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Thoughts and Stories By D. Rena’ Chaney

TRAIL BLAZERS ON THE RISE

When you think of all the women who have impacted or influenced your life, do those thoughts empower you? Who are they? Are you encouraged and challenged?

Inspiration, enthusiasm, pride, determination, values, and integrity are tools which exist around us in every aspect of life. However, not all women attain these tools as we grow. There are those who require more nurturing and influence to utilize those tools some are naturally born with.

There is a part in a woman’s DNA which most conclude is a nurturing gene. An instinctive role of a nurturer is a care-giver, a grandmother, a mother, a sister, or an aunt. Along this nurturing road women of color wore many hats, held numerous roles from the household to the cotton fields with their baby in tow. As time progressed our strength and determination led us to be head of families and bread winners exercising new capabilities and brilliance. We hold positions as CEO’s, politicians, teachers, lawyers, doctors, athletes, writers, inventors, geniuses, entertainers and a host of other titles and many in leadership roles. While holding these prestigious roles and titles, consider these began in our DNA (genes).

There are youth trailblazers and legacy leaders traveling on unpaved ground and breaking down barriers with a host of talents, skills and great intellect. If you have not heard of these young ladies, allow me a small introduction of them and see the great impact they are leaving which we cannot ignore any longer.

Mabou Loiseau, at the age of 5 was able to speak seven different languages (English, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Arabic, Creole and French) and play six different instruments. Home schooled, her parents have a weekly investment of her education at a cost of $1500 – the cost of the teachers of Mabou’s education. This is only the beginning.

Ginger Howard, now 19 years old was the youngest African American woman to become a professional golfer. She began playing golf at the age of six. She is competing in the golf circuit to become the fifth black American woman to join the LPGA Tour card.

Maya Penn, now 13 years old started out crafting ribbon headbands for family friends at age 8. Maya is a small business-success story who has appeared in Forbes, Black Enterprise, Ebony, Huffington Post, Redbook and Atlanta’s Fox 5 News. Working on her business part time, her ideas brought in about $55,000 in sales in 2014. This young business genius vows to give away 10 percent of her profits to Atlanta-area charities. Thus far, her company has donated $4,000 and numerous volunteer hours.

Andrea Pugh, a teenager that by the age of 16, had a minor planet named after her. This prestigous honor was a second place prize she earned at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California. Her studies and research for the distinguished honor was studying ways to infuse nutrients into soil as a better method of preparing it for growing crops.

Autum Ashante, raised by a single father and at age 13, was accepted into the University of Connecticut. This young genius was a target of conservatives at the age of only seven for writing a poem that highlighted the travesty of slavery. This young lady was not moved and was even more determined by mastering the Arabic, Swahili and Spanish languages. To add to her intelligence, she scored 149 on the standard IQ test which are tests designed to test how intellectual you are.

Diamond Shakoor, a 13-yearold is one of the best chest players in the country – A seven-time National Chess Champion. At age 8, she was the youngest African-American female to go undefeated in a Chess National competition.

Chelsea Dock, at 14 she has won piano competition since the age of five. Performances throughout New York from Rutgers University, Madison Square Garden, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and she performed on television on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. A straight “A” student and artist who has had her artwork on display with 44 other great artist in art shows.

These young ladies are just a few of many trailblazing African American female youth who are tapping into their self-worth, their strengths and talents. They are continuing legacies laid before them and following and learning by women in their household, prominent black women who fought and still fight to take what others won’t allow them to have and accomplish what some don’t think we deserve. These paths and doors which were paved and opened by strong black women are allowing each generation to improve and continue to influence one another. We must firmly and directly without cease leave more dominant foot prints in every step we take.

Let us not forget the many years of accomplishments, fight and struggle. Their fight is now ours and we must do them “Just” by continuing to educate and share what we know and have. Know that we are still Queens and Kings, a title we don’t honor among ourselves as we should but we have other titles.

We not only formed our own territory, had our own land and farmed it; we established our own government, laws and worked for ourselves taking care of our families. We taught and learned together. We ruled and conquered together. We fought and died together. We were feared back then and even more feared today simply for who we are. Taken against our will, stole our ideas, stripped us of our dignity and viability, and our legacy continues to grow through each generation and we’re still here!

As we continue to invest in our children’s future, we must be better examples in our house-holds and keep our young women encouraged and encourage faith, self-respect, will and determination. There is nothing we as black women cannot accomplish. There are no limits on our journey so we must not limit ourselves or decrease our value. Let us not waiver in our efforts, let us not fall short in our endeavors, and remain true to our values, integrity and ourselves. Strong and resilient we are and we continue to transcend through decades of greatness, nothing can stop us!

Special acknowledgement to all the parents and caregivers who teach, invest and care for our youth. Thank you.