Black Girl Magic! Sacramento Girl’s Good Deed Program

At 10 years old I was a Girl Scout drop out–don’t ask. And I would purposely smear glue on my hands just to peel it off. Hey, dont give me that judgey look. You did it too. Admit it.

But never once in my pre-teen years did making the world kinder, gentler and more patient enter my thought bubble. All those guilty of being a jaded New Yorker before 16 raise your hand *raising both hands.*

Thankfully 10-year-old Leah Nelson, of Sacramento, is more proactive about spreading good karma nationwide. FOX 40’s report–on the persistent Cali gal convincing strangers to do a random good deed for a stranger–went viral this week.

Unlike similar stories Leah’s “Becuz I Care” program involves a keepsake. Sorta. When a perfect stranger accepts her mission of “universal kindness” they receive a handmade bracelet with this note:  “Because I care is a program that can go all around the country. All you have to do is start with a few bracelets. Then whenever you do something nice for someone (i.e. buy their coffee at Starbucks, or pay them a compliment) you give them a bracelet, and pass down this message: In a world with so many issues, let’s just show other people that they are valued.”

Thanks to Fox (there’s a sentence never thought I’d write.) Leah’s message has gone global–she’s getting responses from England.

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The junior social advocate even threw  a bracelet making party yesterday to keep up with demands.

I never thought it was going to get this big,” Leah said Tuesday evening while she and several friends got together for a bracelet-making party to meet increasing demand.

“I think because there are many issues in the world…it really brightens peoples’ days to hear that there’s still some kind things, good things, going on in the world,” she added.

Go ‘head and sprinkle that brown skinned goodness, girl.

To help the cause please click here.

 

 

Issa Rae Raises $500G’s for Alton Sterling’s Kids

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So on a scale from one to 1000, this week ranked one millionth in terms of shittiest.

Amirite?

I’m still in a fragile state to recap what you already know. What I’m sure the whole world now knows. As if they didn’t already. Hell, the King of Pop dedicated a whole song about it in the ’90s. More recently, Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams did a whole breakdown of our beef like an MC–with bars just as insightful as Nas, Common, Mos Def and Talib Kwali–freestylin’ about our appropriation and marginalization.

Actor and Activist Jesse Williams Drops Truth Bomb During BET Awards

Yet, two weeks later and one day after Independence Day (isn’t it ironic?) Alton Sterling becomes not only a hashtag but # 505 on this year’s list–so far– of fatal shootings by police. Not even a full 24 hours later did Philando Castile land # 506.

What’s scary is not only who will be # 507, but the near certainty another Black man or woman will fill the casket. It’s a hopeless reality but no doubt one that’s been contemplated now more than ever.

It makes you wonder if Alton Sterling’s 15-year-old son will live long enough to step foot on the college campus  filmmaker Issa Rae helped foot the tuition for. The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl took to GoFundMe page this week urging supporters to finance a better future for the slain Louisana man’s five offspring by donating up to $200K.

The star/creator of HBO’s new comedy Insecure surpassed her fundraising goal in 9 hours; garnering $567,056 for the Sterling family.

“If you feel helpless, but want to play a small part in easing the burden of #AltonSterling’s family, consider donating to this scholarship fund for his 15-year-old son (and his other kids).

*ALL* funds raised will go to Alton Sterling’s family,” writes Issa.

Following Issa’s lead Los Angeles director Xavier Burgin posted a Go Fund Me page for Philando Castile, which raised $96,040. To help support the Minneapolis man’s girlfriend and daughter, who both watched him get gunned down reaching for his license. The disturbing encounter was streamed live on Facebook.

Philando’s sister also started one to pay for his funeral.

It’s good to know people care enough to give, but Beyonce put it best: “we dont need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives.”

We’re still waiting.

We’re done waiting.

We’re woke and it’s time to start fighting.

IYB Woman Crush | Woman Creates Safe Haven for Baltimore Kids

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In case you haven’t noticed, news outta B-more has gone from bad to worse this week with one of the cops, who had a hand in Freddie Gray’s murder, was cleared of charges. Yes, yet another one. Lost count? Good thing they are.

Unfortunately no one is keeping a tally on how this is affecting kids and their ability to…I don’t know…be like normal young’uns. Luckily Erika Alston carved out such a safe haven for 100 neighborhood kids between ages 5 to 17.

CBS Evening News reports Alston revamped an old laudromat into an after-school rec center– Penn North Kids Safe Zone, a few days after the riots sparked by Freddie Gray’s murder.

“The whole world got to see our children standing face-to-face with officers, and throwing rocks, and they didn’t have another outlet. We’ve created that outlet.”

The Kids Safe Zone includes homework help, peer support, field trips and a range of recreational activities–from Xbox video games to sports teams–for kids to escape.

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Funding for Safe Zone comes from the state (Maryland’s governor donated $50G’s for the computer lab) and private donations. The center got a big boost when Alicia Keys made a surprise visit in November. Soon after A&E Network donated $30,000, followed by $10,000 from Kaiser-Permenete.

Say it loud: More safe zones and less jail cells. To donate to Ericka’s Safe Zone click here.

 

Woman Crush Wednesday | Misty Copeland Mentors School Kids Through Arts Program

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Dancing queen Misty Copeland, the first Black principal dancer of ABT, gave a private dance lesson to a P.S. 284 student from Brooklyn on Monday at Steps on Broadway studio.

Through the elementary school’s Turnaround Arts program, which Misty’s a mentor of, Hyemel Roberts got to get up close and personal to the pioneer performer.

So, how did he spend it? Taking selfies (duh!) and dancing of course. Or, judging by the above pic, making each other dizzy with their Kid-n-Play like spin.

The Turnaround Arts program aims to use the arts to reform high risk schools.

A topic Misty and POTUS Obama likely touched upon in their intimate convo about race and opportunity with Time earlier this month. Read the full transcript here.

Keep it on pointe, Misty.

IYB Woman Crush | Delivering Solutions to Homelessness

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Veronika Scott and an Empowerment Plan employee

Happy New Year!!

I’ll spare you the new year, new me mantra (insert eyeroll here) I espoused last year around this time. Or the laundry list of resolutions I’d likely break this week. I’ll approach 2016 with Nike philosophy–just do it. And encourage everyone else to do the same.

Before charging toward your goal like a Kardashian stalking a TMZ camera crew, take some notes on how it’s done from Veronika Scott. She’s the 24-year-old Founder and CEO (yaaaasss, honey!!) of Detroit-based non-profit The Empowerment Plan. The org hires homeless women as seamstresses to make coats that transform into sleeping bags for the homeless.

Veronika’s aha! moment came as a result of a college class assignment (she majored in Industrial Design at College for Creative Studies) to “design something to fill actual needs.” After visiting homeless shelters to gage their needs the slumber coats were born. During the day they serve as a normal winter coat and at night a flap is brought down and can be stepped into up to the knees, then zipped up like a regular ol’ sleeping bag.

The Motor City has a homeless population of 34,642, according to Michigan’s Campaign to End Homelessness. Overall there are over 86,000 people in Michigan without homes and 69 percent are single moms.

Veronika realized her slumber coats were a good start, but not the answer to preventing homelessness. When a woman living in the shelter told her to forfeit the outerwear for some much needed jobs.

Veronika did just that. The Empowerment Plan hires only people living in homeless shelters. And not just as seamstresses they are trained in manufacturing and tech as well. Whatever will help lead them closer to an independent life. The org has it sewed up.

” I believe people can tackle far more than they think they can.” Veronika says.

Thanks to Veronica and all those like her for making the path straighter.

Click here to donate and here to order a coat from the Empowerment Plan.

 

 

Man Candy Monday | Players Serving Up Holiday Cheer

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What better occasion than the holiday season to pull the sheet off of ‘Man Candy Monday’s’ section? None. After all it is the season of giving and it’s high time I give the guys some love.

While everyone is talking about one particular man that made a major fumble–not of the NFL variety, although–on national TV, I’d rather focus on the fellas that scored off the field for charity. Besides, If I see another Steve Harvey meme I won’t have anymore clean underwear. TMI…I know. Sorry.

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Chris Bosh took a break from the hardwood to host his 5th annual Santa Bosh Workshop in Miami over the weekend. Local kids gorged on holiday treats, games and took photos with their favorite dinosaur Miami Heat ballplayer for his Team Tomorrow Foundation.

Not to be outdone, OKC Thunder’s Russell Westbrook also played chocolate Santa when he stopped by the City Rescue Mission. The NBA player gave 65 homeless kids new Jordan’s and backpacks. It was one of several good deed missions Westbrook completed through his Why Not? Foundation that aims to motivate kids to ask, “why not?”

Earlier this month, Westbrook took some lucky kids on a Christmas shopping spree on his dime. Annnnd prior to that he swapped nasty school lunches with Subway boxes for the students at Fillmore Elementary School.

Good deeds by good dudes!!

 

Buy a 2 Chainz Holiday Sweater and Help Needy Families

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Still trying to find a holiday gift for the guy or gal that has everything? Nothing says holiday bliss like a Dabbin’ Santa Christmas sweater. Brought to you by rapper 2 Chainz (neck accessories aren’t included) who is using the ugly Christmas sweaters’–finally a gift for the weed head in your life that doesn’t include a dime bag–profits to give to charity.

Specifically, the Def Jam rapper’s T.R.U Foundation, which launched in 2013 in Atlanta to “create life changing moments and help build a positive outcome for our young generation.”

Starting with Deirdre Plater, a disabled veteran and unemployed single mom based in Palmetto, GA.

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2 Chainz got wind of Deirdre struggling to make ends meet after having back surgery, and gave her the gift every grown-up wants: free rent for a year. So jellies.

And…

New furniture.

Check out how 2 Chainz surprised Deirdre and her son.

Awww…now I have to DAB my eyes. Get it? Lol…anyway, good look delivering a Christmas miracle, 2 Chainz

 

IYB Woman Crush Wednesday | Ciara’s Feeding America

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Fresh off her bae-cation R&B chanteuse Ciara brings her good vibes to dinner tables around the country.

RELATED: Viola Davis Joins Safeway Foundation’s Mission to End Child Hunger

The “I Bet” singer partnered with lifestyle brand Unilever to combat an overlooked but worthy cause–child hunger. A huge problem affecting 15 million kids every single day. To help change the tide, Ciara took to Instagram using the hashtag #ShareAMeal with a photo of an empty plate. And encouraged her 8.6 million followers to do the same. Because with each new upload or retweet Unilever will donate a free meal to Feeding America.

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And with the help of the C Squad–including Lala Anthony and Stephen Curry’s wife Ayesha Curry–Unilever met their goal of a million meals for Feeding America. All in one week. I don’t think Mother Theresa could’ve even pulled that one off.

For other ways to help Unilever’s worthy child hunger campaign click here