The #WhyIStayed Social Activist Creates Escape Aid-‘Bolt Bag’ for Domestic Abuse Survivors

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You may not recognize the name. It’s Bev Gooden, btw. But you damn sure remember her setting Twitter ablaze when her hashtag #WhyIStayed went viral in 2014, which nabbed TIME’s Top 10 Hashtags That Started a Conversation.

The Cleveland native is doing more than talking about her experience as a domestic violence survivor. She launched nonprofit org–The Ella Mae Foundation–to advocate for victims of domestic abuse (in honor of late grandmother, who the foundation is named after.)

Starting with ‘The Bolt Bag’ project. It’s exactly what you think it is. A bag full of essentials when you need to…you guessed it…BOLT from someone dangerous.

The Bolt Bag contains toiletries, first aid kits, brush, comb and even more essentials.

IMG_20170426_192401Good hearted folk, like us Blinkers, can donate needed items for the Bolt Bags by reaching out to Bev.

“The time when you leave domestic violence is so, so dangerous, Gooden told NowWhat Her. “And I just wanted to do something tangible, to remove that obstacle.”

“My marriage was abusive and I got out of that marriage.” She adds.

According to the CDC, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Being in those shoes, Gooden designed Bolt Bag to emphasize anonymity and safety.

“You don’t have to give me your name, or address, or social or phone number. That was the whole idea of the project is anonymity.” the Hampton University grad explains.

NowWhat Her reports hundreds of Bolt Bags have gone out around the world to help all those in need of an escape from a toxic relationship.

To learn more about the Bolt Bag Project click here.

Bev is our #WCW for not only surviving an impossible situation, but giving others the tools to do the same.

Rihanna Runs Bean Town as Harvard’s Humanitarian

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Rihanna presented with Humanitarian of Year award by Allen Counter, director of Harvard Foundation. 

Rihanna was shining bright like a diamond as she accepted Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year award yesterday at Sanders Theatre at the university.

“So I made it to Harvard — never thought I’d be able to say that in my life,” Rihanna mused as she opened her acceptance speech.

Bad gal Ri Ri, decked out in an off-the-shoulder, belted tweed dress, was honored by the Ivy League for launching the Clara Lionel Foundation, which awards college scholarships to Caribbean students attending US schools.

The Work singer was also recognized for building the Clara Braithwaite Oncology and Nuclear Medicine Centre at Queen Elizabeth hospital in her hometown of Barbados.

Fun Fact: the centre was renamed after Rihanna’s grandmother after the pop star donated $1.75 million to the Bridgetown hospital in 2012.

The Barbadian beauty made sure to honor her memory by passing along some of granny’s wise words in her speech. “You don’t have to be rich to help somebody…if you got a dollar, there’s plenty to share.”

Rihanna’s full remarks are below–they were live streamed.

 

The Giving Girls! Tamron Hall Leaves TODAY on High Note + Solange Surprises Book Worms in D.C.

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Tamron turned the sourest lemons (NBC execs served) into sweetest lemonade for those that needed it the most.

Before the former TODAY show anchor–who was pushed out to make room for white privilege  Megyn Kelly–could throw up her deuces to this latest chapter, she gathered up high fashion memorabilia for Housing Works.

Housing Works is an advocacy hub that uses entrepreneurial methods (thrift stores in New York City, Albany, Mississippi, Washington D.C., Haiti and Puerto Rico) to help homeless and underserved living with HIV/AIDS. The non-profit assists in getting them quality healthcare, housing and jobs by utilizing thrift store profits and donations.

Tamron, decked out in a onesie, gathered up her on-air wardrobe. She got Jimmy Choo, Louboutin, work clothes, party clothes…you name it. She donated it all to her fav org.

Today was a good day. Thank y'all for all the love and support. 💜 #tamcam @housingworks

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You know those red bottoms are gone.

Just like the entire James Baldwin collection at Sankofa Video Books & Cafe after Solange paid a surprise visit and bought 250 books for fans.

The “Cranes in the Sky” starlet took to the D.C. bookstore after performing at the Peace Ball last month. She announced her book givaway  via Instagram and hundreds of Howard students came.

The Washingtonian reports the bookstore opened in 1997. Its collection focuses on books about African and African-American people and culture. Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are just some of the books Solange bought for attendees of her “woke” book club.

“I think that now more than ever we have to invest in community and fellowship,” Solange said as she greeted the crowd.

I needed #Solange to brighten this gloomy, apocalyptic day. #sankofacafe

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Let the giving tree continue.

Octavia Spencer Kicks Off Free Screenings of ‘Hidden Figures’ for School Kids

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Hidden Figures is the No. 1 movie for a reason.

One being people saw the untold tale of three brilliant Black chicks–Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae–using their magic to get a man in space more than once. Guilty!

And it’s a really inspiring history lesson that the young’ins can use. Especially now. However not everyone can afford that $20 movie ticket.

Enter our shero Octavia Spencer–who bought out a whole theater in Baldwin Hills, Cali on Saturday so families can enjoy it too.

 

The Academy Award nominee unknowingly jump started a pay-it-forward trend around the country.

A Georgia-based guidance counselor, Kahadija Oliver-Baker, at Jones County high school rounded up 76 of her students on Tuesday to see Hidden Figures.

Not only did she schedule the cheese buses to take them to and fro, but used her own money to get the tickets.

Baker told 41 NBC it was worth it to give her kids an “alternate learning experience.”

“The goal of education to learn the truth, and because their textbooks do not include the full truth.” She continued, “As a parent, as an educator, and as a woman I want to be sure that I help expose the truth to my students.”

The story of three African American women working in NASA’s space program isn’t found in students’ textbooks but it’s one she says still needs to be told.

“I think about my students like my own children and I would have been remiss to not bring about some type of change in order to get them here to the theater to experience this truth,” she said.

Michael Barnathan, film producer for The Help, was next to light the torch in exposing melanin magnificence.

Barbarian bought out two theaters and provided lunch for LA students to see Hidden Figures.

 

Let’s not break this chain of goodness.

Couple Goals! Nia Long and Ime Udoka Lead Fight Against Malaria

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“Uncle Buck” star Nia Long and hubby–San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka–were handpicked to lead the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign that aids in the prevention of malaria.

The power couple urged their fans, family and friends to donate to the ten-year old campaign to protect children and refugees that sucumb to the preventable illness.

“Ime and I wanted to find an organization that spoke to us on a personal level; we both have family members who have been affected by malaria and we are dedicated to giving back to those in need,” Long said. “It is inconceivable that children are still dying from a disease which is completely preventable and treatable. We are proud to partner with the Nothing But Nets campaign to help raise awareness. A simple bed net can make all the difference for a child and family to prevent the spread of this deadly disease.”

The Nothing But Nets campaign works predominately in Sub-Saharan Africa because its the leading cause of illness and death in most of those countries, where the most vulnerable children are displaced from their homes.

Nia Long is hoping to prevent that by asking supporters to donate $10 to donate a net for a family in need.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nia and Ime into the ranks of Nothing But Nets champions working across the country and around the world to raise awareness, funds, and voices to protect families from malaria,” said Margaret Reilly McDonnell, Director of Nothing But Nets. “We’re committed to working towards the day when no child dies from a mosquito bite.”

 

‘Luke Cage’ Star Simone Missick Promotes S.T.E.M Education

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Luke Cage’s body may be dipped in the armor of a God (those bulletproof biceps are perfect for shielding a child from harm!) but he’s not the only life-saver.

Misty Knight is the real shero for teaching kids the gems of a S.T.E.M– Science, Technology, Engineering and Math–education at Paley Center’s ‘Stem to Screen’ Q & A event over the weekend.

 

Unlike Misty, whose free ride to college was basketball, Detroit-bred Simone Missick nabbed an engineering scholarship to Howard University.

 

It was the first step toward achieving her dreams.

Although, she was never one to cower from a challenge as she explained to Jet Blame it on growing up in 3-1-3.

“Detroit was where I first did theater, interestingly enough. Just really growing up with such a strong foundation in Black culture, Black history and Black pride made me the woman that I am. I was never ever anywhere in the world where I felt less than because I was Black. I feel like to know who we come from, knowing who my grandmother was, who my mother was as women growing up in Detroit  was so influential to me. And to be able to see my teachers, who were strong successful Black women with a  little sass, bit of humor and loved God.  I mean it’s Black Girl Magic all wrapped up in a Detroit woman.  Then you’ve got the history and soul of Motown wrapped all around that. So, that helps you go into any character.”

Simone emphasized to media students those same roads can be traveled to accomplish their goals.

Who knows maybe a new hero will rise from the ashes.

For now Simone is our WCW.

 

‘Push Through’ Third Graders and Recognize Your Greatness, Says Teacher

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Jasmyn Wright is the teacher every parent prays for–inspiring, encouraging and devoted to childrens’ ability to succeed.

Lucky enough for the City of Brotherly Love parentals, the 27-year-old landed at Frederick  Douglass Elementary in Philly. Where her third grade class is taught to “push through” their obstacles daily by reciting this catchy mantra:

“What if it’s too hard?” the teacher asks her students.

“I’m gonna push through!” they respond.

“What if it’s too tough?” Wright asks.

“I’m gonna push through!” they answer.

“What if you’re just too dumb?” she asks.

“That ain’t true!” they exclaim.

“What if you’re just too young?” the teacher asks.

“That ain’t true!” the students answer.

“What if you just can’t do it?”

“That ain’t true!”

“Why, because …”

“I can do anything I put my mind to!”

 

Wright cited pioneering black icons–like Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and Michelle Obama–that “pushed through” to shatter long-held myths about Blacks to teach her students its possible.

The Spelman alum’s video of positive affirmations has been viewed over three million times on Facebook.

“Teaching my 3rd grade black and brown babies to #PushThrough today,” she wrote in the video caption. “Due to unwelcoming, unsettling, and uncomfortable election results, this was our lesson for the day.”

Wright, a poet and spoken word artist, told the Root that molding the young, gifted and black requires boosting their self-esteem. Even more so in light of a Trump presidency.

“I know that with my class specifically, sometimes they struggle with believing in themselves or sometimes they struggle with grappling through an assignment, or they struggle with interactions with their peers.

“With the election that went on, they were more troubled and they were upset,” she continued. “[So I thought,] yes, this is true, this has happened, but that doesn’t stop us from pushing through. We still have a calling, we still have a purpose, we still are made to leave an imprint in the world, and we cannot give up because of whatever happened.”

Which is why the charter school teacher is also helping kids outside the classroom by starting a nonprofit, I Am My Sister’s Keeper, with two friends. Just like POTUS has My Brother’s Keeper to focus on mentoring young men, Wright wants to raise up girls aged 12 to 18.

Let’s all bow our heads and pray for more teachers like Wright.