Updated: Sep 21, 2022
On August 21, 2021, I attended the Urban Reads Bookstore Youth Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. The vibe was HIGH and the intent was POWERFUL! From the event organizers to the babies participating on the panel: HIGH IMPACT!
One word: ACTIVATED !!!
I value the work and boss moves made by Tia Hamilton, CEO/Founder of Urban Reads Bookstore and State vs Us Magazine. The dedication is evident; Her #bossbrand speaks for itself. Tia has built an empire based on breaking barriers and providing opportunities in the Baltimore City community and the like in a number of ways. In short, sis empowers others ... period.
I was able to briefly speak with Tia and get a quick selfie thanks to another powHERhouse and my sis, Catalina Byrd. Check us out!
! E N E R G Y !
I can not thankh Tia enough for this much needed event. The passion and commitment from all involved was reflected in the turnout and outpouring of love that day. The Babies felt the love indeed. To provide a safe space that left the youth feeling heard and supported from Social Justice Leaders to community members was so necessary. To know that they matter and are supported by people that they may see on TV to their very own local business owners and community leaders and members means a lot. To have parents engage in open dialogue with those who are willing and able to provide solutions and resources with no judgement and all love is what will bridge so many gaps in our communities. Salute to all those who supported this endeavor and I hope we continue to pour into this queen and those who sacrifice tirelessly to truly free us all.
I'll never forget Yandy Smith Harris dropped jewels and showing off on stage dancing off Baltimore Club Music. My heart was full of joy as the panelists shared personal stories with the youth that gave hope and wise counsel to lead with another day. I almost hopped on the game truck LOL It was EVERYTHING!!!
If you know, you know YANDY & TAMIKA are my besties from a past lifetime lol so the stars would be aligned for me to build with both queens that day. When I say the event was one for the books - literally and figuratively! Each panelist held a meet and greet and/or book signing. Ya'll know me - take my coins and feed me knowledge!
So fun fact, during undergrad, I literally used to tell people "I'M YANDY!" - you know like lil Yandy lol. I truly looked up to her so I HAD to tell her that story & speak LIFE into her because I'm #LoveAshLight duh! I handed her MY business card (bucket list lol) and purchased her book, 'My Blended Family."
This energy exchange was a DREAM come TRUE! I built with my big sis yall! Alllll the traffic from NJ to MD was worth it - did I mention this was a FREE EVENT?! Salute AGAIN to Tia and her team for putting ON for her city!
Let's talk about the quiet storm that is Tamika Mallory; I say quiet storm because even as she sat in silence, I felt her energy. I had EVERYTHING TO SAY in my mind but then I saw her. All I could say, "Sis... sis... Queen.. thankh you" I then introduced myself but I wasn't led to say any thing I had imagined. Instead we spoke casually about traffic but I did not let the moment slip away without telling her that I am in the fight with her and shared a little about my hometown and our social ills. I'll leave the rest where it's at but know it was nothing short of divine. I was upset that I didn't at least ask her for advice for the youth but when I read what she wrote to me in my personal copy of 'State Of Emergency: How We Win in the Country We Built' - I had my answer.
Peace to the brothers and sisters fighting the good fight making good trouble!
Check out a few pics I captured; #URBYouthSummit was EPIC INDEED! I can't wait to wear my shirt from Tia's booth and to finish my books from my besties lol!