Deshauna Barber: On the Move

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Deshauna Barber was crowned as Miss USA 2016

By Brady Rhoades

Deshauna Barber’s father is a retired special forces Master Sergeant that instilled “leadership, discipline and integrity” in all his children, said Barber in an interview with U.S. Veterans Magazine.

Her late mother also served in the U.S. Army and inspired Barber and her siblings to join the military.

Growing up in North Carolina, Nebraska, Minnesota, Virginia and Washington, D.C., Barber learned foundational principles from her parents that she carried into her military career.

Self-discipline. Teamwork. Endurance.

But she had to learn other principles and skills that hadn’t crossed her mind on her way to winning the 2016 Miss USA title.

Army Captain and Miss USA don’t seem to add up until you hear Barber, a veteran, CEO and motivational speaker, tell audiences, “The most important thing is to move.” And: “Be terrified of regret.”

Rewind to 2007, when Barber, 17, committed to a U.S. Army scholarship and joined the ROTC program at her university.

She then earned her master’s degree in management information systems and services from the University of Maryland University College and worked as an IT analyst for the United States Department of
Commerce.

Barber went on to become president and chief executive officer of Service Women’s Action Network, the nation’s leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization advocating on behalf of service women and women veterans in the country.

Deshauna Barber
Deshauna Barber (988th Quartermaster Detachment Company)

Barber was commissioned in 2011 as an Army Quartermaster Officer. During her service, she held many positions including a logistics commander of a petroleum detachment company. After reaching the rank of Captain, she decided to leave service to focus on her motivational speaking career and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Reserve after 11 years of service.

“The Army Reserve taught me how to balance, plan, multi-task and prioritize,” she said. “Not to mention, being in the Army can be somewhat intimidating, depending on who is in the room with you… It was scary, but I think I’ve been in scarier situations.”

She has spent much of her career focused on supporting Soldiers suffering from PTSD and women who’ve faced sexual harassment in the military. She said one in four women will experience sexual trauma while serving.

“We try to break the stigma attached to it,” she said. “It’s really about catching that stigma and making sure they don’t go to that darker place.

“It’s important to get help and get therapy,” she added. “I am still in therapy at 33. These types of trauma can manifest in subtle ways.

“You may not get the sorry you deserve, but it does not mean you have to lock yourself into the sadness and sorrow.”

She said it was a pivotal move when “President Joe Biden signed into law that sexual harassment is against the law as far as military justice.”

To help women who’ve survived sexual abuse, visit servicewomensactionnetwork.org. To help veterans struggling with PTSD, visit resourcecenter@ woundedwarriorproject.org. More on Barber can be found at deshauna.com.

Deshauna Barber receives her Honorary Doctorate after giving the commencement speech at Norwich University's spring 2022 graduation
Deshauna Barber receives her Honorary Doctorate after giving the commencement speech at
Norwich University’s spring 2022 graduation. (Mark Collier/Norwich University)

When Barber was crowned Miss USA 2016, she became the first member of the military to win the honor and the first African-American woman to wear the crown since Crystle Stewart in 2008. Her platform: promote veterans’ issues.

Barber is diligent about fitness, and she’s a polished speaker, two qualities that were honed in the military (as a Captain, she gave presentations to companies and battalions). But she wasn’t prepared for one thing.

“I got to tap into my femininity, my girly side,” she said. “But the military doesn’t prepare you for six-inch stiletto heels.” Her parents and siblings supported her throughout her pageantry endeavors, but it wasn’t easy for her father.

Seven years after being crowned, Barber is on the move, per usual. She’s a speaker- preacher T.D. Jakes and TV host Steve Harvey have influenced her style-and an activist.

For her, the two go hand-in-hand. A survivor of sexual abuse, she frequently talks about dealing with trauma and loss.

Her Apple podcast will launch in late spring or early summer of this year-the title: Sour Loss, Sweet Lessons.

eshauna Barber being pinned as a first lieutenant by her father,
Deshauna Barber being pinned as a first lieutenant by her father, Darren Barber Sr. (Courtesy of Deshauna Barber)
Barber suffered a profound loss when her mother died. There’s no getting over it, but there is the matter of getting on, so she’s taken her own advice, advice she’s doled out to audiences for years in her work as a motivational speaker.

“Sometimes, when people are dealing with sorrow, they allow themselves to drown in it,” she said. “I tell people to swim through it and ask them what direction they’re headed.”

These days, when Barber speaks to the media, corporations, universities, the military and even the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, you can see the Army Captain, the pageant queen, the corporate executive, the survivor.

She walks upright, like a Soldier, paces the stage with the confidence and charisma of a Miss USA, and issues words that have been polished through many rewrites.

“People connect to the beauty of words, and that’s what preachers have mastered,” she said.

Most recently, at the Life Vantage Global Convention 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona, she talked about overcoming doubt, be it internal, external or both. Her words excited the crowd in front of her but were meant for everyone- women, men, survivors of abuse, those struggling with mental health issues, active military personnel and veterans.

“You have been promoted for a reason. You’ve been placed in your role for a reason,” she said. “Put on your bulletproof vest and allow the doubts of others to bounce off you.”

Ying McGuire Immigrated to the United States with one suitcase and $1000 to pursue the American Dream and Inject $1 Trillion into the Economy
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Ying McGuire smiling wearing red blazer

As CEO and President of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), Ying McGuire leads efforts to advance business opportunities for more than 15,000 certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) connecting them to over 1,500 corporate members generating over $400 billion in annual revenue – more than 28% of all minority business revenue in the U.S.

NMSDC’s first Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) CEO and president brings over two successful decades of leadership experience across both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors and has an aspirational goal of achieving $1 trillion in NMSDC-certified MBE annual revenue generation.

NMSDC CEO and president, Ying McGuire has an awe-inspiring story of her own. Arriving to the United States from China with one suitcase and $1,000 to pursue her American dream, Ying did not have an easy path. McGuire immigrated from China during a tumultuous period in that country’s history.

“In the wake of the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989, I packed my life into one suitcase with $1,000 and came to the United States to pursue my American dream,” she recalled. “Being a new immigrant with little English, no money and no support system, I overcame mountains of obstacles, learned to get things done with limited resources and built up my resilience.”

She built a successful career as a corporate leader at Dell Technologies, driving the strategy and execution that nearly quintupled Dell’s diversity spend from $640 million to $3 billion within three years. After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Ying felt compelled to be part of the growing social economic justice movement. She transitioned out of her tech role and became the first Asian American Pacific Islander CEO and president of NMSDC, with goals of accelerating MBEs and helping close the racial and economic wealth gap in communities of color.

Ying believes that the fastest path to achieving NMSDC’s $1 trillion plan requires a catalyst event to garner amplification and support the goal from prominent corporate C-level leaders, policymakers, high growth MBEs, thought leaders, and media. Therefore, NMSDC is hosting the second annual Minority Business Economic Forum on May 8-10, in Miami. This by invitation only event is focused on tapping into the top leaders of corporate America, the Administration, local governments, thought leaders, and academic leaders to come together and recalibrate the MBE narrative as an integral part of the American economy.

ABOUT YING MCGUIRE

  • Hometown: Jiangyin, a city near Shanghai, China
  • Hobbies: Yoga, travel, cooking, interior design
  • Favorite leadership quote: “Do not just lead by words; lead by example.” — Her father

To learn more about NMSDC, visit nmsdc.org.

Karine Jean-Pierre Becomes First Black, First Openly LGBTQ Press Secretary
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In a historic first, Karine Jean-Pierre has become the first Black woman and the first openly gay person to become the official White House Press Secretary and Assistant to the President. Jean-Pierre was promoted to the position, formerly serving as the Principal Deputy Press Secretary and Deputy Assistant, after Jen Psaki resigned as the Press Secretary after fulfilling her one-year commitment.

“I am proud to announce that Karine Jean-Pierre will serve as the next White House Press Secretary,” President Biden said in an official statement, “Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people. Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time, and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.”

Born in Martinique and raised in New York, Jean-Pierre is a graduate of Columbia University, where she received her Master’s Degree in Public Affairs. Besides being the Principal Deputy Press Secretary and Deputy Assistant to the President, Karine is no stranger to working in politics or with President Biden. A long-time advisor to President Biden, Jean-Pierre served in senior communication and political roles in the Biden Administration, the Biden campaign and to then-Vice President Biden in the Obama Administration before taking on her most recent government roles.

Prior to her role on the campaign, she served as Chief Public Affairs Officer for MoveOn.org and an NBC and MSNBC Political Analyst. Jean-Pierre served as Regional Political Director for the White House Office of Political Affairs during the Obama-Biden administration and as Deputy Battleground States Director for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. She served as Southeast Regional Political Director for President Obama’s 2008 campaign, Deputy Campaign Manager for Martin O’Malley for President, Campaign Manager for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Initiative and Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Legislative and Budget Affairs for two members in the New York City Council.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre arrives for a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on May 26, 2021. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

Previously, she worked at the Center for Community and Corporate Ethics, pushing major companies to change their business practices, and is a published author.

“This is a historic moment, and it’s not lost on me,” Jean-Pierre stated of her appointment, “I understand how important it is for so many people out there, so many different communities, that I stand on their shoulders, and I have been throughout my career.”

Many took to social media to celebrate the incredible firsts that Jean-Pierre was accomplishing, including former Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, who tweeted her praise to Jean-Pierre’s character, work ethic and appointment:

“She is passionate; she is smart and has a moral code that makes her not just a great colleague, but an amazing Mom and human,” Psaki tweeted, “…she will be the first Black woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve as the White House Press Secretary. Representation matters and she will give a voice to many, but also make many dream big about what is truly possible.”

Sources: The White House, CNBC

Anna May Wong to become 1st Asian American on US currency
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Anna May Wong Quarter

WASHINGTON — Hollywood trailblazer Anna May Wong will be the first Asian American to be featured on some U.S. quarters.

The U.S. Mint will begin shipping the fifth coin in the American Women Quarters Program on Monday, October 24.

The coin will feature Wong, who rose to fame and became the first Chinese American film star in Hollywood

Read the FUll Story on ABC 7 CHicago

Simone Biles Makes History as the Youngest to Receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom
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Joe Biden putting the Presidential Medal of Freedom award on Simone Biles

By Njera Perkins, Pop Sugar

Simone Biles continues to break records and make history. On July 7, the 25-year-old Olympian, along with 16 other honorees, received the esteemed Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor — making her the youngest person to ever do so, according to President Joe Biden.

Beyond being a world-renowned gymnast, Biles was honored as a “prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault,” the White House previously announced.

“Today, [Biles] adds to her medal count of 32 — I don’t know if you’re going to find room,” President Biden joked during his remarks at the White House. Biden then praised Biles for her ability “to turn personal pain into a greater purpose, to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” During the award ceremony, Biles wore a bright smile and black tweed blazer dress as Biden placed her medal around her neck, and her fiancé, Jonathan Owens, was there to cheer her on from the front row.

Biles was honored alongside other recipients like Megan Rapinoe and Denzel Washington, though the latter wasn’t present for the ceremony due to a positive COVID test, CNN reported. The actor will be awarded his medal at a later date.

Over the years, Biles has shattered glass ceilings in the sports world and become the most decorated gymnast in world championship history. Now, her latest accomplishment only solidifies that she’s a true trailblazer. Ahead, check out more photos of her receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House.

Click here to read the full article on Pop Sugar.

Colombia Elects Its First Black Vice President
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Columbia's new Vice President Francia Márquez.

By Keka Araujo, BET News

According to Axios, Francia Márquez will become the South American nation’s first Black vice president after Gustavo Petro won the country’s presidential runoff election on Sunday.

Márquez celebrated the historical moment with a poignant statement that spoke to the marginalization of Black Colombians, “It’s time to move from resistance to power.”

The 40-year-old former maid turned attorneys and activist became Petro’s vice-president elect after the leftist guerrilla leader beat a millionaire real estate mogul in an election usually won by Colombia’s moderate and conservative politicians. France 24 reported that Márquez’s win signified a shift in political and social shift in a nation plagued by a fundamentally racist country.

Born in Yolombó, a town in the province of Antioquia, Black people were considered the minority– representing only 2% of the population. Márquez’s representation of Blacks in Colombia is much-needed in politics given the country’s 6.2% Afro-descendant population having been ignored and marginalized since the nation’s inception.

About Márquez’s victory, Olga Lucia Gonzalez, an associate researcher and specialist on Colombia at the University of Paris-Diderot, shared with France 24 the excitement behind her win, “Within the population, there has been a lot of popular anger in recent months directed towards the political class, particularly linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. Francia Marquez comes from civil society and not from the traditional political elite. This is an argument that she plays on, and that goes greatly in her favour.”

Gonzalez also explained that Márquez did address issues that weren’t necessarily important to previous Colombian administrations, adding, “But above all, she is a woman, Black, Afro-Colombian, and she brings with her issues that until now have been totally forgotten, like the relationship to colonialism, sexism, racism.”

Sunday’s election also had another Black candidate– Marelen Castillo, the running mate of runner-up Rodolfo Hernández,.

On the importance of having Black leadership within the second nation in the Western Hemisphere with the largest Black population, Colombian anthropologist Eduardo Restrepo told AXIOS, “Afro-Colombians are overrepresented in the numbers of forcibly displaced people and victims of violence. This idea inherited from colonial times that some people are meant to govern and others to be governed.”

Click here to read the full article on BET News.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed as U.S. Supreme Court Justice!
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Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson headshot

First African-American woman to join.

The Senate has voted 53 to 47 to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the 116th Supreme Court justice.

When sworn in this summer, Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s high court.

“This is one of the great moments of American history,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said before the vote. “Today we are taking a giant, bold and important step on the well-trodden path to fulfilling our country’s founding promise.

This is a great moment for Judge Jackson but it is an even greater moment for America as we rise to a more perfect union.”

President Biden called the vote a “historic moment” for the nation. “We’ve taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America,” Biden posted on Twitter.

All 50 Senate Democrats, including the two independents who caucus with them, voted for Jackson’s confirmation. They were joined by three Republicans: Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Click here to read the complete article posted on NPR.

Biden to nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson to be first Black woman to sit on Supreme Court
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Ketanji Brown Jackson headshot

(CNN) President Joe Biden has selected Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court, setting in motion a historic confirmation process for the first Black woman to sit on the highest court in the nation.

Biden will deliver remarks on Friday afternoon announcing the selection, the White House said. CNN first reported Biden’s decision.

Jackson, 51, currently sits on DC’s federal appellate court and had been considered the front-runner for the vacancy since Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement.

She received and accepted Biden’s offer in a call Thursday night, a source familiar with the decision told CNN, but was present for DC Circuit Court hearings Friday morning.

Biden met with Jackson for her Supreme Court interview earlier this month, a senior administration official said, in a meeting that the White House managed to keep secret.

For more than a year, the President had familiarized himself with her work, reading many of her opinions and other writings, along with those of other contenders.

But the official said Biden also was impressed by her life story, including her rise from federal public defender to federal appellate judge — and her upbringing as the daughter of two public school teachers and administrators.

Read the complete article posted on CNN.

Michelle Obama’s guest appearance on ‘Black-ish’ excites fans while also serving a purpose
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Michelle Obama Smiling at the camera in a white sweater and blue jean pants

By Kyle Moss, Yahoo! Entertainment

On the eighth and final season premiere of Black-ish Tuesday, Michelle Obama made a guest appearance after the show’s main characters attended an event for When We All Vote, an organization that Obama founded to help register and turn out voters across the country.

What began as Andre (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross)’s chance encounter with the former first lady turned into a casual dinner at the Johnson house.

Obama’s main scene mostly consisted of the rest of Dre and Bow’s family interrupting with attempts to try and impress her. And there were also a few moments of conversation among Obama, Dre and Bow about what it’s like having teenage kids.

“When our girls were that age, you should have seen how they rolled their eyes, especially at their father,” Obama said during the episode.

But clearly the cameo for Obama, who was personally asked to appear on the show by Ross herself, was all about getting the word out about voter registration. And while it was subtle within the episode, Obama reiterated the objective with a tweet after the show aired, reminding people to get themselves and others registered.

Meanwhile, viewers on Twitter celebrated Obama’s appearance on the hit series with plenty of praise and even a few requests like, “Please decide to be president in 2024” and “I too would like to invite you over for dinner.”

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Entertainment.

A Maine city that’s 90% White now has a Somali mayor
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Somali Mayor, Deqa Dhalac, poses for a portrait at her home in South Portland in 2018. Of becoming the city's mayor this week, she said,

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

Deqa Dhalac saw it in their faces when she started campaigning. Some people, she says, seemed scared to open their doors when she knocked. Others saw her hijab and assumed she didn’t speak English. But Dhalac kept knocking and telling her story. And she says a lot has changed since those days back in 2018, when she first ran for City Council in South Portland, Maine — and won. On Monday she became the first Black mayor of the small city on the state’s Southern Coast. And she’s believed to be the first Somali American mayor in the United States. South Portland’s other city councilors, who are all White, elected her in a unanimous vote, heaping praise on Dhalac for her dedication to the community and thoughtful consideration of issues.

Dhalac, 53, says her election shows what can be accomplished when people find ways to connect with each other instead of putting up walls.

“People will always have some kind of reservation…but will get to know you, listen to you and see who you are through that,” she says. Given that Maine is the whitest state in the country, and that South Portland is 90% White, Dhalac knows her election sounds surprising to some. But she says that it shouldn’t be. And that’s one reason she ran for office in the first place. She hopes her election as mayor will inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

“I’m…really proud of the fact that I’m going to be opening a lot of paths for other folks who look like me, especially our young community members, to say, ‘If this woman can do this, actually I can do that,'” Dhalac told the City Council last month after her nomination. “And also not only for immigrant, first-generation or Black people, but also young, White individuals who may have been afraid or don’t want to be a part of the civic duties that we all have. … I say, ‘Yes, if I can do this, yes, you can do it. We really, really need you, each and every one of you in this beautiful city of ours, to step up.'”

Her election marks multiple milestones
Dhalac’s inauguration is a milestone for Somali immigrant communities that have grown in size and become more established in states like Maine, Minnesota, Ohio and Washington. As that’s happened, more Somali Americans are taking on roles on local school boards and city councils — and also serving as lawmakers, like Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota.

Dhalac is the first Somali American mayor in the United States, according to New American Leaders, an organization that trains and encourages immigrants to run for office. But the organization says they hope she won’t be the last.

“Her leadership will certainly make a big difference not only in South Portland, but around the country,” said Ghida Dagher, the organization’s president. “She’s going to serve an example for Somali Americans across the country to step up and step into their own leadership journey. … It’s about owning their own power and potential in our democracy.” Dhalac’s election is also a historic first for South Portland, which has never had a Black mayor before, says Seth Goldstein, vice president of the South Portland Historical Society. Goldstein, who teaches history and leads historical tours in the area, says he’s happy to watch this new chapter in his city’s history unfold. “It’s very exciting, I think that it is reflective of the way that the community here is gradually changing,” Goldstein says. About 6,000 Somalis live in Maine, Goldstein said, thanks to a wave of migration that began in the early 2000s.

Their arrival hasn’t always been met with open arms. In 2002, the mayor of Lewiston, Maine, drew national media attention when he wrote an open letter telling Somali immigrants not to come to his city.

But Dhalac says the people she’s met in Maine have been welcoming, and in recent years she’s seen more Somalis and other immigrants taking on leadership positions in the state. In the past, she says, immigrants were more hesitant to run because they were focused on making ends meet and supporting their families.

“I think we were always kind of afraid to get involved. … We were waiting on somebody (else) to do something,” she said.
In 2018, Dhalac got tired of waiting.

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

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Robert Half