chicago. Hansberry was an extraordinarily gifted writer who made history as the first black female author to have her play, "A Raisin In The Sun", opened on Broadway in New York City. Active in the Civil Rights Movement, she worked with the likes of Paul Roberson, Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, and Harry Belafonte, and was known by Nina Simone and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her life story has been wonderfully told in a documentary in the PBS American Masters series entitled, "Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart". For more information on Hansberry's life, you may also visit the Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust.
“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”
Image: James White, Shondaland
On Tuesdays, womenatliberty.com presents #LeadershipTuesdays, a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage and strengthen women leaders. Today we present the Queen of Thursday night television, the history making showrunner Shonda Lynn Rhimes. Shonda Rhimes is an award-winning American television producer, screenwriter and author. At the helm of Shondaland, her production company, she is responsible for #TGIT (Thank God It's Thursday) on the ABC Network and some of its most watched and popular shows on television today. Her Top 10 shows include Grey's Anatomy (starring Ellen Pompeo), Scandal (starring Kerry Washington), and How To Get Away With Murder (starring Viola Davis). She also produced and wrote the hit show Private Practice (starring Kate Walsh), a spin-off of Grey's Anatomy. Rhimes is first African American woman to create and executive produce a Top 10 network series (Grey's Anatomy). She recently made headlines when she signed a new multi-year deal with Netflix signalling an end to her 15 year relationship with ABC Television. The deal does not affect her current slate of shows now airing on the network.
In 2015, released her first book, "Year of Yes" and last year she received one of her most historic awards to date. Rhimes was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2017 and became the third Black woman to receive this honor. Oprah Winfrey and Diahann Carroll were the first and second Black women to receive this high honor before Rhimes. Oprah Winfrey paid tribute to Rhimes at the event calling her "currently the most powerful showrunner in television, period.”
She received her BA at Dartmouth and a MFA from USC. The Illinois native currently resides in Los Angeles, California. For more information on LeadershipTuesdays, go to womenatliberty.com.
“When someone says to me, ‘When I look at you, Ken, I don’t see color,’ I say, ‘Then you’ve got a problem because I’m very proud about who I am. So, don’t deny I’m African-American. Accept me for who I am, engage with me, but don’t deny my heritage. That’s important because we don’t have enough honest discussions about race in this country.’”
--Ken Chenault, Chairman & CEO (retired*), American Express
*On February 1, 2018, Ken Chenault retired as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express Corporation after 37 years with the company. He recently joined the boards of the Facebook and Airbnb. He is also now the chairman of venture capital firm General Catalyst.
"Faith will let you know that it doesn't matter where you started. What really matters is where God is taking you. Faith will tell you, 'I don't have to accept what others tell me about myself. I don't have to believe what society says about me because my faith tells me that my God is able and God has put something great in me'. He is renewing my mind everyday as I enter into new realms of spirtual breakthough. I decree faith over all of our lives because it is by faith that we shall experience breakthrough."
--Rev. Dr. Elaine Flake, Co-Pastor, The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral, New York, NY
"You don't have to be number one to land in a really, really good spot. The path that's meant for you will unfold. Even though I was a scared...I was a scaredy cat a couple of times. I sort of diverted off my path and then had to get right back on it. ...just don't worry about what other people have or what they're doing or start feeling less than... No one has their stuff as together as they'd like you to think."*
--Pam D. Oliver
Pam Oliver is a veteran journalist and sports reporter who has been with the NFL On Fox since 1995. As a respected sideline reporter, she has interviewed some of the NFL's greatest players and coaches and is one of the most recognizable women covering sports and America's most popular professional sport, the NFL.
She is a graduate of Florida A&M (FAMU) where she was a broadcast journalism major and a student-athlete. She gained distinction as a NCAA and AIAW track and field All-American in both the 400 meters and the mile relay. Her Alma mater inducted her into the Florida A&M Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. In 2015, she was honored again when FAMU named its production hall in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication after her. *This quote is an excerpt from an interview Pam Oliver participated in at FAMU with Jason Joseph of FAMUNOW in August 2015.
"The mentor leader gives his or her people a reason to stick around when things don’t go as planned. They can be trusted even in the midst of uncertainty."
--Tony Dungy, Super Bowl Winning NFL Head Coach, NFL Player, TV Sports Analyst
Coach Dungy was the first Black NFL Head Coach to win the Super Bowl. His Indianapolis Colts with Peyton Manning as the quarterback won Super Bowl XLI (41) in 2006 against the Chicago Bears who were coached by Lovie Smith. Both Dungy and Smith made history as the first black NFL Head Coaches to take their teams to the Super Bowl.
Follow the @DungyFamilyFndn for more quotes and blogs from Coach Dungy https://t.co/HNCKzKbYHJ
"...there is no limit to what you can do. And sometimes to make change, you got to change how change is made. So do not be constrained by tradition. Do not listen when they say it can't be done. And do not be burdened by what has been when you can create what should be."*
--Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator (California)
*This quote is taken from Senator Harris' speech for her alma mater, Howard University, at the May 2017 Commencement Ceremony in Washington D.C. To view the entire speech, click here.
"Find something that speaks to your passion early and determine how you can create a career around that. So don't necessarily do the thing that someone told you you are supposed to do or what you think is expected of you. But, do something that truly speaks to your heart."
--April Reign, Creator of #OscarsSoWhite
On Tuesdays, womenatliberty.com presents Leadership Tuesdays, a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage and strengthen women leaders. Today, we present the second part of a two part interview with April Reign, the creator of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. She is an attorney, public speaker, activist and Social Media Strategist.
With the creation of #OscarsSoWhite and her subsequent utilization of her expanded platform to amplify diverse voices on issues important to people and women of color, Reign has provided a textbook example of how to use social media to create social change. She has also created other hashtags like #NoConfederate to moblize a campaign against a period drama series titled "Confederate" that HBO greenlit in July 2017. The series envisions what life would be like in the United States if slavery had not been abolished. #ReignyDayJobs is another one of her creations where she provides a space on Twitter for both candidates and recruiters to tweet about their availability and job openings.
April's career advice to others is discover your passion as early as possible and determine how you can build a career around that. Be true to yourself and follow your heart.
"Don’t waste your time trying to explain yourself to people that are committed to misunderstanding you."
--Shannon L. Alder
Your time is limited and precious. It should be spent with people who value, genuinely care and love you. Sure, we all have to do things with individuals we may not particulary care for, but don't dwell in spaces where people are always negative and continuously criticize you. You deserve better than that.
"Seize this day. Make the most of it. Don't make excuses. Focus on what you can do...today and take advantage of this precious time you were given."
On Tuesdays, womenatliberty.com presents Leadership Tuesdays, a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage and strengthen women leaders. Today, in the second part of a two part series, we talk with April Reign, the creator of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. She is an attorney, public speaker, activist and Social Media Strategist.
Many remember the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag that started trending on Twitter and made headlines around the world after the Oscars nominations were announced in January 2015. "Oscars So White" was a reaction to the fact that no people of color were nominated in the 20 acting and directing categories of the Oscars. If you don't remember, the Martin Luther King, Jr biopic "Selma" was nominated in the Best Picture and Song categories, and did win the Oscar for Best Song; however, many fans felt the film's director Ava Duvernay and leading actor David Oyelowo were snubbed. History repeated itself in 2016 when no actors or directors of color were nominated and Reign's hashtag began trending again.
Reign's hashtag gave voice to movie fans and industry players who were frustrated with Hollywood's lack of diversity. The 2015 Oscars nominations were just the tipping point. #LeadershipTuesdays talked w/April Reign about the creation and impact of #OscarsSoWhite and the changes that have taken place in the industry in the last three years. Reigns shrewd activism has had a measurable impact on the issue of diversity in Hollywood.
See the video for the interview. For more information on LeadershipTuesdays, go to womenatliberty.com. The 2018 Oscars nominations will be announced today, January 23rd at 8:22 am EST. To view the nominations live or a re-broadcast, go to Oscars.com.
On Tuesdays, womenatliberty.com presents Leadership Tuesdays, a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage, and strengthen women leaders. Change. It is a constant in our world, but it consistently garners resistance. It doesn't matter whether the change is positive or negative. Resistance will always accompany change. As a leader, you must know this and not be discouraged because your ideas cause people to question you and/or your motives.
Creativity. Where does creativity come from? I believe creativity, as well as innovation, comes from a curious yearning, purpose and fire that burns within. Stoke your fire and protect it by putting yourself in spaces that will support your creativity and nuture your skills. Even if your work or school environment doesn't provide the right opportunities for this, seek opportunities through networking and other professional associations. Stay away and limit your exposure to negative people and situations. Do your work, make connections, socialize your ideas, keep learning and keep moving forward.
This year at the 2018 Golden Globes we saw an example of creativity and change in action. Women who are actresses, celebrities and activists united and wore black to say #TimesUp and no more silence on sexual harrassment, discrimination, and gender inequality. Shout to Tarana Burke who founded the #MeToo movement over ten years ago. I hope that the momentum started in 2017 will continue and be so invasive that those who use their power to diminish the voices of others will not be able to hide behind their positions and titles.