Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

LizzLoves Soccer Without Borders in Nicaragua December 31, 2011

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Ladies, did you play sports as a kid? For me, there was no question about whether or not I COULD play sports, it was just a matter of which ones! I played soccer, softball and basketball from the time I was 4 years old. I also did ballet, tap and gymnastics. And my parents were equally supportive of both. Of course, it helped that in the community and society in which I was raised, little girls and women didn’t have to face obstacles to explore the world of competitive athletics. However, not everyone is that lucky.

 

Soccer Without Borders is an international nonprofit that works to empower youth with soccer as a catalyst. While they have outreach and camps in several countries, one of their efforts called to me in a special way: a girls team in Granada, Nicaragua. Through participation in the SWB program there, these Nicaraguan girls not only build self-esteem and develop a stay-in-school mentality, but they can also gain “points” they can exchange for school supplies, clothes and toiletries.

 

I was so inspired by these chicas, that I included them in my holiday giving by donating to their project through Global Giving. To watch a video of the girls and learn more, click here.

 

Before the new year hits…are you supporting girl power organizations with a donation this year?

 

For another inspiring Latin American soccer story, you should also check out “Dreamtown,” an unforgettable documentary (produced/directed by my talented friend Betty Bastidas) about 3 young Afro-Ecuadoran men who struggle to follow their dreams of finding success as soccer players.

 

 

LizzLoves Casa Atabex Ache May 16, 2011

Photo courtesy of Womens ENews

To women from the South Bronx and all across New York City, Casa Atabex Ache is a refuge, a lighthouse in the storm that sometimes rolls into their lives. But, now that funding is running out, many worry that their second home,  filled with caring sisters, will no longer be able to open the doors when they come knocking.

Casa Atabex Ache is named for the diverse community of women that it attracts (casa = Spanish for home, atabex = indigenous Taino word which represents goddess, ache = Nigerian word for power).  Since 1987, Casa has been providing a haven for women where they can share their voices, heal from trauma and find support and empowerment.

From holistic healing to workshops for teen mothers, Casa is a home-grown and loving source for building sisterhood and empowering youth to make wise life decisions. They work every day to enrich the physical, mental and spiritual health of women in their community.

Help Casa Atabex Ache continue to provide loving support to women in the South Bronx! Click here to donate.

 

LizzLoves REVEAL May 7, 2011

I have friends of many faiths and I believe in being open to others’ ways of worship, devotion and celebration. While I consider myself very inter-faith, I was raised Catholic and will always see that foundation as a gift and inspiration. So I see it as even more of a gift when my sister friends can find love, community and spirituality in their lives as well.

Today, women from all over New York City will come together for the annual REVEAL Conference, a inter-faith gathering to learn and share among a nurturing community of sisters. Cool things to expect:

  • enlightening speakers (including an amazing life coach Joanna Lindenbaum),
  • open dialogues about faith and feminism
  • motivational talks about financial freedom
  • living a healthy life
  • spiritual activism

So whether you are connected to Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, Ganesha, Yemaya or Buddha, you will find a open-minded spiritual sista’ to share your experience with at REVEAL. Enjoy!

How has your spirituality shaped the person you are? Tell me more in the comments section!

 

LizzLoves Prom Dress Giveaway March 3, 2011

I’m sitting here admiring two of my old dresses: a red bridesmaid dress from my best friend’s wedding 6 years ago and a formal black and gold one from a dance in college. I have great memories from both events, but I realize…I haven’t worn either dress since! So what good are they, just sadly hanging in my closet?

 

Do you have the same experience? Do you have a closet full of dresses that you only wore once and swear that you might use again sometime?

 

Well,  if you’re anything like me, you would love to find good use for them. So, I was ecstatic when I found out about the annual Prom Dress Giveaway being sponsored by Dominican Sunday, a community organization in New York City. Dominican Sunday has a special focus on Latino outreach in the Upper West Side.

 

Their Prom Dress Giveaway takes donations of new or gently used dresses (as well as shoes, accessories and cosmetics), and gives them to girls in their Senior year of high school who would otherwise not be able to afford dresses and accessories.

 

The first collection is this Saturday, March 5th. So, clean out your closets, ladies! Think about the magic your dress brought to you once and pass that on to a young woman who will surely be smiling in her prom photo, thanks to you.

 

Dresses can be dropped off at Dominican Sunday’s offices this Saturday at:

175 W. 107th St

NY, NY 10025

 

If you can’t make it there this weekend, contact Katherine at khiraldo[at]yahoo[dot]com (<-written that way to prevent spam, thanks!)

 

The drive ends the second week of April, so you still have time! I’m donating 4 dresses…how many do you have to give?

 

Tell me about the dresses you will be donating in my comment section here!

 

LizzLoves Carolyn Mazloomi February 25, 2011

Quilting is an American tradition with deep roots. While this art is commonly known for its patterns or rural themes, it is also known for its folk and cultural influences that capture the stories of many generations.

Carolyn Mazloomi, African-American master quilter and historian, uses her thread and needle to tell the stories of women everywhere. Her work—which has included Asian women, African tribal art, and Billy Holiday—has been featured all over the world, including the Smithsonian Museum. (*check out the quilt gallery on her site)

Not long after she devoted her life to her art, Carolyn was moved to unite African-American quilters everywhere. So, she founded the Women of Color Quilters Network in 1985, making an indelible mark on the African-American community and creating a sisterhood through art and expression. What began as a handful of quilters is now a group of thousands of women.

Carolyn Mazloomi and her “sisters in the cloth” give a gift to all people by helping to keep the dying art of American quilting alive. Her influence is a constant source of inspiration to African-American quilters everywhere, like the The Brown Sugar Stitchers based out of Atlanta, GA. (*Thanks for sharing, Aunt Pat!)

Watch PBS’s video about Carolyn Mazloomi here. Watch as she creates her quilt called “Rasta.”

*And share your comments of women in art with me here on my blog!*

photo courtesy of CarolynMazloomi.com

 

LizzLoves the Power of Youth January 9, 2011

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2011 is already treating you well…or at least given you some inspiration.

I had a beautiful dose of inspiration when my friend MB (thanks, mama!) sent me an incredible New York Times article from this weekend’s “Education Life” section.

The piece, “Five Do-Gooders,” featured 5 young people (college age or younger) who have found innovative solutions to problems in their communities and beyond.

Take, for example, Elizabeth Jane Handel, a book lover from Massachusetts who realized that women in prison aren’t able to share the joy of reading with their children as her mother was able to do with her. So, Elizabeth founded an organization called A Book From Mom, where brand new donated books go to prisons for incarcerated women to share with their kids. When their children visit, moms pick out a special book to read with them, and then they can take the book home as a gift and reminder of time with their moms.

And then there’s Dallas Jessup, a spunky athlete who came to understand the power of her martial arts expertise through an epiphany about safety. While she knew she could defend herself easily, she recognized that most women don’t possess the knowledge or training to fight back against sexual assault or attacks from strangers. So, Dallas, with the help of a professor from a local community college, shot a film called “Just Yell Fire” that teaches young women how to use self-defense when they are threatened.

Imagine??? These young women launched these initiatives before even entering college! I can’t wait to see what they will do next! Changing the world, one young woman at a time.

To read more about Elizabeth and Dallas (and 3 other up-and-comers) in the complete New York Times article, “Five D-Gooders.”

 

LizzLoves Holiday Giving December 23, 2010

One of my favorite things in the world is giving gifts. So, the holiday season is definitely my most favorite time of year. There’s something really beautiful about recognizing or honoring a special part of someone else and celebrating it through a gift. Some of the best gifts, I feel, are ones that nurture growth in someone.

In light of that, I’d like to take this post and dedicate it to several noteworthy organizations that encourage and inspire women and girls. You might want to consider them in your gift-giving this year—whether you decide to donate a few dollars, some of your time or just spread the word to your friends about the great work they do.

  • MADRE is a human rights organization that focuses on providing resources for women worldwide, including Afghanistan, Colombia and Palestine.
  • Girls Write Now pairs young women who are aspiring writers with seasoned novelists, journalists and songwriters for mentoring and workshops to help develop their writing skills.
  • FINCA uses microfinance to help women in developing countries fund their business ventures that will, in turn, improve their standard of living.

*As your gift to me, please send me other powerful organizations that you care about. Happy Holidays and thank you for reading!*


 

LizzLoves Black Girls Rock November 8, 2010

I almost forgot to tune into VH1 last night to see Black Girls Rock! Did you see it? If you didn’t, you missed out on a great show where black women and girls from all industries, backgrounds and walks of life were honored for their achievements and the message they pass on to their sisters everywhere.

(*Don’t worry: You can catch the encore broadcast tomorrow (Tuesday) night, on VH1 @ 8 PM, check your local listings)

The honorees included young women who have only just begun to shine but show promise for making indeliable marks on the future of women of color across the globe: One 17-year-old girl from Detroit runs a mobile dance company that encourages young women to stay active and healthy, while another college student has made environmental awareness her mission and even launched a conference that focuses on green initiatives.

Other honorees that you might recognize more easily are:

  • Actress/entrepreneur Raven Symone
  • Legendary actress/activist Ruby Dee
  • Motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant
  • Producer/musician Missy Elliott

 

 

Photo courtesy of BET.com

Another woman who deserves serious props is Beverly Bond, renowned DJ and founder of the original nonprofit organization, Black Girls Rock. Read more about her career and the birth of the organization in this Black Enterprise article.

So, tell me: who are the black women in YOUR life that rock? Share that love with your sistas and let me know! You may see them in a future LizzLoves post!

 

 

 

LizzLoves Natsuko Garcia October 6, 2010

I was perusing the WNYC Radio website yesterday when I came across their section “Know Your Neighbor” which featured the story of an amazing young Japanese woman in Brooklyn, NY named Natsuko Garcia. When Natsuko discovered that the children in her Japanese community in Bay Ridge didn’t have access to books in their native language, she decided to build that resource for them: in her one-bedroom apartment. Natsuko has opened her home-turned-library to little bookworms in her neighborhood. Watch the video for a tour of the homemade library and its pint-sized fans.

Thanks, Natsuko, for enriching our youth with culture and education!

 

LizzLoves…Lah Tere September 20, 2010

A few years back, I went to a show at S.O.B’s in New York City for a collection of performances by up and coming hip-hop groups. Having attended many of those types of events, I thought I knew what I was in for, but one group, Rebel Diaz, threw me for a loop.

These Latino MCs not only came correct with beats and vocals, but their bilingual lyrics spoke social justice and human rights. They were like a throwback to the days when all hip-hop had a message.

I love everyone in the crew, but I’ll admit to having a particularly soft spot for the one woman in the trio, Lah Tere (aka Teresita Ayala Nunez). If you’ve never heard or seen her perform, Lah Tere is like old-school Queen Latifah-meets-Mystic-meets-La India all rolled up into one. And like Laila Ali, her delivery packs a serious punch! Her lyrics are personal, yet universal at the same time. From the U.S. streets to the barrios and favelas of Latin America, her words reach out to all those who are oppressed and to those who are fighting for human rights worldwide.

While Lah Tere’s talent for clever & poetic lyrics combined with her lovely vocals on hooks could probably land her a sweet record deal, the rewards she seeks are not what you might think.

Instead of jewels, cars and cash, what enriches La Tere’s life is the ability to be successful as a social activist:  to bring positive messages of change to communities all over the world.

Also check out one of her ventures in girl power, Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen, a social justice community-organizing platform that educates and empowers women of color. LT co-founded the organization.

So, gracias, La Tere and Rebel Diaz, for educating the masses and fighting the good fight! Bendeciones!

Check out their latest release, “Libertad,” (video above) to get a taste of what Rebel Diaz brings to the hip-hop table…