The Full Series: Black History Today 2018, by Marcus Harden

The Full Series: Black History Today 2018, by Marcus Harden

I want to thank all who allowed me to honor and showcase them for Black History Month. The daily posts started as just a personal letter to people whom I believe to be truly amazing. We often wait too long to tell people what we think of them and their effects on us and our lives.

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Black History Today: Rickie Malone, gentle nurturer and ferocious advocate

Black History Today: Rickie Malone, gentle nurturer and ferocious advocate

The greatest investment we can make in society is in each other. When we choose to invest in the best in ourselves and each other, that is when true magic begins to happen.

We’re all just shallow reflections of the light and the lives that have shined into ours. When I think about a great light that has invested in me and so many others on this “Black Panther” week, I think of one the strongest heroes I know: Rickie Malone.

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Black History Today: Three brilliant, bold, beautiful women unapologetically rooted in Blackness

Black History Today: Three brilliant, bold, beautiful women unapologetically rooted in Blackness

Recent pop culture has placed Black Women at the forefront of the conversation, showcasing their abilities to be beautiful, bold, brilliant, unapologetically rooted in blackness — and of course to be what they’ve always been: Heroes.

If you’re fortunate enough to be in the Pacific Northwest, there are three women who are the real-life embodiment of the Dora Milaje or the adored ones.

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Black History Today: Merle Redd-Jones, a model for changing systems from the inside out

Black History Today: Merle Redd-Jones, a model for changing systems from the inside out

System-level change is one of the hardest changes to make and navigate. Traditionally for people of color those systems weren’t meant to serve us in a meaningful way, so learning to work in them for the greater good and teaching others to do the same for the benefit of the “we” over the “me” is powerful.

Acquiring this skill set as a strong and powerful Black woman in city government is an even more daunting challenge. Yet for 20-plus years, not only did Merle Redd-Jones navigate that system, but she paved the way for so many others to launch their careers in that system and in other ways.

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Black History Today: Letta Mason, living her purpose of liberation through education

Black History Today: Letta Mason, living her purpose of liberation through education

Rarely in life do you meet people whom you instantly know are one-of-a-kind, authentic and unique in their presentation, passion, purpose, performance and personhood.

Yet when you meet these people, whether you know it or not, their energy completely transforms your life. One of those people is Letta S. Mason.

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Black History Today: April Bowman, Bold Believer

Black History Today: April Bowman, Bold Believer

Sundays are for many a day of reflection and rest, a day to grow closer and get in touch with the creator. Whether tied to religion or not, people’s faith manifests hope and hope manifests belief and belief manifests destiny.

One person who uses her belief and her faith to manifest the destiny in others is April Bowman. As the founder and CEO of Bold Believers, April travels the country helping others live their best lives through a connected faith and through promoting and living her beliefs.

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Black History Today: Chris Chatmon, using his gift in service of the Kings and Queens

Black History Today: Chris Chatmon, using his gift in service of the Kings and Queens

One of the greatest gifts, if not the greatest, is walking alongside someone else and encouraging them as they uncover their own gift. Then finding another and another to walk beside, giving the gift of being a gift, in service to others.

To do this with people is work, but very doable. To do this and begin to create systemic and institutional change, that is a gift in and within itself. When I think about people who hold that gift, brotha Chris Chatmon comes to mind.

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Black History Today: Gwen Allen-Carston, unwavering activist

Black History Today: Gwen Allen-Carston, unwavering activist

When I was a child, I didn’t understand what things like Black Pride, Black Power, heroes like Malcolm X, the Pan African movement or even local things Umoja Fest, etc. Being proud to be something other than what society put in front of us and learning more than what schools dared to teach us.

Beginning to understand different religions and philosophies and maybe most importantly, learning what it meant to advocate for others in truth and in authenticity. One of the strongest if not the first to teach me those lessons and so much more was Gwen Allen-Carston.

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Black History Today: Jacqueline Hardy, musical steward and humble leader

Black History Today: Jacqueline Hardy, musical steward and humble leader

When I think about powerful leaders, I think about those who are constantly in the mode of service. Utilizing their gifts and talents for the benefit of others.

When I think of one of those people I am always struck by the talent and deep humility of Jacqueline Hardy. She comes from an incredible line in the same last name but is a musical icon in the Pacific Northwest and around the country.

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Black History Today: Princess Shareef, shaping lives with grace and humility

Black History Today: Princess Shareef, shaping lives with grace and humility

Malcolm X once said, “the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman.” That quote always resonated with me as I know so many STRONG, POWERFUL, BEAUTIFUL Black women.

I’ve been blessed to have my formative adult years, profesionally specifically to be led by Black women. My first in education is a national and Seattle treasure, Princess (should be Queen) Princess Shareef.

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Black History Today: Jaebadiah Gardner, who makes it his business to build community

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a pillar of the South Seattle community and a truly unsung hero, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his neighborhood and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

Jaebadiah Gardner.jpg

I love Black History Month. It should be weekly. That said, enough folks are posting history. I’m inspired to honor people who are shaping today and tomorrow. History is today.

So for 28 days, I just want to shout out to (s)heroes and heroes whom are living history, now.

First is a brotha I call my mentor. I’ve known him for close to 15 years, and he’s always had his eyes on making things better for his people (black and brown folks) without apology.

He’s got his hands on the pulse of the business and economic scene in Seattle and does it with swag. The motto is simple: build it yourself. And he’s doing that, for everyone else.

So mad love and respect to Jaebadiah S Gardner for making Black history, today.


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Four Things That Must Stay in 2017 and the Boss Behavior Required for 2018

Four Things That Must Stay in 2017 and the Boss Behavior Required for 2018

By Vesia Hawkins

Ayyyyyyeeeee!

As 2017’s time on this earth fades to black, 2018 is waiting to take its place in the sun. As I mined through the events of 2017 — from national disgraces to local blemishes, there are many themes at a macro level that I believe will forever be attached to the year 2017: sexual assault, overt racism, and youth suicides.

Many events grabbed my attention throughout the year, but the themes that bore down and pierced my core derive from behaviors that I’d like to leave in 2017. For instance, America’s fleeting appreciation of Black women, the stance against charter schools and the families who choose them by the “oldest and boldest” civil rights organization in America, and the complicity of those witnessing egregious acts without saying a word.

 

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