Posts tagged ‘Non Profits’

James Walker: Diversity in Social Media & PR

As a Black woman in social media I too have noticed the lack of women and people of color in conferences, panels, and top 50 lists. This is something I’ve referred to when I attended the WAM Conference in March. I recently moderated a panel at Campus Progress about how Social Media is changing the way we break news, but it was then I began to reflect again on how rare it is that you have a woman of color moderating a panel of that nature, let alone participating on one.  My colleague and fellow GW Alum James Walker talks about diversity in social media and communications — or lack thereof–in this piece originally posted at his blog, Gen Y PR Prescriptions.

If I had to assign the last week one overarching theme, there’s no question that it would be diversity.

It started with Sunday afternoon thoughts about one social media heavyweight who just does not seem to get the credit she deserves, Corvida Raven. I could try to describe her, but I think she does a better job in her twitter profile:

  • – Oprah of the web
  • – @MrTweet blog editor
  • – New Media Specialist
  • – Awesomesauce

She was on USTREAM not too long ago talking about issues she had with the social media tweetups and other events being held in the Atlanta area. Her main concern seemed to be that the events were all being held in places convenient to a certain circle of people. This normally meant that events were held in a section of Atlanta that was:

  1. Close to that circle of people (work and/or home)
  2. In places (bars/restaurants/meeting spaces) that they and their group frequented
  3. Not *reasonably metro accessible (long travel time or just inaccessible by normal standards)

She noted that she makes an effort to go whenever possible but can’t always go mainly because of number 3. One thing that is apparent when she does go is that she sees the same faces all the time. My guess is that those are faces unlike hers. There are several questions that come to mind, but they are tied to my next “diversity week” event, Women Who Tech.

Every month, DC Tech Titan Jill Foster holds great sessions at NPR as a part of her DC Media Makers series. The July meetup included a presentation from fellow Tech Titan Allyson Kapin, founder of Women Who Tech. Without mincing words, women are underrepresented in the tech industry and often are nowhere to be found when you look at speaker panels at major conferences.  Women Who Tech was created to “to break down the barriers and showcase the brilliant talents of women who tech out” and also to “create a database of women technology experts to be used as a resource for the media and tech conference organizers.”

I agreed with everything that Allyson had to say until she said that  she’s begun to boycott sessions that aren’t representative of women in the industry in terms of panels and attendance. I didn’t agree with that because I thought that she was contributing to the problem by not participating, but event attendee D.C. Hughes hit her with one better. He said, “I look around and see five black males [in a room of about 40]. If I were to apply that here, I’d boycott this event.”

I couldn’t help but laugh because of the way he said it, but he was right. The entire time I sat there listening to Allyson’s issues and the steps she was taking to address them, I was wondering if there was a way to transfer that and if someone should take up the charge to work towards equal (or at least more equal) representation for people of color in the Tech, PR and Social Media sectors.  The clear answer is yes.

However, addressing the diversity issue will not be as easy and clear cut as the picture I included above. There are several questions that will need to be answered in order to get to the roots of the *problems* helping diversity remain an issue.

Now that I’ve had my say, I’d like to do my part, but I can only do that with your help.

Here’s what I need from you.

  1. If you’re even remotely interested in this issue, email me at james.walker@prprescriptions.com.
  2. If you’re not interested but think this might be of value, please tweet this, forward the link out to your networks, send smoke signals, messenger pigeons…you get the idea!
  3. If you know people I should be reaching out to, feel free to email or include their info in a comment below.
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We are the Possible

Friend and fellow blogger Rosetta Thurman  interviewed me for  this week’s series, “We are the Possible”. Check it out!

How did you become involved in doing the work of social change?

For most of my childhood my parents did work in our church community and they were devoted to education and creating better opportunities for youth in our neighborhood and in our congregation. They developed a series of training for young people about everything from STDs to preparing for college. Seeing the way they connected to the needs of teens inspired me to do that kind of work when I got to college. I tried to find the best possible ways to reach out to the Black community on campus and not on help amplify our voice at a predominately white school, but also to build safe spaces for Black women on and off campus.

What causes are most important to you? 

Access to reproductive health is pretty important to me. It goes beyond abortion for me;  in my opinion every woman and girl should have the access to quality reproductive healthcare and sexual health education. I am also passionate about closing the achievement gap and providing creative outlets for inner-city youth. I believe that by providing safe spaces for youth they will have healthy alternatives to drugs and gangs and ultimately will be excited about furthering their education and bettering our communities.

Happy Birthday, Rosetta!

Rosetta Thurman, a girlfriend of mine and a fellow blogger, is turning 26 tomorrow! Yay!

In honor of her birthday, you can donate $26 dollars to some of her favorite charities. Help celebrate Rosetta’s birthday and lend a helping hand to some really great non-profits in the DC Area.

Happy Birthday, girlfriend. So glad we met this year. See you during the Inaugural Events!

The Next Wave Action Summit–this weekend

For those in the DC Area who want to become change agents in their community…this event is for you. Visit the website to register and to see the summit agenda. Big shout out Tambra Stevenson founder of Creative Cause and everyone involved in her newest venture.

From Selma to Washington, DC: King’s Call to

Reduce Poverty, Promote Human Rights Lives On

DC Summit set for April 4-6th provides resources and networking to build skills to lead change

WASHINGTON, DC— Today marks the anniversary of the historical Selma to Montgomery march led by Martin Luther King, Jr. and is the catalyst to civil rights movement in this country, which gave way to the passage Voting Rights Act of 1965 in our nation’s capitol by President Lyndon Johnson.

“With today as the start of Spring, Selma should remind us to ‘spring into action’ and be the next wave of change in our communities. We are suffering economically, socially, culturally and spiritually,” said Tambra Stevenson, chair of the Next Wave Leadership Committee.

On March 21, 1965 over 3,200 marchers joined Dr. King in Montgomery, Alabama to demand their voting rights. They walked 12 miles everyday for 5 days through chilling weather and rain on Route 80. By the time they reached the capitol on March 25, they were 25,000 marchers strong.

With great hope, the marchers brought attention to the violations of their rights by marching to Montgomery. Upon their arrival, Dr. King delivered his “How Long, Not Long” speech along side the state capital building.

Like the marchers, the Next Wave Leadership Committee hopes you will be the next wave of change at the inaugural Next Wave Action Summit from April 4-6, 2008. Hosted by Creative Cause the Summit commemorates the 40th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassination in partnership with George Washington University Multicultural Student Services Center and Howard University School of Business Center for Professional Development.

“We need compassionate leaders who address their own healing from in order to become true champions for human rights in America through social entrepreneurship and political leadership,” stated Stevenson.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson acknowledged, “What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause, too.” This is an excerpt from Harry E. Johnson, Sr.’s email from the MLK Foundation.

To register and learn more about the Summit please visit www.bethenextwave.com. Limited scholarships are available to waive the Summit fee for attendees who write a poem or essay of what “Next Wave” means to them and submit via email to change@bethenextwave.com.

Creative Cause is Washington, DC-based social enterprise dedicated to using creativity to raise awareness and action on social causes and encourage the next generation of leaders to harness their creativity to address social issues in their community. We accomplish this by hosting educational, outreach and community service events throughout the year.

Tonight in DC: let your SOL glow.

and i’m not talking about the eddie murphy movie…

sol_flyer.jpg

Tonight at 7pm. solly’s tavern. u st, nw.

we’re honoring men who love empowered women…and women who have made contributions to Washington, DC.

Mae Best, Executive Director of the East River Family Strengthening Collaborative, will be recognized for her tremendous work in DC’s Ward 7.
Lots of love going out to Tambra Stevenson of Creative Cause, who is also the founder of next week’s Next Wave Action Summit….more on that a little later.

Sorry I’ve been gone folks…this week has been crucial…but I’ll be back tomorrow with more updates and more women I love.