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Black Mothers Gather Strength From Momference

THE AFRO — ikki Osei-Barrett and Simona Noce Wright, cofounders of District Motherhued that supports millennial moms of color in the DMV, created the Momference to celebrate Black mothers because they couldn’t find a conference that exclusively caters to them. The event embraces Black mothers, addresses their needs and shows them in a positive light. Beyond the conference, 80 moms met up Sunday morning for rooftop trap yoga and brunch.

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By Lenore T. Adkins

When actress Tatyana Ali faced isolation as a new mom in a new city —San Francisco — she realized she had to find her own community of mothers.

“San Francisco’s wonderful, it’s very liberal, but it’s very segregated and so on the playground, you know, listening to other moms talk, I found that in some cases, I didn’t necessarily fit in with the moms that were there. And I didn’t necessarily fit in with the nannies that were there,” says Ali, 40, who has a two-year-old son and is expecting her second child in August. “I was somewhere in between I guess, or at least to some people that’s how they saw me.”

Ali, known for playing the beloved Ashley Banks on the 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” found her mommy tribe by going to different parks and finding other like-minded moms. She used FaceTime to stay in constant contact with longtime girlfriends.

“Even if you’re in a segregated place, and you’re the only one there, there are cool gems of people in all of those places and I just didn’t stop until I found what I needed,” Ali said.

Ali, a Harvard alum, made her comments Saturday at the one-day Momference, billed as America’s first full-day conference centered on millennial moms of color. The sold-out event took place at the Renaissance Downtown D.C. hotel and attracted nearly 500 moms, including ticket holders, vendors and speakers.

Nikki Osei-Barrett and Simona Noce Wright, cofounders of District Motherhued that supports millennial moms of color in the DMV, created the Momference to celebrate Black mothers because they couldn’t find a conference that exclusively caters to them. The event embraces Black mothers, addresses their needs and shows them in a positive light. Beyond the conference, 80 moms met up Sunday morning for rooftop trap yoga and brunch.

“Black motherhood always looks like just struggle and stress and anger and poverty, when in fact, it’s not,” Osei-Barrett says. “And the Momference is an opportunity for us to really display Black mom magic and just gather a room full of affluent, gorgeous, educated Black women … and put that on a platform.”

At the event, moms met and networked with other moms, pampered themselves, shared their struggles and learned from experts about monitoring their physical and emotional health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women in the United States are three to four times more likely than White women to die of pregnancy complications, regardless of income or education.

Tausi Suedi, now the maternal and child health deputy director of centralized intake at the Baltimore City Health Department, said she didn’t feel like her doctors at another facility listened to her when she was beginning contractions with her first child.

She recalls telling her doctor, who was out of town, that the child was too big, and he authorized a Caesarean section. But the doctors onsite kept her in labor for two days, and she nearly died from the experience, she said.

Her advice is to fight back against the culture of blindly taking doctors’ advice, and to instead speak up if something doesn’t feel right, or if you’re in pain. If you aren’t in a position to do that, have your doula do it for you.

“Those theories are there that Black women have a higher threshold for pain, but that’s not necessarily the case,” says Suedi, a panelist on the conference’s panel that focused on maternal health, wellness and loss. “You know, for me to be in labor for two days because the doctors weren’t listening, and nearly dying, that was unacceptable.”

Helena Andrews-Dyer lives in the gentrifying Bloomingdale community and identifies with Ali’s struggles to find black moms in her neighborhood. The young white mothers Andrews-Dyers meets at the playground or the yoga studio don’t share her same concerns about motherhood, so being surrounded by women who look like her and have the same interests makes her feel like she’s not alone.

“Being around those women gives me strength,” says Andrews-Dyer, 39, who has a two-year-old daughter and is expecting another girl.

Meanwhile, this year’s Momference sold out in two days, and the inaugural Momference also sold out the year before. Organizers are figuring out how they’ll meet the demand next year — ideas include selling more tickets or adding another day to the conference.

That the event continues to sell out is a testament to how much it’s needed, Osei-Barrett says.

“You create experiences for Black women, we show up,” she told the AFRO.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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Bay Area

Richmond Family ‘Loses Everything’ After Home Burns on Christmas Eve

Thankfully, no injuries were reported, but the damages were extensive. Crews arrived to find a roof and attic area of a townhome well-involved with fire. A second alarm was called to summon more resources to battle the blaze. While two Richmond fire crews fought the fire in the first townhome unit, Con Fire crews battled flames in another unit and also performed vertical ventilation from the roof.

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Image courtesy of Richmond Firefighters Local 188.
Image courtesy of Richmond Firefighters Local 188.

The Richmond Standard

A fire heavily damaged two townhome units in Richmond on Christmas Eve.

GoFundMe was launched to support a family who lost “everything” in the blaze.

The fire occurred in the 3200 block of South Ridge Drive in Richmond’s Hilltop area at about 11:15 p.m., according to Richmond Firefighters Local 188, the union representing Richmond firefighters.

Thankfully, no injuries were reported, but the damages were extensive. Crews arrived to find a roof and attic area of a townhome well-involved with fire. A second alarm was called to summon more resources to battle the blaze. While two Richmond fire crews fought the fire in the first townhome unit, Con Fire crews battled flames in another unit and also performed vertical ventilation from the roof.

The stubborn fire was brought under control within 30 minutes, officials said.

Fire officials posted video footage from the large fire on social media.

While occupants of the units made it out without injuries reported, the losses were great, fire officials said.

A GoFundMe launched in the wake of the fire aims to support the Rullier family, who reportedly resided in the unit neighboring the unit where the fire began.

“Luckily everybody was able to escape before the home was fully engulfed but there wasn’t enough time to grab any belongings,” according the GoFundMe.

The Rullier family lost “all personal items, clothes, documents, savings, etc” in the sudden event, according to the GoFundMe.

GoFundMe donations will help the family temporarily find a new home and toward replacing what is lost. To contribute, go here or https://www.gofundme.com/f/rullier-family-loses-everything-in-xmas-home-fire?fbclid=IwAR2HHx3v_-DBqNXqI07C2gMy68bmmIgoX3ZV1nKX-nsLK8oPd8SZG0hegc4

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Bay Area

Registering for the WCCUSD Is as Easy as 1-2-3

To register for school, you will need: Verification of residency (two); age verification: birth certificate, Baptismal record or passport; immunization record; parent, guardian or caregiver ID (one); and documents required under special circumstances, per the WCCUSD.

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The West Contra County Unified School District (WCCUSD) has released its 2022-2023 New Family Enrollment process, and it’s as simple as three steps.
The West Contra County Unified School District (WCCUSD) has released its 2022-2023 New Family Enrollment process, and it’s as simple as three steps.

By Kathy Chouteau

The West Contra County Unified School District (WCCUSD) has released its 2022-2023 New Family Enrollment process, and it’s as simple as three steps.

First, visit bit.ly/wccusdschoolsitelocator to identify your resident school in WCCUSD. There will be an interactive School Site Locator where you can enter your address in the search box or just browse through the map.

Next, register online at wccusd.net/newfamilyenrollment. In order to register, you’ll need an email account, a Power Schools account (set up during online registration) and the required documents ready to upload. To register for school, you will need: Verification of residency (two); age verification: birth certificate, Baptismal record or passport; immunization record; parent, guardian or caregiver ID (one); and documents required under special circumstances, per the WCCUSD.

Finally, you should schedule an appointment at your resident school since registration isn’t complete until you meet with your school in person. Be prepared to show your ID for verification and the same documentation used during registration.

Learn more: https://www.wccusd.net/newfamilyenrollment

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Advice

From the 1800s to Today: Empowering Veteran Business Owners

Amid the success of the family business, the McKindras never lost sight of the support they had been given—and the importance of passing it on to others in their community and society. Generations of McKindras have dedicated their lives to the military, including his grandfather, father, and brother (pictured right), and subsequently to their communities when they returned home.

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Three generations of McKindras pictured from left to right: Alex Jr. (West Point, Air Force), Q.R. McKindra (Alex Jr.’s grandfather, WWII veteran), Alex Sr. (career Army officer), and Marcus (Alex Jr.’s younger brother, Air Force Academy) (Courtesy photo)
Three generations of McKindras pictured from left to right: Alex Jr. (West Point, Air Force), Q.R. McKindra (Alex Jr.’s grandfather, WWII veteran), Alex Sr. (career Army officer), and Marcus (Alex Jr.’s younger brother, Air Force Academy) (Courtesy photo)

From JPMorgan Chase

From his years of service in the military to his current work helping former soldiers build their own businesses through JPMorgan Chase’s veteran initiatives, Alex McKindra Jr. is a veteran success story.

Moreover, as we celebrate Veteran’s Day this year, Alex’s story is a uniquely American one that veterans and members of the military community across the country can relate to. But, as he is the first to admit, his success story, like many, has a long history tracing back through generations of his family in the small town of Union Chapel, Arkansas.

Becoming a Cornerstone of the Community

In the late 1800s, Alex’s great-great grandfather, Reuben Frank McKindra, moved his family to Union Chapel, a town originally settled by freed Black slaves.

Working on their family farm, the McKindras made a name for themselves by demonstrating their resourcefulness and aptitude for hard work. Namely, the family utilized mentorship programs, as well as public and private funding, to not only start but grow their family farm.

Amid the success of the family business, the McKindras never lost sight of the support they had been given—and the importance of passing it on to others in their community and society. Generations of McKindras have dedicated their lives to the military, including his grandfather, father, and brother (pictured right), and subsequently to their communities when they returned home.

“I would not be in the position I am today if not for the opportunities that mentorship provided,” says McKindra. “The farm my family was able to start, through the support and mentorship of others, has helped to educate and put clothes on every generation of my family since the 1880s.”

Honoring a Legacy

McKindra chose to honor his roots by joining the service himself. He graduated from West Point in 1993 and then completed a tour of duty serving across the U.S. as Captain in the United States Air Force. He worked as a procurement officer, including on the B-2 Bomber Program, which allowed him to travel across the country, learning from and serving others. During that time, he also spent his nights and weeks pursuing an MBA from the University of Southern California.

Armed with the life experience and knowledge he gained from the service—and a freshly-minted MBA and banking internship under his belt— McKindra dove into the world of corporate finance. Quickly building a reputation for his intelligence, reliability and kindness, he rose through the ranks. Today, he works as a Managing Director for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking in San Francisco

Paying It Forward

Alex didn’t want the chapter in his family’s story to end with commercial success.  He wanted to help those who—like his great-great-grandfather Reuben—had risked their lives for the country and were now seeking to put down roots as civilians. With that in mind, he decided to co-lead JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking’s veteran initiatives alongside Army veteran, Terry Hill. Alex, Terry and their team across the firm share a passion for mentorship and community building. Through various programming, they tap into their military backgrounds to connect with aspiring and current military-connected entrepreneurs to help them access the resources they need to be successful over the long-term.

For example, McKindra worked with JPMorgan Chase to partner with Bunker Labs, a national nonprofit that supports the ventures of veterans and military spouses, to build programs to help veteran business owners.

Today, JPMorgan Chase is powering Bunker Labs’ CEOcircle, a monthly peer accountability group for growth-stage companies looking to scale. Through this program, veteran business owners and their families gain access to the guidance and resources they need to succeed, including education, networking, and one-on-one financial coaching. This year, CEOcircle welcomed 71 new individuals to the program including Office Libations from Alameda.

The program uplifts businesses that will support military families for generations to come — businesses like the McKindra farm.

“If I’ve learned one thing from my family’s history, it’s that hard work and preparation aren’t always enough. Sometimes we need to create our own opportunities as well,” Alex says. “That is what we are hoping to do with CEOcircle, to create the opportunities and provide the support veteran entrepreneurs need to help them overcome systemic obstacles to business and professional growth.”

Generational Impact

Less than an hour north of Little Rock, the McKindra’s family farm still stands in Union Chapel. Today, the manicured green fields and trees remain a testament to the effort, determination, and community it takes to create a successful business.

“If my great-great-grandfather were here today, I would want him to know that what he built didn’t just support our family, it also instilled the values in us that would seed the acceleration and growth of hundreds of other veteran-owned businesses in the future,” McKindra says. “I know he’d be proud of that.”

If you are a veteran or know someone who is and want to learn more about how JPMorgan Chase support veterans whether through career advancement or small business support or anything in between, please visit: https://www.jpmorganchase.com/impact/people/military-and-vets

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