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October 2011 - Swift Transitions
July 2011 - Settle in to Summer
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December 2010 - Season's Greetings
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Let's Take The Veil Off Sexual Assault & Sexual Abuse

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 04/20/15

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and all of us have a responsibility to do our part to bring this problem to light.  We must put the issue on the table for what it is.  Research shows that one out of five women and one out of fifty nine men will experience sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime.  What’s interesting is the numbers are actually higher because there are people that never report being violated due to shame, embarrassment or humiliation. 


Sexual violence affects all of society not just the victim.  It crosses gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, socio-economics and ethnicities.  It is a major public health issue as well as a violation of human rights and social justice.  This crime is happening at an alarming rate across the globe.  There are actual societies where women and girls have no rights when it comes to their body and wellbeing.  They are being abducted, transported and even sold into sex and human trafficking. 


When someone experiences sexual assault, abuse or violence it can have long term ramifications such as chronic pain, mental health problems, headaches, sexually transmitted diseases, depression, suicidal thoughts and even fear of trusting others.  All of these consequences affect society and those that interact with the victims.  The question becomes how do we help bring about change and end this horrific crime.  We must help people go from victim to victorious. We must do our part to help eradicate the problem from even happening. 


I believe that one of the first things we can do is to let our voices be heard.  If we have experienced any level of sexual abuse or even any overtones on the subject we need to step up and report it and take all of the necessary steps to end it and hold the victimizer accountable.  Secondly, we need to make sure we do not hold the crime against the victim and make them feel bad, but yet provide safe environments for their healing.  School campuses need to be safer with safe places for help.  Families need to listen when someone comes to share when they have been violated.  We need to have an open ear.  We need to care.


I experienced sexual abuse as a youth and I decided to let my voice be heard to help those who suffer in silence.  All of us at Forgiving For Living stand with those that have experienced any level of this type of violation.  We must ban together and support organizations that are making a difference such as Jenesse Center, The House of Ruth, Sexual Abuse Centers and hotlines. 


The organization Women Thrive Worldwide (www.womenthrive.org) works for transformational change to reduce, prevent, and address domestic violence, rape, bride burnings, dowry deaths and other kinds of violence and abuse against women and girls.  We can change the status quo and create a world where domestic violence, rape, and other forms of violence against women become a thing of the past.  It starts with us.


Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 


by Wendy Gladney Dean on 04/13/15

The mission of Forgiving For Living is to help women and girls believe in themselves no matter what life has thrown their way.  We believe it is important to build strong character and to build up their self-esteem to promote a positive and healthy lifestyle. To achieve this goal we have our Ambassador Program, Workshops and an Annual Conference throughout the year.  We also believe it is important to mentor our youth and to provide them with positive role models.  We try to identify other organizations that have a similar mission and partner with them to achieve a mutual goal.  We are proud to say the Los Angeles Sparks, a professional sports team for women, lead by President and Chief Operations Officer, Christine Simmons has launched a new campaign promoting positive images of women across the Southland.  Their campaign is called #WeAreSTRONG, #WeAreWOMEN and #WeAreLA. 


The point of their campaign is to honor the accomplishments, leadership and empowerment of women across the community.  Forgiving For Living is proud to be one of their Ambassadors spreading the word and promoting positive role models for women and girls everywhere. The Los Angeles Sparks have made it possible for everyone to participate and nominate a woman they feel is deserving of being a #WeAreWOMAN until the end of April by going on line to their website www.wnba.com/sparks/.  After the submission closes they will select eight winners that will be announced at their August 30th game.


The Los Angeles Sparks are on a mission to show that female sports teams stand strong and are winners. They hope to show their economic power by selling out and having the highest attended indoor game in WNBA history on August 30th.  Every Wednesday throughout their campaign, the Sparks will host Women Wednesdays showcasing a different woman or organization in the community who exemplifies the spirit of the movement.  Videos and inspiring stories will be featured on all LA Sparks social media channels to encourage awareness. This is where we all have an opportunity to let our voices be heard.


As Forgiving For Living continues to push forward empowering young women we see their potential.  Just this week we did our final interviews for the twelve young ladies that will receive scholarships from us before going away to college. We have learned that many of them just need a little encouragement and a helping hand. We believe that women like Christine Simmons is the epitome of a strong woman and a true example of leadership for other women.  We are proud to have her as one of our Community Honorees this coming Saturday at the 8th Annual PLUS Awards held at the Beverly Hills Hotel. 


There are many groups trying to make a difference for young girls.  Recently the global empowerment movement for women and mentoring organization known as, Black Girls Rock, had a dynamic special featured on BET and our own First Lady Michelle Obama reminded us that Black Girls Rock and we agree! 


Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

Forgiving For Living Believes In Girl Power

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 04/06/15

Forgiving For Living will celebrate its Eighth Annual PLUS Awards on Saturday, April 18, at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  NBC4 Southern California has partnered with us again and we are excited to have Anchor Kathy Vara as our emcee. Promoting the theme of girl power, Jerome Dean Entertainment will provide us with music from Saxophonist Ms. Hayan Charlston.  This year we have five spectacular women and one outstanding man as our honorees.  Also in attendance will be close to twenty of the beautiful girls we serve from The Center For Learning and Unlimited Educational Success, Inc., in San Bernardino and Jordan Downs from Watts.  We believe in girl power!


Karim Webb, our only male honoree is co-owner of PCF Restaurant Management.  Although he is a busy business man, he also takes time to give back.  Karim has a heart and passion for helping young men and boys of color and is a spokesperson for BLOOM. He is definitely doing well while doing good.  Our list of female honorees include Renata Simril, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff for the LA Times.  Renata has deep roots in the community and believes in the empowerment of women and girls.


This past September while I was in Washington DC at the Congressional Black Caucus, I had the opportunity to meet Georgia Zachary.  Georgia believes it is important to be a positive role model for women and young girls.  She lives this mantra everyday as President Women of AT&T. For those that follow the mission of Forgiving For Living, you know that we are about building the self-esteem of young girls to believe in themselves and to reach for the sky. My fellow UCLA Bruin, Christine Simmons, President and Chief Operations Officer for the LA Sparks also believes in this mission.  The LA Sparks recently launched a positive campaign uplifting women across the greater Los Angeles area and are calling it  #WeAreSTRONG #WeAreWOMEN #WeAreLA.  Forgiving For Living is partnering with them to get this message out.  We stand with them in making sure all girls and women know they can be anything their hearts desire. #girlpower.


Krista L. Phipps, Public Affairs Manager for SoCalGas has partnered with Forgiving For Living for the past couple of years.  Last year she served as a speaker and role model to our girls at our annual, “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise Conference.” She is a proud wife and mother of a son and daughter.   Last but certainly not least we have Fabian R. Wesson.  She is the Chair of the State Board of Directors for the California Science Center, as well as an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Her life is all about giving back to the community and helping others.


Finally, we want to thank all of our sponsors, US Bank NBC4 Southern California, SoCalGas, Edison International, The LA Sparks, Wells Fargo, Pelican Hill, The Inland Valley News,  Dr. Lauren Walton, and Dr. Carol Spellen (Posthumously).  Your support truly makes the difference in the lives of the girls we serve!


Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

Easter: A Time of Deliverance, Hope & Forgveness

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 03/30/15

I truly love this time of year.  Everything seems to come alive!  The sun comes out, pastels are the color of the day, and we all seem to have a little more pep in our step.  Spring represents a time when we think of new life, fertility and therefore to some Easter represents Easter eggs and bunny rabbits. From a faith perspective so much is celebrated around the meaning of deliverance, hope and forgiveness. For me, this is the holiest of times.  As a Christian, this is when we acknowledge the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  


The Jews celebrate Passover during this time of year commemorating the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.  Moses was sent to deliver the Jews from Pharaoh and when God sent various plagues he passed over their homes.  God spared the children of Israel.  The Jews believe by following the rituals of Passover they have the ability to relive and experience the true freedom that their ancestors gained.  I know that by accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I have been spared and emancipated or set free from my sins and I can experience true freedom.  Easter represents this for me.


In a few weeks, I will have the honor of going to Israel with The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.  They have assembled a Community Leadership Study Trip to examine the effects of trauma.   Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing experience.  No matter where we are geographically or even in the space of time trauma has always been with us. Even as we relate this to Easter, Christ experienced trauma when He went to the cross.  This trip will not only open the lines of communication between various cultures across the continent, but will also allow those of us of the Christian faith to walk in the steps of Jesus.  I am grateful to not only serve as an Ambassador of love, peace and understanding, but to also relive and experience the true freedom that comes from being a Christian.


The older I get the more I realize mankind has more in common than not. Moses was seen as a deliver to the Jews and in the African American culture, Harriet Tubman was seen as the Moses that lead many slaves to freedom.  My grandmother, also known as Mother Dear, was born at the turn of the twentieth century and was the first generation born free in our family.  Her father was born a slave and freed as a little boy at the end of the Civil War.  My grandmother was the one that took me to church and taught me about deliverance that comes from God and to never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 


I truly believe in the power of forgiveness and how it can change lives.  I believe forgiving others and being forgiven brings deliverance.  The best example of forgiveness is the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross on Good Friday as he carried the sins of the world on his shoulders.  He laid silent on that Saturday and then rose early Sunday morning.  No matter what you believe from our house to yours we wish everyone the beauty and blessings of this time of year.  He is Risen!


Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am. 

We See & Hear You Ms. Hattie McDaniel

by Wendy Gladney Dean on 03/16/15

As we continue to honor women this month, I am fascinated by the life of actress Hattie McDaniel.  She was born around the turn of the century in 1895 and lived less than 60 years.  She was actually the first African American to win an Oscar for her role in the movie Gone With The Wind in 1939 as a Supporting Actress.  We rarely hear about her work and some have even professed disappointment for the roles she played.  Critics felt her roles were stereotypic, but as she said, I rather play a maid and make seven hundred dollars than be a maid and make seven dollars. How many options did she really have? As a matter of fact she could not even attend the premiere of the movie in Atlanta due to segregation and when it came time for her to attend the Academy Awards, she had to sit at a segregated table in the back.  In 2010 when MoNique won her Oscar she paid tribute to Ms. Hattie and shared her gratitude for the doors she opened.   Hattie McDaniel eventually donated her statue to Howard University, but to this day it is missing and nowhere to be found.


As I read more about the life of Hattie McDaniel she was quite talented.  She was also a singer, songwriter, comedian, and the first black woman to sing on the radio here in the United States.  She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for her work in radio and one for her work in motion pictures.  She fought an uphill battle trying to work during a time when segregation, lack of rights and prejudice were prevalent.  She took severe criticism from the NAACP and others.  While Civil Rights organizations worked hard to bring about change and justice, she was pulled between survival and sacrifice in an industry that to this day still thrives off of stereotypes. 


Her battles extended beyond tinsel town into the legal arena.  She was part of the black homeowners that organized the West Adams neighborhood in Los Angeles also known as Sugar Hill.  White homeowners fought relentlessly to try and get rid of the black families that had the money and moved into the area.  Over time and with persistence a judge, Thurmond Clarke, threw the case out of court claiming that it was time that Negroes had their full rights guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment.  This was a victory for not only Ms. Hattie, but also other families of color.  Each year she would hold a Hollywood party at her home in Sugar Hill and many attended, including actor Clark Gable.


The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA has been at the forefront studying and talking about diversity in Hollywood and the importance of not only our history, but measures that need to be taken today.  To keep Hattie McDaniel’s  memory alive and in honor of Women’s History Month, a musical play called, Hattie…What I Need You To Know, will be playing at the Schoenberg Theater at UCLA this coming weekend.  This piece of history is being supported by both the UCLA Black Alumni and the Bunche Center.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said that women are like tea bags, you cannot tell how strong she is until she is put in hot water.  I have to say, Ms. Hattie you were one strong woman!


Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org.  Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at wendy.gladney@gmail.com. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am.