Image by Oron Bell
“Women are going to form a chain, a greater sisterhood than the world has ever known.”
-Nellie L. McLung
This weekend, over 5,000 women (and men!) converged on NYC’s Jacob Javitz Convention Center for the 12th annual Circle of Sisters Expo.
Presented by AARP New York and hosted by Emmis New York’s hottest radio stations–WBLS-FM 107.5, NY’s #1 source for R&B, 1190 WLIB-AM, the home of Gospel & Inspiration, and WQHT-FM HOT 97, Where Hip Hop Lives–the Circle of Sisters is the largest EXPO in New York City uniting, motivating and celebrating women of color.
I shared a little bit of the action with you on the ‘gram–from the dynamic panel featuring the families of Eric Garner; Philando Castille; Oscar Grant; and Terrance Crutcher, to my youngest son’s impromptu tennis lesson.
Even DaddyVents enjoyed the Circle of Sisters, sitting in on panels, getting information from the United Negro College Fund, and buying copies of “Love You Still” and “Do Different” for The 2Live Crew from cousins Mya and Jarell Wilson, the author and illustrator. We saw famous faces, like (Bobbaaay!) Bobby Brown, Love & Hip Hop creator Mona Scott Young and cast members Rich Dollaz and Peter Gunz, Basketball Wives: LA cast member Jackie Christie, and Matthew Knowles (Bey & Solange’s dad) up close and personal. And when I say up close and personal, I mean we were close enough to touch Matthew, Bobby, and the singer Mario.
Someone asked why I go to the Expo. To me, the Circle of Sisters is a celebration of black womanhood. It’s about women coming together to support black businesses, hearing about current issues affecting our community, getting inspiration, and having fun!
This year’s event had more of a personal inpact. As I listened to Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, express her frustratiin with the justice system, and Valerie Castille, the mother of Philando Castille, explaining how she had taught her son all the right things to do when he encountered the police–“and my son was still crucified”–I looked at my precious children. As the mom of these two little brown boys, it scares me to think about their future in a country where police violence has claimed the lives of many men who started off just like them…as little brown boys. “Where in the world do you tell the truth, be honest, and get killed?” asked Philando’s mother.
“How to Change the Current Paradigm” tried to offer solutions. HOT 97’s Ebro, WLIB’s Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi, Kassandra Frederique from the Drug Policy Alliance, Bishop Darren A.Ferguson from the Multicultural Exchange, and WBLS’s Bob Slade and Bob Pickett addressed how we can affect change by using the power of our vote in this year’s election. “Until we get active in our local communities…we are not going to see the change that we want,” said Ebro. “It’s going to take us a generation to make the changes we want to see.”
I hope it doesn’t take us a generation to see those changes. This year’s Circle of Sisters taught me how powerful we can be when we come together to support, encourage, uplift, and make an impact.
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