Black Women’s Expo featured plethora for everyone

The 17th Annual Black Women’s Expo held Saturday and Sunday at McCormick Place proved to be bigger and better.

The 17th Annual Black Women’s Expo held Saturday and Sunday at McCormick Place proved to be bigger and better.

Not only were guests treated to an array of vendors, merchandise and entertainment, they were able to attend seminars that aimed to motivate and empower. The main stage boasted powerhouse musical artists such as gospel vocalist Kim Burrell, SWV and rapper Dwele.

A special summit, Girls and Violence, was a popular event with a panel of experts who offered scenarios and healthy alternatives to the violence that is presently plaguing young females. Throughout the summit, rap music themes were constantly discussed due to what panelists described as children’s lack of discernment for the violence that is portrayed in some of its lyrics. They also spoke on the images of Black women in music videos.

"It’s always a scantily clad young lady with a man that is fully dressed. So, what our children see and hear really impacts them," said Tiffany Seay, of the Chicago Public Schools Office of Special Education and Support Services.

Community involvement and constant guidance was cited as two of the main goals that would deter girls from violence.

"Our schools would be so much better (in terms of violence) if more of the community would get involved," said summit moderator Reggie Williams who is the deputy director of the school district’s Office of Safety and Security.

He also told a story about how CPS set up forums on Chicago’s South and West sides for parents to address their concerns about school issues, and was shocked and frustrated at the low turnout to the events – 15 parents in total.

"You (parents) can’t have the diligence and discipline to show up and find out about your children?," Williams questioned.

In closing, the panel offered solutions that would deter young girls from violence.

"When we as a community start calling children ‘our children’ we can shift some of these behaviors, " said Seay.

"I think it boils down to self-image and self-worth and how it’s developed. Parents need to be more involved and aware," said Dina Levi, community liaison for River Edge Hospital.

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

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