As we draw to the close of Women’s History Month, I reflect on the courageous, outspoken women throughout history who broke barriers and traditions to be heard. For a long time women were discouraged from having voices and their stories were deemed unimportant and disregarded. But today’s women are demanding to be heard, they are standing up and speaking out and their stories are regarded as valuable. It’s important for our stories to be told to help create social change. The personal is also political because our stories are reflective of larger social issues affecting women and our communities. And hearing the powerful personal stories of women turning pain into power and learning how these women overcame adversities, can help to inspire, empower and heal other women and the community.
Everyone has a story and it’s a matter of personal choice if you want to tell the world or not. However, telling your story can be healing for both you and whoever hears your story. Sometimes when you are writing your story you believe that you are alone in your suffering and when you start telling your story you realize that you are not alone, others are suffering too. Your story then becomes a bridge to reach other people in your situation and this is where the support and healing begins.
On March 16 2019, a bridge was build between the community and a group of brave women authors who told their stories at an event for Women’s History Month called “Telling Our Stories,” held at the Joseph E. Coleman Library 68 W. Chelten Ave. Philadelphia, Pa. These awesome women authors told inspiring stories of surmounting odds, that are relatable in our communities, from living with HIV, domestic violence, incest, mass incarceration, addiction, stigmas of medical conditions, to losing everything you own, running to save your life and being thrust into poverty.
To quote social activist Bell Hooks, “People resist by telling their stories” and these fearless women authors through their stories are resisting the stigma, discrimination, ignorance, fear, shame, denial and the unwillingness to discuss these topics in our communities. The conversations between the authors and the audience was powerful, enlightening and honest. More of these open community discussions are needed and will be planned.
Panelist of women authors were as follows:
Asha Molock, has been living with HIV for seventeen years, and advocates to combat stigma and ignorance surrounding pertinent issues relating to HIV and AIDS. She was the recipient of a book award from the Association of Black Sexologist and Clinicians for her debut inspirational workbook, Gaining Strength From Weakness: 101 Positive Thoughts for HIV Positive People. She released her second book, The Underground Woman: From Prisoner To Freedom in September 2018 Available @ https://amzn.to/2rhE4EL Contact the author: www.facebook.com/undergroundwoman2018
Betty Jean Nobles, author of A SMALL CANDLELIGHT, is a riveting story inspired by actual events in her life and the life of her son. This powerful story mirrors American Slavery and decades of biased treatment against Black Males, unfair arrests, and malicious prosecutions. She was thrust into the Criminal Justice System like many Black and Latino families, who were unknowingly ushered into the menacing cycle of Mass incarceration. Available online at BBOTW.com, barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com Contact the author: https://www.facebook.com/A-Small-Candlelight
Omwa Ombara is a journalist in exile for the last 7 years and author of God’s Child On The Run, released February 15, 2018, captures her experiences as she exposes corruption in the Media among politicians in Kenya and her flight to the US after the bungled Kenya post-election violence that saw over 40 women and children burnt to death in a church where they fought refuge, 1200 people murdered by neighbors and friends and 650,000 forcefully displaced from their homes. Available in paperback and kindle. https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Child-Run-Omwa-Ombara/dp/ 1641403276#immersive-view_1551149937294 https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/gods-child-on-the-run-omwa-ombara/ 1128107760?type=eBook Contact the author: https://www.facebook.com/omwamemoir/
Hana Redding is a motivational speaker, and creator of the Zorry Flowers Good Fruit Monday and Positive Thursday YouTube, inspirational and motivational series. She is the author of Living With NF & Story of Survival. Her story of living and thriving with a rare genetic disorder, commonly called “The Elephant Man Disease.” Available on Amazon and Barnes and noble.com Contact the author: https://www.facebook.com/hana.redding https://www.youtube.com/watcv=K3KglrPtnmQ&feature=share
Renda Rose Williams, motivational speaker, poet and author of God’sGrace and Mercy Brought Me Home: Don’t Cry for Me. I’m Free. After experiencing incest at an early age and rape during her teen years, Renda speaks about how truth and choices empower us to rise above pain and misery to get to freedom and victory. She has worked with Victim Services of Montgomery County (PA), is currently a spokesperson for The Truth Behind Incest–The Movement, and developed a nonprofit company through her poetry ministry, Rose Waters, Inc. Contact the author: http://www.rosewaters1940.wixsite.com/rendarose1
Carolyn Wilson, Author, Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Fearless Magnified Educator. A survivor of Sexual Child Abuse and Domestic Violence who intentionally created a new narrative for her life. She works with women of all ages teaching them how to tap into the power of positive thinking to live and create their best life. Carolyn is CEO/ Founder of Magnify Your Essence, the Celebrating YOU Women’s Conference & Expo and the best-selling author of Magnified Thoughts Available on Amazon-https://amzn.to/2NbgTbF B&N- https://bit.ly/2TrMhG4, Website: https://magnifyyouressence.wordpress.com Youtube: https://youtu.be/AYsdbf1hb80
Minister Angela Bell , author of The Jewel That Shines Within: New and Collected Poems. She has spoken her poetry at churches, funerals, weddings, parties, poetry readings, and on Gospel radio stations. Angela offers these poems as a prayer for your intentions. Available on Amazon.com Contact the author: https://www.facebook.com/angela.d.bell
“Everyone has a story, and there’s something to be learned from every experience.” Oprah Winfrey.