Rebuilding Shaw University

By Natasha L. Foreman

A few weeks ago I was put into contact with an incredible young woman by the name of TaNisha Fordham who shared her mission and vision for Shaw University that is tied together neatly in her letter below. I share it with my readers in hopes that someone will want to help rebuild Shaw University. I know that in the current aftermath of the most recent tornadoes that devastated Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and parts of Virginia your mind may not be on Shaw University, or maybe it will be. Maybe you or a loved one attended Shaw and you want to reach out, get the word out, and help.

Read TaNisha’s letter and then please share this post with others:

We have to take care of each other.

These are the only words that express my deepest sentiments in the wake of the tornado that devastated the campus of Shaw University.

Shaw is a Historically Black College and University. Shaw is one of our own. As a graduate from North Carolina A&T State University and a resident of Greensboro, N.C., I know that those students could have so easily been me. I remember a storm late one night, my sophomore year. I was so scared – so far away from home. I didn’t have a clue about what to do in the event of a tornado. Hearing that a tornado ripped through Shaw’s campus reminded me how blessed I truly am and although no students/faculty/staff were injured in the tornado or aftermath (praise God), I have an overwhelming desire to help in relief/rebuilding efforts.

Hence, why I am messaging you. I was planning to start a tour this fall for HBCU students. The tour was going to feature a play that focuses on sex – how it has been misused and tainted by society/media. This is a serious issue that is plaguing many of our students, our people. It is not only a physical matter. It is spiritual, mental, emotional and in many instances it is distracting students from their purpose and potential.

As a former Miss NCATSU and Miss NBCAHOF I feel charged, personally, to move forward in this effort and re – guide my initial thoughts in terms of layout.

I am hoping to do this tour as a fundraiser for Shaw University as well as an awareness raiser about the prominence and power of our HBCUs. My vision is to find sponsors that would allow us to tour HBCU campuses – free of fee, allowing us to simply ask the various universities to donate money for the rebuilding and rejuvenation of one of it’s “sister” Universities – Shaw.

Please, any assistance is appreciated. If you are willing to sponsor (personally or through your business/organization), if you know a company/business that would be willing to sponsor, if you are willing to give your personal endorsement, if you are willing to host the tour in your city, if you are willing to donate money towards one of the specific tools that will be needed to make this happen, if you are willing to assist in anyway, at all – it would be genuinely appreciated and a huge blessing.

We are a family. We are a family in God. We are a family in pride. We have a rich, strong legacy that is OUR responsibility to uphold. We have students, on our campuses, struggling daily to find their own voice – I was that student months ago (we’ve all been “that” student at some point). Genuinely, I ask you please help in anyway you can see fit. I am going to attempt to contact the Tom Joyner Foundation and if you have any other suggestions I’m opened to them.

Prayer for Shaw University and the many students, across the nation on all our HBCU campuses is the best help one can offer. In addition to the prayers that I know we are all sending up – please – help me to make a difference, with God on our side!

Thank you, thank you, thank you – a thousand times over for your help. Any further information you may need from me, I’ll be more than happy to provide!




All of God’s Love,
TaNisha Shavonne Fordham

Founder and President
Enlightened Visions, Inc.

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman

Rainbows After Storms

By Natasha L. Foreman

Two days ago the southern region of the U.S. was tossed, turned, and in some places flattened by tornadoes that destroyed property, took innocent lives, disturbed the livelihood of thousands, and caused sleepless nights for so many. As people try to breathe and take in how to rebuild from this catastrophe one thing that Americans and the rest of the world can say is that we will rebuild as we always do.

Ironically, with turmoil on our homeland thousands and possibly millions of people tuned in to their television early this morning (while I slept) to watch a couple, several thousand miles away, Prince William and his bride Kate get married in a stunning and breathtaking wedding that gave chills to anyone who watched his father and mother wed in the 1980s. I saw the wedding this afternoon as it was re-broadcasted (as I knew it would).

I share this wedding today not to overshadow the devastation in the southern states of the U.S. but to share what my dear friend John Hope Bryant always says, “rainbows follow storms…you can’t have a rainbow without first having a storm…” and with that I say to those in the south who are shaken, rattled, fearful, and in pain- know that your rainbow will come. Today Prince William has a rainbow over him and his new wife; a kiss from his mother reminding him that she is and always will be with him, his wife, his brother, and his future children.

William and his brother Henry were devastated when their mother’s life was cut short at such a youthful age in an awful car crash. In her memory, her honor, and through her legacy these young men have pushed through life (sometimes stumbling) trying their best to give to all in need, to stand as representatives of their mother and make her proud that she raised them well, and to show that even in a catastrophe we can survive and rebuild.

We wonder what the amazement is with the royal family and I now see it clearly, even though we have become so modernized and focused on innovation and technology, we still are rooted in old world traditions- we still come from a time and place where family means everything and where lineage and legacy is of great importance; where taking care of and having respect for your family name is a priority- and we silently yearn for reclamation of this tradition in our own country.

We yearn for this in a land where grandmothers are as young as 28 (and their children are unwed), where fathers are absent from the home, where mothers aren’t sure who the fathers are, and where “sexy” is wearing the least amount of clothes, dancing the “freakiest”, and having the “flyest ride”- instead of having the best grades in school, getting academic scholarships, and having respectable and legal careers.

We live in a land where children as young as 10 think they are “sexy”, girls call themselves “Barbie”, guys claim their “pimps” and want to “make it rain”, where gangs and drug dealers run rampant killing generations of all nationalities; where the elderly are cast away in nursing homes and rarely visited, and where our children are doped up on drugs for attention deficit and hyperactivity instead of raised, nurtured and counseled properly. We live in a land where we’re more concerned with what we are against instead of standing together in what we are for. Instead of coming together to rebuild, we remain divided playing the blame game.

In many ways the royal family represents what once was, not so long ago, so the world clings to them and their image as a sign of hope.

So I say again, even though the loss of life is the greatest from a single day of tornadoes in the U.S. since April 1974 we can and we will rebuild. We can and we will honor the memories of those who passed away a few days ago. We can and we will rejoice, persevere, survive, and strive in every aspect of our lives. Let us take this time to bring our extended family of neighbors together as we pick up the pieces and start anew.

Photo Credits:
Pictures of Prince William and Kate wedding: Natasha L. Foreman as taken of rebroadcast by PBS-WETA

Car and rubble in Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Amanda Sowards, Montgomery Advertiser, via AP

Birds-eye view of devastation at Rosedale Court housing community in Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Dusty Compton, The Tuscaloosa News, via AP

Teen mom:

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.