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To each her own
By Evelyn M. Bingham
    Financial independence for women, is a subject dear to my heart. Each woman must gain, maintain and cherish her independence, and become savvy in the management of her money. By manage, I don’t mean tracking or hand carrying, or ATMing it from its source, straight to the beauty parlor, department store, boutique, restaurant, theatre etc., with perhaps a brief trip to the supermarket. Take care of your in-come, for it’s a guarantee that the out-go will take care of itself!
    Money management is knowing the source and amount of your finances, it is having a savings and checking account, understanding bank charges, taxes, about credit and debit cards and their wise use. It is in understanding and knowing the sources of investing and savings funds, and providing for your retirement. There are many companies and individuals available to assist you with your financial planning. Find someone in whom you can trust and have rapport with, and who will teach and guide you through the process and steps of learning, without making you feel totally mindless and inadequate.  
  Whatever your source of finances, whether you are self employed, in the work force, receive social security, an allowance, allotment or stipend, or are retired, each of us needs the feeling of independence, even though it may not be actualized at the moment. Work on it, because without it, your sense of pride, dignity and self worth is greatly threatened. It is a gravely demoralizing feeling to not have your own! You may have heard the saying from years ago, and it still rings true, “Mama may have, Papa may have, but God bless the child that’s got its own”! Many times it is not how much money we have, but how we manage and budget what we do have.
   Having and managing your own money, makes you stand a little straighter, move a little more gracefully, feel a little prettier, feel a little happier and speak more confidently. It causes the best that is within you, to want to extend beyond itself. It makes you want to help others to get, maintain and enjoy the fruits of their labors.
    A woman who has and who manages her money wisely, commands respect. She is respected by herself, her spouse or significant other, her children and her family and friends, and the world in general. She can be a mentor and model of what a woman of determination can be or attain. She should always be in a learning mode of self education.
    Each of us, as women, should take every opportunity available to instruct the young girls and women with whom we are in contract with, that education is the key to a future of financial independence, and the tool to be used in the accomplishment of their dreams!

Before the streetlights came on
By Evangelist Barbara Colbert
     I am of the baby boomer generation. Born during the time that Father knew Best, Desi loved Lucy, and things were left up to Beaver. Children were to be seen and not heard, anyone older than 21 had to be called “Mr” or “Miss” somebody, and if you were a kid, you had to be home before the streetlights came on. Yet, there was an underlying rumble in the forest, rapidly evolving into an earthquake throughout the land.
     Revolution took the nation by force. In the blink of an eye, Black America decided that all that glittered really was not at all gold. The Father that knew Best, didn’t exist in the households of most Black Americans. Though Desi loved Lucy, it was a dream unattainable to the desperate young black girl, looking for love in all the wrong places. And the things that were left to the “Beaver” of Black America, fell upon the shoulders of the motherless child, abandoned and forgotten, their youth consumed by burdens much too heavy.
     That which was seriously socially dysfunctional and racially inequitable surfaced, and life became a lot more complicated. Black and white contrasted like night and day. Where the nation had rested comfortably in its racial oppression, it was now a situation to be confronted, condemned and exterminated on every front. We wanted more for ourselves and for our children. We wanted to be among those worthy of lucrative employment and higher education, privy to neighborhoods and associations from which we had been barred because of the color of our skin. We demanded restitution for the rivers of blood that was shed by the lash of the overseer’s whip. We claimed restoration of the dignity and identity of which we were robbed when our ancestors were herded from the motherland bound with fetters of iron, stripped of their heritage and parceled off in the marketplace, valued less than cattle. There was a debt to be paid and we vowed to see it fulfilled, no longer to be stereotyped as lower class citizens, or kept in our proverbial “place.”
     Civil rights came thundering in, moving mountains, closing valleys, opening doors and closing doors. The nation was put on notice that Black America wanted equal rights and was willing to die for it; and many did. There were marches and sit-ins. Tear gas and bully clubs. Rioting and national guard intervention. Dr. King pledged that “ We Shall Overcome . . .” while Malcolm, Huey, Bobby and Angela waged war shaking angry fists, posturing with unrelenting force. Bob Marley sang of “Exodus - Movement of the People.” Gil Scott Heron warned that “The Revolution will not be Televised.” People across the nation joined in, expressing the struggle in their own personal way. We washed our hair and left it natural. We walked defiant and stood unmovable. A people united by one cause; In your face America, we are: Black and Proud.
     So many years later, it may seem to those of us who were there, that we’ve somewhat lost our way. But not really. The wars that were waged in the revolutionary 60’s were for that time and that season. They paved the way for us to be where we are today, good or sadly, even bad. While it may not all be perfect, as the hearts of man are reluctant to change, it is a struggle well worth tribute and recognition, engraved in the history of humanity. So let us consider ourselves truly blessed, always remembering in our hearts the struggles of yesterday, before the streetlights came on.