Event celebrates women of color

By John W. Goodwin Jr.



More than 100 women of all ages came out for a discussion of women’s issues and overall empowerment at the 2012 Women of Color Expo on Saturday.

The expo at the DeYor Performing Arts Center sponsored by Jamz 101.9 has taken place annually for the last four years and covers a variety of topics concerning minority women. The expo is divided into a series of panel discussions covering topics such as women in business, relationships, being a single mother, things women say and diversity.

Tiffany “T-Luv” Allen, Jamz radio personality, said the discussion topics were taken from radio and magazine research along with discussions with women in the community about what issues most affect their lives.

“The goal here is to reach out to women in the Youngstown-Warren community, give them a place where they can feel empowered, give them a place where they can talk about issues that they have and then just give them something educational and entertaining to do,” she said.

Bonita Starkey, owner of Keystar Insurance Co., participated in the discussion panel “Women Who Rule the World.” She said the discussion focused on issues such as the corporate glass ceiling (does it exist and how to deal with it), but mostly spoke to women about embracing life experiences that ultimately will make you the person you become.

Starkey said the message is that life experiences are beneficial to and will shape personal and professional lives.

“This was absolutely a motivational piece for anyone listening,” she said.

Jammin’ Janay, Jamz radio personality, said the expo is beneficial not only for women, but also can help men understand the needs and wants of women.

“One of the benefits of this type of event is that it can give men a better understanding of what women want and need in relationships,” she said.

Madonna Chism-Pinkard, 21 WFMJ-TV community-relations director, also took part in diversity workshops during the expo. She said the target age-range for the event is urban women 18 to 40 years old, but the issues concerning relationships, family, career and education can be beneficial for a broad spectrum of women.

“The thing is to realize that there are so many resources and options available for your personal development and professional growth, regardless of what color you are,” said Pinkard.

Nia Simms attended the Saturday expo and said it was beneficial from a personal and professional standpoint. She said she only wishes more young people would have come out and taken part.

“I found there are many, many women in this community doing excellent work and are willing to help the younger generation,” said Simms. “For me and my organization [Leaders for Progress], there are different resources I did not know I could go to. I wish more kids would have come out to receive some of this information.”

Allen said the ultimate goal of the annual expo is for those who attend to leave more empowered than they were before the start of the event. She said one young participant declared she wants to make a career change to be a radio personality — that is the type of inspiration she wanted to see in all the participants.

“I hope they leave here inspired. I want to give them options on what it is to be a strong woman in today’s society. We want to empower and uplift them. That is the goal,” she said.

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