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On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, Haitian American Author Cindy Similien-Johnson will be one of the panelists at the “Her Image: Changing The Image of African Diaspora Women” Forum at 6:30 pm at  IMAGENATION’s Raw Space Culture Gallery (2031 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, New York, NY 10027).

The Forum will focus on misconceptions and negative stereotypes of African Diaspora Women  presented by corporate  and mainstream media. It  aims to reinforce alternative empowering representation.

The Her Image Forum is organized by Ntumba Mukendi, Founder and Executive Director of Ntumba Ntumba Apparel (NNA), a New York fashion-based non-profit organization that promotes gender empowerment. Ms. Mukendi said, “I want women to play more robust roles in all aspects of decision-making towards the betterment of educational, cultural, socio-political and economic development of the community. In a world that is uncomfortable with the word “ratchet,” only Her Image dares to ask:  ‘What is the definition of a ratchet woman?  Where is sisterhood in the media?  How are these images affecting the youth?'”

Ms. Similien-Johnson founded CSJ Media Publishing as a platform to use her gifts and talents in writing to uplift others.  She’s the author of several books, including “How to Stay Motivated: Inspiration and Advice for Everyday Living.” In 2013, she founded Goal Chic to inspire, encourage, and empower women to understand their value, find their passion, and live a more purposeful life.

She said, “There’s always a story behind every book I write. I founded Goal Chic three years ago in 2013. It started as a blog (goalchic.blogspot.com) where I’d feature women who achieved their goals despite the obstacles they faced. I wanted it to be a place where other women could be inspired by the stories so that they can discover their own purpose. However, I put it aside to deal with other personal challenges.  About two years ago,  there was an incident where a group of girls who belonged to a gang pummeled a young woman at a local restaurant. The young woman was hospitalized. When I saw a picture of those girls on the news, I was in disbelief. They could have been anyone’s sister. I could have passed them by on the streets. A local community leader/activist challenged us to be a part of the solution instead of the problem (i.e. castigation, shame, etc.) I thought to myself, ‘What  can I do? I’m only a writer.’ So, I decided to revive the blog, re-write and re-launch the book, ‘Goal Chic: Changing the World, One Goal at a Time,’ and create a program that will touch the lives of women and young girls.”

“Something happens when you speak hope in the life of a young woman,” Ms. Similien-Johnson continued. “When you plant that seed, no matter what happens, it will grow. One word of hope can change a girl’s decision. Instead of committing suicide, she will choose to live. Instead of taking drugs, she will choose to respect her body. Instead of staying in an unhealthy and volatile relationship, she will choose to respect and value herself. The panelists and I believe we are our sister’s keeper and we have a responsibility to be positive role models, defying the negative portrayal of women of African descent in the media.”

Other panelists include  Social Worker Aminah Mosley; and, Michelle Michelle Hairston,  Hip Hop Educator and Historian, and the Founder of Unifying Through the Hip Hop Culture ad Harrisburg City Breakers.

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