BLACK WOMEN FOCUS ON AGING MASTERY
The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. recently hosted a summit themed, “I Am the Change: Living Your Best Life at Every Age,” at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. Sponsored by AARP and featuring leading experts in the fields of health, education, and economic security, the event focused on the importance of health and wellness in the aging process.
“Too often black women are focused on everyone and everything except themselves,” said panel moderator Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings. “Our concern for and work on behalf of our families and communities competes with our ability to implement self-care strategies that support our physical, emotional, spiritual, and socioeconomic wellbeing.”
Nowhere is this more true than in the area of financial health and wellbeing. A 2017 study released by the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development found that the median wealth level of a single black women aged 60 and older with a college degree is $11,000 compared to $384,400 for a similarly situated white woman.
Deborah Owens, CEO and Founder of Wealthy University highlighted the income and wealth disparities facing black women and recommended black women embrace strategies that encompass financial planning at earlier ages, an aggressive attitude toward savings and investment, and entrepreneurial activities to boost earnings over time.
“I want to really urge African-American women to get started investing earlier. There will always be demands on our economic resources; mortgages, student loans and basic living expenses. However, time is the greatest predictor of financial success. It’s not how much you invest, it’s how long your money has the opportunity to compound and grow.”
Although earnings and wealth are traditionally tied to education levels, research and statistics show that many African Americans don’t get the same economic return on investments in their education. Nevertheless, Dr. Tiffany B. Mfume, Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Retention at Morgan State University, emphasized that educational attainment is still the best option for African American women seeking to maximize their earnings and quality of life.
“Despite the Great Recession and equity gaps, college education remains the most proven, invaluable lifetime investment and serves as the most reliable path to upward mobility and socioeconomic class reassignment,” said Dr. Mfume. “For students of color, graduating from HBCUs relative to non-HBCUs has demonstrated superior long-term returns with respect to nurturing self-image, self-esteem, and identity, all of which advance labor market outcomes.”
Although many black women strive to lead healthy lives, they are more prone to develop chronic diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension, which undermines their productivity and quality of life. Dr. Terri L. Hill, a prominent plastic surgeon who also serves as a delegate in the Maryland state legislature, argued that these disparities underscore why health and wellness should be prioritized alongside socioeconomic well being.
“The Black Women’s Agenda seeks to help black women reduce the stress they experience as leaders in their jobs, families, and communities,” said the organization’s president Gwainevere Hess. “We want black women to lead happier, healthier, and longer lives by taking a more deliberate approach to self care that includes attention to financial, educational, physical, emotional, and spiritual well being.”
The holidays are a time of joy and happiness for many but for some it is also a time when we miss our loved ones who are no longer with us. As a country, we are experiencing events that are meant to divide and separate us. The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. and our Collaborating Organizations embody what our country should be – working together.
The diversity of who we are as humans is the tapestry of peace and love highlighted as we gather in our homes and places of worship. Whatever you celebrate, let’s embrace the spirit of the Peace, Love and Tolerance.
In this season of Thanksgiving let us embrace the words of renowned poet Maya Angelou-
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
Thanksgiving is a time when we gather around the table with family, friends, and loved ones to celebrate our blessings of the past year. It is our time to put aside our differences, give thanks for our blessings, and express our gratitude.
As we are move into the last weeks of 2023, we have witnessed and experienced some of the most challenging times that many of us have ever seen. Amid these times, we have been brought closer together not because of our similarities but because of our differences.
During our 2019 Symposium, Our WA President Gwainevere Catchings Hess said,
THE BLACK WOMEN’S AGENDA, INC. ENDORSES KETANJI BROWN JACKSON’S NOMINATION TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. (BWA) today announced its enthusiastic support for President Joseph Biden’s nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court. “While there are many individuals, including numerous Black women, who are exceptionally qualified to assume a seat on the nation’s highest court, Ketanji Brown Jackson comes to this moment with impeccable credentials,” said Gwainevere Catchings Hess, BWA’s National President.