Tag: Women

Nobody’s Relationship Should Be Your Relationship Goals

by Carjamin Scott on March 6, 2019, at 4:05 a.m. CST

It’s 4:00 am and I’m having trouble sleeping. I look to my left and my husband is knocked out cold, I hear the sound of the heater and the rattle of the wind. I’m thinking about next week, our singles mixer, and trying to picture the event in my mind.

What will people expect? Since I was able to feature a ton of women, will that attract some men to come out? What kind of music will they play that night?

I hope that the singles mix and mingle is worth it. If nothing else, I hope that new networks and friendships begin. I hope the attendees recognize that this is their time to meet new people while celebrating their singleness.

I’m thinking about all of the comments I’ve received from singles saying, “Y’all are goals,” “I can’t wait to get married,” or “I’m tired of being single.” I’m thinking that I need to make sure they know the truth.

Marriage is definitely worthwhile and I’m grateful for mine. However, the truth is marriage isn’t glamorous. It is not a prize or an accomplishment. It’s literally a commitment to love someone in spite of differences, flaws, and broken promises. It is accepting someone as they are even when they don’t deserve it.

The best advice I can give a person wishing to no longer be single is to love yourself and recognize your value. Because marriage is work, and everyone’s relationship is different.

That’s what being single is all about, right? It is the best practice for marriage. It is being committed to yourself, learning from mistakes, forgiving yourself, healing, and growth. I mean, if you are unable to love yourself fully, how can you honestly love someone else, right? Perhaps, but that’s easier said than done.

If you get nothing else from this 4:00 am rant, please understand that your future partner isn’t going to rescue you from yourself. The same struggles, fears, and anxieties you had before you got married will resurface.

The only difference is you have someone witnessing it all. Hopefully that person is encouraging you, helping you get through your issues, and instructing you to get expert assistance when needed.

So when people say, “couple goals” or “relationship goals,” I’m going to continue to respond “nobody’s relationship should be your relationship goals.” It’s not a jab at my marriage because I think I have a great one; but, it’s an honest response to a compliment that no one deserves.

Until then, love yourself and love one another. I hope to see you at Minerva next week.

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at carjamin.scott@gmail.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.

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President Charlane Oliver shares how The Equity Alliance got started.

by Carjamin Scott on February, 1, 2019 at 9:23 a.m.

The Equity Alliance is arguably one of the most influential grassroots organizations in Nashville. It is a social justice advocacy group that works to engage communities of color about their voting power. I chatted with Charlane Oliver, Co-Founder and President of The Equity Alliance, to learn more about why the organization was started.

I asked Charlane, “What motivated you to start The Equity Alliance?”

“So, it was a series of events and it was out of frustration. It started with Trayvon Martin’s murder. He was killed two days after my son was born. I started seeing things differently – the bias and the laws against black men – and how we are looked at as disposable.”

“Then George Zimmerman, his murderer, got off. Trayvon lost his life but George did not. I started to question the system. I knew I had to do something but I wasn’t exactly sure what I should do. I thought about becoming an attorney, or running for office to get involved and get things in check. Then, other things happened like the flint water crisis and I began to wonder – do we give a damn about black and brown people in this country?”

Charlane continued, “I worked in the 7th richest county in the nation, it’s very affluent, very privileged, and very white.” This was where Charlane learned how these communities influenced elections, how their wealth created power and a utopia for them, and how one of the richest counties in the nation became that way.

Christiane Buggs
Christiane Buggs TEA Photo

Charlane was frustrated with the disparity going on in our country and wanted to build some political power. “A face came across my screen of a young girl named Christian Buggs. She was running for the School Board.” Charlane had a mutual friend with Buggs. The mutual friend connected them, and Charlane offered to manage her political campaign for free.

This was the start of her political influence. As Public Relations manager, Charlane was able to help Buggs win the Metro Nashville School Board seat with hardly any money, less resources than their opponent, and no prior campaign management experience.

Charlane stated, “None of the old guards in Nashville were willing to give Buggs the keys to the city. She was going to have to earn this position and I had to help her.”

Tequila Johnson
Tequila Johnson TEA Photo

While campaigning for Buggs, Charlane met Tequila Johnson, who is now the Vice President and fellow Co-Founder of The Equity Alliance. “We won that together but only two or three thousand people voted.” Charlane was encouraged by the win and learned that more needed to be done to get voters engaged.

The decrease of black voters in the 2016 election charged Charlane. According to a Pew Research Center Study (2017), the black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012.

“I sent out a text to my partners and we met on November 18, 2016. Yes, I remember the exact date. Then, I pitched the idea.” Originally, she wanted to start a pac to get more people like Buggs on the ballot; but, as the group continued to meet, their aim changed.

Charlane and her partners hosted 24 events from November 2016 to February 2017. She recalled, “We hosted an event with Conscious Conversation and had a panel of politicians – Lee Harris, Memphis Mayoral Candidate, Attorney Raumesh Akbari, Senate District 29 – and others. The event was packed and all 150 seats were filled in the SEIU Labor Union that day,” Charlane stated enthusiastically. “I knew that we were on to something, our people were longing for events like this and we wanted to engage them year round.”

I interrupted and said, “Charlane, the Black Womens’ Empowerment Brunch was the definition of Black Girl Magic,” she laughed. “We got so much positive feedback from that event. One girl said that it felt like the Essence Festival was in Nashville.” Charlane continued further. “We hosted that event because black women never get the credit they deserve. We wanted to provide a safe space for black women to be who they are and feel proud of it. We don’t get these opportunities enough.”

Charlane says there will be another Black Womens’ Empowerment Brunch next year. “That brunch exceeded our expectations. People are getting engaged with what we are working on. It is a new day.”

I asked Charlane, “What are your thoughts on the Tennessee midterm elections?”

“We have made some great gains, we have a lot of people participating now. In 2014, people sat on their hands and fell asleep at the wheel. This time more people went to the polls and participated.”

“From lil Pookie of the projects to Mrs. Catherine with the college degree. We have moved the needle further. We are engaging people who have been sitting on the sidelines for a long time, Now we are giving them tools, strategies, opportunities to plug in, and hope.”

At the end of our conversation, I thanked Charlane for her time and service to our community.

The Equity Alliance wants you to get involved, learn more here. Want to make a donation? Click here.

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at carjamin.scott@gmail.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.

 

Healthy and Free Tennessee’s Youth Leadership Council Paid Internship

Submitted by Healthy and Free Tennessee August 10, 2018, at 4:32 p.m. CST

Healthy and Free Tennessee’s Youth Leadership Council Paid Internship

Healthy and Free Tennessee has a paid intern partnership opportunity for college students between the ages of 18-24 to serve a one year term on the council and be a key partner of HFTN’s ongoing organizing, advocacy, and culture change work across the state.

The goals of Healthy and Free Tennessee’s Youth Leadership Council are to:

  1. Mobilize young people to end the culture of shame and stigma that people are made to feel about sexual and reproductive health issues that intersect with abortion access including sex education, HIV decriminalization, pregnancy and birthing options, LGBT identity and work toward building a culture of empathy and support

  2. Create a space where young people feel comfortable coming forward and sharing their experiences with abortion access and other reproductive health issues, which can include pregnancy and parenting, sex education HIV status, LGBT identity, in their communities and on campuses

  3. Increase public awareness and support of abortion access, pregnancy and parenting options, sex education, HIV, LGBT identity as well as other sexual and reproductive health issues

  4. Educate the media on issues related to sexual and reproductive health

  5. Advocate for policies that promote access to reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy on a local and national level, which can include abortion access, sex education, pregnancy and parenting options, HIV Decriminalization, and LGBT equality

Requirements:

Healthy and Free Tennessee Youth Leadership Council members must demonstrate the interest, capacity, and resources to organize strategic, meaningful campaign actions on their college campuses or within their communities.

Applicants interested in becoming a member of Healthy and Free TN’s Youth Leadership Council must:

  • Commit to a year (Fall 2018-Summer 2019) of leadership on the council

  • Be familiar with the principles of organizing or willing to learn and further develop organizing skills

  • Be willing to use and strengthen communication skills. This includes speaking to groups, the media, and community members; additionally, writing, blogging and utilizing social media

  • Be available for monthly group check-ins and bi-weekly individual check-ins

  • Be able to coordinate events on campus and in the greater community about abortion access and other reproductive health issues

  • Have a strong framework and analysis of power, privilege, and oppression and the willingness to further understand the intersections of reproductive rights and sexual health

Healthy and Free Tennessee Mission

The mission of Healthy and Free Tennessee is to provide access, “for Tennesseans to truly determine our own reproductive and sexual lives on our terms, we need full access to local, affordable, safe, timely, and affirming healthcare and providers. We need comprehensive education about sex, sexuality, and reproduction. We need universal health insurance that covers the full range of reproductive and sexual healthcare needs. We need social and cultural spaces that affirm our choices rather than shame and stigmatize them,” as mentioned on the HFT website.

We need comprehensive education about sex, sexuality, and reproduction. We need universal health insurance that covers the full range of reproductive and sexual healthcare needs. We need social and cultural spaces that affirm our choices rather than shame and stigmatize them.

If you’re interested in working with the council or want to help support the youth council in any way please contact Briana Perry at briana@healthyandfreetn.org.

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at carjamin.scott@gmail.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.

Dr. Shanna L. Jackson, the First Black Female President of Nashville State Community College, Discusses her Pathway to the Presidency.

by Carjamin Scott on July 15, 2018, at 10:30 p.m. CST

Dr. Shanna L. Jackson, the first black female president of Nashville State Community College, was the keynote speaker at the inaugural Black Women’s Empowerment Brunch hosted by the Equity Alliance.

Dr. Jackson is the product of two college-educated parents. Her mother instilled the importance of believing in God, and her father was the first in his family to graduate from college. Dr. Jackson mentioned that her father’s education was his gateway out of poverty. Her parents encouraged her to set big goals and never let gender or skin color stop her from reaching her dreams.

“At 5 years old, I told my parents that I want to become the first female President of the United States,” said Dr. Jackson.

Her education career began as an instructor at South College, this was the first time she experienced students that were not from two-parent households, students who were the first in their family to attend college, students who did not have a support system that encouraged them to attend school, students who had issues outside of school such as childcare needs, and students who grew up in a home where attending college was not expected.

“This is when I learned the difference between equality and equity. I was “woke,” I realized that my instructor job was not about me. I had a purpose to serve,” she said.

Dr. Jackson explained, “Education is the key to both economic and political empowerment. Education does not just prepare you for a job, it changes families.”

Dr. Jackson explained, “Education is the key to both economic and political empowerment. Education does not just prepare you for a job, it changes families.”

This experience changed Dr. Jackson’s childhood goal and the path to the presidency of a community college began.

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Dr. Shanna Jackson, Keynote Speaker, and NSCC President

Pathway to Presidency

Here are the steps Dr. Jackson took to become the first Black female president of Nashville State Community College.

First, she found a mentor, then she found a sponsor.

Dr. Jackson sought college leaders out, told them what she wanted to do, and asked them for feedback on how she can reach her goal. She learned the difference between mentors and sponsors.

“Mentors are great, but sponsors are better. Sponsors have the power to make things happen on your behalf,” explained Dr. Jackson.

She discussed the importance of creating relationships and surrounding yourself with people who are critical, open, and honest with you about your strengths and your shortcomings.

She printed community college president job descriptions.

She printed out community college president job descriptions to determine the strengths she had and the gaps she needed to fill before she could serve in the position. She began to apply and was interviewed for a position.

She persevered through adversity.

She was turned down for a college president position that a mentor told her to apply for. After the interview, she met with the mentor, they discussed what she needed to work on, and it helped her to prepare for her next interview opportunity.

She researched current community college presidents to learn their similarities.

She researched current community college presidents to learn their career background, education, and impact at the colleges they lead. She wrote down her strengths and what she needed to learn to become a community college president. “I created a plan to fill the gaps because I realized that I had a calling to fulfill,” she stated.

She furthered her education.

She enrolled at Tennessee State University and earned a Doctorate in Education degree while working and raising kids. Her husband supported her goals and she was able to complete the degree in three years.

She bloomed where she was planted.

After reaching a career ceiling, she began talking to the College President she worked for at the time, about how she wanted to move the college forward. Soon, a new position was created, she applied and interviewed. Then, she became the Executive Assistant to the President. Dr. Jackson explained, “This was a critical turning point in my career because it provided the breadth and depth I needed to reach my goal.”

On June 1, 2018, eleven years after earning her doctorate degree and after serving in other administrative positions, she became the first black female president of Nashville State Community College. Her next goal is to close the equity gap particularly for students of color.

She addressed the crowd, “What are your hopes and dreams?”

“We have a responsibility to make a difference” “Own your power, the time is now.”

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at carjamin.scott@gmail.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.

Briana Perry, State Co-Director at Healthy and Free Tennessee Shares Information about Partnering with College Students.

by Carjamin Scott on July 11, 2018, at 4:57 p.m. CST

Briana Perry is the State Co-Director for Healthy and Free Tennessee. A highly educated women’s rights activist, Perry earned a Bachelor of Arts, in Sociology with Honors and a Master of Education in Learning Diversity and Urban Studies from Vanderbilt University.

She has an interest in the well being of Black mothers, ending gender disparity, educating communities in need of sexual and reproductive justice, and partnering with college students.

A native of Memphis, she is making a name for herself as a social justice reformer and inclusive strategist in West Tennessee.

Her career started as a graduate student employee, educating the Vanderbilt community about gender equity and racial justice issues, while working for the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center at Vanderbilt .

Perry is member of the 2018 New Leaders Council Nashville Chapter, she was a recipient of the Outstanding Professional Promise for M.Ed. in Service to Diverse Populations Award from the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College, and a 2017 Nominee for 120 Under Forty.

She has served on many steering committees for organizations such as the Nashville Feminist Collective, the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program, and the East Nashville Hope Exchange.

hftn-convening2018-rev1-2.jpg

Perry believes that colleges should lead in educating students and the community about healthy sexual relationships.

Perry mentioned, “not all states, such as TN, provide adequate sex education (medically accurate and evidence-based) in K-12 schools that is comprehensive and includes consent and healthy relationships.”

This is why Healthy and Free Tennessee is necessary to raise awareness and promote sexual health and reproductive justice.

“Students then enter college lacking this vital information and therefore are not adequately equipped to make informed decisions about their bodies,” said Perry.

Continue reading “Briana Perry, State Co-Director at Healthy and Free Tennessee Shares Information about Partnering with College Students.”

A Mother’s Day History Lesson and Tribute to Mom

by Carjamin Scott on May 11, 2018 at 5:22 p.m. CST

Mother’s Day was inspired by Ann Reeves Jarvis. She was a Sunday school teacher, impactful leader, and peacemaker. In the 1860’s, she created Mothers’ Day Work Clubs. The clubs were formed to service many needs: improve infant mortality rates, teach mothers how to care for their children, create jobs for women, raise money for medicinal needs, improve sanitary conditions, inspect bottled milk, and fight disease. Her clubs supported the women and families whose husbands were fighting in the Civil War.

As tensions continued to rise between the confederate and union soldiers, Jarvis instructed the clubs to remain impartial. After the war, she organized an event called Mothers’ Friendship Day. The attendees were neighbors, families, and soldiers of all political beliefs. The event was a success and continued for several years. When Ann died, her daughter Anna hosted a ceremony at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in May of 1907. Every year, the ceremony continued and was officially titled the Mother’s Day ceremonies. In 1914, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation which made Mother’s Day a yearly holiday celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

Continue reading “A Mother’s Day History Lesson and Tribute to Mom”