Mississippi’s Asya Branch Wins Miss USA 2020
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Miss USA pageant winner Asya Branch smilign with sash on and clasping hands

Better late than never! Months after the competition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Miss Mississippi USA Asya Branch has been crowned Miss USA 2020.

Branch, 22, was awarded the coveted title on Monday in a competition that aired live from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. She was crowned by her predecessor, Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst.

Placing second runner-up was Miss Oklahoma USA Mariah Jane Davis, and just ahead of her was first runner-up, Miss Idaho USA Kim Layne.

Branch was the first African American to be named Miss Mississippi USA and comes from Booneville.

Prior to her win on Monday night, Branch shared her take on gun laws in her final statement.

“We should require people to pass training and safety classes” before attaining guns, she said.

This year’s winner was chosen by a selection committee that included Fox Nation host Abby Hornacek, entrepreneur Gloria Mayfield Banks, sports reporter and Miss USA 1999 Kimberly Pressler, businesswoman Susan Yara, Miss USA 2000 Lynnette Cole and Carolyn Aronson, CEO of It’s a 10 Haircare and Be A 10 Cosmetics.

The night’s festivities — which were originally slated for spring, but got postponed due to COVID-19 — were hosted by sports reporter and Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce and American Ninja Warrior co-host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, a former professional football player.

The competition also included a virtual performance by American Idol alum Haley Reinhart.

With the crown now sitting pretty atop her head, Branch will move to New York City to represent the Miss USA brand and various philanthropic organizations, just as Kryst did before her.

“Being Miss USA has afforded me the opportunity to be an advocate for issues that deserve attention, including criminal justice reform and racial inequality,” Kryst said in a statement. “I am proud to continue the legacy of national titleholders who speak up and encourage change, and I look forward to supporting the next Miss USA and Miss Teen USA in doing the same.”

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Photo Credit: People

Free Zoom alternative: Microsoft Teams lets 300 users video chat for 24 hours
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Laptop webcam screen view multiethnic families contacting distantly by videoconference. Living abroad four diverse friends making video call enjoy communication, virtual interaction modern app concept

This year has been a huge year for Zoom, as families and friends around the world have turned to the video chat service to stay in touch during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft Teams just barreled into the room to make Zoom look a little silly by comparison.

According to The Verge, Microsoft’s primarily business-focused video call app is getting a free tier with a 24-hour time limit on calls just in time for the holidays.

As many as 300 people can jam into one room, with a gallery view that can display up to 49 of them on one screen. (Zoom has a max of 100 participants for Basic and Pro users.) There’s also a feature called Together Mode that will arrange everyone’s video feeds so it looks like they’re sitting together in a theater or coffee shop. If your family is that big, feel free to go nuts with Microsoft Teams — and good luck following the conversation.

Calls can be started and joined from a web browser so you don’t need to download an app. Whoever starts the call will need a Microsoft account, which you should have on hand if you’ve ever used Office or an Xbox but is pretty easy to set up if you haven’t. Crucially, folks who don’t have Microsoft accounts can join calls.

Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article.

Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress and Staying Mindful While Traveling
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Author Katie Sandler pictured sitting casually with legs crossed smiling

The holiday season is typically the busiest time of the year for traveling. People enjoy going to see family members or exploring new locations as they have time off from their jobs and schoolwork.

This year, traveling may come with a bit more stress and anxiety due to the pandemic that people are facing around the world. The good news is that there are some things you can do to help reduce the holiday stress, as well stay safer while traveling.

“There may be fewer people traveling this holiday season, but there will still be a lot who do, and they need to know how to make it more enjoyable,” explains Katie Sandler, personal development and career coach. “Mindful travel is the key to reducing stress, staying safer, and making the most of your time traveling. This year will be a great exercise in mindfulness, which is something to be excited about.”

As an expert at using mindfulness, Sandler helps people not only reduce their stress, but to also reach new goals. The key to traveling safely during the pandemic, as she points out, is in using the technique throughout the experience. By remaining mindful, travelers will go about their experience in a way that is conscientious and intentional. Just as many things in life, this is an issue that comes down to learning to be more focused and plan ahead.

Sandler has created a recipe for mindful safe travel in the era of COVID, which includes the following tips:

• Forget being spontaneous. This is not the time to be spontaneous. In order to help reduce risks and stress. Figure everything out ahead of time. Know about everything before you go do it. This goes for restaurants, excursions, and even visiting others. Call ahead so you can plan out as much as possible.
• Know the rules and regulations. The rules today differ by city and state, so it’s important to know what they are for where you are heading. Get the information you need so that you are prepared. Whether it means all meals will be takeout, you will have to wear a mask, or you need limit the number in your party, avoiding surprises will help keep things stress-free.
• Get tested before you go. Getting a COVID test before you travel is a good way to help reduce stress and the spread of the virus. This way you will know that you are not unknowingly spreading it around wherever you may go.
• Create a checklist to use. A checklist is a great way to ease the hassle of ensuring you have everything covered. Make a list of what needs to be packed, calls that need to be made, things that must be done before heading out, etc. This will prove much easier than trying to simply remember everything.
• Make reservations wherever possible. This is a great time to make reservations for everything possible. Whether it’s at a restaurant, a tour company, or something else, this is a great way to help them limit the number of guests allowed in any one place at the same time.
• Be kind and patient. People you come across while you are traveling are doing things differently, too, and it may cause them to be stressed out and provide slower service. Take that time to remind yourself to be in the here and now, and focus on being kind and patient.

“The holidays are a special time, and most of us still want to travel,” added Sandler. “While we shouldn’t live in constant fear of the virus, we should strive to keep being keenly aware of the situation and our surroundings. When we do that, we will reduce the stress and anxiety, help to keep everyone healthier, and still be able to enjoy life, even more than when we travel without being so focused.”

Through her personal development and career coaching services, Sandler has helped people in many different ways. From helping them to identify things holding themselves back to being able to achieve personal goals, she brings a crucial, helpful outsider’s perspective. In addition to personal achievements, she helps many people with their career goals, as well as working with companies to provide their team with impact training. Through her efforts, companies have been able to reduce absenteeism rates, motivate their team, reduce stress levels, engage their employees, and create a better workplace.

Sandler offers impact retreats, corporate impact events, and one-on-one coaching services. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in mental health counseling, has a strong foundation in mindfulness-based stress reduction, and has worked in hospitals and private practices. She has also spent time as a research assistant at Johns Hopkins. Upcoming retreats include Reignite in Tulum, Mindfulness in Mykonos, Rewire and Renew in The French Alps, and Mindfulness & Mindset in The Hamptons. To learn more about Katie Sandler and her services, or to see the retreat schedule, visit the site: https://katiesandler.com/.

About Katie Sandler
Katie Sandler is a popular impact and private wellness coach. She offers retreats around the world, as well as private coaching and corporate impact coaching opportunities. She focuses on helping people become more successful, overcome adversity, and reach new career goals. To learn more about Katie or her services, visit the site: https://katiesandler.com/.

Political climate have you stressed? Do these five things now!
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Katie Sandler professional picture seated with one leg up and hand around knee smiling

The American Psychological Association takes a monthly pulse of the country in its “Stress in America” poll, and it’s finding that people are stressed and feeling anxious.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has conducted research and found that not only do Americans report that politics have harmed their physical or mental health, but it has also resulted in emotional costs, including lost friendships. There is no better time than the present to take action to curb the stress and fear. It’s just a matter of knowing how to do it, which is something that Katie Sandler excels in.

“Life throws a lot our way, including presidential debates, political rifts within families, fender benders, difficult dynamics with your boss/employees, migraines, and more,” explains Katie Sandler, personal development and career coach. “We cannot control all of those things that may come our way, but we can do things to protect ourselves by paying more attention to how we react to them.”

Sandler has helped many people who experience such issues as stress and anxiety, among other things. She focuses on a psychology technique referred to as positive reframing, which can help to completely shift your mindset. It’s a technique that anyone can do and have success with. It starts with small choices that you stack up throughout the day, and they ultimately make a world of difference.

Charles Swindoll once said that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it. If we remember that and gain control over how we react to stressors, we can have a better experience in which we feel less stress and anxiety. Here are five things to do to respond, rather than react, to life and its stressors:

  • Practice gratitude. Have gratitude for the day. Whether it’s a day off, a difficult workday, a time to socialize or to get your chores done, take time to practice gratitude no matter what the day holds. Times are shifting like crazy, and we don’t know where we will be in a week, a month, a year. Slow down and simply be grateful for the day.
  • Express compassion. Compassion and curiosity are key in life and especially during these unique times. But our fears of uncertainty are prevailing and making this practice a bit more difficult. Make a conscious decision to use your curiosity and compassion, to come off of autopilot and make choices in how to be a better person, a better community member, and a therefore build a better culture – a culture of compassion.
  • Set an intention.Take the time to set an intention for yourself and those around you, including to be present and kind. In this political climate, set an intention to understand with compassion. You don’t always need to agree, you won’t always “like or love” where you are today or what your life is like. But you can control your reactions. You have the power to respond versus react, and create a powerful shift in any moment.
  • Connect with your purpose. It is during these times of discomfort and distraction that connecting with your purpose becomes critical. Explore it, remember it, honor it, and write it out if it feels unclear. If you don’t know your purpose reach out for assistance. Your purpose may be helping others scale businesses because you love seeing them empowered and out of financial duress. It could be to share your learnings and teachings with others. It can be anything, and you’ll know it when you feel it. Check in with your purpose today and stay on track.
  • Live mindfully. When we stop living on autopilot, just going through the motions, we can tap into mindful, centered living. Having anxiety about the future will only rob you of today’s peace. Instead, focus on life each day as it comes, looking to make it the best day possible.

“When people experience difficult times like we as a country are now, it’s important to be purposeful in seeking solutions and beneficial ways to responded, rather than react,” added Sandler. “Climates like we have now are going to exist no matter how we react to them, but when we take a healthy and mindful approach to dealing with it, we will can not only survive, but we can thrive.”

Sandler specializes in helping people turn difficult times into periods of growth and reach new levels of success. She helps people in a variety of ways, including through one-on-one coaching, impact retreats, and corporate impact events. She has worked extensively with executive career coaching clients and in career development for women.

Sandler works with individuals, groups, and corporations to help people become more impactful and successful. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in mental health counseling, has a strong foundation in mindfulness-based stress reduction, and has worked in hospitals and private practices. She has also spent time as a research assistant at Johns Hopkins.

Impact retreats offer a low-key wellness opportunity for travelers looking for a unique experience. Upcoming retreats include Reignite in Tulum, Mindfulness in Mykonos, Rewire and Renew in The French Alps, and Mindfulness & Mindset in The Hamptons. To learn more about Katie Sandler and her services, or to see the retreat schedule, visit the site: https://katiesandler.com/.

About Katie Sandler

Katie Sandler is a popular impact and private wellness coach. She offers retreats around the world, as well as private coaching and corporate impact coaching opportunities. She focuses on helping people become more successful, overcome adversity, and make their impact in the world. To learn more about Katie or her services, visit the site: https://katiesandler.com/.

Reinventing Yourself: Who Will You Be Post COVID-19?
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A woman holding her baby while working on a laptop

By Kimberlee Davis, host & founder of The Fiscal Feminist

There is no shortage of lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the economic and health adjustments we are all scrambling to make, a deluge of new challenges that have yet to be considered still looms around the corner.

As we navigate our way through these rough waters of financial hardships, stress and anxiety, let’s make sure to maintain our sense of control and handle the problems that we are empowered to solve. The best way to do this is by re-evaluating our finances, focusing on our long-term goals, and reflecting inward on our own identity.

From a corporate securities lawyer and an investment banker to an entrepreneur and stay-at-home mom, I’ve reinvented myself many times over. Some changes were for the better, others not so much. I’ve found that the key to making solid transitions is to start them in a quiet place like the unique setting of the quarantine.

With mouths to feed, bills to pay and immune systems to protect, taking stock on the bigger picture might seem like a low priority at the moment, but it really shouldn’t be. Ultimately, who we choose to be – either in business, in wealth, in family or just plain spiritually – will determine our paths forward out of this crisis. Amid the chaos and loss of control, our own sense of self is one of the few things we can control. Plus, sheltering in place gives us a unique opportunity to do some personal observation, self-reflection, introspection, and evaluation because we’re not losing time in the dash to in-person meetings and child soccer practices.

The first question that a lot of us get stuck on is: Where do we start? Having gone through several personal and professional re-inventions, myself, I have found great value in beginning with a deep exploration into my hierarchy of values. This consists of the following important questions:

  • What’s important to my emotional development as a person?
  • What’s important to my economic goals?
  • What’s important to my interpersonal relations and social/ethical perspective?

All three are equally important and must be looked at holistically and practically. We can stand back and look at our lives as they were pre-coronavirus, and examine if we were happy and if our finances survived. In our society we seem to be perpetually busy and for many of us, this outbreak has been a hard stop, forcing us to spend time with our loved ones, get comfortable being alone and taking a moment to think about the things that really matter.

Using this time to think about how your financial situation held up, ask yourself what areas can be improved upon. Did you have enough in your savings to cover a couple months of bills if you were to get furloughed from your job? Did you notice how much less money you were spending on frivolous things like your morning coffee? Taking this time to reflect and thoroughly comb through your spending habits and fiscal well-being will help you plan for the future and give you the knowledge and tools you need to make better choices after this is all over.

Having more idle time also allows us to enjoy ordinary activities such as reading, yoga, exercise, painting, listening to music, cooking and reconnecting with our interests. Instead of succumbing to the pressure and uncertainty, embrace the stillness and relearn how to be thoughtful.

Just because the pandemic is tragic – and, of course, it certainly is – does not mean that it is not also a great chance to spend more time together, talk without rushing and determine how we can continue this in a post-coronavirus environment. There may be wonderful recalibrations to consider which never would have been possible during the rat race of the so-called “normal” life we used to know.

We should all examine the strengths of our relationships and family to gauge how we are surviving as a wife, mother, friend and/or businesswoman. In this state of quiet, what do we value and how do we prioritize it among all the other noise?

While contemplating that answer, it is important not to undervalue your career goals. Often, women will assume financial freedom and professional ambition are lower priorities because of societal pressures. However, though we are free to choose other values as higher priorities, that does not mean that we have to.

To adjust your career path, take this opportunity to learn new skills and pursue interests that have been on the back burner. The internet is full of how-to videos and video-networking/coaching platforms that are just a click or swipe away. Use it as a tool for reinvention – not just a vehicle for killing time as we wait for the economy to reopen. Set specific and achievable financial goals taking one step at a time so as not to get overwhelmed and give up on your strategy in frustration.

Personally, I am rethinking my daily schedule from pre-coronavirus times. I have been taking a four- to five-mile walk at least four times a week, and I am committed to continuing that after we resume our new-normal lives. I am going to make exercise a non-negotiable priority. It clears my mind and gives me a positive attitude.

It is so important that you have good nutrition, get regular sleep, have regular physical exercise, have some down time, nurture your spirit and have some fun with the positive people in your life. Intentional self-care will reap many benefits, and it will increase your energy and sharpen your financial focus.

We all should be looking at our lives as a whole and reflecting on what changes we can be making to provide for a better tomorrow. In all our busyness, it’s too easy to lose track of what is really important. The excuse, “I don’t have time,” is no longer an option. For me it’s health, free time to pursue my interests and family. What is important to you?

Kimberlee Davis is the Host of The Fiscal Feminist, a podcast and platform about women and their relationship with money and finances. Her mission is to help all women of all ages and wealth levels embrace their responsibility to themselves to achieve solid financial footing in both calm and turbulent times. Kimberlee Davis has more than 25 years of finance, legal and corporate experience, her career has included being a corporate securities lawyer, investment banker, and Chief Financial Officer. Currently, she is Managing Director and Partner at The Bahnsen Group, a private wealth management firm.

Attitude + Breathing = Balance
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Michelle Miller's headshot

By Michelle Miller, national correspondent for CBS News

There are many professions that take time away from family and friends. And many employees juggling tasks, pushing deadlines and pivoting from one place to another. For me, between the 24-hour news cycle, email and internet, there is no clocking off the job.

But the key is attitude! Attitude is everything! And for the last 30 years, having a good one has been my best ally. Being able to manage your attitude, your mood, your outlook and your pace is crucial. Even in the toughest of circumstances, I’ll find a way to work through the emotion of what I’m dealing with. And sometimes, it can be overwhelming.
But nothing is more of a game changer than taking a breath. Think about that for a minute.

When I was a breaking-news correspondent, I never knew what was coming at me, where I might be headed or what story I may be covering. A heavy chest, a chasm of emotion – there are moments in between the routine coverage that catch us journalists cold.

What saved me was a method from the “BEAD Diet.” It encompasses a Chinese method of breathing called Qigong breathing. Breathe in for 3–5 seconds, hold, and breathe out slowly over 30 seconds. You do that three times, it helps center and calm you into relaxation. Every trigger of emotion seems lifted.

A brain scientist by the name of Mike Nickonchuk has written a book called The Field Guide for the Barefoot Psychologist. In it, he describes how the body reacts to trauma and ways individuals can help relieve triggers through certain exercises like breathing. It’s an incredible irony or perhaps the brilliance of our own biology, that the very thing essential to our existence is also tied to our emotional well-being.

In this life, I have found balance. And it’s a balance I fight for every day.
Work is actually the easiest of all my tasks in life, or at least it seems that way. And perhaps that is because I love what I do! Part of the reason I became a journalist is because I did not want to do the same thing every day. Routine is a comfort to most of my family – to me, not so much.

There is, however, routine to the madness of my chaos. On an average day you can find me sitting down writing a story, charting expenses, and making calls. But another technique that keeps me sane is getting up from that desk once an hour, climbing a few stairs to make the rounds, to talk to people, and to take a few moments to see that everybody is ok.

This does wonders for my stress relief, too. Because whether we are at work or at home, like it or not, we are members of a village, and the well-being of the self also depends on the well-being of the whole.

Generally, I am a happy person because I like my job. I generally go home in a better state of mind. Yes, I am tired, but I want to see my kids and husband. Making sure you fit in time with the important people of your life, budgeting that time is so important. So that is what I do. I make appointments with my children and husband. Everything is budgeted in my calendar so it has space.

I want to share the news of the day. I want to unplug from my phone, from social media, and engage real people. Keeping a positive attitude at work carries home and helps build my healthy relationships with my husband and children. It is near impossible to for someone to have a bad attitude at work and flip it around when they get home. Staying positive is the key.

Letter from the Editor: Fall 2020
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Newest Rihanna Cover for Professional Woman's Magazine

By Samar Khoury

Our first Wonder Woman issue was created three years ago, featuring the Wonder Woman film, and it has soared in popularity ever since. Each year, we select women doing amazing things, and there is no shortage of them. Women all over the world are inspiring us to follow in their footsteps and take the lead.

Wonder Woman 1984 will make its debut this year, once again starring Gal Gadot. But she and original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter are heroines not only on-screen but also in real life. Read about what the dynamic duo is up to now on page 25.

What’s more, our cover story – the amazing, caring, and hardworking Rihanna – is truly an example of grace and resilience, which is why we made her Professional WOMAN’s Magazine’s Wonder Woman of the Year.

The philanthropist has made it her mission to give back and push for equality, and she hasn’t stopped. Through her businesses, charity organization, and big heart, Rihanna never ceases to amaze us. The superstar has been especially supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement and has even provided generous donations to COVID-19 relief efforts. “We are not staying silent and we are not standing by. The fight against racial inequality, injustice, and straight up racism doesn’t stop with financial donations and words of support,” the icon stressed.

But Rihanna’s accomplishments go far beyond the above. Read more about the thriving businesswoman’s efforts to make the world a better place on page 38.

This issue is full of inspiring and dedicated women moving the needle: Senator Kalama Harris, the second African-American woman and first South Asian-American senator in history, and now presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate; the Duchess of Sussex; executives paving the way in business; and much, much more.

If you think you can’t make it in business during these unprecedented times – think again. As you flip through this issue, you’ll discover many powerhouses are thriving right now – some are even reinventing their industries.

Every issue of Professional WOMAN’s Magazine aims to motivate you to be the best version of yourself. Even during uncertainty, being your own wonder woman is more than possible, and what better time than the present to show your worth? The women in this issue have been thriving among uncertainty, and you can, too!

Samar Khoury
Managing Editor
Professional WOMAN’s Magazine

Create a Live Video Community (and Why You Would Want to)
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young black woman filming a video while playing guitar

There is a good chance that most people reading this have tuned into at least one live video over the last week. It’s something that is becoming increasingly popular, and is expected to continue to increase in popularity going forward. There are many good reasons why more influencers and businesses alike are turning to creating a live video community, and harnessing the power that it can offer. Now is the time to learn how to create a live video community and why it’s so important to do so.

“People are showing that they love live video and interacting with it in a big way,” explains Alexander Riesenkampff, the chief executive officer of GetVokl, a livestreaming platform. “We have helped many people build and grow their live video community, and know that as this field continues to grow, we will be helping many more.”

People tend to feel more urgency to watch a live video. Seeing that it’s live gets them interested. The area of live video offers a lot of potential for those who are brand influencers, businesses, or those who want to make a strong connection with their followers. Not only is viewing live video on the rise, but research shows that it tends to outperform recorded video.

Those interested in creating a live video community should spend a little time exploring how others have done it. GetVokl, for example, has many live communities that can be accessed, providing a good place to do a little homework and learn the ins and outs. Once you are ready to get started, GetVokl can help you create a larger community. They also make it easy to directly monetize the audience. The app allows each live video to be shown across multiple platforms at one time. This ensures that your video is live across all platforms, rather than being live on one and then having to post a recorded video to the others.

Here are 5 reasons why it’s a good idea to create a live video community:

  • Live video gives you the ability to increase engagement and interaction with your audience. It allows for immediate feedback and discussion. This helps to build authority, make a connection, and increase loyalty.
  • An effective marketing tool, creating a live video community can lead to an increase in sales and revenue. It gives all types of companies and influencers a way to increase their earnings.
  • Live video communities feel real and authentic. This is one of the reasons why people prefer it to recorded videos. Most recorded videos are heavily edited, yet people prefer the authenticity that comes with it being live.
  • There is a greater ability to make an impact when you engage in live video with your target audience. They can ask questions, provide immediate feedback, and get to know your personality more.
  • Audiences tend to watch for a longer period of time when the information is coming to them live, as opposed to in a recorded video. Keeping your target market watching longer makes for a more effective marketing experience.

“Creating a livestream community is something anyone can do,” added Riesenkampff. “Once you do it, you will see there are benefits. It’s like getting the chance to be with your people in the same room, even if they are thousands of miles away. Whether you hold Q&A sessions, offer how-to talks, host interviews, provide advice, or just offer fun looks into what you are doing, it leaves a powerful mark.”

GetVokl is an app that allows people to livestream across multiple platforms at one time. It’s free to use and ideal for podcasters, coaches, teachers, bloggers, reporters, or others who want their livestream to reach people on multiple platforms. It’s quick to set up and easy to use, requiring only minimal technical knowledge. GetVokl also features VCoin, which helps podcasters earn more money by letting people give tips or donations as the livestreaming takes place. To learn more about GetVokl or to download the app, visit the site: https://getvokl.com/.

 To learn more about how VCoin works, watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qroHqQY0IjY&feature=youtu.be.

About GetVokl:
GetVokl is a free livestreaming community platform built for podcasters, livestreamers, and hosts to unleash the potential of their audiences through interactive live shows that inspire and create vibrant communities. GetVokl allows a livestream to be broadcast over multiple social media platforms at one time. Join or create your live video community. To learn more about GetVokl, please visit https://about.getvokl.com.

Ava DuVernay Launches ‘When They See Us’ Online Education Initiative
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Ana Durvernay at a press event

Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us educated many people on the story of the Exonerated Five, the young men wrongly convicted in the attack on a Central Park jogger in 1989.

Now, the award-winning director and writer is using the groundbreaking miniseries for a new online education initiative.

Via ARRAY, her multi platform media company and arts collective, DuVernay is launching ARRAY 101.

On May 28, the Oscar nominee revealed on Instagram, “Today, I’m so, so proud to launch a project that my comrades at @ARRAYNow and I have been working on for over a year. Today, we launch #ARRAY101: dynamic learning companions for all our film/TV projects.

Continue on to BET to read the complete article…

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Virginia’s New Slogan should be “Virginia is for all Lovers”
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Virginia slogan being held by a hand on the side

On April 11, Virginia became the most progressive state in the southern United States in just two days. Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, signed the “Virginia Values Acts,” which will expand and clarify the protections of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Act specifically details the protections that the LGBTQ+ community has against employment, housing, and credit discrimination as well as protections of transgender students in the school system. Additionally, the act gives a non-binary option for driver’s licenses, expanded the definition of LGBTQ+ hate crimes, and makes the process of changing the gender on official documents an easier process.

The Virginia Acts Bill is only one of the many progressive bills that Governor Northam has passed this year. Along with about 16 other laws put in place to support the LGBTQ+ community, Governor Northam has also passed laws that protect reproductive rights and call for a stricter protocol on gun ownership.

The Virginia Values Act is set to take effect on July 1 and is widely supported by Virginia’s LGBTQ+ community. Northam is known by the community to be a longtime ally and vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ issues and legislation.

Landmark Ruling Grants Women Equal Rights in Indian Army
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A group of people, mostly women, holding small Indian flags in the air.

By Sara Salam

In February, India’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of equal rights in the country’s armed forces, ordering the government to grant permanent commission and command positions to women officers in consistent practice with men.

This landmark judgment means that all women will now be eligible for the same promotions, ranks, benefits and pensions as their male counterparts. While the court’s ruling does not permit women to serve in army combat units, like the infantry or artillery corps, they are now eligible to command entire battalions or run the intelligence department.

This change will allow women to serve a full tenure and earn a higher rank, with greater salary and leadership potential. Women have been inducted into the army through short service commissions, which only permit them to serve for 10 to 14 years.

“This change will lift up women – not just in the army but all girls across the country and the world,” said Lt. Col. Seema Singh to reporters after the court ruling as reported by CNN.

In the judgment, the Supreme Court indicated that it was time for change in India’s armed forces.

“The time has come for a realization that women officers in the army are not adjuncts to a male dominated establishment whose presence must be ‘tolerated’ within narrow confines,” the court said.

Source: CNN

Air Force Civilian Service

Air Force Civilian Service

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