Tag Archive | black women

To Trim Down, Spelman Trades Sports For Fitness

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For the past decade, Spelman College, a historically black women’s school in Atlanta, has fielded NCAA teams in basketball, volleyball, soccer, softball and other sports. But when its small Division III conference started dwindling, college President Beverly Tatum says the school decided it was time to change focus.

“We have to ask ourselves: What is the cost of the program and who is benefiting? How many people are benefiting? Is the benefit worth the cost?” Tatum asks.

So the school decided to drop its NCAA athletics program, which will save about $1 million a year, school officials say.

via To Trim Down, Spelman Trades Sports For Fitness | WBUR & NPR.

Study Links Childhood Abuse to Adult-Onset Asthma in African-American Women

Black woman asthmaA new study from the Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC) at Boston University has linked childhood abuse to the adult onset of asthma in African-American women. According to the study, those who reported being abused before age 11 were more likely to contract asthma as adults when compared to women who were not abused either in childhood or during their teenage years.
For the study, researchers followed 28,456 African-American women. They were asked to answer health questionnaires and were also asked about physical and sexual abuse during childhood up to age 11 or during adolescence, between ages 12 and 18.

Read more at http://www.counselheal.com/articles/3329/20121209/study-links-childhood-abuse-adult-onset-asthma.htm#Xqt31876jQOOdJBJ.99

ABWW Hero of the Day: Michael Eric Dyson


Dr. Michael Eric Dyson is known as the hip hop professor and currently teaches at Georgetown University. Dyson draws on his personal life, marriages, and history to praise and celebrate black women. He starts with the women (mother, teachers, writers) who put his feet on the path from young welfare father in a Detroit ghetto to celebrated theologian, writer, and social commentator. He profiles several prominent and unknown black women who have made valuable contributions to national life and to Dyson’s personal life. Among the black female icons he celebrates are the revolutionaries Angela Davis and Assata Shakur, the legislators Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee, and legal scholar Kimberle Williams Crenshaw. Dyson ties them to a historical lineage of black women who have supported black men despite strained relationships, disparities in income and educational levels, and interracial dating and marriage. Dyson takes to task those aspects of black culture, from hip-hop music to church doctrine, that undermine or disrespect black women. He ends with a sermon, a message of mutual respect and love that is particularly applicable to the continuing struggles of black men and women.

ABWW Action Alert: Get Tested!!!!

Sunday, June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, and state health officials are taking the opportunity to remind black women of the importance of getting tested for HIV, especially for pregnant women.

In patients younger than 13 years of age, nearly all cases of HIV transmission occur from mother to baby during pregnancy and delivery. Very frequently, women are unaware of their status and their risk. With intervention during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, transmission from mother to baby can be decreased from 25 to 30 percent down to 1 to 2 percent.

Once a woman’s HIV status is documented, oral medication can be started during pregnancy, continued through labor, and then given to the baby for 6 weeks. This will decrease the chances of passing HIV onto the baby—less than 2 percent chance of becoming infected. This approach has been verified in medical studies and has proven effective. Long term side effects on the fetus and children exposed to the medications have not been seen.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends all individuals ages 13 to 64 receive voluntary routine HIV counseling and testing. HIV counseling and testing allows people with HIV to take steps to protect their own health and well-being, as well as that of their partners and families, and helps people who test negative get the information they need to stay uninfected.

African-American women are the fastest growing population of new HIV cases. “They account for nearly half the reported cases among women in Indiana. It’s important that all people, but especially women, understand the risks for becoming infected with HIV, and how to prevent it. As much as brothers on the downlow has publicized heterosexual men and those who have been in prison are also responsible for the skyrocketing rate of infection in black women.

Tests take just a few minutes and results are typically available in two weeks, although most sites have Rapid HIV Antibody testing available. Both confidential and anonymous tests are available. National HIV Testing Day is an annual campaign coordinated by the National Association of People with AIDS. It was launched more than a decade ago to promote early detection. Its purpose is to encourage people of all ages to “Take the Test, Take Control.” Early HIV diagnosis is important, so people who are infected can benefit from available life-saving treatments.

ABWW: Christina Hawthorne, RN

When I was a small child every woman I knew was a nurse. At the age of five, I thought that all nurses were black or Filipino! That is part of the reason I am delighted Hawthorne is back for a second season. Jada Pinkett Smith stars in the second dramatic program in television history to feature an African American woman (the first was Showtime’s Soul food) as a main character. As the wife of one of the most powerful actors in Hollywood and the mother of the star of the surprise hit of the summer, Ms. Pinkett Smith is probably the only black women with the juice to get this show on the air and create a complex, interesting character that doesn’t fall into the typical debased black woman stereotype. Besides being a supernurse, Christina is a widow with a teenage daughter, which is a miracle in itself. White writers usually are usually too lazy to create black characters with a family and social life, so most African American characters on television are who are not criminals end up as asexual helpers whose only purpose is to make the white protagonist look good.
At the beginning of this season Christina takes a job at a hood hospital after the previous institution she worked in closed down. This move has given the show a more diverse cast including Vanessa Bell Calloway as a 17 year nursing veteran and all around angry black woman. In a lesser hands, Calloway’s character would stay that way, but in the first episode we see her as a war weary nursing veteran who is tired of administrators who promise change only to leave when they get a better job. How often do you get to see two black women having a dialogue on TV? It also helps that Sara Gilbert (Roseanne) is cast as a surly, incompetent nurse. This season it looks like Christina may be ready for love with Dr. Tom Wakefield. It has taken over 40 years for TV to slowly come out of it’s white centered narcissism and produce about another show about educated, widowed black woman with a normally functioning child. I am sure that Diahann Carroll (Julia, 1968) is grinning form ear to ear. A dramatic show about a confident, competent black women is a controversial premise and it is a miracle that the show is on for a second season, lets try to make sure it has many more.

ABWW Heroine of the Day: Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune (July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955) was an American educator and civil rights leader best known for starting a school for black students in Daytona Beach, Florida that eventually became Bethune-Cookman University and for being an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Born in South Carolina to parents who had been slaves, and having to work in fields at age 5, she took an early interest in her own education. With the help of benefactors, Bethune attended college hoping to become a missionary in Africa. When that did not materialize, she started a school for black girls in Daytona Beach From six students it grew and merged with an institute for black boys and eventually became the Bethune-Cookman School. Its quality far surpassed the standards of education for black students, and rivaled those of white schools. Bethune worked tirelessly to ensure funding for the school, and used it as a showcase for tourists and donors, to exhibit what educated black people could do.

Bethune served as the president of the Southeastern Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs from 1920 to 1925, an organization that served to amplify black women’s voices for better opportunities. Her presence in the organization earned her the Nationa; Association of Colored Woman national presidency in 1924. Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women in New York City in 1935 bringing together 28 different organizations to form a council to facilitate the improvement of quality of life for black women and their communities.

Bethune played a dual role as close and loyal friend of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt respected Bethune to the extent that the segregation rules at the Southern Conference on Human Welfare in 1938, being held in Birmingham, Alabama, were changed on Roosevelt’s request so she could sit next to Bethune. Roosevelt frequently referred to Bethune as “her closest friend in her age group.”[19] Bethune, in her turn took it upon herself to disperse the message of the Democratic Party to black voters, and make the concerns of black people known to the Roosevelts at the same time. She had unprecedented access to the White House through her relationship with the First Lady.

On the turnover of Plessy v Ferguson by the U.S. Supreme Court, Bethune took the opportunity to defend the decision by writing her opinion in the Chicago Defender in 1954:

There can be no divided democracy, no class government, no half-free county, under the constitution. Therefore, there can be no discrimination, no segregation, no separation of some citizens from the rights which belong to all… We are on our way. But these are frontiers which we must conquer… We must gain full equality in education …in the franchise… in economic opportunity, and full equality in the abundance of life.

ABWW South African Accessory of the Day: Rape-aXe

South Africa has one of the highest rape rates in the world, Human Rights Watch says on its website. A 2009 report by the nation’s Medical Research Council found that 28 percent of men surveyed had raped a woman or girl, with one in 20 saying they had raped in the past year, according to Human Rights Watch.

South African Dr. Sonnet Ehlers was on call one night four decades ago when a devastated rape victim walked in. Her eyes were lifeless; she was like a breathing corpse. “She looked at me and said, ‘If only I had teeth down there,'” recalled Ehlers, who was a 20-year-old medical researcher at the time. “I promised her I’d do something to help people like her one day.” The latex condom like a tampon. Jagged rows of teeth-like hooks line its inside and attach on a man’s penis during penetration, Ehlers said. Once it lodges, only a doctor can remove it — a procedure Ehlers hopes will be done with authorities on standby to make an arrest.

Critics say the female condom is not a long-term solution and makes women vulnerable to more violence from men trapped by the device.

It’s also a form of “enslavement,” said Victoria Kajja, a fellow for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the east African country of Uganda. “The fears surrounding the victim, the act of wearing the condom in anticipation of being assaulted all represent enslavement that no woman should be subjected to.” Kajja said the device constantly reminds women of their vulnerability.
With the disgustingly high rate of rape in the country, it seems to me that a South African woman lives in a permanent state of vulnerability anyway. What do you think?

ABWW Heroine of the Day: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia


The “Iron Lady of Liberia” is the first female president of an African country. She was elected President in the 2005 presidential election and took office on 16 January 2006 after a brutal civil war and the ousting of the former corrupt President Charles Taylor.
irleaf served as head of the Governance Reform Commission. Sirleaf played an active role in the transitional government as the country prepared for the 2005 elections, and eventually stood for president against her rival the ex-international footballer, George Weah as leader of the Unity Party. Sirleaf won a majority in the election though Weah disputed the results. The announcement of the new leader was postponed until further investigations were carried out.

On 23 November 2005, Sirleaf was declared the winner of the Liberian election and confirmed as the country’s next president. Her inauguration, attended by many foreign dignitaries, including United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and First Lady Laura Bush, took place on 16 January 2006.
In November 2007, she received the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. government’s highest civilian award.

ABWW Sterotype Buster of the Day: Elin Nordegren Woods

One of the biggest put downs about black woman is that we are too aggressive. Perhaps we can we rethink that after the Tiger Woods affair(s). Tiger has spent most of his professional life distancing himself from his African and Asian heritage. Have you ever seen a picture of him with an African American or Asian woman, besides his mother? The only time Tiger mentioned his African heritage was to brag about his “size.” Although Tigers walk of shame is over, the image of the caliblasian acting out in a way that would have gotten his grandfather lynched will be a punchline for years to come. Elin Wood’s “rescue” of her fleeing husband has quickly receded from the national conscious, I want to remind everyone she went after her man with a GOLF CLUB! Isn’t that a black woman’s thing? Maybe we should rethink our stereotypes when those who represent the epitome of “ideal” womanhood do the acting in away that knocks them off their pedestal!

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