AJC Covers the Women 2 Women Conference in Atlanta

By Natasha Foreman Bryant

As a member of the Women 2 Women Conference host committee, it was great to hear about and see the write up by Ernie Suggs of the AJC for this year’s conference. I’m honored to serve as a Session Coordinator this year, and I’m excited to see, meet, reconnect, and hear these amazing women share their thoughts, advice, challenges, stories, and words of encouragement this Saturday.

To register for the conference after reading this article please visit: women2womenconference.com

Below please find excerpts from the original AJC post:

Conference will allow women to share life lessons

by Ernie Suggs

Maya Angelou, whose words have inspired millions, including presidents, kings and Oprah, will be in Atlanta on Saturday to inspire women.

Angelou will be the keynote speaker at the “Women 2 Women 2014 Inaugural Conference: Intergenerational Life Lessons & Legacies,” sponsored by Young Eventions Group, an Atlanta-based nonprofit mentoring organization for women.

+ Jenni Girtman

Conference will allow women to share life lessons

Angelou has written more than 20 books, including “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” one in a series of autobiographies; “Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Die,” which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; and “Letter To My Daughter.” In 1993, President Bill Clinton selected her to compose a poem for his inauguration, which ended up being her most iconic work, “On the Pulse of the Morning.”

The day-long conference will be held at the Atlanta Marriot Marquis from 7 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. According to founder Sonjia Young, the conference is “designed to bring women together across generations to share life lessons and experiences that will inspire and empower attendees to transform their lives and be a catalyst for change in the home, community and in the workplace.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Ernie Suggs chatted with the 85-year-old Angelou about the conference and what the inspirations will be.

+ Mary Altaffer

Conference will allow women to share life lessons

Why is this particular conference important to you?

It is quite important to women and to girls, but also to men and boys. The program hopes to encourage young women to believe in their own self-worth. When women don’t feel worth, they can’t insist upon it. Then men treat them the way they like. The conference hopes to develop a desire to be worthy of good treatment. And, with that, the health of the family is increased.

If there is a thinking that women are not feeling worthy of anything, when did that shift happen?

+ REED SAXON

Conference will allow women to share life lessons

The shift is going on now, but it didn’t just start. There was a time when women could not vote or own property – black, white and all persuasions. We have come a long way. We now have women heading important Ivy League colleges. We are thinking about Hillary Clinton in 2016. But that doesn’t mean we have come all the way. It shows that we need to grow in a sense of self-worth and a fair place.

What is it about your writings and words that continue to inspire and motivate people?

I have lived long enough that I should know something. In a few months I will be celebrating my 86th year on this earth. As soon as you know something, you should give it away. I used to think of myself as a writer who could teach. But really, I am a teacher who can write. As soon as you know something and you have tried it, tell it to someone. Also, never fall in love with a position. Have enough courage to change.

Related Gallery

Angelou’s birthday celebration

Is courage important to you?

For more details about the Women 2 Women Conference, or to register online:
women2womenconference.com

Source: AJC.com

Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved.

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A Focus on Dignity and Non-Violence at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.

What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.

I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.


I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.

These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.

                        

When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.

We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.

We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.

We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.

We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.

I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
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>Change in the World

>Monday evening I had the honor of attending the premiere of the documentary, Change in the World, part of the Andrew Young Presents series. The film is narrated and produced by the great Ambassador Young, Directed by CB Hackworth, and features the voices of Martin Luther King, III, Jasmine Guy, Jennifer Holliday, David Oyelowo, Ted Turner, and Joanne Woodward.

Change in the World highlights former President of Morehouse College, Dr. Benjamin Mays and his relationship and influences on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Margaret Mitchell (acclaimed author of Gone with the Wind), Maynard Jackson, Hank and Billye Aaron, and other American greats. Some of us know of the many contributions Dr. Mays made during and after his Presidency at Morehouse College, what the majority of us did not know was of his affiliation with Mrs. Margaret Mitchell during a time when whites and blacks associated publicly in clearly defined roles…never as peers, colleagues, associates or friends.

To hear how Dr. Mays and Margaret Mitchell were able to collaborate to help elevate Morehouse College through private scholarships provided by Mitchell was amazing. This secret arrangement impacted the lives of many young African-American men then and even now, 60 years later. Mays and Mitchell’s desire to provide an equal opportunity for all people also afforded the eventual development of the Morehouse College School of Medicine. I won’t share more as you will have to hear and see the story for yourself in the next few months.

Beginning in September the Andrew Young Foundation in partnership with the Morehouse Leadership Center will be offering a leadership seminar- Social & Political Change in the 20th Century which will host four sessions from September to November to the public in the Executive Conference Center Auditorium on the Morehouse campus.

Be sure to check the Andrew Young Foundation and Morehouse College websites for more details.

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman.