Susan Taylor Talks National CARES And The State Of The Black Community

Susan Taylor has been a cultural marker for women of color since her days at Essence magazine. Having firmly established herself as a leading voice in the dialogue on issues affecting black women and families, women around the country have come to rely on Taylor’s sense of parity and her devotion to family basics to help find and maintain balance in the day-to-day scramble to do better than survive, to thrive.
Taylor, in a very Robert Fulghum sort-of-way (Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned in Kindergarten) reminds us not to hit each other, hold hands, look both ways before crossing the street and to take care of ourselves above all else.
The iconic editor, and founder of National CARES, is controlled and cautionary as she expresses her thoughts on state of the black community. Having established herself as one of the most revered black voices in recent history, she agreed to an exclusive interview with Real Times Media, just days before launching the organization’s newest affiliate in Detroit.
Roz Edward
On mentorship …
The National CARES Mentoring movement and [Windy City] CARES are, first of all, about recruiting mentors. When the call goes out for mentors, the first responders are white women and then white men, followed by black women and then black men, so we know we need mentors in reverse order. …
Black people having so much stress and multiple pressure, leave little time for us to give back beyond our faith communities and our families. So we are throughout the nation in 58 cities recruiting for black mentors that we ‘collect, connect and direct. We recruit them, connect with them through mentor training and then deploy them to where they’re needed in mentoring organizations. [Windy City] CARES includes its partners, and schools that need tutors and graduation coaches … and hopefully to places where our young people are in trouble. I am hoping we can do something with re-entry programs to reduce recidivism rates.
We want mentors in children’s lives who focus on their own wellness who can be appropriate guides and provide support to young people.
On the need …
We are not aware of the depth of the crisis for our young people. We know that there are no more faithful people than black people and black women.  We are the faith carriers in our communities. What we don’t know is how deep the crisis is. When we think about the over incarceration in prisons and young people going to school hungry and how many young people are homeless and sleeping on friends sofas, because their parents are in crisis and what we tend to do is point the finger at the parents. Any parent in their right mind is taking care of the children. It’s parents who are stressed out and overwhelmed who may have turned to drugs and other things that harm them and ruin their childrens’ lives. It’s for those of us who are able and stable to give to them.
On black women and stress …
I’ve come to the realization that we never finish everything on the to-do list. I try to embrace everyday anew, I go over my list of things to-do, and I make sure I’m looking at the essentials. It’s amazing when you look at the things that are on your list and see things you give time and attention to, rather than going to the gym, taking the time to decide what you’re going to eat and eating healthy, taking the time to breathe deeply and taking the time to just remember yourself. … I am at the stage of my life where I know it’s about my wellness, my mind, spirit and community. Those are the four pillars of life.
For information on mentoring opportunities with Windy City CARES, please visit or call (toll free)  1-(888) 990-4646.

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