Category Archives: BWW blog

Don’t Stress Out Over Resolutions!
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It’s about that time again, the time where we all get ready to make our New Year’s resolution. Below are a couple of tricks on keeping your resolution pass the second week of Feb. Our favorite one, start now? Why wait to the Jan 1st….so resolutions need practice!

(How to Keep Your Resolution from Psychology Now) 


1) Choose a Specific, Realistic Goal


Every year, millions of adults resolve to “lose weight” or “get in shape” during the next year. Instead of selecting such an ambiguous goal, focus on something more concrete that you can realistically set your sights on. For example, you mights commit to losing 10 pounds or running a mini-marathon. Choosing a concrete, achievable goal also gives you the opportunity to plan exactly how you are going to accomplish your goal over the course of the year.

2. Pick Just One Resolution



While you might have a long list of potential New Year’s Resolutions, Richard Wiseman, a professor of psychology at Hertfordshire University, suggests that you should pick just one and focus your energies on it rather than spreading yourself too thin among a number of different objectives.


3. Don’t Wait Until New Year’s Eve


Planning is an essential part of achieving any goal. Experts suggest that you should spend some time planning out how you will tackle a major behavior change. You can start by writing down your goal, making a list of things you might do to achieve that goal, and noting any obstacles that might stand in your way.


4.  Start With Small Steps


Taking on too much is a common reason why so many New Year’s Resolutions fail. Dramatically slashing calories, over-doing it at the gym, or radically altering your normal behavior are sure-fire ways to derail your plans. Instead, focus on taking tiny steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal.


5. Avoid Repeating Past Failures


Another strategy for keeping your New Year’s Resolution is to not make the exact same resolution year after year. “If people think they can do it they probably can, but if they’ve already tried and failed, their self-belief will be low,” explained Wiseman in a 2006 interview with The Guardian.


If you do choose to reach for the same goals you’ve tried for in the past, spend some time evaluating your previous results. Which strategies were the most effective? Which were the least effective? What has prevented you from keeping your resolution in past years? By changing your approach, you will be more likely to see real results this year.


6. Remember That Change Is a Process


Those unhealthy habits that you are trying to change probably took years to develop, so how can you expect to change them in just a matter or days, weeks, or months? It may take longer than you would like to achieve your goals, but remember that this is not a race to the finish. Once you have made the commitment to changing a behavior, it is something that you will continue to work on for the rest of your life.


7.Don’t Let Small Stumbles Bring You Down


Encountering a setback is one of the most common reasons why people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions. If you suddenly relapse into a bad habit, don’t view it as a failure. The path toward your goal is not a straight one and there are always going to be challenges. Instead, view relapses as learning opportunities.

If you are keeping a resolution journal, write down important information about when the relapse occurred and what might have triggered it. By understanding the challenges you face, you will be better prepared to deal with them in the future.


8. Get Support from Your Friends and Family


Yes, you’ve probably heard this advice a million times, but that is because the buddy system actually works. Having a solid support system can help you stay motivated. Explain what your goals are to your close friends or family and ask them to help you achieve your objectives. Better yet, enlist the help of others by joining a group that shares your goal.


9. Renew Your Motivation



During the first days of a New Year’s Resolution, you will probably feel confident and highly motivated to reach your goal. Because you haven’t really faced any discomfort or temptation associated with changing your behavior, making this change might seem all too easy.


After dealing with the reality of dragging yourself to the gym at 6 A.M. or gritting your teeth through headaches brought on by nicotine withdrawal, your motivation to keep your New Year’s Resolution will probably start to dwindle. When you face such moments, remind yourself of exactly why you are doing this. What do you have to gain by achieving your goal? Find sources of inspiration that will keep you going when times get tough.


10. Keep Working on Your Goals

By February, many people have lost that initial spark of motivation that they felt immediately after making their New Year’s Resolution. Keep that inspiration alive by continuing to work on your goals, even after facing setbacks. If your current approach is not working, reevaluate your strategies and develop a new plan.


Consider keeping a resolution journal, where you can write about your successes and struggles. Write down the reasons why you are working toward your goal so that you can refer to them during times when you feel uninspired and unmotivated. By sticking with it and working on your goal all year long, you can be one of the few able to say that you really did keep your New Year’s Resolution.

Black Women in History – Marian Anderson
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Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993)

Marian Anderson was one of the most celebrated contralto (classical singing) singers of her time. Born early in 1897, Anderson talents as a singer were noticed at a very young age. However coming from a poor family, she was only able to train in music school for a short time, with funds collected by her church.

Anderson struggle as a Black artists became publicized after an incident in 1939, when the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused permission for Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall. Because of Anderson international fame, this incident became high talked about. In response to the incident First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Anderson to perform for Easter. Anderson performance was critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter, Sunday, April 9, 1939, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. She sang in front of a crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience in the millions.

Anderson became the first African American to be invited to perform at the white house, when she was asked by President Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor. In addition, Anderson became the first singer to perform as a member of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. In honor of Marian Anderson work and talents, On January 27, 2005, a commemorative U.S. postage stamp was commissioned as a part of the Black Heritage series.

Bell Hooks
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bell hooks

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bell hooksBorn on September 25, 1952 as Gloria jean Watkins…most know her her by her pen name bell hooks which is from her maternal grandmother. hooks is an American author, radical feminist, and social activist. Her writing has focused on the interconnectivity of race, capitalism, and gender and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination. She has published over thirty books including the famous ain’t i woman: Black women and feminism (not to be confused with Sojourner Truth’s testimony) and numerous scholarly and mainstream articles, and appeared in several documentary films. Primarily through a postmodern perspective, hooks has addressed race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media and feminism.

hooks graduated from Hopkinsville High School in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, earned her B.A. in English from Stanford University in 1973, and earned her M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976. In 1983, after several years of teaching and writing, she completed her doctorate in the literature department at University of California, Santa Cruz. hooks is a scholar who revolutionized feminist theory by bring light to the subject of race, gender and its implications on how it impacts our struggle for equality

Shirley Lee Ralph
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Sheryl lee raphl

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Sheryl lee raphl

In honor of Black AIDS Day, we are highlighting actress, singer and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph. This Jamaican root Diva is strong advocate around HIV and AIDS educations and information. Below is a snippet of an interview she did with The Urban Daily Magazine.

But first a couple of facts around HIV ( from the Center for Disease Control)

African Americans accounted for an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents (aged 13 years or older) in 2010, despite representing only 12% to14% of the US population.

In 2010, black men accounted for 70% (14,700) of the estimated 20,900 new HIV infections among all adult and adolescent blacks. The estimated rate of new HIV infection for black men (103.6/100,000 population) was seven times as high as that of white men, twice as high as that of Latino men, and nearly three times as high as among black women.

In 2010, black women accounted for 6,100 (29%) of the estimated new HIV infections among all adult and adolescent blacks. This number represents a decrease of 21% since 2008. Most HIV infections among black women (87%; 5,300) are attributed to heterosexual sex. The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women (38.1/100,000 population) was 20 times as high as the rate for white women, and almost five times as high as that of Latinas.

At some point in their lifetimes, an estimated 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection.

Almost 100,000 people in the African American community in 2009 were unaware of their HIV status.
the interview

UD Thank you. Why has AIDS awareness become such a big part of your mission in entertainment? Why choose that cause?

SLR-It’s so interesting that thirty years ago as an original company member of Dreamgirls on Broadway, I stood witness to what I call “The Ugly Time in America.” I saw my friends literally drop dead. They got sick and they died. There was no dying process, not like the one we’ve become used to. They just got sick and died and it was awful because I saw them die under stigma, shame, and silence. I saw people who could’ve helped turn their backs on AIDS victims and act as if they didn’t know any AIDS victims. I thought, “This is horrible that we, the people who say, ‘We will do unto others as we would have them do unto us,’ found it so easy to ignore our friends and people who suffered.” That’s when I made up my mind to, as a young woman, that we have got to do better.
I remember clearly thirty years ago, people told me to shut up. They told me not to talk about it. They said, “People will not like you.” I couldn’t understand this. I said, “How can we just be quiet in a time like this?!” Now, some thirty years later, people are asking, “Why are you suddenly involved in this?” They just don’t realize I’ve been doing this for a long time. It may have fallen on deaf ears over the past thirty years, but I’ve been doing it for a long time. My Divas Simply Singing is the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit in the country.

UD- How do you feel the attitude towards HIV/AIDS has changed within those thirty years?

SLR- There are still a lot of people who are ignorant about it.
To tell you the truth, I’m shocked, as I travel across this country, at how little people know or don’t want to know about HIV/AIDS. There are a lot of people who don’t know that HIV is one thing and AIDS is another. Those people just think it’s one big old alphabet of a disease. Some still want to hold on to the myth that it’s a gay disease of little consequence to the general population. People don’t even want to admit that the number one way to contract HIV/AIDS is through heterosexual sex. I’m even shocked at the number of people who can’t even say the word ‘sex’ out loud. People act as if others don’t have it. They always say, “Young people are not having a lot of sex.” They always say, “Old people aren’t having a lot of sex.” Trust me, they are having sex. Teenagers are having sex as well as old people. Cialis and Viagra changed everything.

Celia Cruz
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Celia Cruz

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Celia CruzÚrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso de la Santísima Trinidad better known as Celia Cruz (October 21, 1925 – July 16, 2003)

Known as the Queen of Salsa, this Cuban born singer is considered to be one of the most influential women to Afro-Cuban music. She had over 23 gold albums, several Grammy awards and several honors including one from President Clinton.

Cruz, started singing at a young age, with her Grandmother joking that she could sing before she could talk. Before her claim to fame, she studied at the Conservatory of Music in Havana, Cuba. In the 1940’s Cruz joined a dance troop Las Muletas and traveled throughout Latin America performing. Cruz first big singing break came from a contest she won, where she sung Nostalgia on a radio program called the Tea Hour. Several year later she joined the now famous Sonora Matancera Orchestra, where she recorded over 180 songs. During that time Cruz often performed at the Tropicana, a famous club in Cuba, where she eventually launched her solo career. Cruz was known for embodying sambor, or flavor with her dynamic performances, bombastic voice and incredible fashion.

Cruz died in 2003 of a brain tumor, with her husband trumpet player Pedro Knight at her side in New Jersey.

Black Women in History
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hattie mcDaniel

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Hattie McDanied

Hattie McDaniel June 10, 1895 – Oct 29, 1952

Best known for her oscar winning performance as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, McDaniel broke several barriers in the entertainment world. In 1925, McDaniel was the first African American woman on radio. and was such a hit, she became known as Hi-Hat Hattie.

In 1931, McDaniel scored her first small role in a Hollywood musical. She would go on to star in dozens of films but she was only credit for several. In 1939, Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Oscar for best supporting actress. McDaniel has two hollywood stars, one for her work in film and the other for her work on radio. In 1975, she was inducted in the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

Lena Horne
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Lena Horne

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Lena Horne

Lena Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010)
Actress and singer Lena Horne was born June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York. She left school at the young age, 16, to help support her family. Horne became a dancer at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem before moving to Hollywood to persure acting. Horne became the first black actress to sign a long term contract with a major movie studio (MGM). But that was short lived because of the movies studio treatment of here. Horne was blacklisted from movies for several years in the 1950’s because of her political views that many other progressive entertainers during that time. Horne has many famous films including Stormy Weather and The Wiz. She also performed at the Carnegie Hall.

Horne was as active off screen as she was on screen, by the end of the 1940s, Horne had sued a variety of restaurants and theaters for discrimination and become an outspoken member of the Progressive Citizens of America. She performed for the troops during world war 2 but refused to perform in segregated crowds. Horne also performed at rallies around the country on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, SNCC and the National Council for Negro Women, as well as participated in the 1963 March on Washington.

Lena Horne was probably best known for her refusal to play roles that stereotyped African-American women opening the door for many Black actress to come.

Angelina Weld Grimke
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Angelina Weld Grimke
Angelina Weld Grimke (February 27, 1880 – June 10, 1958)

You are like a pale purple flower In the blue spring dusk You are like a yellow star Budding and blowing In an apricot sky You are like the beauty Of a voice Remembered after death You are like thin, white petals Falling And Floating Down Upon the white stilled hushing Of my soul.

This Harlem Renaissance artist is known mostly for her poetry (one of her more famous poems is above), however she was also one of the first African American women to have a play performed; with the most famous of her plays being Rachel. Grimke wrote over 173 poems and dozens of plays. Much of her work focused on the mistreatment of African Americans especially lynching.

Grimke was born in Boston, Mass where she grew up primarily with her father after her mother left when she was a young girl. This caused her to become extremely close to her father, who was a well known lawyer for the NAACP. Through Grimke’s poetry and recovered lover letters, many speculate that she was a lesbian, but because of her father’s prestige and the time period, she never publicly came out. An example of one these poem:

And then I stole up all noiseless and unseen,
And kissed those eyes so dreamy and so sad–I
Ah God! if I might once again see all
Thy soul leap in their depths as then
So hungry with long waiting and so true,
I clasp thee close within my yearning arms
I kiss thine eyes, thy lips, thy silky hair,
I felt thy soft arms twining round my neck,
Thy bashful, maiden, kisses on my cheek
My whole heart leaping ‘neath such wondrous joy–
And then the vision faded and was gone
And I was in my lonely, darkened, room,
The old-time longing surging in my breast,
The old-time agony within my soul
As fresh, as new, as when I kissed thy lips
So cold, with frenzy begging thee to speak,
Believing not that thou wert lying dead.

Grimke moved to D.C. when she was in her 20’s and became a school teacher. She also was published in several black newspaper including The Crisis, which was editted by W.E.B. Dubois. Grimké retired from teaching in 1926 and for two year cared for her father during his final illness. After his death, Grimké moved to New York City where she lived a reclusive life, never publishing again.

Black Women in History
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Daisy BatsDaisy Bates, known as the first lady of Little Rock, was an activist and publisher within the civil rights movement.

Bates was best known for guiding and advising the nine students, known as the Little Rock Nine, when they enrolled into  Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The Little Rock Nine was a group of Black students who were bused into Little Rock Central High School, after it was publicly noted they were not in compliance with the recently passed brown v. board of education (May 17, 1954), the groundbreaking desegregation Supreme Court Case.

In addition Bates, alongside her husband, ran the Arkansas State Press. An all black newspapers. The newspaper was founded in 1941, where it focused on covering civil rights issues through the state.

Bates was also known for her work with the NAACP,  and was elected president of the Arkansas Conference of NAACP branches in 1952. In 1986, Arkansas opened a school in her honor called the Daisy Bates Elementary School and made the third Monday in February “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” an official state holiday. To learn more about this incredible woman (for free), check out the PBS special  Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock released in Feb 2012.

Black Women in History
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Dorothy Height

Dorothy Heights (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010) educator and activist, Height was best known for leading the National Council of Negro Women for over forty years (just as a note, the NCNW  has the only black owned/female owned building on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington D.C). Height was a vocal activist against lynching and organized around a host of issues impacting African Americans including voting rights AIDS, and poverty.

In 1971, Height, help founded the National Women’s Political Caucus with Gloria Steinman, Shirley Chisholm and Betty Friedan. Height was a pioneer in women’s rights as she worked for both gender and racial equality making the connection that you can not separate the two in the work for equality for all. In 1990, Height, along with 15 other African American women and men, formed the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom.

Because of Height unflinching commitment to her work and respected place within the community, two different presidents and First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt sought her council during the height of the civil rights movement.

Ms. Height received three dozen honorary doctorates, from institutions including Tuskegee, Harvard and Princeton Universities and countless awards for her work. But there was one academic honor — the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree — that resonated more strongly than all the rest. In 2004, 75 years after turning her away, Barnard College designated Ms. Height an honorary graduate. Height often was the quiet storm behind many of the national civil rights actions/movements and pillar in history for both the civil rights movement and the women’s right movement.

Black Women in History
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Septima Clark


Septima Poinsette Clark (May 3, 1898–December 15, 1987),

Known as the mother of the civil rights movement, Clark was an educator, activist and community organizer within the Black community. Clark was most known for her citizenship schools; where she set up a system to teach African Americans how to read and write in the deep south. Many of these schools were set up in the backrooms of shops and homes to escape persecution of white southerners.  Clark also organized with NAACP, helping to establish the first Black principal in Charleston.  In addition to her schools,  she organized with Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) where she became the director of education and teaching. President Jimmy Carter awarded Clark with the Living Legacy Award in 1979.  

Press Release – State leaders, Women’s group mark 40th Anniversary introducing AB154
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Contact: Rebecca Farmer, 415.269.6275, or Ana Sandoval, 916.446.5247

State leaders, women’s groups mark 40th Anniversary of Roe by introducing bill to improve access to abortion services

SACRAMENTO – On the 40th Anniversary of the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, state leaders, women’s health and rights groups, announced the introduction of a bill that would improve abortion access. The bill, Assembly Bill 154, authored by Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), improves access by expanding the types of health professionals who can provide early abortions.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez; Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, Vice-Chair of the Women’s Caucus; and Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, Chair of the Women’s Caucus, joined members of the California Women’s Health Alliance on the steps of the State Capitol to mark the 40th Anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that ensured abortion remains safe and legal. The California Women’s Health Alliance, comprising women’s health and rights organizations, is convened by ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, ACLU of California, Black Women for Wellness, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice California and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.

“As a former administrator of a health clinic, I know how important timely care is for women,” said Assemblymember Atkins. “This bill will ensure that early abortion care will be available for women in California who need it.”

“For 40 years, Roe v. Wade has guaranteed that the women of America have the freedom to make the right decisions for themselves and their families, and I am proud to join my colleagues in affirming our commitment to protecting women’s rights for every Californian,” said Speaker John A. Pérez. “Roe, and reproductive rights across the country have come under a bare-knuckled attack in other states over the past few years, which is why it’s important that California continues to protect and expand women’s rights, and my colleagues and I are deeply committed to that effort.”

California has a long history of supporting a woman’s access to health care. Yet even in California, 52 percent of the state’s counties have no accessible abortion provider. In rural areas this can mean a woman has to travel five hours just to obtain services. Even women living in urban areas with local providers face overburdened clinics and long wait times that result in delays in care.

“Over the last two years, 135 laws restricting abortion were passed across the country. But here in California we do things differently,” said Amy Everitt, president of NARAL Pro-Choice California and emcee of the event.“Women in rural and urban areas around our state still face challenges in access to abortion. By passing AB 154 California can continue to lead the nation in supporting access to comprehensive reproductive health for women in their own communities by providers they know and trust.”

AB 154 would improve access by authorizing trained nurse practitioners (NPs), certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and physicians assistants (PAs) to provide early abortions. By increasing the number of trained and qualified health professionals that can provide care, this bill would allow women to obtain abortions locally from advanced trained practitioners they already know and trust. Broadening the types of health professionals who can perform abortions means women can receive a wide spectrum of reproductive health care – family planning, birth control, miscarriage management, abortion, post abortion follow up – from the same practitioner, allowing for continuity of care.

Last week the American Journal of Public Health published the results of a multi-year study that concluded that NPs, CNMs and PAs can be trained to competency and can perform early abortions as safely as physicians.Conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, the study also found that patients expressed high rates of satisfaction with the care they received from all practitioners. By age 45 about half of American women will have an unintended pregnancy and nearly one in three will terminate her pregnancy. Seven in 10 women would have preferred to have their abortion earlier. But many women experience delays because they need time to raise money for transportation, childcare and the procedure itself.


*The California Women’s Health Alliance comprises more than 20 organizations that are dedicated to protecting and improving women’s reproductive health in the state.

ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, ACT for Women and Girls of Tulare County, American Civil Liberties Union of California, Bay Area Communities for Health Education, Black Women for Wellness, California Church IMPACT, California Family Health Council, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Cardea Institute, Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice, Choice USA, Forward Together, Fresno Barrios Unidos, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Health Law Program, Nevada County Citizens for Choice, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, Women’s Community Clinic, Women’s Health Specialists of California