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Category Archives: Personal Empowerment

Junior League of Boca Raton Presents Virtual Talk by Barb Schmidt on "Facing the New Normal: Tools to Rise Above Anxiety" – The Boca Raton…

Posted: May 8, 2020 at 10:59 am

Boca Chamber Member Update:

BOCA RATON, FL The Junior League of Boca Raton will present a virtual seminar by noted author Barb Schmidt offering tips on handling anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis, Facing the New Normal: Tools to Rise Above Anxiety. The seminar will be presented live on Zoom on Tuesday, May 14 at 4 p.m. or offered on demand on the Junior League of Boca Ratons Facebook Page.

When things become too much, its easy to allow anxiety and fear to take control of our minds and lives. Meditation and mindfulness practices have been proven to ease stress and promote more productive thinking, said Cristy Stewart-Harfmann, President of the Junior League of Boca Raton. Barbs deep knowledge and advice on coping with stress will be of great use to the community, especially during these trying times.

Barb Schmidt and Michelle Maros will help viewers understand the roots of anxiety, cultivate practices to manage stress, and find a sense of inner joy, even in difficult times.

A practitioner of mindfulness and meditation for over 30 years, Barb Schmidt is the author of the internationally bestselling book The Practice. Schmidt has been on over 100 retreats and studied with teachers around the world, from Deepak Chopra to the Dalai Lama. In 2011, she founded the non-profit organization Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life to bring mindfulness teachings to the community and make them accessible to everyone. She has taught meditation courses at Nova Southeastern University Florida Atlantic University and oversees The Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life Wellness Series, designed to empower women to live life fully, at Boca Raton Regional Hospitals Christine E. Lynn Womens Health & Wellness Institute.

Michelle Maros is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Lifes Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director. She teaches workshops and seminars on mindfulness, meditation, and personal empowerment at Boca Raton Regional Hospital and Florida Atlantic University.This is a difficult time for everyone, and stress is through the roof for some people. We hope that this virtual workshop will provide some concrete tools to reduce that stress, Barb Schmidt said.

To participate, please register at

About the Junior League of Boca Raton

Throughout the year, JLBR members will contribute more than 35,000 volunteer hours and donate more than $250,000 to support our mission of training volunteers, developing the potential of women and improving the South Florida community through impact areas: child welfare, hunger, and nonprofit support. To learn more about the JLBR, please contact the JLBR office at 561-620-2553 or visit Connect with us on, or


CONTACT:Debbie Abrams, [emailprotected]561-289-1378

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Junior League of Boca Raton Presents Virtual Talk by Barb Schmidt on "Facing the New Normal: Tools to Rise Above Anxiety" - The Boca Raton...

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TransUnion Accelerates the Expansion of its Global Fraud Business and Hires Shai Cohen to Lead it – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 10:59 am

Announces the Global Fraud & Identity Solutions Group; Cohen held leadership roles at RSA, EMC and Intel

CHICAGO, May 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TransUnion (TRU) today announced the creation of its Global Fraud & Identity Solutions Group, a move focused on uniting all aspects of the companys fraud risk offerings, and the hiring of industry veteran, Shai Cohen, to lead the group.

For years TransUnion has been a leading force in fraud prevention with a steady stream of high-profile acquisitions, product innovations and industry hires, said Tim Martin, executive vice president and chief global solutions officer at TransUnion. Were excited to bring in a proven leader from some of the worlds most respected cybersecurity and technology companies to unite these efforts and take our fraud prevention solutions to the next level.

The 21st Century has brought profound shifts in consumer purchasing patterns to digital channels which have been accelerated recently by the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of this, the group will accelerate the global go-to-market of TransUnions long-standing IDVision fraud prevention product suite with solutions from recently acquired companies; most notably iovation and Callcredit Information Group.

Cohen, senior vice president of global fraud solutions at TransUnion, joins the company from RSA where he was the general manager of its Fraud and Risk Intelligence business. Previously he served in leadership roles at EMC and Intel.

I joined TransUnion because of the breadth and depth of data insights it has into consumers and device reputation that, when pieced together, can be a significant weapon in fighting fraud and improving the consumer experience, said Cohen. Im looking forward to bringing all of TransUnions global fraud solutions together, and driving the innovation and growth uniquely possible because of the assets and resources TransUnion has.

TransUnion IDVision with iovation offers the most precise and comprehensive view of a consumer by uniting intelligence about consumer records and device behavior. By doing this, businesses get the best fraud risk analysis while remaining good stewards of data, and maintaining security, privacy and regulatory compliance.

Businesses have leveraged TransUnion IDVision for years to fight fraud globally through its identity-based solution derived from more than a billion consumer records. iovations device intelligence and authentication solutions, now available in IDVision, have been helping businesses fight fraud globally since 2004 through its intelligence about the behavior and reputation of billions of devices worldwide.CallValidate, formerly part of Callcredit Information Group, is TransUnions market leading fraud prevention and identity verification solution in the U.K. TransUnions U.K. heritage in fraud prevention and identity verification dates back to 2002.

When TransUnion employees move back from remote COVID-19 working accommodations, Cohen and the Global Fraud & Identity Solutions Group will be headquartered out of TransUnions Portland, Ore. office in the U.S., but with significant operations in Chicago, the U.K. and other major centers around the world. For more details about TransUnions Global Fraud & Identity Solutions offerings, go here.

About TransUnion (TRU)TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in the modern economy. We do this by providing a comprehensive picture of each person so they can be reliably and safely represented in the marketplace. As a result, businesses and consumers can transact with confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good.

TransUnion Global Fraud & Identity Solutions unite both consumer and device identities to detect threats across markets while ensuring friction-right user experiences. The solutions, all part of theIDVision with iovation suite, fuse traditional data science with machine learning to provide businesses unique insights about consumer transactions, safeguarding tens of millions of transactions each day.

A leading presence in more than 30 countries across five continents, TransUnion provides solutions that help create economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for hundreds of millions of people.

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TransUnion Accelerates the Expansion of its Global Fraud Business and Hires Shai Cohen to Lead it - Yahoo Finance

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COVID-19 and Black America: Things A Vaccine Will Not Cure –

Posted: at 10:59 am

Dr. William Small, Jr.

By Dr. William Small, Jr.

Old sayings often get to be old because they are most often true. One such saying that comes immediately to mind, suggests that when America gets a cold, Black America gets pneumonia. The current Covid-19 crisis illustrates that in spite of all of the political, social and economic progress that we are proud of proclaiming, it is really time for Black America to take a reality check.

There is no dispute that Black folks in America have enjoyed success in any number of areas, in fact, we have continued to make advancements in every phase of American life. And really no one is or should be surprised. The open hostility, physical violence, forced marginalization and other forms of brutality that were codified into American law and custom occurred not because the predominant belief was that we could not compete.

The marginalization and brutality to which Black people in America, and globally, are subjected to existed to ensure the predominant society that we will not be able to compete. In a capitalistic society, it is very easy for participants to begin to over value certain aspects of the opportunity to simply participate in the effort to catch the brass ring.

You cannot win it unless you are in it is an old adage that has become an artificial standard for judging ones engagement and prospect for success. On the track, the rabbit in the race never wins. We have to ask ourselves whether we as Black folks have taken on the mind set of that proverbial rabbit? Black people have been excluded from legitimate opportunities to participate for so long, until the very opportunity to participate, even on a marginal level, is too often seen as the victory in and of itself.

Participation and competition are not synonyms. Participation or competition that is not accompanied by any real prospect of winning is really little more than a pacifying form of engagement. Covid-19 has visited Black communities across this nation to once again remind us of our social, political and economic vulnerable status as American citizens. A government that does not extend to its citizens, the equal protection of the law, and an equal opportunity to compete and win , suggest that the game which government is managing is rigged.

If I as a participant accept my mere participation as the victory, then the game is not just rigged, but it is lost at the outset. Likewise, the inclusion of one does not suggest that the barrier has fallen and there is room for more- not to mention many more. In 2020, Black people are still celebrating the first which more than likely translates into the only. This essay is not a rant against individual and personal achievement. I am, nevertheless, unapologetically arguing that unless we as a people begin to re-emphasize and consciously reconnect with the importance of our collective achievement, we will with increasing efficiency, insure our continuing demise and disempowerment as a people.

The profile of Black illness and death that the Covid-19 pandemic has painted of Black life and success in America, I predict will be replicated on the global stage as well. This profile provides a direct challenge to all that we as Black people are comfortable calling success. That challenge says: that unless those of us who are fortunate enough to successfully compete, on any level, raise our torch to shine a light on the poverty and the injustices suffered by our Brothers and sisters, we will in effect cast a long and dark shadow over their misery.

The successful Black folks will become the new guarantors of our brothers perpetual misery. If we cannot commit to be the architects of our own salvation, how can we expect anyone to assume that responsibility for us? Moreover, if we can in our own minds, rise to the heights of power and success in the reputed richest and most powerful nation in the world and our people, quite generally, after hundreds of years of direct hostility continue to suffer the injustices of government practices and policies, how are we defining success? Who has the primary responsibility to protect and defend the rights and hopes of Africans and African Americans who are being systematically left behind?

The attention given to the special impacts of this pandemic during this crisis will determine the general condition of Black America when the next calamitous event occurs. We will either be stronger, or we will be weaker, but predictably we will not be the same. Discrimination, marginalization and exclusion are erosive. The condition of Black America, as revealed by the impacts of the current Covid-19 pandemic reflects a sad irony, in that in a Presidential election year, when the Black vote has been acknowledged as being essential to the possibility of defeating President Trump and returning to a greater semblance of political sanity and rationality as a nation, it takes a world-wide pandemic for America to hopefully reexamine the historic consequences of hundreds of years discrimination against Black people. In spite of the fact that loyal Black Americans constitute a significant majority of the lives that have been lost to date, we arrive at an acknowledgement of these devastating impacts on Black America as an appendix to the national conversation.

Without calling names, or drawing comparisons between the old and the new, it suffices to say that the voices of establishment Black Leadership have become entirely too silent and neglectful in addressing the negative conditions impacting the opportunity structure for Black America. Have we locked ourselves into a political catch-22? Is it that unless we are running for a national office, we have nothing to say about the condition of Black America? Moreover, if we are running for national office, we cannot say anything specific about the conditions of Black America, because we have to represent everybody?

The political space between Black elected officials, organizations and institutions and Black empowerment organizations like Black Lives Matter, Dr. William Barber and a host of non-establishment endorsed grass roots movements is irrationally inexplicable. If Black America is not crumbling under the weight of its own success, where is the political agenda for Black Empowerment? Where is the conversation about the development of such an agenda? Has the pattern of Black political action and engagement become a prescription to insure the perpetual marginalization and political impotence of collective Black American interests?

If the answer to that question is no, then the most important question waiting to be answered is: what is it that prevents us from being able to protect and aggressively defend the interests and collective well-being of our communities, and our people?

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Bois Locker Room: It’s high time to bury ‘boys will be boys’ excuse – WION

Posted: at 10:59 am

Most of us believe that to fix the wrongs of our society, we need to raise the youngergenerations with more responsibility.

It is while we hold this optimism in our hearts that we are encountered with the ground reality of our teenagers and how we are still far away from bridging the gap of inequality between genders.

Purported screenshots from a group chat under the name of Bois Locker Room have overwhelmed social media since Saturday night. The group is said to be formed on Instagram in the last week of March by hundreds of young high school and college-going boys.

The purpose of the formation of the group is claimed to be sharing pictures of mostly underage girls as young as 14 years old, while passing pervertedly sexually explicit comments, expressing their intentions with these girls including threats of sexual violence.

The pictures in question have different sources, while some are taken from Instagram accounts of the girls, others are reportedly morphed or had been sent in confidence.

Some of us might not even be surprised by the content of these chats for we have lived under the same environment and experienced the same things back in our school days.

Yes, weve managed to move a step forward from how things were 5-7 years ago, now were at least starting to hold our boys accountable, moving away from the long-lived narrative of boys will be boys but how does that alone fix the issue?

All the group members in question belong to well-reputed South Delhi and Noida schools, if this is how toxic the situation is in some of the best schools in the country, then are we even ready to address the gravity of the situation that might be looming in the bigger picture?

Most of us can relate to how normal the objectification and violation of privacy used to feel back in school and that we had to unlearn that normalisation once we were able to think for ourselves if we ever did manage to unlearn it.

The important question that needs to be addressed is how did we or these children even manage to learn it in the first place? That too at an age when we are still starting in the world and most of our opinions and behaviours are just an enactment of what we have observed around us.

If we look at things this way, holding these boys accountable in isolation seems to be an unfair way to go about it. Schools, parents, media, and everyone else responsible for the bringing up of this generation need to be called out for their role in the failure of prevention if not the promotion of the cycle of patriarchy.

One of the schools in question is my alma mater and I, from personal experience, can affirm that the school itself implicitly promotes patriarchal norms.

It used to seem that the schools response to incidents of harassment was to put its girls in more modest clothing. The school changed its uniform for girls, mandating suits and dupattas for them as soon as they start developing their bodies in an attempt to protect them and not distract the boys.

I can recall how our juniors were disallowed to wear sarees on their farewell due to complaints of catcalling from my batch and the authorities' problems with the blouse designs.The topic of menstruation was discussed in a closed auditorium only in the presence of girls and we were even given an excuse that we could tell the boys as to where we had to go.

Sex education was never included in the curriculum, neither were we made aware of cyberbullying and how to deal with it. '

I can also recall teachers being aware of the circulation of some photographs back in my time and not taking any stance on the issue in an official capacity.

The school never felt approachable if any personal experiences had to be discussed and even the presence of counsellors was never emphasised, students were made to go visit them if they continued to display problematic behaviour like having persistently low grades or flouting classes, thus attaching a stigma around visiting these counsellors.

Our schools need to realise the importance of sex education and the role it can play in establishing a more gender-sensitive ground. These are adolescents who are starting to discover and develop their sexuality, repressing their curiosity might lead to violent and toxic outbursts.

It is very important to guide them through this process and to ensure a healthy outlet for it, more importantly, to inculcate values of respect towards the other gender.

It should become an essential part of the curriculum rather than a forced duty which is brushed off in the form of one or two workshops that are held at the schools convenience.

The lack of presence of sex education in schools and at home leads to kids trying to satiate their curiosity on the internet and we are all aware of the downright sexual objectification of women that exists there. It is important to remember that teenagers have impressionable minds and they will emulate the things they pick on from their environment, role models, and peers. Parents as well need to let go off the taboo around sex education and create a judgment-free zone with their children.

Therefore, its not just schools and parents who need to champion the cause of raising a more responsible generation, it's the media too. Content created in the form of songs and movies is deeply entrenched in toxic masculinity and on most occasions normalises objectification of women.

There is a dire need for the industry to discontinue its promotion of misogynistic and patriarchal practices. It's time the media realises that it's not merely a reflection of social values of the society but that it plays a pivotal role in setting the social norm and the impact that has on the impressionable youth.

How is this generation expected to be better than the ones before them if there were no active changes in the way they are brought up?

Instead of imposing more restrictions on girls, we need to focus on creating an environment where everyone can feel safe and comfortable. Values of gender sensitivity, empowerment, and empathy need to be inculcated and promoted as the new cool if we are to reach gender equality in our lifetime.

Its time we start holding accountable everyone that is involved in bringing up this generation and ensure that active measures are being taken to instill values of gender equality in the generation that we have such high hopes from.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

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Intimate portraits piece together the puzzle of Natalie Wood, the person and mother –

Posted: at 10:59 am

Natalie Wood is a cinematic icon who had received three Oscar nominations by age 25 and whose films included Splendor in the Grass, Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story. Since her drowning in 1981, however, her legacy has been colored by speculation and lurid tell-alls, fueled at least in part by the reopening of the police investigation into her death decades later.

None of those accounts, though, had the intimate knowledge of the actress home life afforded in both a new HBO documentary and a memoir from Woods daughter, actress Natasha Gregson Wagner. Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind and More Than Love is each a vivid portrait of Natalie Wood, the person.

Its been an organic process of my personal growth, Gregson Wagner says of why she was finally willing to share her mothers story as she knew it. The 49-year-old says she and her family had always been advised not to sustain supposition about her mothers death by responding to it, even when it included accusations that Robert Wagner, Woods husband and Gregson Wagners beloved stepfather, was involved.

Years of therapy, being in a happy marriage and becoming a mother prepared her to talk about this publicly without feeling defensive, she says. Im stronger now.

Also, she admits, Emotionally staying young or childlike, I felt was a way I could stay connected to my mom. Gregson Wagner was 11 when her mother died.

Gregson Wagner took the title for her book, More Than Love, from a phrase her parents would exchange with each other: I love you more than love. The words appear on Woods tombstone. Its a deeply intimate chronicle of life with her famous mother and how Woods death devastated the family.

She also produced and conducted interviews in Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind, directed by Laurent Bouzereau (Five Came Back). The documentary benefits from the participation of some of those closest to Wood, including Wagner. The film is more about the legendary actress and her career than the mother-daughter relationship in the book, but it too focuses on the person, not her death.

I didnt want to do an investigative, reportage kind of film; this is the story of a family, says Bouzereau. This was a story of love. I never felt the pressure of having to be a reporter or a detective. That wasnt the point of the film at all.

There is likely no single definitive chronicle of any complex life, and many valid points of view can seem to conflict. These friendly portraits omit certain infamous stories associated with Woods legend true or false, such tales arent addressed and the two works come down firmly on the side that her death was an accident.

More than anything, they paint a private portrait of the public figure. Gregson Wagners book overflows with remembrances of Woods love and her own extreme attachment to her famous mother. When the author reviewed a treasure trove of Woods personal writings, she was stuck by the twentysomething Woods drive to educate herself, wanting to be deeper than just a movie star growing and probing and looking within.

Despite other depictions of Wood, here she is a strong personality: the boss, the engine of her family and captain of her career. She would arrange everyones daily schedules and social calendars. She was one of the first actresses in the studio system to successfully demand some control over film selection, equal pay with male costars and eventually, profit participation.

Bouzereau, who has been making documentaries about cinema for 25 years, says: In a sense, you look at her choices of her films and they become autobiographical. When you look at her trajectory as an actress, you see the evolution of cinema. She was making movies with filmmakers like Paul Mazursky and Sydney Pollack, who were just beginning their careers, making movies out on the streets for someone who had grown up on sound stages, that must have been shocking, and yet she wasnt afraid of any of that. When she passed away, she was going to direct; she was going to be in a play.

I found her extremely modern and relevant. Today, shed be working with Tarantino and Spielberg and directing.

Bouzereau says the Wood film that best reflects that journey is Splendor in the Grass, the drama she made with Elia Kazan and Warren Beatty: That movie shows a journey of empowerment, which I think she went through herself.

Though the film and book are devoted to the person, they couldnt ignore the circumstances of Woods death. That meant getting Wagner to revisit that night on camera.

Natasha and I knew that would be the make-it or break-it aspect of the film. If it didnt have the impact we thought it should have, we wouldnt make the documentary, said Bouzereau. It was an amazing revelation, how open he could be on the matter.

Gregson Wagner says, We wanted it to feel like an intimate conversation my stepfather and I would have had without the cameras about a night that changed our lives forever.

This film feels like weve released this burden from our family like a balloon at the beach or a kite it goes up into the sky and its gone. Were all lighter because of it now.

I also own the fact that well never know for sure what happened to my mom, because she was alone the night she died But she wants us to carry on. We are what remains behind.

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Elets Webinar| Effective Governance: A Changing Paradigm in times of Corona – Elets

Posted: at 10:59 am






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As the governments worldwide are struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19, governance has become more challenging as ever before. Although technology has been a supporting hand for the decision-makers to manage the crisis, the challenges still persist. Governments not only need to strengthen the healthcare infra considering the growing pressure due to the pandemic, but they also need to look at fulfilling peoples needs, arrangements for migrant labourers who lost their jobs, regular sanitization, and much more. Considering the Indian scenario, another major challenge is pumping economy and for that, the Centre gave a few relaxations to open non-essential shops as well. However, due to crowding, a few of them have been shut again, this also poses a challenge. Addressing the topic of Governance in times of Corona Dr Kalpana Gopalan, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Youth Empowerment and Sports, Government of Karnataka presented her views in a webinar organised by Elets Technomedia and hosted by Dr Ravi Gupta, Founder and CEO, Elets Technomedia.

About Youth Empowerment and Sports Department and NSS

She began with a briefing on working of the Youth Empowerment and Sports department saying, We have three wings, the youth empowerment, sports and the National Social Service (NSS) wing. Youth affairs work through a kind of informal association of youth clubs throughout the states. So, we have about 3,400 youth clubs. Dr Gopalan is also the head of the NSS and they have as many as 5 lakh students spread over 34 universities and 4 directorates.

The Corona Times

Dr Gopalan taking up the discussions on the Corona effect said, We had hints that the Government will be heading to complete lockdown. We took proactive steps and started sending back the students we had in our hostels. And by the time the lockdown was announced on March 24, there were only 150 students left the hostels. Most of our decisions were related to the education departments decisions regarding examinations, so when exams were postponed in Karnataka, the students were sent back to their homes with a proper escort to ensure their safety, she added.

Adding on to the situation in times of crisis, Dr Gopalan said, We were also mobilizing the NSS. We have to educate and train the NSS students as they are involved in awareness creation, food distribution, sanitizers and mask distribution. The training sessions began from March 25 with the National Health Mission (NHM), she added.

Going Digital

Dr Gopalan, elaborating on the training sessions said, Initially we did live training sessions face to face, later on, the training sessions were shifted to online platforms. She further said that till date they have trained more than 40,000 NSS volunteers and officers. The training sessions they conducted were done using the resources of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and also with NIMHANS which is located in Bengaluru.

Dr Gopalan told about the latest training that was conducted for non-medical volunteers. We have also organized a special program called Namma Mannay Nanna Surakshe, which stands for my home, my safety. In this, we gathered about thirty sports persons and creative personalities online. We started the awareness exercise, but what it became was a sharing of collective experience and we had about 40,000 -50,000 views, she added.

Talking about going digital, Dr Gopalan said, We have everything online like affiliation of our sports club, reservation of stadiums, reservation of the auditorium, education fee reimbursement, sports scholarships, everything is already online. All the tenders that area floated are also done through our online platform e-procurement portal. Hence, it is completely e-tendering, she mentioned.

Moreover, We also have a database of all sports students who are participating in national level competitions, Olympics, and mini Olympics. All the details including their bank accounts, their blood group, their complete details, and their performance levels are in the digital database.

Health, safety and the exit

Taking her words towards the health and safety aspect, Dr Gopalan said, We put the health and safety of our citizens paramount. Our containment primarily worked for the migrated worker. We have set up public health shelters where food is also provided. She further said, Within the resources available, we are trying to ensure the safety of our citizens, the migrant workers, the volunteers to the maximum extent we can. In this battle, I think all of us have a role to play and each of us has a personal social responsibility, Dr Gopalan added.

Talking on the exit strategy, she said, In the lockdown, we are using the ease and adaptability process so that the exit should be much more calibrated. It is not going to be switch on and switch off. It is a gradual and step by step strategy.

Concluding her address she said, If we see the current situation, the supply chain is broken, the production chain is broken, the labourers are not there where they were, perhaps we are doing the best in crisis.

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Get Her a Gift That Gets It: The Cocoiv Collection Captures the Wit, Warmth and Magic of Black Moms – The Root

Posted: at 10:59 am

Raven Barrett is paying homage to every black mom, one tee at a time. The Charlotte, N.C.-based founder and create[her] of the black mom-focused online boutique Cocoiv has hit a sweet spot in capturing quintessential aspects of black motherhood; culling generations of wisdom, humor and tributes into an Instagram-ready collection of apparel and accessoriesand before you even ask, yes, they offer gift cards. (So your super-late behind can look super-thoughtful allowing your favorite matriarch choose her own gift this Mothers Dayits a win-win!)

Opening a little over a year ago, Barrett was inspired to launch Cocoiv when she became a mother to her now two-year-old daughter. I wanted to create a brand that paid respect to the women who empowered me throughout my pregnancy journey and something that reflected my new stage in life: Black motherhood, Barrett tells The Glow Up.

There are plenty of mommy brands out and though I can relate to a lot of those brands, I didnt see products that fully reflected who I was as a black woman, let alone a black mom, she adds, so I created Cocoiv.

Like a famous black mom we know and love, for Barrett, the iv in Cocoiv represents the Roman numeral fourspecifically, the four generations of women in her familywhile Coco represents their various skin tones. These are the women who empowered Barretts journey into both motherhood and entrepreneurship and each is reflected in Cocoiv. The essence of Cocoivs products is curated around conversations from a black womans point of view and these women play a huge part in the topics of conversations that I choose, she shares, adding, They are also a huge part of the voice of the brand.

Her Southern grandmotheror Ms. Betty Petty as she is known to Cocoivs Instagram following (called Coco Mamas)is the matriarch of her family, and represents the wisdom of the brand with her wealth of lived experience. Barretts mother is the inspirational component: Im still amazed at how she raised three kids on her own and managed to stay sane through it all, Barrett says.

The humor that runs throughout Cocoivs product line always comes with a dose of education, which Barrett says reflects her relationship with her aunt, who also inspired Cocoivs Grown Folk Business Tuesdays.

Shes the one I go to when I need a good laugh but also when I need a judgment-free zone and a listening ear, says Barrett. She reflects the sisterhood of the brand.

And then, theres Barretts daughter, who, even as a toddler, embodies the empowerment behind the brand. If it wasnt for her, I couldnt call myself a mom. I wouldnt have experienced the struggles that put me in this place to even run a business, let alone realize the power that my story has in uplifting other women. If it wasnt for her, I wouldnt have this platform to share other womens stories as well, she says.

Cocoivs platform and aforementioned sisterhood begin with an inspirational Monday mantra Barrett sends her followers to jumpstart [their] week on a positive note, followed by HerStory each Monday afternoon, where Barrett features an article from a different black mom blogger weekly and shares her story via Cocoivs IG feed. The purpose of it is to show that were more alike than we think, she says. Even if you cant relate to a story that week, youll definitely learn something about the things other women experience and will hopefully be more compassionate.

Helping to dispel any notion that there can only be one black success story in a respective space, this Mothers Day, Cocoiv partnered with fellow black mom empowerment brand Black Mamas Say on the Mama project, which showcases the cultural beauty and uniqueness of black motherhood. And spinning off of Grown Folk Business Tuesdays, Barrett recently launched a personal, transparent, and interactive IGTV series called Grown Folk Diaries, in which eight moms share their perspectives on different topics that we deal with as black women balancing motherhood, sex, good hair, microaggressions, relationships, and a host of other topics, she explains.

Obviously, virtual connections are what its all about right now, and as a mom and mom-preneur, Barrett is balancing both roles from home...and trying not to put too much pressure on herself to be superwoman.

Its been challenging managing business while trying to keep her entertained, she admits. One minute, Im packaging an order, and the next minute Im vacuuming because she managed to open a cereal box and pour all the cereal on the floor. These days there is a lot of Aht! Aht! Put that down, what are you doing back there going on. In due time, Ill create a schedule for us and pray that we can stick to it, she jokes, before adding:

But in all seriousness, be patient with yourself. Be patient with your kids. Try to enjoy this time you have together. It may be hard to remember right now, but just a few months ago, many of us were trying to find ways to spend more time with our kids. So take this time to love on them.

The Glow Up tip: You can shop all of Cocoivs products on their site now and send a digital gift cardjust in time for Mothers Day!

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Get Her a Gift That Gets It: The Cocoiv Collection Captures the Wit, Warmth and Magic of Black Moms - The Root

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Herman Mashaba: Left in the hands of a confused Cabinet – News24

Posted: at 10:59 am

It is not the loss of freedom ... rather it is the extent to which our lives are being governed by arbitrary, illogical and personal hobby-horses of a cabinet left to handle these matters as they see fit, writes Herman Mashaba.

South Africans are tough people.

We have endured hardships and we do so with grace and humour. Our response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been no different, and our people have shown tremendous perseverance in these difficult times.

South Africa faces an economic decline the likes of which we have never seen before. To put this in perspective, during the 2008/9 global recession, South Africa lost 1 million jobs.

National Treasury is now projecting the loss of between 3 and 7 million jobs.

Our national mood is changing and I detect this is because our Presidents leadership on the health crisis has not been mirrored in the handling of the relaxation of regulations.

No, this has been delegated to the Cabinet Ministers of our country.

These are individuals who have collectively led our country to its economic knees over the past 10 years through a mess of ideological confusion and personal hobby-horses.

Perhaps the greatest cause of anxiety is the manner in which the actual loss jobs will be closer to 3 or 7 million appears to lie in the hands of such a cabinet.

Whether it is this, or South Africas desire to enjoy greater freedoms again, the past week has given much cause for concern for the future managing of the regulations:

To Smoke, Not to Smoke

To be clear, I am not a smoker. Tried it, hated it.

But whether you like it or not it is a multi-billion rand industry in our country with millions of customers.

The President allowing the sale of tobacco, followed by his Ministers reversing this position is bizarre.

The reason provided - a secret election in which 2 000 e-mails cast the winning votes.

If the sharing of cigarettes is the problem - ban that, but to ban the sale of a product that generates R400 million a month in government revenue appears to be an act of self-mutilation in a time of fiscal distress.

What emerges here is the personal hobby-horse of Minister Dlamini-Zuma, who has advocated for the ban of tobacco for years, and the suggestion of relationships with prominent figures in the trade of illegal cigarettes.

A Sobering Thought

The rationale continued ban on the sale of alcohol is level of the lockdown appears to struggle on the merits.

Dont get me wrong, bars and shebeens being closed makes imminent sense. Why people cant buy liquor from bottle stores, leaves me and many others scratching our heads.

Then you proceed to remember Police Minister Bheki Celes long-term advocacy for a ban on alcohol, and it is easy to see how an industry that generates R1.3 billion a month in government revenue takes a back seat in the battle for logic.

By comparison I cannot find a country in the G20 who has followed the course of action of a total ban on alcohol.

The Return of Industries

The most pressing question has to be how we can maximise the return to work of as many industries as possible, while not compromising the efforts to prevent an explosion of infections.

I happen to know that many of the submissions made to government were from industries, making some impressive and spectacular proposals of measures they could put in place to protect their customers and employees.

In the day and a half given to consider these submissions, it is not surprising that they did not receive their due attention.

Look no further than the continued ban on e-commerce for non-essential items. Around the world this is an industry that is booming as people can avoid the risk of stores and malls.

Here, it remains limited because Minister Ebrahim Patel feels it would create unfair competition. If this kind of thinking is going to govern the return of our industries going forward, that is gravely concerning.

BBBEE Criteria for SMME Support

If you recall it started with a leaked document suggesting government support would be reserved for BBBEE complaint SMMEs. This was categorically denied and branded as fake-news, worthy of punishment under the regulations.

Then it was confirmed to be true in a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Meeting some 3 weeks later.

Measures of redressing our unjust past are constitutionally enshrined for good reason - the empowerment of previously disadvantaged business owners.

It may have been implemented atrociously and corruptly, but its intention was good.

Applying it to a National Disaster brought about by a virus which is killing business indiscriminately of their ownership, is appalling.

It is this kind of thinking, indoctrinated into a cabinet of mediocrity, that will ensure the job losses are closer to 7 million than 3 million in the National Treasury scenarios.

Unintended Consequences

Our regulations correctly attempt to limit crowds gathering for weddings, funerals, restaurants and bars. This makes sense. Crowding a nation of people who enjoy the outdoors into a 3-hour window of outdoor exercise makes no sense.

The images I have seen across the country are disturbing, with more close quarter interaction of heavily breathing people than any type of banned activity.

It was not difficult to predict that a nation kept indoors for a month, and then allowed out for a short window each day, was going to respond this way.

It is not the loss of freedom, which most people understand in the context of saving lives from this terrible pandemic, that is driving South Africans crazy.

Rather it is the extent to which their lives are being governed by arbitrary, illogical and personal hobby-horses of a cabinet left to handle these matters as they see fit.

The easing of regulations is going to be the make or break of our countrys future prospects.

I suspect most South Africans want to know that it is being managed through careful consideration, expert advice and close collaboration with industries.

- Herman Mashaba is the founder of The People's Dialogue

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Herman Mashaba: Left in the hands of a confused Cabinet - News24

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Nobody Ever Asks Poor People About Their Capacity’: Bob Woodson Offers A Hand Up Through His Center – The Seattle Medium – Seattle Medium

Posted: at 10:59 am

Bob Woodson, the 83-year-old founder and president of the Woodson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based group that focuses on transforming black communities through self-help, poses for a photo in his suburban Washington, D.C. home. Photo/Dan Holly/Zenger.

By Dan Holly Zenger News

WASHINGTON, D.C.Bob Woodson swims against the current. His salvos against those he sees as headed in the wrong directionincluding the NAACP and the Urban Leagueare the latest in a long divide over how best to uplift the race.

In the tradition of Booker T. Washingtons emphasis on up from the bootstraps self-reliance rather than W.E. B. DuBois advocacy in public protests, the 83-year-old founder and president of the Woodson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based group that focuses on transforming black communities through self-help, carries the torch for those who advocate a less confrontational approach.

All of my work throughout my life has been working on behalf of low-income black neighborhoods, helping them to create strategies to promote excellence within their communities so theyre agents of their own uplift, Woodson said.

Woodson, who lives in suburban Washington, D.C., accuses civil rights leaders of not being familiar with the low-income communities they say they speak for. Unlike most black leaders, hes a Trump supporter. At a White House ceremony last year marking Black History Month, Woodson praised the president, who called him a special friend.

His latest fight is with the New York Times 1619 projectthe newspapers ambitious effort to rewrite American history from the point of view of slaves, not just slave masters. The project takes its name from the year slaves were first brought to the U.S.

While lauded by many African Americans and political progressives, the project has been heavily criticized by conservatives as wrong-headed and inaccurate. Woodson pulled together conservative blacks, forming the 1776 Project as an assembly of independent voices who uphold our countrys authentic founding virtues and values and challenge those who assert America is forever defined by its past failures, such as slavery.

Woodson and reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, who created the project, have a few things in common: Both are passionate, and both are smart both received MacArthur fellowships, the so-called genius grants that recognize exceptional creativity and come with awards of $625,000.

Jones defended the 1619 Project, which includes a series of articles and a curriculum for history teachers, as examining slaverys modern legacy and reframing the way we understand this history and the contributions of black Americans to the nation.

But Woodson thinks the project hurts, not helps, black Americans.

What she is offering is lethal, Woodson said. If you have a 10-year-old who is starting school and theyre going to read the 1619 Project, what messages are we going to send to that 10-year-old? That you live in a country that was founded on slavery and its racist and all white people are villains and you are a victim and, until they change, you cant expect to prosper? And Im saying to them, Your forbearers were enslaved yet some of them died millionaires. You need to know that we built hotels, insurance companies, banks railroads Im offering an alternative narrative.

Jones said the project does not promote black victimhood. My essay, the lead and foundational anchor for the entire project, is about how black Americans, despite everything thats been done, are the perfecters of this democracy and have fought with remarkable success to make the ideals of our founding true, she said. My essay ends by marking the incredible progress black Americans have made despite being one generation out of legal apartheid and telling black Americans that we have made unparalleled contributions to this land.

Woodsons life story and experience, though, make it hard to dismiss him. Born in 1937 in a working-class neighborhood in Philadelphia, he has devoted his career to improving the lot of his people.

The community where he grew up was low-income but stable, he said, a close-knit community where neighbors helped discipline neighborhood kids. I grew up believing, by my experience, that healthy living was possible. It was all around me.

The death of his father when he was 9 robbed his household of some stability, and he ended up dropping out of high school and joining the U.S. Air Force. After earning his G.E.D. while in the military, he enrolled as a math major at Cheyney University in Pennsylvania. His ambition was to be part of the space program.

But a job at a juvenile jail in Philadelphia while in college changed his life. He had gotten close to some of the incarcerated youth, and would risk his job by bringing them treats. In 1961, when he was 25, he had an incident that would change his future.

One day I was getting two of the kids to clean up and when I came into the unit all 60 of them stood up and applauded. I turned immediately and walked out onto the grounds because I was crying. I was so moved. That changed my whole life. I said, Ive got to devote my life to helping these kids.

Woodson earned a masters degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. Initially, he was part of the civil rights mainstream. He worked for both the NAACP and the National Urban League, but soon grew disenchanted with what he called dependency-producing programs.

In 1981, he started the Woodson Center. Drawing from his youth, Woodson set the centers mission as to transform lives, schools, and troubled neighborhoods, from the inside out.

Nobody ever asks poor people about their capacity all we do is failure studies, both left and right, he said. I wanted to ask different questions.

In 1991, after a comprehensive survey of community leaders to determine the programs most effective in transforming neighborhoods, the centers mission evolved to include faith.

If you are a drug addict or if you have the wrong values and the wrong attitude, giving you a job and a place to live is not going to do it, he said. Our people confront that. We say, Im going to help you but youve got to change the way youre living your life and the choices youre making.

Among those the center has helped is Curtis Watkins, who is now its director of affiliate mobilization. He works to bring people who used to be like himself under the centers wings.

He grew up in a public housing development in Washington, D.C.

I helped destroy that community, Watkins said. I used to be a drug dealerI used to transport drugs from Maryland to D.C. and sell it to people who sold it to other people. So I was a supplier In 1996, I had my Christian experience and I was reborn and I started doing this community workWhen I got to the Woodson Center it went to a whole nother level.

Watkins work has ranged from simple drives to collect toiletries for the elementary school he attended to a Stock Investment Club for the community.

Woodsons bottom-up approach appealed to him, Watkins said.

These people had talents and skills that I would never think of, he said. Its really important to listen and not have all the answers.

But Woodsons focus is not unique. The Urban League promotes economic empowerment through programs that include education and job training, workforce development and entrepreneurship. Last year, the NAACPannounced it would establish empowerment programs.

And, although he says he wants to keep a laser-like focus on how to help low-income people, he often veers from that, as with his criticism of the 1619 project.

Mr. Woodsons attacks against the project, and me in particular, have been very personal, and I have no idea why, Hannah-Jones said. I have never met him. I have never written about him. Yet he accused me of not living in the neighborhoods of the poor black people I write about, of basically profiting from their pain, while anyone who does even a cursory Google search knows that I have chosen to live in a low-income black neighborhood and send my daughter to a segregated, high-poverty school.

But Woodson said he is only trying to stir debate: I dont care whether someone likes me.

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Nobody Ever Asks Poor People About Their Capacity': Bob Woodson Offers A Hand Up Through His Center - The Seattle Medium - Seattle Medium

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57% of Canadians Say Household Income Negatively Impacted by COVID-19 – Yahoo Finance

Posted: April 9, 2020 at 6:40 pm

TransUnion unveils research assessing pandemics effect on consumer finances

TORONTO, April 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nearly three out of five Canadians (57%) said their household income has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The newly released research from TransUnion (TRU) found that an additional 10% of Canadian adults said they expect their household income will suffer in the future.

Alberta (63%) and Saskatchewan (67%) were the provinces which reported the highest percentage of household incomes negatively impacted with both already dealing with economic shocks before COVID-19 as a result of oil price declines.

TransUnion has initiated a survey of adults in Canada and abroad to better understand the financial impact of COVID-19 on consumers. The survey (commenced March 31, 2020) of 1,064 adults marked the first for the country in what will be an ongoing series. Additional details as well as resources for consumers looking to minimize the potential negative impact of the pandemic on their credit, and access to self-serve, educational materials can be found at

Whether its their health, financial well-being or changes in day-to-day living, the lives of millions of people in Canada and abroad have been dramatically changed. The situation is evolving at an incredibly fast pace and we need to come together as a nation to solve the unique problems and situations that arise, said Todd Skinner, TransUnion Regional President for Canada, Latin America and Caribbean. The aim of our weekly consumer research is to better understand the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and better inform consumers, businesses and government decisions during these unprecedented times. It is important that businesses and consumers are able to continue to transact with confidence and we will do everything in our power to help facilitate the provision of lending and commerce during these uncertain times.

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TransUnions research found that the youngest generations, particularly Millennials (those born 1980 to 1994) and Gen Z (born from 1995 onwards), felt most impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. While 70% of consumers who have had their household income impacted by COVID-19 are concerned about paying their bills, this increased to 78% for Millennials and 74% for Gen Z. On average, Canadian respondents said they will be short about $935 in the near future.

Our focus is on supporting Canadian consumers, businesses and the wider economy as a whole. We know this is an extremely difficult time, and were committed to helping people navigate any financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers are facing many unexpected challenges and its natural that people are concerned about their finances. Its really important that there is a dialogue between businesses and their customers at this time of uncertainty. Equally, we encourage consumers looking to minimize potential negative impacts of the pandemic on their credit to visit TransUnions COVID-19 website, concluded Skinner.

TransUnions research and credit education tools will be updated weekly on its COVID-19 website as the company continues to support consumers and businesses from around the globe.

About TransUnion TransUnion is a global information and insights company that makes trust possible in the modern economy. We do this by providing a comprehensive picture of each person so they can be reliably and safely represented in the marketplace. As a result, businesses and consumers can transact with confidence and achieve great things. We call this Information for Good. TransUnion provides solutions that help create economic opportunity, great experiences and personal empowerment for hundreds of millions of people in more than 30 countries. Our customers in Canada comprise some of the nations largest banks and card issuers, and TransUnion is a major credit reporting, fraud, and analytics solutions provider across the finance, retail, telecommunications, utilities, government and insurance sectors.

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57% of Canadians Say Household Income Negatively Impacted by COVID-19 - Yahoo Finance

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