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Black Women’s Roundtable Empowerment Tour


Vivica A. Fox and Demetria McKinney, Inspire Young Women at Black Women’s Roundtable Empowerment Tour

Women’s rights leader, Rita Jackson Samuels, and Riverdale Mayor, Dr. Evelyn Wynn Dixon, were honored as champions for women’s equality. After honoring women’s rights leader, Rita Jackson Samuels, and Riverdale Mayor, Dr. Evelyn Wynn Dixon, actress/singer, Demetria McKinney, and actress/producer/businesswoman, Vivica A. Fox shared inspirational stories about overcoming obstacles like single parenthood and joblessness with women and girls attending the recent Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) Healthy, Wealthy and Wise National Empowerment Tour. Accepting an award for her civil and woman’s rights work, Samuels told the young people “Don’t ever give up on your dream.” Samuels grew up poor in Forsyth Georgia but went on to work alongside Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., served at the White House under President Jimmy Carter, and founded Georgia Coalition for Black Women.

Mayor Dixon shared a riveting story of growing up in segregated Atlanta, a bitter divorce, eviction and surviving homeless as a single parent of five kids. “When my husband left me I became homeless and even suicidal. But at the lowest point in my life I found the courage to pick myself up and refused to let adversity hold me back,” said Dixon who started community college at 35-years-old and earned a PhD at 50. Energizing the audience with her knack for keeping it real, Fox, the co-star of “Kill Bill” and “Kingdom Come,” urged the women to take charge of their own life and addressed ageism against women in Hollywood. “My agents told me there aren’t roles for Black women over 40 in Hollywood. I asked, have you forgotten I had Independence Day with Will Smith? Have you forgot I set it off with Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett? Or that I played the game with Morris Chestnut? Fox continued, “I regrouped and took hold of the ‘business’ side of ‘show business’ and began producing films, stage plays and TV shows. I even have my own hair line Vivica A. Fox Wigs. Don’t let nobody tell you what you can’t do.”

Demetria McKinney, who plays Janine Payne on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and recently released her debut CD, “Get Yo Ish,” kept the down-to-earth tone as she outlined her rocky road to success. The single mother told the audience she had to drop out of college to raise her son. “I got a job waiting tables and moved to the projects but I never gave up. African American women are called and have to be the backbone for a lot. That doesn’t mean there won’t be obstacles. But remember, the situation doesn’t make you,” said McKinney. Events like these are what help others to look beyond the glam and glitter. It is so important for artists to be honest to let people know, entertainment is a passion that requires work and sacrifices. The UrbanBuzzMag.Com “Where Key Players Speak!” believe that “Empowerment Tours” are valuable and needed. Hear the response of an attendee. A 19-year-old single mother attending with her two-year-old daughter in tow, Jazamin McCurdy, was excited to interact one-on-one with the speakers. “I feel so motivated to make positive changes in my life. The panel discussions helped me understand what I need to do and the stories from the speakers helped realize that I can do it.”

The Black Women’s Roundtable Empowerment Tour was filled with wonderful and informative information. In addition to the Sista-2-Sister Talk, there was a mini-expo, panels on domestic violence, economic health, politics, technology access and a fitness session led by Eshe of Arrested Development. Physicians from the Centers for Disease Control addressed health issues and pharmacists from Walgreen’s Pharmacy administered flu shots and donated vouchers for free flu shots. “The Listening Session allowed women and girls to have a candid discussion about issues that impact their lives,” said Helen Butler, executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples Agenda, the local coordinating partner for the event. “Issues ranged from no job, food or housing, to violence in their home and community. I am happy that we were able to provide valuable resources to the women.”

According to Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (The National Coalition) and convener of The Black Women’s Roundtable, “The goal of this national tour is to personally connect with women and girls in underserved communities. We decided to host the event on the south side of Atlanta because many women that are struggling to maintain can’t make it into downtown Atlanta.” The BWR Tour traveled to ten cities featuring inspirational women like actress/singer/activist, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Susan L. Taylor, Cares Mentoring, and Clayola Brown, A. Philip Randolph Institute, and will culminate with a national event in Washington, DC. The tour is made possible by the W.F. Kellogg Foundation. BWR Atlanta sponsors include: AT&T, Verizon Foundation and the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Black Women’s Roundtable is an intergenerational women’s network of The National Coalition, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing civic engagement in Black and underserved communities. For more information on The National Coalition log on to www.ncbcp.org.

The Urbanbuzzmag.com would like to thank the Black Women’s Roundtable for sharing this story with us. We thank all the “Key Players” for their contribution in striving to encourage one another to do better and be better.

Photo Credits: 1st photo; Teen mom, Jazamin McCurdy, said she’s determined to make changes in her life after hearing the inspirational words of Demetria McKinney and Vivica A. Fox during the Black Women’s Roundtable Healthy, Wealthy & Wise National Tour stop in Riverdale, GA. (L-R) McCurdy and Fox with McCurdy’s daughter, Aaranii; Photo credit: Clyde Bradley. 2nd photo; Participants stop for a photo during the Black Women’s Roundtable Healthy Wealthy & Wise Tour stop in Riverdale, GA. Pictured (L-R) Felicia Davis, NCBCP BWR Advisory Board; Rita Samuels, Women Flying High; Demetria McKinney, actress/singer; Vivica A. Fox, actress/producer; and Helen Butler, Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda. Photo Credit: Donnie Hunter.

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