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Women Working Through Housing Instability, Other Challenges

NNPA NEWSWIRE — When Shanitra Brown walks across the stage, she’ll be supported by her four children. Her cheering section ranges in age from four to 12 years old. The oldest, who she had fresh out of high school, just started seventh grade. Brown gets teary-eyed thinking about the journey they’ve all been on over the last two years.
The post Women Working Through Housing Instability, Other Challenges first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Genoa Barrow, Word in Black | The AFRO

Women’s Empowerment, a nationally-recognized resource for Sacramento folk experiencing homelessness, is set to graduate its latest group of participants this month.

When Shanitra Brown walks across the stage, she’ll be supported by her four children. Her cheering section ranges in age from four to 12 years old. The oldest, who she had fresh out of high school, just started seventh grade. Brown gets teary-eyed thinking about the journey they’ve all been on over the last two years.

“I’m such a big baby when it comes to my kids,” shared Brown, 31.

The family moved to Sacramento from Ohio in the summer of 2020, four months into the coronavirus pandemic. Her grandfather lived locally and she also had a friend in town whom she’d previously lived with back in Ohio. Brown initially refused to come, arguing that California was “too expensive” a place to live. She eventually changed her mind but learned just how true her earlier assessment was when she found herself homeless.

“We sold everything to get here,” Brown said. “We had clothes and a small U-Haul trailer that we drove here with a Lincoln MKX with four kids. That’s all we had.”

The “we” included a fiance’. The couple struggled to find work that would pay the bills and work schedules that could align with limited childcare options. Ultimately, the responsibilities of providing for a ready-made family in the Golden State proved to be too much for him.

They arrived in July, but by October, the fiance was on a plane back to Ohio. In November 2020, the aunt she’d been staying with let it be known that she was moving.

“She was just like, ‘I don’t know what you’re going to do, but at the beginning of the year, we’re moving.”

The aunt, she says, told her to “figure it out.”

Back in Ohio, Brown paid $900 a month for a three-bedroom apartment. Most of the places in Sacramento cost significantly more for considerably less space. Most also require applicants to earn three times the rent, which they didn’t have. Her fiance made $700 from his job, she says, and it wasn’t enough.

“We would have had to come up with $3,500 at the minimum for a two-bedroom,” she explained.

Brown had some knowledge of programs back in Ohio and assumed there’d be similar help available in California.

She got a 16-day hotel voucher from the Department of Health and Human Assistance. It gave them a place to stay temporarily, but two weeks wasn’t much in terms of finding a long-term solution. When she left the hotel, she still didn’t know what she’d do. She tried to go back to where they’d been living.

“The atmosphere just wasn’t safe, so then I kind of bounced back and forth to coworkers, because I ended up getting a job at Walmart,” Brown said.

That didn’t last long either.

“I started getting ‘oh, don’t rush to come back’ or if we were doing some family event and wouldn’t be coming back that night, they’d say, ‘okay, take your time.’ My kids started to pick up on that and then they’d say, ‘I don’t want to go back there,’ so, at that point, I just said, ‘I’m in my car.’”

Brown says she’d rather be in a car than allow anyone to make her children feel as if they’re less than or that they are a burden. Depending on the area they were in, the young mother learned where she could park.

“We’d stop at Walmart or if there was a 24-hour gas station, we’d kind of find the corner with less light. We started finding little apartment buildings that had parking spots that were set off from the apartments. We’d do that and I’d put up the window covers so it looked like someone was just keeping their car cool from the heat,” Brown recalled.

Someone told her about the 211 resources in April. In May, she started going to Maryhouse, a daytime shelter for women and children in Sacramento run by Loaves and Fishes. There she learned about Women’s Empowerment.

The organization was recommended to her as a “good fit,” but Brown was hesitant, having been disappointed by other programs where she’d gone through all the required steps, only to be told they couldn’t help her.

“This was pretty much my breaking point,” she said. “When I came to orientation, I was listening to what they were saying and it was going in one ear and kind of going out the other. I was listening, but I’m like, ‘we’ll see what’s going to happen.’”

Brown was also initially hesitant to speak her truth, for fear of getting her children taken away.

Living in a car with four children has been rough, but Brown found places to shower and free things to do as a family. She also found friends and support among other homeless mothers who brought their children to summer programs hosted by Loaves and Fishes’ Mustard Seed school for homeless children.

“I still talk to some of those young ladies,” Brown shared.

Women’s Empowerment helped her get sober and learn to stop masking her issues. The family recently secured a spot at a shelter. While they had the normal sibling scrapes and scuffles, the children were well behaved for the most part while living in such close quarters of their car, she said. Brown was happy, however, to see their excitement at having “their own space and their own beds” again.

Brown’s spirits have also been lifted while there.

“They applaud me every time I walk into the shelter because they tell me, ‘your kids are so well put together and my kids don’t understand what that means to me. Every day I fight for them and that means a lot to know that someone else can see how hard I work.”

The hard work isn’t over. Brown looks to transition into permanent housing soon. She also plans to enroll at Sacramento City College where she’ll study early childhood education en route to becoming a school social worker. She ultimately wants to create a Women’s empowerment-type program of her own and help others with similar struggles.

Whatever she does, Brown knows her children are watching her every move.

“I just want them to know that anything is possible,” she said. “Whatever you set your mind to, you can do it and you’re going to do it. You’re capable of anything and no one, I repeat no one can tell you that you can’t.”

The upcoming graduation gala at the California Railroad Museum is Women’s Empowerment’s largest fundraiser of the year. The event raises a fifth of the organization’s budget to empower women experiencing homelessness to secure employment and safe homes for their families.

Graduation is also a time to celebrate the bright futures that lay ahead, says Executive Director Lisa Culp. “We are excited to come together once again with our steadfast community here in Sacramento to ensure that more women can rise from homelessness in the face of a prolonged pandemic and housing crisis.”

To purchase tickets, sponsor a graduate to attend, or purchase virtual tickets, visit Women’s-Empowerment.org.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

The post Women Working Through Housing Instability, Other Challenges first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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IN MEMORIAM International Soccer Icon Pelé Dies at 82

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves. 

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Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Pelé, the international star who was instrumental in three World Cup championships with Brazil across three decades and who energized U.S. soccer with the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, has died.

The 82-year-old legend had been hospitalized since November, and his doctors reported that Pelé’s cancer had advanced, requiring care related to renal and cardiac dysfunction.

He has been receiving regular treatment since doctors removed a tumor from his colon in 2021.

“Father. My strength is yours,” the international star’s son, Edinho, posted on social media.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

He led the Brazilian national teams to World Cup glory in 1958, 1962, and 1970.

In 1956, he joined the Santos Football Club, where he played inside left forward, winning nine São Paulo league championships and, in 1962 and 1963, the Libertadores Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup.

Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves.

“After the 1958 World Cup, Pelé was declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government to ward off large offers from European clubs and ensure that he would remain in Brazil,” Britannica researchers wrote.

On Nov. 19, 1969, in his 909th first-class match, he scored his 1,000th goal.

Pelé made his international debut in 1957 at age 16 and played his first game in the World Cup finals in Sweden the following year.

The Brazilian manager was initially hesitant to play his young star. But, according to Britannica, when Pelé finally reached the field, he had an immediate impact, rattling the post with one shot and collecting an assist.

He had a hat trick in the semifinal against France and two goals in the championship game, where Brazil defeated Sweden 5–2. At the 1962 World Cup finals, Pelé tore a thigh muscle in the second match and had to sit out the remainder of the tournament.

Nonetheless, Brazil went on to claim its second World Cup title.

Researchers said rough play and injuries turned the 1966 World Cup into a disaster for Brazil and Pelé, as the team went out in the first round, and he contemplated retiring from World Cup play.

Returning in 1970 for one more World Cup tournament, he teamed with young stars Jairzinho and Rivelino to claim Brazil’s third title and permanent ownership of the Jules Rimet Trophy. Pelé finished his World Cup career, scoring 12 goals in 14 games.

Pelé’s electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals made him a worldwide star.

His team Santos toured internationally to take full advantage of his popularity. For example, in 1967, he and his team traveled to Nigeria, where a 48-hour cease-fire in that nation’s civil war was called to allow all to watch the great player.

Pelé announced his retirement in 1974 but, in 1975, agreed to a three-year $7 million contract with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League and to promote the game in the United States. He retired after leading the Cosmos to the league championship in 1977.

Pelé was the recipient of the International Peace Award in 1978. In 1980 he was named Athlete of the Century by the French sports publication L’Equipe, and he received the same honor in 1999 from the International Olympic Committee. In 2014 the Pelé Museum opened in Santos, Brazil.

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COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips

THE AFRO — Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours. 
The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Megan Sayles | AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
msayles@afro.com

We’ve all heard the age-old saying that “hard work pays off.”  But, sometimes, working too hard can do more harm than good.

“Burnout” is a form of work-related stress in which an individual experiences physical, emotional or mental exhaustion caused by their job’s demands. It can also make workers feel distanced from their jobs and engender negative feelings about them, according to the World Health Organization.

Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours.

This makes it even more important for people to know the signs of burnout and the strategies to combat it.

Natasha Charles is the founder and CEO of Intuitive Coaching with Natasha Charles, a comprehensive life coaching and consulting firm. She created the business after gaining 20 years in senior administration roles.

Charles was motivated to open the firm in 2018 out of a desire to create a business focused on inspiring continuous improvement. There, she works with individuals and executives to create lives that they love and offers them personalized solutions to address critical work and business challenges.

“It’s really about thinking about you, the person, and all that you are,” Charles said. “People tend to be very focused on one aspect of their life, and a lot of times, it’s about their career, so it’s really about making space for all of your goals and all of your dreams.”

When someone experiences burnout, Charles said they could be actively doing their job while simultaneously worrying about their other responsibilities and priorities, whether personal or work-related. She also stressed that burnout can be experienced no matter what profession you are in and what you are being paid.

Aside from the physical and mental impacts of stress, burnout can impact finances if it causes an employee to take extended periods of time off or miss work, according to Charles. It can also reduce their productivity.

In the beginning of 2022, the term “quiet quitting” emerged, and for some, it’s being used as a method to avoid burnout. It involves individuals meeting the minimum requirements of their job descriptions, investing no extra time or effort than what is mandatory.

For Charles, quiet quitting is a signal that a person is not fulfilled by their job and may need to think about changing workplaces or careers.

“I get that people are not always able to up and quit, and it can take time to find what that next role is,” Charles said. “I would come from a space of encouraging the person to start thinking about what that is. What is it that you ultimately desire to be doing in your life and seeing your work?”

One of the most important steps in reducing and preventing burnout is educating yourself about the syndrome, so you can be aware of the warning signs, according to Charles. She also said it was crucial for employers to talk to their employees about it.

Awareness can help prevent the shame and guilt that comes with burnout and allow people to give themselves grace.

After a person has weighed whether they are experiencing burnout or not, they should think about how they want to confront it. This could include engaging in self-care, asking for extra support at work or home, and creating stronger boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

When burnout is impacting your performance, it’s time to consider making a career change, Charles said.

To ensure your work life does not invade your personal life, Charles said people need to assess the goals they have for all areas of their life. Once you’ve set goals, it’s easier to devise a plan and set the necessary boundaries to achieve them.

Charles also said it’s important to carve out time for yourself where you’re not constantly checking your phone or email for work reasons.

“There is life beyond your work. There is an entire world out there to be discovered,” Charles said. “There’s a world within us to be discovered as well, and I encourage everyone to invest in discovering those pieces.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting 

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.
The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Canadian rapper Tory Lanez faces more than 20 years in prison and deportation after a jury in Los Angeles found him guilty in the 2020 shooting of hip hop star Megan Thee Stallion.

Lane, 30, was found guilty of three felony counts, including assault with an unregistered semiautomatic weapon, carrying a loaded gun, and discharging a firearm in a vehicle with gross negligence.

The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.

The 27-year-old Megan, whose real name is Megan Pete, testified that Lanez offered her hush money and didn’t care about her injuries and pain suffered because he shot her.

Lanez, who declined to testify, claimed there was another shooter, Pete’s friend who was also arguing with the hit maker as they drove home from a party.

“[Lanez] told me to dance,” Pete told the jury, adding that he also cursed at her following the shooting.

Sentencing for Lanez is scheduled for Jan. 27.

“You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said, referring to Pete.

“You faced unjust and despicable scrutiny that no woman should ever face, and you have been an inspiration to others across LA County and the nation.”

The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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