Black History Month
In 2022 during Black History Month, our organization wanted to honor and celebrate both past and current members of the Black community. We came up with the idea of a scholarship for Leadership McKinney, which is the Chamber of Commerce's premier training program for up-and-coming leaders in our community.
We established the Ruby Gross Hines Babers Scholarship
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. We wanted to celebrate that work ethic and provide opportunities for other Black Americans to thrive in our community. We invited Leadership McKinney participants to apply, and in our first year, we had four very qualified applicants. It was a tough decision for our scholarship committee.
The person we selected graduated with her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Stanford University; is a local real estate broker; is currently on the Visit McKinney Board for our City; and has completed the University of Texas LBJ Women's campaign school. The McKinney Area Democratic Club is so pleased to announce the selection of Ms. Deidre Woodard as our scholarship recipient for the Leadership McKinney Class of 2023.
Thank you to our membership, whose financial support
made this recognition possible.
During the final event of McKinney's 2023 Black History Month celebration, the McKinney Area Democratic Club announced scholarships for the Chamber of Commerce Leadership McKinney educational program. With Black History Month's speaker Ambassador Ron Kirk in attendance, the organization revealed that they would be providing not just one but two scholarships for women or men of color who have been approved for the upcoming year's class.
Ms. Deidre Woodard, owner of Status Realty and the inaugural recipient of the Babers Scholarship, made the surprise announcement of the two scholarships. She 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 would like to encourage all eligible Leadership McKinney applicants to apply for these scholarships. Black History Month is the perfect time to remind ourselves that we 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."
The McKinney Area Democratic Club will consider applicants who are women or men of color who have been approved for the upcoming year's class for Leadership McKinney. The deadline to apply for the upcoming year's Leadership McKinney class is May 11, 2023. Click here to download the application.
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)
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
Tonya Babers Dangerfield
Photo Credit Dorly Roy
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.
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."
Mrs. Ruby Gross Hines Babers
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