The Power of A Dress: The Believe In Yourself Project

“A great dress can make you remember what is beautiful about life.”-Rachel Roy

A whisper of chiffon. The caress of silk. Slipping on the right dress can make you feel pretty. Special. Empowered.

Just look what it did for Cinderella.

On January 31st, a group of special girls in Washington, DC got to experience a little magic of their own when they received dresses for a father daughter dance. Sam Sisakhti, founder of the world’s largest Independent Fashion ecommerce site, U.S. Trendy, created the Believe in Yourself project to help empower young women. The non profit provides new designer dresses to girls for school functions so that they can feel confident–regardless of physical or financial limitations.

After donating dresses in sample sizes anonymously around Boston, Massachusetts for months, Sisakhti knew he had to do more–so he started The Believe In Yourself Project, sharing beautiful dresses with girls around the city. “One girl said it was the nicest dress she’d ever owned,” he says of the first donation event. “Another said she’d wear it to the school dance. It was very moving. It was a powerful experience … This kind of was a launching pad that made me think I should do it more often.”

Since starting in 2016, Believe in Yourself has donated dresses to girls in community centers, after-school programs, and low-income housing centers in Boston, Massachusetts; Bangor, Maine; and now, Washington DC. The Believe in Yourself mission is to promote a positive body image and healthy self esteem. By starting at an early age, the organization hopes to empower girls to feel good about themselves and take an active role in their schools and communities with the guiding belief that “all women are beautiful and…all girls should feel confident and good about themselves. Finances or body insecurities should never stand in the way.”

Sisakhti says he was inspired to make a difference after seeing girls get bullied online. “Over the past few years, I have grown increasingly concerned with the cyber bullying and body shaming that I have seen online. At the same time, I realized the enormous social pressure that many young girls feel to try to be hip and socially cool by wearing clothing that is seen as stylish. Many girls are unable to afford these fashions and can often feel ashamed socially.”

He hopes to expand the Believe In Yourself Project and include women to mentor and empower girls across the country. By speaking about their own struggles with body acceptance, these women can inspire the next generation of leaders.

Donate to The Believe In Yourself Project–with your funds, your time, and your voice. Learn more about the organization and their work at believeinyourself.org.

Harvard Law Review Elects Its First Black Woman President

It takes time for people to accept change–and at the Harvard Law Review, it’s taken 130 years.

ImeIme Umana, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, was elected president of the prestigious law journal on January 29th. “It still feels like magic that I’m here,” she said in an interview.

The 24 year old Harvard College grad (she majored in government and African-American studies!) was selected after a rigorous two day process that included the evaluation of a portfolio of her work, a written questionnaire, questions at a candidate forum, and a writing exercise. “I think our team saw in her what so many people have seen in her for so long,” said Michael L. Zuckerman, the review’s most recent president. “…she’s a brilliant person, an unbelievably dedicated worker and an exceptionally caring leader.”

Though she’s earned a position many have strived for, her mission is to serve–especially the people who look like her. After a summer internship, she decided to become a public defender. “A lot of the clients I worked with that summer and since have looked a lot like me,” she said. “They are disproportionately represented on the unfortunate end of the legal system, so it struck a little closer to home.” After graduation, she’ll become a clark at the United States Court of Appeals.

Umana hopes her role as president will help propel other women of color. She plans to hire a diverse staff, with writers and editors from all backgrounds, and she’s aware of the magnitude of her position. “I can’t help but think of the multitude of young black women who will never be anywhere near such an amount of privilege,” she said. “I’m especially humbled to serve as the first black woman president of the law review because of them.”

Elect Black Girl Magic!

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You already know Black girls are magic–but did you know that we hold the key to the election, too?

Gabriel Hackett /Getty Images
Gabriel Hackett /Getty Images

While you may feel like our current election is between the lesser of two evils, it’s still important to contribute your voice–and for good reason. The political power of African American women is undeniable. In 2008, over 90 percent of African American women voted for Barack Obama, and in 2012, we voted more than any other group.

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ncbcp.org

“The reason why Black women made the difference is because we bring our entire household to the polls with us,” said Carmen Berkley, director of Civil, Human and Woman’s Rights, AFL-CIO. “…Black women have the opportunity once again to shift the electorate by using their power to register, educate and turn out other Black folks to vote. When we engage our families in political discourse, we’re able to shift opinions, hearts, minds and votes. Whether it’s at the hair salon, grocery store, Bible study or brunch we must utilize our Black girl magic for social change.”

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gannett-cdn.com

You can make the difference this election. When you vote, you raise your voice about the issues that matter most to our community–affordable healthcare, criminal justice reform, decent jobs, and college affordability.

“Black women are born organizers,” said Petee Talley, secretary-treasurer of the Ohio AFL-CIO, the first black woman to hold the position. “We know what our families and communities need to thrive, and we vote for candidates who can deliver.”

This Election Day, make sure you vote for a candidate you believe can deliver.

“Black women cannot afford to sit this election out,” says Berkley.

Sisterhued Falls Into Fitness!

Admit it. You made a resolution back in January to exercise more. To eat healthier. To try kale.

And then life came along. Before you knew it, it was October, and all of your health and wellness goals were gone, along with the warm weather.

Sisterhued kicked off the season with a renewal of health, wellness and self-care by helping women Fall Into Fitness!

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Guests got started on a journey to the best, healthiest version of themselves with our interactive dance workshop and panel discussion at Fit 4 Dance in Brooklyn, NY.

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To help us all finish 2016 strong and jump start our health, wellness, nutrition and self care goals for next year, we snacked on a brunch of healthy goodies, including GoGo Squeez yogurt, Mama Chia bars and granola, kale crackers and chips from Raw Food Central, 22 Days Nutrition bars, and seasonal cupcakes by Out of the Box Creations.  Refreshing organic beverages from Suja Juice and bottled artesian water from Fiji kept us hydrated throughout the day.

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Over kale chips, yogurt, and snack bars, women got real about their health and fitness goals for the season.

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Did you know that 43.8 million women are currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease? Heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension affect communities of color at higher rates than any other ethnic group. Because Sisterhued is committed to improving the lives of women by educating them on ways to improve their lifestyle and overall health, our panel discussion featured tips for improving health and wellness.

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Accupuncturist Damien McLeod, dance enthusiast and Fit 4 Dance owner Laci Chisolm, Holistic Healthy Living Coach Golda Smith, and Sisterhued’s own O Magazine cover model, Shaniqua Garvin, shared inspiration for living a healthier, more holistic lifestyle.

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With a fluid mix of North African Belly dance and Afro- Caribbean movement, Fit 4 Dance’s Maya Louisa got everyone moving. Her hip shaking belly dancehall class finished off our full day of health, wellness, and nutrition–and was the highlight of our event coverage on Brooklyn’s News 12 (Click here to see Sisterhued on TV)!

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Our guests went home with products from Arnicare gel from Boiron, Amped Hydrate electrolyte powder, Shakelee meal replacement bars, vegan cookies from Pipernilli, chocolate bars from22 Days Nutrition, Mama Chia snacks, and Fiji water.

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Thank you to all of the sisters who joined us at Fall Into Fitness! We can’t wait to see you at our next event. Sign up for the Sisterhued mailing list, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @Sisterhued to get more info!

Join us for “Fall Into Fitness”

A Fitness and wellness event

Ok folks the fall is just around the corner can you believe that? It’s hard to tell when we have been enjoying record high temperatures everyday. Although before you know it our coats will be pulled out the closet and our bodies will be covered up for the next 7 months at least. So now is the perfect time to begin a new fitness routine. Then when warm months come back around you will be rocking your own version of a Teyana Taylor body. Don’t wait lets get going on this fitness journey together. Get your mind and bodies right at our Fall Into Fitness event on October 9th, from 12:00-2:00pm.

Fall Into Fitness

Your experience includes a “Belly Dancehall” class, a wellness panel about staying fit and refreshments. Our very own Shaniqua Garvin who was just on the cover of Oprah magazine will be sharing how she lost 50lbs and counting. Everyone attending Fall Into Fitness will receive a special swag bag of goodies. We will also have giveaways you can enter but you have to be present to attend! Get your early bird registration ticket while supplies last. Hope you see you there.

Get Your Tickets For The Fall Into Fitness Event 

Sisters Shine at Summer Sizzle!

*All photo credits @2OneNine_Photos

To celebrate the last of summer’s warm temperatures, Sisterhued, NYC bloggers, and a few sisterfriends gathered in the city for a Summer Sizzle Happy Hour.

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Over tropical drinks at Donnybrook NYC, women came out to talk about vacations, weekend plans, and business. The event kicked off with introductions and information about Sisterhued, the collective bringing color to brands.

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Business cards–and hugs–were exchanged as sisters mixed and mingled. Sisterhued co-founder Shaniqua shared inspiration about following your dreams (and how she ended up on the cover of O magazine!) over a discussion about vision boards. 

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Light bites from Thelma on Clinton accompanied the conversation. Guests sampled the apple baked brie and chicken liver mousse while talking about the summer fun and succeeding in business.

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Laughter and positivity were also on the menu!

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Each woman who came left with love, light, and added contacts in her phone!

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Thank you to all of the sisters who joined us for our summer send off! We can’t wait to see you at our next event. Sign up for the Sisterhued mailing list, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @Sisterhued to get more info!

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-Sisterhued Tiff