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Black Women Rising Give New Meaning to Black History Month

February 19, 2021

Greetings from a very snowy, SE Michigan. The snow here is up to my knees and a daily ritual is chipping snow-packed, icy "platform shoes" off the bottom of our horses' feet.

But that's nothing compared to the millions who are facing bitter cold with no electricity or heat and dwindling food and water supplies in multiple southern states overwhelmed by historic winter storms. I hope you will keep them in your thoughts and help if you can. 

As discouraged as we all are by the pandemic, the political divides that have torn so many friends and families (mine included) apart, and now this winter weather crisis, my spirits have been repeatedly lifted by numerous examples of inspiring Black women rising up to help heal and lead us at this critical moment of national vulnerability.  

February is Black History Month in the United States. 

When I take time to reflect, I think of Stacey Abrams. After narrowly losing her 2018 election bid for governor of Georgia, she poured her energy and skills into raising millions of dollars to organize and register hundreds of thousands of voters. She is now the leading voice on voting rights and a formidable political power. 

During the Black Lives Matter protests this past summer, I discovered how many of the growing numbers of women leading U.S. cities are African American, including the mayors of Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington, DC. Seven of the 11 female police chiefs in major cities are African American. 

The fact that the first woman to finally shatter the elusive vice presidential "marble ceiling," Kamala Harris, is a woman of color is just more evidence of the growing wave of black women rising. 

And my last, but most definitely not least, compelling example is 22-year-old, youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman who both challenged and inspired us on Inauguration Day with her stunning poem, "The Hill We Climb."

Time magazine put Gorman on the cover this week and featured an in-depth Q&A conversation with the equally inspiring Michelle Obama. How can you not be inspired by a 22-year old who has already learned enough about her capabilities and gifts to tell a former First Lady, "I'm learning that I am not lightning striking once.  I am the hurricane that comes every single year, and you can expect to see me again soon." 

The events of 2020, from violent deaths of unarmed African Americans at the hands of police witnessed by millions, peaceful protestors supporting Black Lives Matter tear-gassed and beaten, and the disproportionate toll the pandemic has taken on African Americans have all impacted my feelings this year about my country's black history to be remembered and being written today. 

One of the ways that I'm trying to have the backs of these impressive leaders who are helping our country at this moment of pain, conflict and vulnerability is by using my POWER UP WOMEN podcast to amplify the voices of other fantastic black women leaders making a difference, including my new co-host Dana Harvey.

Here are a few of our favorites POWER UP WOMEN podcast episodes of particular interest this month: 

Sybil Morial, a legendary Louisiana civil rights activist and author of Witness to Change: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment and mother of Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League.

Robin Terry, CEO of the Motown Museum and great niece of founder Berry Gordy, on the untold story of the Women Who Helped Make Motown Great.  

WNBA athletes from the Atlanta Dream who defied their team owner and used their collective voices in support of Black Lives Matter and Georgia political power. 

You can listen to all of these POWER UP WOMEN podcasts episodes and lots more wherever you get your podcasts or through my website. I hope you'll listen, subscribe and share it with your networks. 

Stay safe, stay kind, and get vaccinated as soon as you can! I'm still waiting. 

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