National

Women Answer the Challenge at Bev Smith Conference

by Rebecca Nuttall
Special to the NNPA from the New Pittsburgh Courier

THE CHALLENGE—Bev Smith welcomes guests to the conference luncheon. (Photo by J.L. Martello)
THE CHALLENGE—Bev Smith welcomes guests to the conference luncheon. (Photo by J.L. Martello)

Who is the African-American woman? Is she the caricature of Harriet Tubman presented in a recently released YouTube comedy video? Is she the women depicted in reality television shows? Is she the image portrayed in hip-hop videos and popular music?

Nationally syndicated radio show host Bev Smith says no and at a four-day conference held in Pittsburgh last week, she brought together hundreds of women from around the country to answer this question and more. The Bev Smith Show Presents: A Challenge to African American Women conference, which began Aug. 28, challenged women to take ownership of the mission “to unite and empower the Black family and community.”

“The one thing we had when we didn’t have money, was love. But we got hoodwinked and bamboozled by equality. We wanted integration and we got imitation,” Smith said. “This is the challenge. The challenge is for us to be different because the only way we’re going to save ourselves is to save ourselves.”

The goal of the conference was to craft solutions to be presented to the Congressional Black Caucus. On hand to inspire this mission were noted names like spiritual leader Iyanla Vanzant, who headlined the conference’s commemorative gala; comedian Dick Gregory; E. Faye Williams, national chair of the National Congress of Black Women; and Congresswoman Donna Christensen.

Also on hand was Elaine Richardson, an author and professor at the Ohio State University, who served as the keynote speaker at the conference’s opening luncheon. Drawing tears from the audience, Richardson shared her story of overcoming years of abuse, drug addiction, and prostitution.

“I was looking like Lil Kim, Nikki Minaj; I was a street walker. I thought that’s what I was worth,” Richardson said. “When it’s Black girls in the hood, they’re just a ho; it’s not considered human trafficking. No one cares.”

“The one thing we had when we didn’t have money, was love. But we got hoodwinked and bamboozled by equality. We wanted integration and we got imitation,” Smith said. “This is the challenge. The challenge is for us to be different because the only way we’re going to save ourselves is to save ourselves.”

The goal of the conference was to craft solutions to be presented to the Congressional Black Caucus. On hand to inspire this mission were noted names like spiritual leader Iyanla Vanzant, who headlined the conference’s commemorative gala; comedian Dick Gregory; E. Faye Williams, national chair of the National Congress of Black Women; and Congresswoman Donna Christensen.

Also on hand was Elaine Richardson, an author and professor at the Ohio State University, who served as the keynote speaker at the conference’s opening luncheon. Drawing tears from the audience, Richardson shared her story of overcoming years of abuse, drug addiction, and prostitution.

“I was looking like Lil Kim, Nikki Minaj; I was a street walker. I thought that’s what I was worth,” Richardson said. “When it’s Black girls in the hood, they’re just a ho; it’s not considered human trafficking. No one cares.”

“People started sowing into my life. People started mentoring me. People loved me,” Richardson said. “When you know who you are, it makes a difference. We’re worth something and you can’t throw people away.”

The conference was supported in large part by River Industries Training Center, a female-owned nonprofit that trains unemployed, underemployed and at risk youth and adults for work in the oil and gas industry.

Elaine Richardson, an author and professor at the Ohio State University.
Elaine Richardson, an author and professor at the Ohio State University.

“I think women need to unite and organize. We have a 56 percent African-American unemployment rate in the Pittsburgh region and if we don’t do something to help ourselves no one will,” said Cheryl McAbee, River Industries co-founder. “The word minority is an outdated term. We need to think in terms of African-Americans because other minorities are surpassing us.”

 

Tags
Show More

NNPAFreddie

Freddie Allen is the National News Editor for the NNPA News Wire and BlackPressUSA.com. 200-plus Black newspapers. 20 million readers. You should follow Freddie on Twitter and Instagram @freddieallenjr.
Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker