By Sara Lomax-Reese | WURD Radio
WURD Radio hosted its annual Empowerment Experience on Friday, Dec. 17. This year’s theme was “The Power, Purpose and Possibility of Black Women: Conversations on Healing and Wholeness.” Each program featured powerful Black women’s voices sharing insights, wisdom and information to help us navigate these turbulent times. Every hour we included “WURDs of Empowerment,” inspirational poems, quotes and messages from Philadelphia-area Black women. Our goal was to amplify Black women’s voices throughout the day to provide tips and strategies for taking care of our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.
WURD kicked off the Empowerment Experience with a keynote conversation with Dr. Robin Smith, a psychologist, author and motivational speaker who spoke powerfully and with deep clarity about how we take care of ourselves – fiercely, fearlessly and unapologetically. Our conversation touched on generational trauma, cultivating self-compassion and living your own authentic truth. One of her profound takeaways: Don’t compare your life with anyone else’s. “Don’t chase a fantasy and make it into something that it’s not.”
This conversation was followed by two panel discussions focused on healing and wholeness. The first panel, “Healing Mind and Body in a Time of Hurt,” featured Dr. Carol Penn, an expert in mind-body medicine; Dr. Helena Fontes, CEO of NewView Institute; and Dr. Marquita Williams, psychologist and senior advisor for public engagement at Community Behavioral Health in Philadelphia. They shared their personal practices for cultivating peace, balance and gratitude especially during this holiday season.
Next, Andrea Lawful-Sanders, host of “The Source,” moderated a panel titled “Women’s Wellness: Healing Ourselves, Healing the Village.” It featured four women health care experts:
- La’Tasha D. Mayes, Founder/ President & CEO, New Voices for Reproductive Justice
- Dr. Seun Ross, Executive Director of Health Equity at Independence Blue Cross
- Dr. Anuli Mkparu, Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Sunnyvale Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Center
- Marianne A. Fray, CEO, Maternity Care Coalition
Their wide-ranging conversation explored the politics of women’s health, the connection between COVID-19 and a woman’s right to choose and the persistent health disparities that leave Black women and Black people overall at risk for increased disease and death. Most importantly they shared strategies for making sure we get the care we deserve and need.
Closing the Empowerment Experience was a roundtable with “The New Women of WURD,” where we introduced some of the new voices that will join WURD’s lineup in 2022. We kicked off the conversation sharing Tiffany Bacon’s new, expanded role with WURD. While she has been the host of “The Source” on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. since early 2021, she is now WURD’s Program and News Director. She shared her vision for WURD’s future programming, including two new and exciting shows that were introduced during the panel. Food historian Tonya Hopkins, known as the “Food Griot,” and songstress Carol Riddick both will be hosting new shows in 2022. As host of “Savory and Sweet” on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hopkins will explore the complex and often overlooked history of Black food and culture. Riddick will co-host a new relationship show with Donavan West called “Love and Life.” Both “Savory and Sweet” and “Love and Life” will debut on Jan. 2, 2022.
We are grateful for everyone who contributed to the 2021 WURD Empowerment Experience: the hosts, guests and sponsors. If you missed any or all of it, you can listen to all the panels below. It will hopefully provide you with food for thought and nourishment for body, mind and spirit.
Throughout the Empowerment Experience, our panelists shared resources for living with joy and purpose:
Dr. Marquita Williams offered a way to find calm in the midst of chaos. She called it STOPP:
- Stand still
- Take a breath
- Open your mind and your heart
Other resources from Dr. Williams:
Resources from Rev. Dr. Helena Fontes:
- “The African Woman” by Oriaku Nwosu
- “Balm for Gilead” by Toinette M. Eugene & James Newton Poling
- “Salvation: Black People and Love” by bell hooks
- “Institutions: Hiding Behind the Lipstick, Silenced No More!” by Dr. Helena Fontes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ducqGZsGdlg
See the full Empowerment Experience 2021 Playlist below!
And if you missed our Words of Empowerment clips from powerful women in our society – you can check them out here:
WURD Radio’s 2021 Empowerment Experience was sponsored by PECO, Comcast, Keystone First, Temple University, Einstein, PA Lottery, Spectrum Health, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Independence Blue Cross and Envision 2 B Well and supported by the Racial Equity in Journalism (REJ) Fund at Borealis Philanthropy.
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