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Black Girls Ride: Women of Color Blaze New Trails in Motorsports

WASHINGTON INFORMER — Two hundred twenty-five unapologetic, fearless and trend-setting female bikers, brought together by Black Girls Ride (BGR), will ride nearly 200,000 miles, collectively, from more than 5 states for the largest African-American music and entertainment celebration in New Orleans July 5-7. The rides, powered by Indian Motorcycle and Polaris Slingshot© represent the growing emergence of African American and female motorcyclists in the country.

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More than 200 Female Riders Set to Dispel Biker Stereotypes on Journey to New Orleans

By WI Interns/DTU Fellows

Two hundred twenty-five unapologetic, fearless and trend-setting female bikers, brought together by Black Girls Ride (BGR), will ride nearly 200,000 miles, collectively, from more than 5 states for the largest African-American music and entertainment celebration in New Orleans July 5-7. The rides, powered by Indian Motorcycle and Polaris Slingshot© represent the growing emergence of African American and female motorcyclists in the country.

Black Girls Ride Founder Porsche Taylor has made it her mission to increase the number of female motorcyclists across the nation, provide safe riding adventures and inspire riders through safety education and celebration.

“This is the ultimate girls’ trip,” BGR Magazine Founder Porsche Taylor said. “We are celebrating our femininity, individuality and showing the world that there’s an indescribable feeling of accomplishment and freedom that women get when they conquer their fears on a high-quality motorcycle.”

Taylor’s passion for riding mirrors that of legendary biker, Bessie Stringfield who crossed the country in the 1930s – solo on a motorcycle. Born in 1911, Stringfield’s life comes to life on the pages of the 1993 book Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles and the Rapture of the Road written by Stringfield’s protégé and eventual biographer Ann Ferrar. Stringfield eventually became the first Black woman to ride a motorcycle in every one of the connected 48 states—a solo cross-country ride she undertook eight times during her lifetime, as well as riding abroad in Haiti, Brazil, and parts of Europe.

As reported in a 2018 Motorcycle Industry Council study, female motorcycle ownership doubled in the U.S. in the last decade, with nearly one in five motorcycle riders being female. Among African-American motorcycle owners, women dominate at 53 percent over men, according to another 2018 survey of American consumers.

The majority of the riders, some of which will be riding Indian Motorcycles or the three-wheeled Polaris Slingshot vehicles, will make the multi-state journey from five states: Texas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana. Other riders will come from as far as California. Riders will either make the joy ride solo or in a group. The 225 riders will bring their mission to the largest African-American female festival in the nation.

“Polaris has fueled the passion of riders, workers and outdoor enthusiasts for more than 60 years,” Polaris Marketing and Customer Engagement & Growth Manager Joey Lindahl said. “Indian Motorcycle and Polaris Slingshot are proud to support and celebrate the growing national sisterhood of riders as they blaze new trails in the industry.

“Women continue to break barriers and defy stereotypes in motorcycling, and the sport has brought us together like never before,” Taylor said. “Our fellow biker sisters come from all walks of life. We work in boardrooms and classrooms across the nation but on the free road, we are one. We are a family.”

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

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Community

Building Bridges Beyond Bias in Marin

Registration is required. Sign-ups are available on the MCFL website. For more information and to register to this event, go to marinlibrary.org/blogs/post/building-bridges-beyond-bias/

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From left: Tahirah Dean, Jason Lau, Ph.D., Laura Eberly, Alejandro Lara

The Marin County Free Library (MCFL) and Age Forward Marin is presenting a four-part, on-line series “Building Bridges Beyond Bias” which is designed for Marin County residents from all backgrounds to gain understanding and foster awareness about each other through conversation and connection, and to confront and explore beyond our biases.

Tahirah Dean will be speaking on Wednesday, October 20, and Jason Lau, Ph.D. will be speaking on Wednesday, November 3, for the two remaining programs. The programs will be online via Zoom from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Dean is an Afro-Latina Muslim woman and a staff attorney at Legal Aid of Marin, pursuing her passion for housing justice, and has worked as an immigration attorney assisting asylum seekers and those seeking work visas. She holds a B.A. in English and Political Science from the University of North Texas, and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.

Lau traveled to the U.S. from Hong Kong in 1997 to further his education. Today, he is the interim associate dean and senior business officer for the School of Extended and International Education for Sonoma State University and chairs the Marin County Child Care Commission and the Marin YMCA Volunteer Board of Managers.

The speakers for two previous programs in the series were Laura Eberly, who spoke on September 22 and Alejandro Lara, who spoke on October 6.

Eberly is the founding director of Mountaintop Coaching & Consulting, which provides diversity, equity, and inclusion services. She holds a B.A. and M.S.W. from the University of Chicago and is ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church. She is a proud alum of Catalyst Project’s Anne Braden Anti-Racist Organizing Training Program.

Lara is a first-generation Latino college graduate from UC Davis, and currently works as the communications coordinator for the Canal Alliance in San Rafael.

MCFL has supported equity measures in the county, offered enlightening educational programming, and has enthusiastically endorsed the Marin County Board of Supervisors’ prioritization of social equity and the creation of the County’s Office of Equity. County departments are working to dismantle inequities and transform systems inherited through centuries of racial, social, and political injustices.

The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spearheaded the Age Forward Marin. It is a collective effort between County departments and local government, community leaders, and residents including in Marin’s unincorporated areas.

Gloria Dunn-Violin, a resident of Novato, approached HHS Director Benita McLarin with a concept that evolved into the special speaker series. Dunn-Violin teamed with the Corte Madera Library and the Age Forward initiative to design the Beyond Bias program’s purpose and format, to assist in finding speakers, and to share the event with community partners focused on diversity and inclusion.

Registration is required. Sign-ups are available on the MCFL website. For more information and to register to this event, go to marinlibrary.org/blogs/post/building-bridges-beyond-bias/

The Marin Post’s coverage of local news in Marin County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California

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Community

Solano County Family Justice Center Holds 6th Annual Health Fair

The free, family event was established to promote healthy living in Solano County, according to District Attorney Krishna A. Abrams.

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Health Fair Save the Dates Flyers

The Solano County Family Justice Center, a division of the Solano County District Attorney’s Office, in partnership with Solano County’s Health and Social Services, will host their Sixth Annual Health Fair on Saturday, October 2 on the Annex Lawn at 604 Empire St. in Fairfield from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

The free, family event was established to promote healthy living in Solano County, according to District Attorney Krishna A. Abrams. Their first fair was coordinated by Lori Frank of the Solano Family Justice Center who was instrumental in helping to make the event a success. Abrams said.

“Lori continued to plan, execute and organize the event until her recent passing,” said Abrams. “We will be honoring her at this year’s 6th Annual Health Fair. Her dedication and commitment to our community has been immeasurable.

As a result of her hard work, the Annual Health Fair has blossomed to include events such as face painting, health and dental screenings, a food bank, martial arts demonstrations, as well as booths which offered community resources.

Other activities will include martial arts demonstrations, the Chapki Dance Group, K9 demonstration, the Solano Sheriff Horse Posse, the Public Safety Academy, and a food bank. The fair will also have available flu shots on the site.

“Because of Lori’s great work, our turnout has always been high,” said Abrams. “Our vendors increased to over 50 participants and attendance was up to approximately 1,000 people who’ve attended the yearly event.”

Youth have also been engaged in promoting the fair. “We have been fortunate over the years to have so many students across the county participate in the art contest where they illustrate what healthy choices and healthy living meant to them,” Abrams said. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, staff was unable to hold the in-person annual event. Organizers anticipate the Saturday event will bring the community together again at one location and celebrate the health and well-being for everyone in the County.

For more information on the health fair, contact the Solano Family Justice Center at 707-784-7635.

 

The Vallejo Post’s coverage of local news in Solano County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Black History

Black Cowboy William Pickett Invented Rodeo Event Called ‘Bulldogging’

As a young boy he’d watched herder dogs subdue huge steers by biting their upper lips. At around age 10, he decided to do the same but by using his own technique.

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Wilson Pickett

It was in the state of Texas that the cowboy lifestyle came into its own. The state’s vast lands had been populated with cattle since it was colonized by Spain in the 1500s. By the 1800s, millions of cattle grazed there, making cattle farming a “bountiful economic and cultural phenomenon,” according to author Katie Nodjimbadem.

Images depicted in movies and television shows of these cattle ranchers (cowboys) have mostly been of white Americans. Although Black cowboys “don’t play a part in the popular narrative, historians estimate that one in four cowboys were Black,” Nodjimbadem wrote. One  of them was William Pickett (ca. 1870–1932), who became a cowboy after completing the fifth grade.
Records show that Pickett was born in 1870 in western Williamson County.

As a young boy he’d watched herder dogs subdue huge steers by biting their upper lips. At around age 10, he decided to do the same but by using his own technique. After perfecting a unique way of steer wrestling -or bulldogging– and roping and riding he began performing stunts at public events.

Steer wrestling, a rodeo event during which a mounted cowboy (or bulldogger) races alongside and then tackles a full-grown steer, was invented by Pickett. If a cowboy is experienced, he can wrestle a steer to the ground in five to eight seconds. Standing at only five feet, seven inches tall and weighing 145 pounds, Pickett used his signature move to grab a steer by its horns, twist its neck, and bite it on one lip.

The 500–600-pound animal would then fall backward, allowing Pickett to pull it to the ground.
Once the steer was on its side with all four of its feet pointing in the same direction, Pickett was done. This rapidly became a popular contest at cowboy events, later becoming a standard of contemporary rodeo. Bulldogging however, has since been modified to reduce danger to the steer.

By 1903, Pickett’s career had taken off. This success spurred Dave McClure, an event promoter, to dub Pickett the “Dusky Demon” and bill him as the “most daring cowboy alive.” 

According to Texas history writer Lori Grossman, the term ‘dusky’ was “intended to disguise Pickett’s ethnicity whenever white cowboys shied from appearing on the same program as an African-American man.”

Pickett competed in rodeos large and small, yet amassing a significant record as a competitor was impossible. Although Blacks had not been officially barred from most contests, he was often billed as a Native American or not identified as Black.

The Wild West’s heyday quieted after World War I. Pickett’s show, the 101 Ranch Wild West Show, where he had been a headliner for 26 years, closed down in 1931. He died the following year after a horse kicked him in the head.

Forty years after his death, Pickett became the first black honoree in the National Rodeo Hall of fame. In 1989, he was enshrined in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.

Versions of Pickett’s bulldogging are still performed by rodeo athletes today.

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