Securing Online Payment Gateways

If you are like me, you take technology as it comes and you just make adjustments accordingly. I have made the jump from 8 track tapes to cassette tapes to CDs to live-streaming, all in just the past 40 years. I took shorthand in high school and learned to type on a typewriter—I used Wite Out correction fluid and those thin, plastic correction tabs to fix my errors—and this was cutting edge stuff back in the day. I now live in a time where people walk around with small computers in their hands all day and communication with someone half a planet away is possible within seconds. As technology constantly changes, we must adapt and even plan ahead, to ensure these “undiscovered roads” don’t take us down the wrong path. I mean, initially, when we first starting using the Internet, there were all types of potential threats many of us did not anticipate. New threats await us as our use of computers and hand held devices rule the day. To protect yourself, and your information on the internet, it is important to understand the newest technological advancements and how they affect our lives.

With online purchases becoming more and more prevalent in today’s world, the threat of hacking is very real. When you send your information out into the vast internet, whether it be your driver’s license number, your bank account number, or other personal material, the fact remains that it is susceptible to crooks—crooks who know how to hack information you thought was protected. What safeguards do we have when making online purchases or filling out personal forms on websites? Thankfully, revolutionary advancements in shielding sensitive details are protecting you, even if you aren’t aware they’re there.

Take, for example, encryption. Encryption takes an algorithm to transform plain text, like your credit card number, and convert it into a non-readable format called cipher text. To decipher the encrypted information, the party receiving the material must have the algorithm and an encryption key to return it to its original plain text. Built in encryption systems protect the millions of people from sensitive data breaches.

The drawback with encryption is that data can be breached on either end. The security of the data relies on the strength of the encryption. Encryption is also time consuming and somewhat expensive. The trouble is, you just never know how strong the encryption data is at your bank, your local store, or your kid’s school, so your information may be vulnerable to attack, even when you believe it has been safeguarded.

Since encryption has its detractors, tokenization has become a welcome alternative to protection of personal details. Tokenization works differently from encryption, even though they are widely mentioned together. Tokenization requires taking the sensitive data and replacing it with a token, or placeholder. This token is randomly generated and is swapped for the plain text and then it is stored in an offsite database. Essentially, the tokenization process is taking data and turning it into random, meaningless information so that if it is somehow compromised, it cannot be deciphered by criminals looking for raw data. With encryption, if they break the code, they have the desired information. Unlike encryption, tokenization does not use an algorithm to make its replacement token. Instead, data is stored in a secured token vault which stores the link between the actual data and the token. The great part about tokenization is there is no key to change the tokens back to real data, so information is safer in the long run. Tokens can be set up to reflect the actual number, or at least a portion of it, which is why your bank may ask for the last four digits of your social security number or account number. The actual numbers are saved offsite, but the token number might reflect a portion of the real data. So, say you are online and purchasing something from a company from which you have previously purchased something—your data should be saved. In this case, the token is submitted to the token vault when you request to use the card and the index retrieves the real data for use in the authorization process. The company receiving the data feels no lag time—they are given the real data immediately, yet the “switch” was made in the cloud token vault.

Tokenization is now widely used by vendors because the real data is kept off site. With encryption, it is still within their database, even if it is encrypted. The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council holds merchants to compliance standards to ensure clients’ information is protected. Both encryption and tokenization are accepted under these standards, but the encryption method leaves the merchant more at risk of a breach than tokenization does.

Some key vendors use tokenization for payment, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express. These big three are looking to standardize tokenization in the payment industry’s sector. Their push for tokenization stated this new standard would “help provide the payments community with a consistent, secure and interoperable environment to make digital payments” according to The Motley Fool, an online source. As a matter of fact, MasterCard has teamed with has teamed with Synchrony Financial and Citi Retail Services to use tokenization in their transactions, making it the first payments network to do so. Through MasterCard’s Digital Enablement Services, or MDES, MasterCard can offer tokenization services that can ensure purchases can be made from any internet connected device while also delivering the safety customers expect. Not only does this new technology give consumers the opportunity to make their selections online, revolutionizing the way we shop, but it also alleviates the lingering worry that your credit card information will be stolen online. Since there are more ways to purchase items, including through phone apps, ecommerce, and reoccurring payments, having the information stored in an off-site token vault makes the transactions even safer than ever before.

Consumers today can rest assured their information is protected to its fullest extent when tokenization is used. It’s the wave of the cyber-future, making online purchasing the most practical and convenient way to shop.

Difference Between Your General Dentist And An Orthodontist

Your dentist keeps your mouth clean and your teeth shiny, but what can you do about dental abnormalities like crooked teeth? Seeing a qualified orthodontist may be the answer for you!

An orthodontist is a specialist who focuses on the straightening of teeth and can treat problems pertaining to the upper and lower jaws, gums, and facial muscles. While many people see an orthodontist for purely aesthetic purposes, it is important to know that there are sound medical reasons to straightening your teeth. First of all, crooked teeth can impede your ability to properly bite, chew and even speak! Additionally, crowded or crooked teeth can cause jaw pain, uneven tooth wear and difficulties with oral hygiene, like flossing. To accurately assess your need for orthodontic work, the doctor will work in conjunction with your regular dentist. Once a need for orthodontia has been determined, it is then a matter of selecting the best method to properly align the teeth. Orthodontists have many different options to help you achieve your desired result and make your teeth functional for a lifetime.

So is there a real difference between your general dentist and an orthodontist? While both are dental professionals, they have different specialties, much like your family doctor is different from a foot doctor. After acquiring a doctor of dentistry degree, an orthodontist must complete an additional two to three years of specialized training. Orthodontists invest this additional time into learning how to treat misaligned teeth as well as other dental and orthodontic procedures. They can also treat abnormalities of the jaw, with the assistance of medical prosthetic equipment. The most common procedure that orthodontists perform is the straightening of teeth, generally through various types of braces. For an orthodontist to know how to reposition your teeth, they study the movement of teeth. At times, teeth may require spacers, usually either rubber bands or thin, metal pieces placed to separate or at times, join teeth that are either too close or too far apart. Braces can be used to fix overbites, under bites, cross bites, and open bites. After a patient is finished wearing braces, they usually graduate to a plastic retainer to ensure teeth do not shift back into their original places after the braces are removed. While many people believe that the retainer step is a nuisance or unnecessary, it is a key element is maintaining the straightened smile. In extreme cases, a patient may need the assistance of headgear, which can be worn just at night or all the time, depending upon the doctor’s recommendation. The use of headgear is not as prevalent as it once was, possibly due to the fact it is cumbersome for the patient.

Many orthodontic professionals will not start working on children until all of their baby teeth have fallen out. Orthodontics can also be challenging if an adult patient does not have all of his or her teeth, or a patient’s mouth is too crowded to start the process. You may need to have additional dental services before your orthodontia can begin, like dental implants to replace missing teeth or the extraction of wisdom teeth to reduce overcrowding. Your orthodontist will discuss the necessary options and answer any questions you may have. He or she will also discuss your medical history and any pre-existing conditions that may impede your progress. Once the treatment plan is finalized, the braces and a retainer will be used to align the teeth.

The first step in developing your orthodontic treatment is to have the doctor take x-rays of your teeth and gums and take impressions of your teeth. The orthodontist can view the mouth from every angle to put together the best course of action. The overall process to straighten the teeth is not a quick one; it can take months and in some instances, years before the teeth have moved into proper alignment. An orthodontist will see a patient every few weeks to determine the patient’s progress and to adjust the treatment as needed. Sometimes this is as easy as tightening braces and sometimes it is as complicated as taking an entirely new approach.

Taking care of your teeth while wearing braces is an important element in your treatment. Brushing twice a day or preferably, after each meal is of vital importance. Any trapped food left in between your braces or in the brackets can turn into decalcification spots—little white spots on your teeth where the brackets once were. Alignment can be delayed if your teeth and gums are not kept clean, resulting in a longer treatment plan. Flossing is paramount as well and some orthodontists may have you use a fluoride rinse to protect your teeth.

Your orthodontist will keep you apprised of your progression and make adjustments along the way. He or she may have you close gaps by wearing tight rubber bands in your mouth or may surprise you with the news that your teeth have aligned much faster than anticipated. When the braces are removed, you will find yourself licking your teeth and you may want to eat foods that you couldn’t eat while wearing traditional braces. The orthodontist will take another impression of your teeth to compare the before and after. You will probably examine your teeth often in the mirror; it’s hard to picture how great they look while you are wearing braces for so long! Your orthodontist will also give you your retainer with explicit instructions on how to wear it and care for it. Retainers are expensive to replace, so don’t let your dog get it and don’t drop it down the sink and most importantly, remember to wear it! By skipping the retainer step of the orthodontia process, you may find your teeth shifting back into their previous places and you may have to endure braces again to get them to straighten!

Choosing to have your teeth aligned may be a purely aesthetic choice or it may be a medical one. Whichever it is, you will want to follow the instructions of your orthodontist to ensure you achieve a picture-perfect smile.

Hearing Aid Care and Maintenance

Millions of Americans deal every day with some type of hearing loss. Although this this product is tiny, is can be expensive, therefore requiring information to correctly preserve its function and situation. Millions of Americans still depend on these gadgets that are little to create a difference in their own life.

Within the years, some key improvements have been created by hearing products. In reality, it is often noted time, the unit have been created to be smaller and more successful over that the digital hearing-aid was stated in in the 1950s and the littlest one to-day can create outcomes that are huge. To the device, directional microphones were put in the starting in their design to enable the wearer to concentrate on one-on-one conversation as well as the capacity to converse in places. As you can suppose, these versions weren’t as helpful as suppliers and those to day discontinued their production till about the 1990s where engineering actually took a flip for the better.

Hearing-aid technologies provide a range of possibilities, meeting the requirements of variety of folks, today. Some are more complicated or more costly than the others, but these digital or gadgets nonetheless need the assist of an experienced audiologist to select the correct item and proper-fitting. The price of the gadget can surpass $5 and can commence below $2,000. Combined with the installation comes good care, which may help keep it operating precisely and extend the life span of the hearing-aid. They’re an expense for particular.

As an expense, care makes your funds go quite a distance. Understanding repair, clear and the way to store your hearing aids in Oklahoma City will keep it working as it absolutely was meant to and might avoid the need for recurring repairs over time. First, in regards to the shell, the the top of hearing aid ought to be stored clear. Aids typically have particles from oil or dirt in the grooves. Using an absence of treatment, possibly are functioning precisely or perhaps not fitting precisely. Chemical and water cleaners needs to be avoided in your hearing aid. Tissue or a moist fabric needs to be watchfully utilized to wipe down the hearing aid. Many kits contain a brush that will be of good use for earwax buildup. The microphone is acutely fragile also it’s essential never to poke the port. During cleansing, the microphone should constantly be facing the ground as well as the brush that is provided ought to be used. Wax buildup could be prevented by daily cleansing together with the brush .

In the event you have any queries or need further help on the appropriate cleansing techniques, it’s recommended that you simply ask your audiologist. They are the specialists in this area and will gladly evaluate these procedures along with one to ensure effective hearing aid performance. As it pertains to moisture, a hearing aid can lengthen their life and drying container or a support package will assist keep dampness from building-up inside the hearing aids. Be certain before putting them in a great spot so that you can help them as long as they possibly can to consider the batteries from the hearing-aid. This, also, will extend battery life. Signs of batteries are scratchy sounds output, distortion, improved suggestions, intermittence or odd and uncommon sounds like static. As some batteries might only last a week or two proper battery treatment demands program everyday or weekly screening. It’s recommended that a spare battery that ought to also be stored in a great location is usually carried by a person using a hearing aid.

Although batteries nowadays are made to last considerably longer lengthier than in the immediate past, drying is advised with all the use of possibly a forced-air blower (no, maybe not a blow dryer) or a can of compressed-air such as the kinds employed to clear a key pad. Moisture can occur from even sweat or rain. Climatic circumstances and your activity level are a couple of the most frequent identified variables impacting dampness buildup. People with people who sweat or high ranges of bodily physical exercise are susceptible to moisture problems as it pertains with their hearing devices. Likewise, residing in locations of large humidity can also irritate its performance. Whether from external or internal sources, moisture ought to be averted as most useful you are able to. Some aids will stand as much as moisture than the others. Consult your audiologist to determine whether they advise drying containers or particular dry help kits and also discuss your particular lifestyle together. Your audiologist can assist you pick the correct aid that’ll support your present lifestyle in the event that you are a bodily individual and danger more perspiration than the others. This, subsequently, will assist you get the most from the hearing aid.

Many folks are interested in the common whole life of a hearing system. Their longevity depends on the sort of help in addition to good care they’ve gotten. Problem fixing care and methods can aid prolong the life span of course, of the gadget. For the most portion, the hearing aids of today’s are excessively trustworthy, long-lasting and powerful. Things might go incorrect, but it is possible to save time plus money in the end by avoiding pricey and serious repairs, when you care for them properly. Information on appropriate treatment is a potent device in this circumstance. Not only are hearing aids heading to boost the standard of life, however they’re worth the additional treatment which they require.

 

Healthy Eating In Oklahoma City

Restaurants Offer Healthy Alternatives

More and more Oklahoma restaurants are offering healthy alternatives to “Oklahoma comfort food“. As people become more health conscious in this day and age, they are becoming more picky about what they put into their bodies. We traveled to Oklahoma City this past month and ventured out on a foodie excursion to experience the local dishes first hand. I was not disappointed at all, plenty of “stick to your ribs” items on the menus and friendly faces serving. There was a highlight to our trip though that I wanted to share in this post. We found a gem, a place that took as much pride in their food as the Sooners do in their football team.

The Healthy Hearth

healthy hearth chefWe had asked some locals for a hole in the wall gem where we could eat healthy and enjoy Oklahoma cuisine at the same time. The Healthy Heart showed up on our radar and it did not disappoint. In addition to their healthy lunch options, they also had a desert menu to die for. I am not a fan of super sweet desserts, and I am not a fan of processed sugars in general, so I was hesitant to order any dessert. When I spoke to the Chef he said that they only used natural sweeteners in their desserts and stayed clear of anything that rots out the teeth. It was interesting to talk further about the menu because even the sauces were limited on sugars, which is a difficult thing to pull off. The Chef went on to say that with rotten teeth and cavities how can anyone enjoy their meals? I agreed, and I was pleased to taste such an amazing meal without all the sugar. I didn’t finish my dinner and want to rush home to brush my teeth, there just wasn’t that over abundance of sugar in any of the items I enjoyed. The Chef joked that if we ate dessert over at the Dairy Queen down the street that we might have to find an excellent orthodontist in the Oklahoma City metro area to straighten us out like a rotten set of teeth (haha). We laughed at his humor, our teeth were straight and our stomachs were full.

We Will Return

Next time we are out in Oklahoma City we will definitely be returning to indulge in the great food and company. Chef also suggested that we visit Shawnee Oklahoma for  bite to eat at a local caffe where they serve a healthy brunch for a fair price. He suggested that we try the roasted veal bone broth, but again joked that there is  a new orthodontist in Shawnee, Oklahoma if we needed to get a tooth repaired from biting into a bone. I hope he was kidding (haha).

 

Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ Is Already Making Book History

For more than a decade now, we’ve watched Michelle Obama grow, stretch, and transform, becoming who she is today.

Black women, in particular, have observed her with great interest and great love. We have prayed for, cried for, and consistently rooted for her as she evolved from a deeply reluctant public figure into a global icon whose much-anticipated memoir, Becoming, is getting rock-star treatment.

We have revered and emulated her, seeing in her prominent service to our nation new possibilities for making a powerful impact of our own.

Women of color candidates increased by nearly 75% since 2012, according to a report from the Reflective Democracy Campaign. More than 400 black women ran in the midterm elections, including 19 black women in Harris County, Texas, who all won their races to become judges, and Stacey Abrams, who is still fighting to ensure that every vote is counted in her historic race to become the first black woman governor in the U.S.

Can it be mere coincidence that as Michelle Obama recounts her journey to marriage, motherhood, and the White House, becoming a richer, bolder, fuller version of her herself in the process, that generations of women who most identify with her are finding their own voices and becoming a greater force with which to reckon as well?

Just in Time for Christmas: Oprah’s New Favorite Thing

BecomingLaunched halfway between Election Day and Thanksgiving, no sooner did Becoming’s Chicago tour begin than Oprah announced it as her next book club pick—as if it needed the boost. Amazon and Barnes and Noble were reporting record sales weeks before the official launch date and tickets for seats on the former first lady’s 10-city stadium tour (at as high as $2,750 apiece) were selling out fast.

Her current megastar incarnation represents quite a shift for a woman who once not only resisted the spotlight—she appeared to recoil from and even resent it. After all, pre-marriage, Michelle Robinson had always worked toward a very carefully crafted vision for her life, and while it included some ambitious and unconventional goals, becoming the first lady or a political spouse of any kind wasn’t among them.

The confident woman who leans a bare shoulder and bright-eyed smile directly into the camera on the cover of Becoming has come a long way from the guarded working mom in sensible heels who routinely declined requests for interviews and speaking opportunities during Barack’s early political life. Back then, she also refused to upend her career or her young daughters’ routines to accommodate her husband’s DC-based job demands or his larger ambitions, which she had reason to resist.

For starters, Michelle Obama had her own career aspirations, a distaste for politics, and a strong attachment to her Chicago hometown. Add to that the brazen fear that you could almost read in her watchful eyes: `What if something happens to Barack? What if my children lose their dad? What if this country doesn’t allow this historic moment to fully play out after all?’

Redefining the Role of a Lifetime

Once the Obama’s made history, there was no time for fear and no turning back. Instantly thrust onto the world stage and into a hailstorm of dizzying expectations and change, she packed up her Chicago dream house (along with her mom and her own dreams of remaining there) and took on the role of a lifetime, one she neither sought nor wanted.

Initially, there was a slight tightness to her composure and an awkwardness to her style. But soon she was an absolute natural, wowing interviewers, world leaders, and her own swelling base of fans.

Smart, self-effacing and impeccably prepared, it was her authenticity that most resonated with people—especially black women. Although she went to Princeton undergrad and Harvard Law School and had worked in well-paying jobs in white-shoe settings, she still bore the recognizable hallmarks of an unapologetic black girl deep-dipped in the instincts, values, adaptability, and resilience of Chicago’s hardworking South Side. Forget trying to hide it, she wore it like the Hope Diamond—with fist-bumping pride.

As Benilde Little wrote in The Meaning of Michelle, a 2017 anthology of essays edited by Veronica Chambers, “It’s hard being oneself under a microscope and the miracle of Michelle is that she seems to have always held on to her authentic self—with lots of her middle name, LaVaughn—holding center.”

While her popularity soared, reaching a feverish pitch toward the end of the Obama’s time in the White House, she was never without her detractors. While she honed her famous “When they go low, we go high” approach to dealing with them, in her earliest days in the spotlight, you could almost see her bracing herself for the ignorance, the disrespect, the inevitable attacks every black woman knows too well.

With trademark restraint, she addresses the issue head-on in her book’s preface this way:

Since stepping reluctantly into public life, I’ve been held up as the most powerful woman in the world and taken down as an ‘angry black woman.’ I’ve wanted to ask my detractors which part of that phrase matters to them most – is it ‘angry’ or ‘black’ or ‘woman?’

In Becoming, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama finally takes back her life and tells her own story, transcending all labels and rendering all outside opinions moot.

The post Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ Is Already Making Book History appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Study: Black Millennials Are More Religious Than Their Millennial Peers

When it comes to religion, black millennials emerge above their peers in this generation.

In fact, based on several benchmarks, African American millennials are appreciably more religious than others in their age group, a new Pew Research Center analysis reveals.

In recent years, a number of Pew Research Center surveys have shown that Millennials in the United States—young adults born between 1981 and 1996—are generally less religious than older Americans, based on our core measures of religious commitment. This holds true for black people, in that black Millennials tend to be less religious than older blacks. That said, black Millennials are considerably more religious than others in their generation, reads the study.

Nearly 61% of black millennials report that they pray at least daily, much greater than 39% of nonblack millennials responding. Some 38% of black millennials say they attend religious services at least once a week, while only 25% of other millennials do.

About 64% of black millennials are highly religious on a four-item scale of religious commitment—including belief in God, the self-described importance of religion, prayer, and worship attendance—versus 39% of nonblack millennials.

Concurrently, black millennials are far less likely than older black Americans when it comes to praying at least daily. They also are less likely than older blacks to attend religious services at least weekly.

Further, African American millennials are more likely to read scripture when not in religious services than nonblack millennials. Some 61% of black millennials said they feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being at least weekly versus 50% of nonblack millennials.

Additionally, black millennials are more likely to believe in heaven than their non-black peers. But black millennials are no less likely than older blacks to retain this belief.

All groups surveyed are about equal when it comes to feeling a deep sense of wonder about the universe.

 

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Black Girl Travel Movement Takes Black Women Abroad to Heal

Black Girl Travel Movement was created as a Facebook group to serve black women looking to go aboard, and quickly turned into a full-fledged business. The group was started in 2014, and has amassed a total of 22,476 members.

“I wanted to empower women to connect and explore the healing power of travel,” said founder Shay Sane. It did more than that. Not only did women feel the satisfaction of traveling, they received information, tips, and tools to engage in safe traveling, and deal with any traumas they’ve experienced.

[RELATED: AMERICAN BLACK WOMEN ARE MOVING IN DROVES TO THIS ONE COUNTRY]

Sane was dealing with deep depression herself when she decided to create the community. “Sharing my story of dealing with grief, depression, and how travel is helping me to heal,” Sane told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I used the Facebook group to share my travel experiences, and eventually started using Facebook ads to promote TTraVsperience,” and that’s how she built the company.

She then added the second layer of building relationships with mental health professionals to combat the issues she had originally been dealing with. This proved to be extremely helpful to the ladies, allowing them to have very transparent conversations within the community that they have grown to know and trust.

So how do they make sure a person is in the right frame of mind before joining? “We have always done a screening process to ensure that prospective members fully understood that BGTM was not just another travel group that hosts group trips,” said Sane. “Our TTraVsperience is focused on travel with the intention to heal from past trauma and pain.”

black women abroad

Founder, Shay Sane (Image: Black Girl Travel Movement)

Sane describes TTraVsperience as a unique one of a kind transformational travel experience curated to allow its members to experience the healing power of travel. They select the most sought-after destinations to serve as the backdrop for a once in a lifetime opportunity to reconnect with the most important person in your life — you.

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“Becoming Michelle Obama”: 7 Real-Life Moments to Which Every Black Woman Can Relate

There were two big revelations from First Lady Michelle Obama’s new memoir, Becoming Michelle Obama (Crown; $19.48). First, is her revealing her miscarriage. The second is her daughters, Sasha and Malia, were conceived by IVF (in-vitro fertilization).

It’s this candor that makes Michelle Obama so beloved and such an inspiring figure particularly for women of color. Throughout the book, Obama shares insights of a life of pomp and circumstance as a first lady, yet one also filled with the everyday worries, anxieties, and self-doubts of so many women who hold it down as mothers and working professionals face. Obama’s balancing acts are just as commonplace and practical as many women charged with managing both worlds and realities.

From her new memoir, here are seven ‘real-life’ moments Obama shares to which so many black women can relate:

Her husband’s great idea didn’t seem so great to her as a wife – which speaks to the pragmatism of many black women.

When the opportunity arose for Barack Obama to run for Illinois Senate, she “didn’t think it was a great idea,” and thought her affable husband would “get eaten alive” by the political world. “But maybe I can do some good,” he said with a “bemused shrug.”

Barack Obama, perhaps as many wives and partners complain, was reluctant to try couples’ counseling after his entry into politics began to take a toll on their marriage.

“He was accustomed to throwing his mind at complicated problems and reasoning them out on his own…[]..Sitting down in front of a stranger struck him as uncomfortable, if not a tad dramatic.”

She felt uncomfortable in unfamiliar surroundings as a black woman.

In the book Obama writes Washington was confusing “with its decorous traditions and sober real-regard, its whiteness and maleness, its ladies having lunch off to one side.”

She wasn’t an instant cheerleader for her partners ambitions, but rather, a cautious pessimist.

Black women often show reserved caution toward loved ones’ ambitions, knowing how hard the world is on people of color. She thought Obama would not win the presidency. “Barack was a black man in America, after all. I didn’t really think he could win.”

As do many women, she placed blame on herself, even when not actually warranted.

For instance, she blamed herself for the ‘First time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country’ controversy. “In trying to speak casually, I’d forgotten how weighted each little phrase could be. Unwittingly, I’d given the haters a fourteen-word feast.”

She, as so many black women, had to deal with the “angry, black woman” stereotype.

“I was female, black, and strong, which to certain people, maintaining a certain mind-set, translated only to ‘angry.’..[]…I was now starting to actually feel a bit angry, which then made me feel worse, as if I were fulfilling some prophecy laid out for me by haters…”

She needed to stay connected with her sisterhood tribe.

On occasional retreats with her old girlfriends from her Chicago hood: “They gave me a lift anytime I felt down or frustrated or had les access to Barack. They grounded me when I felt the pressures of being judged, having everything from my nail-polish color to the size of my hips dissected and discussed publicly.”

 

 

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‘Sisters in Loss’ Helps Black Women Cope With Miscarriage and Infertility

In November 2012, when Virginia native Erica M. McAfee lost her son at birth, she felt the loneliness, shame, and isolation that comes after the death of a child.

“I was broken and empty and my immediate family couldn’t console me,” said McAfee. “No one in my circle of friends was pregnant yet, or had an infant loss experience. I turned to the Internet to find stories and I found many women online who had experienced pregnancy loss, but they didn’t look like me. In 2014, I had Maxwell, my rainbow baby (a baby that is born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or loss of an infant). I started to share more of our story about how we almost lost our lives during birth due to a placenta abruption. My son was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy so we moved closer to our family to have support. During my 4-hour commute to work, I fell in love with listening to podcasts. My husband and I knew we wanted to grow our family, and I wanted to hear more stories black women struggling through grief, loss, and infertility.”

On a mission to turn her pain into purpose, McAfee became a Pregnancy Loss Grief Coach, and Birth & Bereavement Doula. In 2017, she launched Sisters in Loss L.L.C.—a coaching program, podcast community of 10,000 and series of resources, and retreats to help black women heal, gain clarity, and find an empowering path forward after loss.

“At first it was difficult to get black women to share their experiences,” said McAfee. Then, as more celebrities and influencers like Beyoncé, Serena Williams, Remy Ma, and Kandi, and Eudoxie began sharing their journeys, black women started saying yes I experienced that as well. Can I share my story? Since March 2018, the podcast is 6 months booked out because of the many women willing to share their stories and journey’s to motherhood.” 

Hiding in Plain Sight

Here’s a harsh reality. More than 6 million women and couples suffer from infertility, and black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications and infant death than white women according to the CDC. Yet, every day millions of black women show up for work suffering in silence, dealing with cultural shame and age-related pressures of society.

Recently, during an interview with Good Morning America, former first lady Michelle Obama revealed 20 years ago she suffered a miscarriage before having daughters Malia and Sasha. “I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them,” Obama said. “We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken. I think it’s important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen.” Ultimately, she and her husband, former President Barack Obama used IVF to conceive their daughters.

Black Women Cope With Miscarriage and Infertility

Erica M/ McAfee

“Not many black women are sharing their stories and journey’s good or bad about motherhood,” said McAfee. In our community, we keep these “secrets” to ourselves, versus sharing it to free others from the shame.” McAfee also shared a few misconceptions she often hears:

-Black women are very fertile and can get pregnant as soon as we stop birth control or contraceptives.

-If you already have a child that you shouldn’t experience infertility.

Turning Pain into Purpose

Beyond creating safe and supportive spaces for black women, Sisters and Loss are working to see legislative changes, for more research around black women mortality and infant outcomes.

“I’m working on this by using my podcast programming and platform to highlight specific issues that will affect us from a legislative perspective,” said McAfee. This includes advocacy at the state level and federal level to pass bills to provide more substantial testing for fertility and universal health care for all, paid in full IVF treatments and midwives and Doula services covered by insurance. Also, out of pocket expenses for fertility treatments is why many black women and couples do not pursue this path to motherhood. We simply don’t have tens of thousands of dollars in disposable income to spend on one treatment of IVF ($30K), and if that treatment isn’t successful it can be discouraging and depressing.”

Watching Michele Obama share her story gave McAfee more fuel to turn her message into a movement.

“Our Forever FLOTUS freed us with her voice by saying she felt alone, felt unworthy, and was in pain,” said McAfee. “When black women share their stories, they invite others to share and shatter the stigma around miscarriage and infertility and they will change the world. I’m proud to be a bridge and connect women in a sisterhood that is rooted in our faith in God and faith in ourselves to push past grief to achieve their dreams and career goals.  I love coaching clients on their journey’s to motherhood and helping them bring a happy and healthy baby home from the hospital. This work continues to inspire me because of the messages I receive daily thanking me for giving black women a voice and a platform to share their stories. “

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African American Art Galleries and Museums to Support for Black Solidarity Day

As the anticipated International African American Museum gears up for a grand opening in 2020, we couldn’t help but find out what other black-centric museums and exhibits around the country are worth checking out right now.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most intriguing and thought-provoking exhibits, some by African American artists, but all of them about African American life for African American viewers, whether they’re art enthusiasts, art geeks, or just simply looking to learn something new.

Soul of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Brooklyn Museum

This exhibit takes viewers through the most political and revolutionary period of American history. The more than 150 artworks displayed throughout the exhibition aim to address the unjust conditions that African American artists faced from 1963 to 1983, a time of political and social revolution.

Find out more information, here.

Sept. 14, 2018-Feb. 3, 2019

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow, New York Historical Society Museum & Library

Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow explores the struggles African Americans faced for full citizenship and racial equality. It is organized chronologically from the end of the Civil War to the end of World War I and highlights how African Americans advocated for their rights during that time. The exhibit opened in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Find out more information, here.

Sept. 7, 2018-Mar. 3, 2019

Cotton: The Soft, Dangerous Beauty of the Past, African American Museum in Philadelphia

The exhibition features 35 large-scale photographs, as well as an installation and altarpiece by artist John E. Dowell, all aiming to “explore the dichotomy between the beauty of the plant and its inexorable link to the horrors of chattel slavery in the U.S.”

It also looks at the often overlooked history of slavery in the north.

Find out more information, here.

Sept. 15, 2018-Jan. 21, 2019

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture, National Museum of African American History & Culture at the Smithsonian

This special exhibition features the life of the media mogul, philanthropist, and actress and will also showcase her roles as a film producer; TV host, with her successful daytime talk show; and educator. Visitors will be able to explore Winfrey’s influence and the impact that she has on the world. The museum will feature artifacts from the very first Harpo Studios in Chicago and much more.

Find out more information, here.

June 2018-June 2019

AFreauX, Zucot Gallery

The exhibit features a group of African American artists who express their artwork through the gritty, colorful, and dynamic trends of the street art movements. In a press release on the exhibit, their collective artwork is described as, “a rebellious response” and a “departure from current trends,” speaking to the African American narrative and experience.

Find out more information, here.

Sept. 22, 2018-Nov. 16, 2018

Think: A Tribute to the Queen of Soul, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

With this exhibit, the Detroit museum plans to honor Aretha Franklin’s life and legacy. The exhibit will feature photographs— loaned by photographers to help honor the late Queen of Soul—showcasing her work and life.

Find out more information, here.

Sept. 25, 2018-Jan. 21, 2019

Facing the Rising Sun Freedman’s Cemetery and The Souls of Black Folk, African American Museum, Dallas

The two exhibitions, “Facing the Rising Sun Freedman’s Cemetery” and “The Souls of Black Folk,” present two views of African American art in life and art in Dallas, Texas.

Visitors will get the chance to see and hear from people who knew about Freedman’s town, later known as North Dallas, through interactive video, historical documents, objects, and photographs.

Over 500 objects are on display in “The Souls of Black Folk” courtesy of the Billy R. Allen Folk Art Collection.

Visitors can also check out a few other exhibits housed in the museum, including, “Genesis: African American Artists,” which shows the work of 36 local Dallas artists.

Find out more information, here.

On-going

International African American Museum, South Carolina

The highly anticipated museum is set to open in 2020. The IAAM will explore the deep-rooted history of African Americans, presenting untold and under-told experiences and contributions of African Americans. The museum has so far received a variety of donations from companies such as BMW, Viacom, and BB&T and a $10 million donation from the Lilly Endowment. This museum is definitely one to keep on your radar.

Find out more information, here.

Opening in 2020

The North Carolina Roots of Artist Ernie Barnes, North Carolina Museum of History

The exhibition will showcase many original paintings and artifacts of artist and Durham native, Ernie Barnes. Barnes was known for his exquisite and unique style. His iconic “Sugar Shack” painting was featured on the hit show, Good Times. The painting also appeared on the Marvin Gaye I Want You album cover. According to the museum, he is the first professional American athlete to become a noted painter.

Find out more information, here.

June 2018- March 2019

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Lexus Targets Younger, Urban Drivers with All-New 2019 UX

Lexus is expanding the idea of luxury to attract a younger demographic of drivers. The new 2019 UX is a compact crossover SUV built for motorists in their late 30’s to early 40’s who don’t want to trade in their urbane lifestyles for the suburbs or pay premium gas prices to drive a big, costly car.

It was designed for Xennials — those who fall on the cusp of Generation X and the Millennial generation, typically born in the late 70s to the early 80s — with the understanding that, for many in this market, the UX will be their first-ever Lexus and their first luxury vehicle.

Derived from the words “urban” and “X-over” (crossover), the UX is customized for drivers living in densely populated metro areas like Los Angeles and Chicago. The power control unit of the UX is more powerful than similarly-sized Lexus hybrids, yet it’s 20% smaller and 10% lighter. With a 177-inch length and best-in-segment 34-ft curb-to-curb turning diameter, drivers in urban environments will have the ability to make tight U-turns, parallel park, and maneuver through narrow city streets.

Lexus UX Nori Green (Courtesy of Lexus)

The UX also comes complete with high-tech elements made to support customers’ digital lifestyles. This includes a 10.25-inch display screen that is controlled by a laptop-like touchpad, along with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration. The Apple CarPlay feature gives drivers the ability to access Apple Music, Google maps, Waze, and Spotify once they connect their iPhone to the car through a USB cable. Drivers can also make phone calls and send and receive text messages through the multimedia display or with Siri. Plus, UX drivers will be able to lock and unlock their doors, start their engine, and check their fuel level, all from the convenience of using a smartwatch or Amazon Alexa-enabled or Google Assistant-enabled device.

“The Lexus UX is designed for the modern urban explorer seeking a fresh, contemporary and dynamic take on luxury driving,” said Chika Kako, the executive vice president of Lexus International and chief engineer of the UX, in a statement. “We designed the UX to appeal to young buyers who seek not only what is new and exciting, but what is also relevant to their lifestyles.”

Beginning in December, the UX 200 will be available for purchase with a starting suggested retail price of $32,000. In January, drivers will have the option to purchase the UX 250h, which will include all-wheel drive, increased power, and better fuel efficiency, for $2,000 more.

After giving the UX a test drive in downtown Seattle, Black Enterprise spoke with Michael Moore, the Lexus National Manager for Product Marketing, about the luxury SUV.

Lexus UX

Lexus UX Silver Lining Metallic (Courtesy of Lexus)

BE: What makes the 2019 Lexus UX unique?

It has a very bold design that is unique and different than anything else in its segment. It stands out. It also has a collection of features that make it quite special. The standard LSS, a safety system that is basically best in its class, the LED headlights, and best in class fuel economy. On top of that, there’s also a very engaging driving experience that the UX delivers.

BE: What makes the vehicle appealing to young, urban drivers?

It’s purpose-built for an urban environment. It has a compact size. It has surprising interior space considering its size, but because of the platform its built on and its packaging, it has a turning radius that is ideal in congested environments. For younger buyers in an urban environment, that is going to be very appealing. Having great fuel economy and being able to maneuver in very tight spaces makes it very compatible for an urban environment.

While the UX will certainly appeal to this younger demographic, we also see some people that are a bit older that are moving back to an urban environment, that were maybe in the suburbs raising kids and now they want to come back to the city. They’re ready to come back an urban environment – the UX may appeal to them as well.

BE: As a millennial driver, I found three particular features in the UX to be very appealing: the technology, the pricing, and the fact that the engine takes regular fuel, a rare feature for a luxury vehicle. Can you elaborate about each?

Gas mileage

Lexus has been a leader in hybrid technology for years. We were the first manufacturer to offer a luxury vehicle that was a hybrid, so we have generations of experience with hybrid technology and we’ve built upon that. A lot of that technology and advancement has really proven itself with the UX; we can actually deliver a vehicle that has best in class fuel economy, not just in its segment, but it has better fuel economy than any SUV on the market.

Pricing 

It has a really attractive price, starting at $32,000 for the gas model and $34,000 for the all-wheel-drive hybrid model. And then for the [Lexus] F SPORT, it’s just $2,000 on top of either the gas or the hybrid model. It has a really compelling value story relative to its competitive set.

Technology

The technology, we think, really speaks to this young consumer. CarPlay [and] Alexa are very seamless technologies that allow the owner to stay connected and perform tasks in a very easy simple way.

BE: While in Seattle, I had an opportunity to preview a UX video ad that underscores diversity. Why is it important for Lexus, as a brand, to celebrate diversity and inclusion?

For 23 years, I’ve been associated with the Lexus brand, either on the product development side, or on the advance planning side, or doing what I’m doing now on the marketing side. With my current role here in marketing, the work we do with Walter Isaacson, which is our diversity agency partner, and the way that we communicate to a multicultural audience is really important to us. It is our belief that you need to be a good partner in the communities where you do business. It’s more than just putting a TV ad on and selling a vehicle. It’s connecting with an audience and being part of that community. It’s something that I’ve been very proud of — not just on the work that I do, but being able to connect as a representative of the company to that audience. It’s not just important for me, it’s important to the company.

 


This interview was lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

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Republicans: We’re Committed to Using Black Business Vendors at 2020 RNC Convention

Annual political party conventions — whether for Republicans or Democrats — can be lucrative. That is why the stakes are potentially high for black-owned small businesses selected as vendors for the next Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Some local officials are hoping the 2020 RNC convention will bring an economic impact exceeding $100 million.

The RNC officially picked Charlotte, in July 2018, to host the four-day convention. John Lassiter, CEO of the Charlotte 2020 Host Committee, has told the media his group is “on track financially,” for reaching its goal to raise $70 million. The money will cover the convention’s projected cost of nearly $64 million and other emerging expenses. The committee aims to raise the funds by late 2019. The spending will be stretched over several categories, including $27.6 million for convention facilities; $8.4 million for event production, and $2.4 million each for office space and transportation services to name just a few. Yet, the big question is how many vendor contracts will be granted to local black entrepreneurs?

Charlotte NAACP President Corine Mack wants to ensure black businesses, specifically black women-owned businesses, have a seat at the vendor table. She believes at least 50% of the vendors should be people of color, with 30% of that group being black. Plus, Mack says the RNC should consider funding implicit bias and cultural proficiency training leading into and during the RNC. She said the training could help whites take a self-examination and realize their biases. “In making a decision to do better and be better, it allows us to build a bridge of understanding and inclusion,” Mack says.

Charlotte leaders have emphasized that they want to ensure minorities, women, and diverse groups are represented in providing goods and services. City Council  Member James Mitchell says Charlotte 2020 should aim to give 30% of vendor contracts to minorities and women,  Liberty Headlines reported. RNC officials told Black Enterprise Charlotte 2020 is committed to making sure black businesses are hired as vendors. But the committee also reported that it has not been determined what amount of vendor contracts will go to minority or women-owned firms, adding it is very early in the process.

“The Charlotte 2020 Host Committee is working to create a workforce and vendor opportunity strategy with a focus on local and regional spend, inclusivity, and diversity,” Lassiter says. “We want diverse residents and businesses, including black-owned businesses, to help showcase our community and realize the economic benefits of this major event. While it is too early to discuss specifics related to our vendor strategy, we are intentional with our efforts.”

Businesses interested in vendor opportunities should check for updates and sign up at www.charlottein2020.com. The name of those firms will go directly to the host committee for vendor consideration. “We have nearly two years to aggressively engage diverse talent and to collaborate across public, private and civic entities to make this a positive experience, one our community can be proud of,” Lassiter says.

Political conventions can be a hefty windfall for host cities in many ways. That could include providing them a robust financial economic gain, attracting more events, boosting tourism, and bringing international notoriety. The 2012 Democratic National Convention pulled in $163.6 million, a reportedly record high economic impact for a single Charlotte event. When the city of Cleveland, hosted the 2016 Republican National Convention, it generated an economic benefit of $188.4 million for Ohio’s largest city.

Vendors selected for the convention may be hired to provide a broad range of services that perhaps includes transportation, food, contracting and other assistance. The Charlotte area has a large roster of black businesses, including an estimated 13,000 African American-owned businesses, the Charlotte Post reported.

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25 Ways Sessions and His DOJ Terrorized Communities of Color: Report

Civil rights leaders opposed Jeff Sessions’ appointment as U.S. Attorney General from the moment he was nominated by President Donald Trump last year for several glaring reasons. The former Alabama senator has a problematic history of using racist language, suppressing the votes of black and brown people, and has even praised the Ku Klux Klan. Yet, the announcement of his forced resignation on Wednesday is bittersweet. On one hand, Sessions can no longer use his power as Attorney General to oppress people of color. But, on the other hand, his abrupt removal further empowers Trump to potentially sabotage Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference and reported collusion by the Trump campaign. Now that Sessions has been ousted, his acting replacement, Matthew Whitaker, who has voiced support to limit the investigation, will be in charge of the Department of Justice.

In a new scathing report, the Center of American Progress listed the policies and practices Sessions enacted to criminalize and terrorize communities of color during his short reign at the Justice Department. “After taking control of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), he pursued an aggressive and virulent policy agenda that sought to strip away every protection for people of color and other marginalized communities within the agency’s purview,” reads the report.

It goes on to list 25 ways Sessions and his DOJ hurt marginalized communities by assaulting civil rights, criminal justice, and immigration.

Civil Rights

  1. A fair and accurate U.S. census is essential for the equitable distribution of federal resources and full political representation. But as attorney general, Sessions sabotaged the 2020 census by helping Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross add a new question about immigration status. The Sessions DOJ attempted to justify this blatant effort to suppress census participation by citing its responsibility to protect against voter suppression in communities of color.
  1. Hate crimes and white nationalist extremism are a resurgent threat to communities of color. But instead of expanding resources to combat hate, Sessions asked Congress to eliminate the DOJ’s Community Relations Service, which is dedicated to addressing racial tensions and preventing hate crimes.
  1. Voter purges are a devious suppression tactic designed to keep people of color by the thousands from voting by targeting them for removal from lists of registered voters. Instead of defending American citizens’ fundamental right to vote, the Sessions DOJ urged the Supreme Court to greenlight harmful purges nationwide.
  1. Black transgender individuals face heightened levels of discrimination and a devastating 20 percent unemployment rate. But as attorney general, Sessions threatened to make matters worse by reversing Obama-era policies that sought to protect transgender workers from employment discrimination.
  1. While the national unemployment rate was less than 5 percent in 2017, it was more than 10 percent among Hispanics with disabilities and almost 14 percent among blacks with disabilities. Yet, in 2018, Sessions revoked critical employment protections for people with disabilities, finding that they were “unnecessary, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper.”
  1. Hate speech is a pervasive problem on college campuses, one that undermines access to higher education for students of color. But Sessions exploited his position as attorney general to criticize and make light of universities that seek to create inclusive, hate-free learning environments.
  1. Transgender students of color face tremendous barriers to education. But under then-Attorney General Sessions, the DOJ rescinded federal protections for transgender students in K-12 schools, denying them the ability to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity.
  1. Affirmative action plays a critical role in expanding access to higher education for students of color and in closing stark racial disparities in degree attainment. But under Sessions’ leadership, the DOJ consistently sought to undermine race-conscious admissions policies.

Criminal Justice

  1. African Americans or black Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to be arrested for drug possession, despite using and dealing drugs at comparable rates. As attorney general, Sessions rejected the data and ordered prosecutors to pursue the harshest drug sentences possible—without regard to an individual’s role in a drug conspiracy. Sessions also ordered prosecutors to pursue the death penalty in certain nonviolent drug trafficking cases. Black Americans already face 19 percent longer sentences for the same crimes as whites and are far more likely to receive the death penalty. This DOJ policy will only exacerbate racial disparities.
  1. In his role as attorney general, Sessions pushed prosecutors to crack down on marijuana possession in states where it is legal and lobbied legislators to reverse federal protections for medical marijuana. According to a recent CAP/GBA Strategies survey, more than two-thirds—68 percent—of voters support marijuana legalization, including a majority of Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and the three largest racial and ethnic groups.
  1. Police are almost four times more likely to use force against black people than against white people. Again rejecting the data, then-Attorney General Sessions eliminated training and supervision requirements for law enforcement seeking to obtain surplus weapons and equipment from federal agencies.

Click here to read the rest of the report, titled 25 Ways Sessions and His Justice Department Criminalized and Terrorized Communities of Color.

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Midterms Recap: The New Black Congress Members Joining the Battle Against Trump

In a midterm election cycle marked by tight races and brutal contests, the Democrats emerged victorious in key races, capturing the majority of the House. However, history was not made in high-profile, competitive races for the governor’s mansions as Andrew Gillum in Florida and Benjamin Jealous in Maryland lost their bids to become the first African American chief executives of those states.  In one of the biggest battles of the election season, Democrat Stacey Abrams refused to concede to her Republican opponent Brian Kemp in the gubernatorial race in Georgia due to the fact that the contest is still too close to call.

With an estimated votes approaching 3.8 million, Kemp was just shy of 51%, but Abrams and her campaign maintain that there were enough outstanding ballots – notably, those that were absentee and mail-in ballots in heavily Democratic metro Atlanta counties, — to bring him below the majority threshold required for victory. In that scenario, it could trigger a runoff between the two. Throughout the Georgia race, there were allegations of voter suppression leveled at Kemp, the Secretary of State who oversees voter registration regulations. However, two federal rulings last week allowed roughly 3,000 naturalized U.S. citizens to vote in Tuesday’s elections and in addition, the state has been prevented from tossing out absentee ballots placed on hold due to Georgia’s “exact-match” law stipulating that personal information on voter applications must correspond to state databases. With a significant turnout from African Americans throughout the state – including during early voting — Abrams received 93% of that vote.

With approximately 114 million votes cast in U.S. House races in 2018 versus 83 million in 2014, according to estimates by The New York Times, strong black voter turnout — along with women, Latinos, millennials and new voters — proved to be a significant factor in key Democratic victories Barack Obama, who crisscrossed the nation to campaigns for Democratic candidates vying for Congress and the statehouse released a statement today on the Midterms’ outcome: “The Democrats’ success in flipping the House of Representatives, several governorships, and state legislatures will get the most attention. But even more important than what we won is how we won; by competing in places we haven’t been competitive in a long time, and by electing record numbers of women and young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, a surge of minority candidates, and a host of outstanding young leaders. The more Americans vote, the more our elected leaders look like America.”

And Women’s March, an organization focused on empowerment, released this statement on the power of the female vote in terms of bringing greater diversity to political representation:

The #WomensWave that just took the House is flooding our country, electing the most diverse Congress in our nation’s history, and adding millions of formerly disenfranchised voters to the rolls. Candidates like Stacey Abrams inspired the nation. She continues to inspire, fighting for democracy and working to ensure that every single vote is counted. We elected the first two Muslim women to ever serve in Congress, Black women will make history representing Massachusetts and Connecticut, and two Latinas will make history representing Texas. And voters showed up to elect two Native women to Congress, a historic first that will help reshape the future for Indigenous people on a federal level.

The loss of the House represents a huge defeat for Donald Trump in which Democrats flipped seats in key districts in such states as Virginia, Florida, Texas, Colorado and Michigan, especially in urban and suburban areas.

The party fell short, however, in their takeover of the U.S. Senate, marked by a major loss in Texas: Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke was defeated in a nail-biting campaign to unseat Texas incumbent Ted Cruz, former GOP candidate for president in 2016. The Senate’s hold on red states like Indiana and Tennessee was largely due to the embrace of Trumpism – namely, supporting Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice and deriding the migrant caravan as a threat to national security. Democrat Mike Espy may still become the state’s first black U.S. Senator since Reconstruction though; Due to the fact that he and Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-White did not gain more than 50% of the vote in the special election, the two will face off in the Nov. 27 run-off.

By retaining control of the Senate, however, Trump can move forward on nomination and approval of federal judges and possibly Supreme Court justices, solidifying a conservative bench that can make rulings shaping a generation,

The African Americans Joining Congress

What does all of this mean? More partisan and ferocious political battles in a divided government. The Democrats control of the House will have a huge impact on the Trump, giving a branch of Congress oversight of an Administration that has operated unchecked. As such, Democrats will gain key chairmanships, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus like Rep. Maxine Waters and Rep. Elijah Cummings, who will take the reins of Financial Services and Oversight & Government Reform committees, respectively. With their renewed status, the Dems will most assuredly engage in investigations, use their subpoena power and very well pursue impeachment of the president if they gain an opening, possibly through the ongoing Mueller investigation.

African Americans joining the 116th Congress also plan to vigorously challenge Trump’s agenda. This group – a number of whom are young history makers and women – represent the pool of diverse candidates who beat establishment GOP politicians:

 

-Former Boston City Council Member Ayanna Pressley, 44, became the first African American Congresswoman in the state of Massachusetts. Now representing the 7th district – the only one in the state that’s composed of primarily minorities – Pressley paved her way to Congress with her Democratic primary victory over 10-term incumbent Michael Capuano, who has backed prominent black politicians like civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Massachusetts first black governor, Deval Patrick.

black congress, midterms

Ayanna Pressley

-Schoolteacher Jahana Hayes, 45, emerged victorious in her campaign to become the first African American woman to represent Connecticut, defeating Republican Manny Santos in the state’s hotly-contested 5th district.

black congress, midterms

Jahana Hayes

-One of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, Ilhan Omar, 35, will now assume the Minnesota seat previously held by Keith Ellison, the deputy Democratic National Committee Chair, who was elected the state’s Attorney General. Running on a platform that includes Medicare-for-all and free tuition, she handily won the seat. Rashida Tlaib was the other Muslim women who won in her bid for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District seat.

black congress, midterms

Ilhan Omar

-A former adviser to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and registered nurse who never held office, Lauren Underwood scored an upset victory by defeating four-term Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren to win a seat in Congress from Illinois’ 14th Congressional District. Gaining donors outside the state, she also beat Hultgren in raising campaign funds: $4 million to $2 million.

black congress, midterms

Lauren Underwood

After months of being attacked on his past career as a rapper, Antonio Delgado, 41, a Harvard-trained attorney and Rhodes scholar, campaigned in New York’s 19th District on expanding health care to win against GOP incumbent John Faso, who supported the Republican plan that discarded provisions for pre-existing conditions.

black congress, midterms

Antonio Delgado

-Former NFL player and civil rights attorney Colin Allred, 35, changed Texas’s 32nd District from blue to red by giving the Dems a major victory in a battleground state: Unseating GOP Rep. Pete Sessions, a 22-year congressional veteran and powerful chairman of the House Rules Committee.

black congress, midterms

Colin Allred

-Democrat Joe Neguse, an attorney and civic leader of Eritrean heritage, became the first black congressman from Colorado, when he defeated GOP challenger Peter Yu to represent the 2nd District that includes Boulder and Fort Collins. He won the seat vacated by Democrat Jared Polis, who was elected the first openly gay man to become governor in the nation.

black congress, midterms

Joe Neguse

-In the race for Nevada’s 4th District, Steve Horsford, 45, clinched his return engagement to Congress beating Republican Cresent Hardy. Horsford previously served as the district’s congressman from 2013 -2015, having lost his bid for a second term in 2014 and declined to run in 2016.

black congress, midterms

Steve Horsford

 

-The 29-year-old Bronx native and waitress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the first-time candidate who defeated Democrat Joe Crowley in the first primary challenge in 14 years. She is now the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress.

black congress, midterms

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Beyond those in congress, one who achieved a milestone in a statewide races vows to challenge Trump as well: Letitia James, now the first African American Attorney General for New York state, vows to use her position to investigate former real estate baron’s dealings.

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