#CulturalExchange: Short Interviews w/ Local Change Agents
Dr. Tamiara Wade is the President of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. – Metropolitan Baton Rouge Chapter
Urban Renewal: For those who are unfamiliar with you, who is Dr. Tamiara Wade and what are the principles you embody?
Tamiara Wade: Hailing from the Scotlandville and Glen Oaks community, I am a product of North Baton Rouge. I was born and reared in a community that many describe as high crime and poverty areas but despite cultural or media opposition, I have always been determined to defy the odds. My outlook is to never allow where you come from to determine where you can go. With this mentality, I viewed Southern University as my backyard opportunity, embracing it as an incubator that would ultimately help in preparing me for my pursuit of excellence – and prepare me it did. I am a passionate servant-leader, advocating on behalf of all individuals and specifically women and youth. I’m a community leader, actively engaged in efforts across the city to help others thrive and prosper. I believe that every bit helps and it’s important to be one of the moving trains that’s focused on eliminating barriers and increasing hope. Create Hope and Nurture Generation Excellence (CHaNGE) is the name of an informal community effort that I launched years ago as I began to explore ways to positively impact those in need. I believe that one’s will starts in the heart and no matter the surroundings, it is a personal responsibility to form a growth mindset coupled with hard work that cultivates a Will to Win, the partial title of my first penned book. No matter where life’s journey takes me, I am committed to being involved, helping to expose women, families and children to resources and opportunities for progression. One of my most privileged responsibilities is enjoying family, but especially stepping up to serve in a more hands-on role with my seven year old God-Daughter Londyn, who suffered the lost of both parents in 2017. I am the 2nd of three daughters born to Walter and Ruthie Jackson.
UR: You are the second president of the still relatively new Baton Rouge chapter of 100 Black Women. What are your leadership objectives for the organization? What would you like your legacy to be considered at the end of your tenure?
TW: Since chartering on November 5, 2016, I’ve witnessed the desire and efforts of our coalition sisters to positively impact black women and girls across our city and parish. As the current president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. – Metropolitan Baton Rouge Chapter, I am committed to leading our local chapter in being a united voice for the more than 20 million black women in the United States. It’s critical that we become aware of the new economic and social realities that continue to emerge. Using this platform as a leadership forum, the plan is to help elevate the quality of life for black women and girls in transition within our community. As an organization of career (professional and volunteer) women, I hope to encourage the coalition sisters to draw upon the strength of our membership to work toward solutions on issues of concern to the contemporary black woman. Using this platform as a network, we will serve as a vehicle of communication among black women for their own personal and professional development. And as an advocacy group, we will collectively seek the political and economic empowerment of black women as a means of gaining access to mainstream America. In a nutshell, I seek to complement the mission of the national organization in serving as the eyes, ears and voice for issues affecting black women and girls, especially in the areas of health, education and economic empowerment. It’s equally important that as president, I help to position the organization to complement the strong heritage of existing black organizations in the community that share similar goals.
At the end of my tenure, I hope to have inspired and impacted with my coalition sisters, hundreds if not thousands of women and girls to collectively commit to always having a Will to Win, believing in their ability to intentionally and profoundly impact in a manner that they are able to thrive and in the words of Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, live in a community of peace, progress and prosperity.
UR: In what specific ways do you wish for 100 Black Women Baton Rouge to advance the quality of life for Black girls and women in the city?
TW: It’s important that the 100 Black Women of Baton Rouge create opportunities around health, education and economic empowerment as an organization but also in alliance and association with existing organizational entities that complement our mission. For our local advocacy programming efforts, the goals are as follows: 1) Health: to host forums that promote preventive health strategy, community health fairs, health screenings and education that raise awareness about illnesses that disproportionately affect the African-American community such as HIV/AIDS, obesity, hypertension, diabetes and breast cancer; 2) Education: to offer workshops that address educational needs of youths, support services that help youth achieve their educational goals, raise awareness of various scholarship programs or provide information about resources in the community available for education and mentoring; and 3) Economic Empowerment: to provide workshops on financial literacy, family wealth building, entrepreneurship, workshops and seminars that promote economic self-sufficiency.
UR: What are some upcoming initiatives that you are excited about being involved in either individually or as a part of the 100’s work?
TW: One of the upcoming initiatives that I’m extremely excited about is our BR GROW GIRLS! systemic mentoring initiative. As a relatively new chapter, this will be our first comprehensive mentoring program that we will roll out in early 2019. As a former NASA Learning Expert in STEM education, I am always excited to implement and execute programs designed to prepare and promote our youth. This initiative aims to identify girls in grades first thru eighth that are not involved with other mentoring efforts. We will have eight Saturday sessions that focus on a range of topics to include but may not be limited to: conflict mediation and resolution, leadership and life skills, peer to parent communication, financial literacy, decision making, self-esteem and body image, bullying and team building.
Another exciting opportunity on the horizon is our “Living the STEM Life” mentoring camp educating girls on awareness, careers and engagement activities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
UR: In what ways do you see your work assisting in transformation for urban communities in Baton Rouge?
TW: Ryunosuke Satoro’s quote, “Individually, we are one drop but together we are an ocean” serve to remind us of the strength that results from intentional collaboration and execution. The 100 Black Women of Baton Rouge although new to our community desire to hit the ground running and becoming another moving train focused on the ultimate progression of black women and girls. Through self-developed initiatives, partners or alliances, we stand ready to have a profound impact in our city and our parish.
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