Black History Month
Our organization honors and celebrates our diverse communities of color. To help in that initiative, we offer the Ruby Gross Hines Babers Scholarship for Leadership McKinney, the Chamber of Commerce's premier training program for up-and-coming leaders in our community.
Mrs. Ruby Gross Hines Babers was the beloved grandmother of Board member Ms. Tonya Babers Dangerfield (featured below). Mrs. Babers' inspiration, hard work, and determination paved the way for success for her children and grandchildren. Each year, to celebrate her legacy and provide opportunities for residents of color to thrive in our community, we invite Leadership McKinney participants to apply for a tuition scholarship.
The McKinney Area Democratic Club will consider applicants who are persons of color (who do not identify as "White" for census purposes), who have been approved for the upcoming year's class for Leadership McKinney. The announcement of the upcoming year's scholarship award winner will be made in August of each year.
Ms. Lisa Washington of Lead By Example is this year's recipient of the Ruby Gross Hines Babers Scholarship. Ms. Washington impressed the committee with her commitment to her community, her active involvement in city issues, and her unwavering spirit of volunteerism designed to improve the lives of others around her.
In 2022, our scholarship committee selected Ms. Deidre Woodard as our inaugural scholarship recipient. Ms. Woodard graduated with her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Stanford University; is a local real estate broker; is currently on the Planning & Zoning Board for our City; and has completed the University of Texas LBJ Women's campaign school.
After graduation from Leadership McKinney, Ms. Woodard, owner of Status Realty, stated, "I found the Chamber’s premier leadership training program to be an exceptional way to learn more about my community, meet an amazing cross-section of leaders, and establish friendships that I’m sure will last for years to come. I encourage all eligible applicants to apply for these scholarships."
"... [W]e belong in business spaces, at conference tables, in politics, and in leadership positions. The McKinney Area Democratic Club hopes these scholarships can help make that happen."
Born and raised in McKinney, Ms. Washington is employed by MFS Investment and is the Enrollment Director for Ambit Energy. Ms. Washington also founded a local nonprofit that works with at-risk seniors to meet their physical and psychological needs for appreciation and interaction. Recently named the 2023 Zeta Phi Beta Woman of the Year, Ms. Washington is well-known for her senior health and wellness advocacy in City Hall and beyond.
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McKinney Democrats board member Ms. Tonya Babers Dangerfield asked our entire leadership to join her in an active exploration of Black History Month.
As she put it: "I think it's important that we not only post, like, or even love quotes about famous Black history figures, but that we also understand how the political climate of the past in the United States, directly intersects with and affects the current political climate, and why you will see your Black friends boycotting and demanding things you might not understand in the coming months, years, and election cycles. I will post one movie per week that I would like to ask you to find and watch, to help understand the importance and urgency of the mission."
Will you join with us in this challenge? Our first week's movie: "The Long Walk Home" with Whoopi Goldberg and Sissy Spacek. (You can stream it for free on Plex, Tubi, and Pluto, or purchase it on Prime Video. Or you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/0FJSosGKclM)
Tonya Babers Dangerfield
Photo Credit Dorly Roy
We are continuing our exploration of #BlackHistoryMonth under the leadership of McKinney Democrats board member Tonya Babers Dangerfield. She says: "I will share some videos, memes, and links of events, people, etc, related to the Black Experience that people in our position as gatekeepers of righteousness should be aware of. I'll share a lot from James Baldwin. He was a Black creative, an openly gay man, an intellectual, and a civil rights leader with a typewriter." Will you join us in learning more? You can start here: https://youtu.be/6N_Gx1SOHkA
We're getting more personal in our discussion about #BlackHistoryMonth. McKinney Democrats board member Ms. Tonya Babers Dangerfield shared this story and tied it into the importance of voting: "This is my beloved grandmother who has been gone over 21 years now. She frequently shared her real-life stories with me that are similar to what you see in movie theaters or on TV. She was a maid, like Whoopi's character (in one of the movie's I recommended earlier, "The Long Walk Home"). She also cleaned the Wilson Building in Dallas at night, and checked groceries on Saturdays, all while raising her family as a single mom.
Mrs. Ruby Gross Hines Babers
You might ask what this has to do with voting? Well, we have to vote about issues that impact US and can change circumstances for our families ... educational opportunities, financial security, criminal justice reform, the elimination of bias in hiring, etc., all play a part in the prevention of stories like this repeating. My grandmother always stressed to me that I must go to school because education could never be taken away from me, and I would never have to endure what she had to endure."
So far this month, we've watched "The Long Walk Home," "Mississippi Burning," and "Selma." They're all centered around politics as it relates to the struggle of Black people's lives and experiences. I'd like to add one more movie to the list: "Freedom Road," and it's one I've watched since I was a child. I didn't completely understand the systemic and systematic polices to keep Black people from holding political office when I was young, but it makes so much sense now. Made in 1979, it stars Muhammad Ali. You can rent it here: https://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Road-Muhammad-Ali/dp/B07LGFKZ7L