So, I’m flipping through my newest 2015 Essence from back to front because of the horoscope section and as I’m looking I see a section called “trending topics” reporting that the USTA just appointed former tennis player Katrina Adams, President, CEO and chairman of the board and the first African American to fill the role. So, more things have changed in the World of Sports in which women of colour historically have not dominated. While flipping through my 2014 issue of Essence with various fashions it was became obvious that this is not just about fashion, though the title gave me that impression and had to share given the history. In fact, it is about a Woman named Renee Powell and some young Women who were introduced to her and who have chosen her as their mentor. Now, the surprise to most would be that these brightly fashionable women are people of colour and that the article is about golf or as they say, “One of America’s favourite pastimes.” In fact my family lived just a few blocks away from a golf course and while golf wasn’t my choice the history of golf was well known in our house, including a couple of good along with the bad and the really ugly stories of racism. It is a sad day to know that the practice is still alive and well, though tiger woods did shatter the glass ceiling some. The art of discrimination is subtle these days, while the stories of’ the good ‘olé boys club were worse, golf is a work in progress. The article tells us about the ups and downs of Powell’s life and daily experiences as a young girl to becoming one of four African-American women qualifying for golf’s top pro-circuit … The LPGA Tour that included Althea Gibson, LaRee Pearl Sugg, Shasta Avery Hardt and Renee Powell. Their legacy on the links is gone into in depth. They list the youngest pro at 17, four others including the niece of tiger woods who also has a great story, but what is even more exciting is that after Powell retired she now owns her own golf club, is the golf pro. She also teaches and mentors a new generation of girls/women of colour who love the game and are willing to take it as far as they can. Golfing is not cheap, so, if you have an opportunity to donate to your area’s youth sports club or make time to teach train and expose kids of colour to golf … do it!
Oh and the article on Golf is in Essence and was written by Connie Aitcheson
and … “Trending Topics” is in the February issue of Essence
Beginning in the 1850s, Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia started Mothers’ Day Work Clubs in order to teach women proper child-care techniques and sanitation methods. In the years following the Civil War, these same clubs became a unifying force for a country ripped apart by conflict. In 1868, Jarvis and other women organized a Mothers Friendship Day, when mothers gathered with former soldiers of both the Union and Confederacy to promote reconciliation. After Ann Reeves Jarvis died in 1905, it was her daughter Anna Jarvis who would work tirelessly to make Mother’s Day a national holiday.
Anna Jarvis, who had no children of her own, conceived of Mother’s Day as an occasion for honoring the sacrifices individual mothers made for their children.
In May 1908, she organized the first official Mother’s Day events at a church in her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia, as well as at a Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia, where she lived at the time. Jarvis then began writing letters to newspapers and politicians pushing for the adoption of Mother’s Day as an official holiday. By 1912, many other churches, towns and states were holding Mother’s Day celebrations, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association. Her hard-fought campaign paid off in 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Jarvis’ conceived of of Mother’s Day as an intimate occasion—a son or daughter honoring the mother they knew and loved—and not a celebration of all mothers. For this reason, she always stressed the singular “Mother’s” rather than the plural. She soon grew disillusioned, as Mother’s Day almost immediately became centered on the buying and giving of printed cards, flowers, candies and other gifts. Seeking to regain control of the holiday she founded, Jarvis began openly campaigning against those who profited from Mother’s Day, including confectioners, florists and other retailers. She launched numerous lawsuits against groups using the name Mother’s Day, and eventually spent much of her sizeable inheritance on legal fees.
In 1925, when an organization called the American War Mothers used Mother’s Day as an occasion for fundraising and selling carnations, Jarvis crashed their convention in Philadelphia and was arrested for disturbing the peace. Later, she even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day as an occasion to raise money for charity. By the 1940s, Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the calendar. Her efforts were to no avail, however, as Mother’s Day had taken on a life of its own as a commercial goldmine. Largely destitute, and unable to profit from the massively successful holiday she founded, Jarvis died in 1948 in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium.
The sad history of Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis has done nothing to slow down the popularity—and commercialism—of the holiday. According to an annual spending survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an average of $168.94 on Mother’s Day in 2013, a whopping 11 percent increase from 2012. In total, Mother’s Day spending is expected to reach $20.7 billion this year. In addition to the more traditional gifts (ranging from cards, flowers and candy to clothing and jewelry), the survey showed that an unprecedented 14.1 percent of gift-givers plan to buy their moms high-tech gadgets like smartphones and tablets.
For months, Trayon Christian — a 19-year-old Black college student from Queens — set aside money from a part-time job to buy a $349 designer belt from Barneys New York.1 But in April, as he exited the luxury department store with both the belt and his receipt he was swarmed by undercover cops, peppered with questions, handcuffed and locked in a jail cell.2 While providing several forms of identification to match his debit card, police taunted Trayon with questions like “How could you afford a belt like this?” “Where did you get this money from?”3
Barneys issued a vague statement, disclaiming responsibility for Trayon’s arrest, but more than 47 arrests have been made outside of the Madison Ave. store — hinting at the possibility of a dedicated NYPD task force.4 The public has a right to know the racial breakdown of the suspects arrested, how many were actually charged with a crime, and what role the luxury department store played in these arrests.
Join us in demanding that the NYPD immediately conduct a full investigation of the arrests made outside of Barneys. We’ll also send this message to senior executives at Barneys to remind them that the practice of profiling Black customers is unacceptable. It only takes a moment.
Clearly Trayon isn’t the only Black person who has been stopped by NYPD after an expensive purchase at this particular store. Just a day after Trayon filed his complaint, 21-year-old Kayla Phillips has come forward and claims that she too was surrounded by undercover cops just blocks from the Manhattan store who pushed her up against the wall after she purchased a designer handbag with her debit card.5
Unfortunately Black folks are too often subjected to this brand of deeply offensive and humiliating treatment by security guards and police officers at the businesses we patronize. And in recent years, the NYPD has become notorious for targeting Black and Latino residents — subjecting our communities to thousands of illegal stops, searches, and frisks each day that lead to unlawful arrests, constant harassment, and in some cases, serious injury or death.6,7
Enough is enough. In order to end the culture of police misconduct and racial profiling we must demand accountability for these discriminatory practices. Will you sign this petition today and forward it to your family and friends?
Thanks and Peace,
–Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Aimée, William, Hannah and the rest of the ColorOfChange team. October 25th, 2013
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1. “Barneys accused teen of using fake debit card for $349 belt because he’s a ‘young black American male’:lawsuit,” New York Daily News, 10-22-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3044?t=7&akid=3175.1689899.3LyxQO
2. “Trayon Christian Complaint,” New York City Clerk, 10-21-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3045?t=9&akid=3175.1689899.3LyxQO
3.See Reference 1
4. “Another black Barneys shopper accused of credit card fraud after buying $2,500 purse: claim,” New York Daily News, 08-10-13 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3046?t=12&akid=3175.1689899.3LyxQO
5.See Reference 4
6. “Judge approves class action lawsuit over NYPD’s stop-and-frisk searches,” The Raw Story, 05-16-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/1636?t=14&akid=3175.1689899.3LyxQO
7. “After Detective’s Firing, Tensions Linger in Sean Bell Case,” New York Times, 03-25-12 http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3047?t=16&akid=3175.1689899.3LyxQO