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Archive for the ‘Personal Empowerment’ Category

Nothing wrong with different ideologies, practise them after college: Venkaiah Naidu to Tiruchy students – The New Indian Express

Posted: January 11, 2020 at 5:41 am


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By Express News Service

TIRUCHY: Dissent and protests are part of democracy, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu said on Friday while addressing students in the city. He, however, stressed that protests should be peaceful and the destruction of public properties should not be allowed. Naidu was speaking at National College as the chief guest of its centenary celebrations.

He emphasized that one should not allow violence to take place in any public activity and that peace was the pre-requisite for progress.

Further, Naidu advised students not to waste time during the course of their study and instead be pragmatic. There is nothing wrong in knowing different ideologies, but practice them once you are out of educational institutions.

He added, Your focus should be on academic excellence for better future. We must pursue education with all vigour. Students must draw inspiration from our glorious history to make a magnificent future.

The Vice-President appealed to students to dispel political tainting of initiatives like yoga promotions, Swachch Bharat, digital India and Clean India. He said the initiatives were for personal well being and nations development and should not be viewed politically.

Appreciating Tamil Nadu for its higher Gross Enrolment Ratio, (enrolment into higher education)he said more is needed to be done. He said private players should also invest in education. Investment in education is investing in countrys development, he said.

ALSO READ | Campuses shouldnt let politics of hate thrive: Venkaiah Naidu

He added, Literacy is the first step to empowerment. We must hence step-up the pace of our literacy campaigns, especially those that have an impact on adult literacy.

Referring to ancient India where education was free, egalitarian and accessible to both men and women, he said, "The curriculum was comprehensive and placed equal emphasis on the intellectual, emotional, psychological and physical development."

He called for restoring ancient glory where India was the educational capital of the world by fortifying modern education with ancient wisdom to face todays real-world challenges.

He said that the treasure of wisdom handed down to us by generations of wise men and womenneeded to bepreserved, protected and promoted.

Naidu also suggested students learn as many languages as possible.

Among those present at the event were Vice President of National College Jayakar Krishnamurthy, Secretary K Ragunathan and Principal R Sundararaman.

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Nothing wrong with different ideologies, practise them after college: Venkaiah Naidu to Tiruchy students - The New Indian Express

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January 11th, 2020 at 5:41 am

South Korea Moves Toward Institutional Acceptance of Cryptocurrency – Nasdaq

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By Landon Manning

The South Korean Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PCFIR), a committee focused on coordinating regulatory policy around cutting-edge technology in the country, has made recommendations that the government work toward institutional acceptance of crypto assets, causing some to speculate that South Korea is preparing for a crypto arms race against the Chinese digital yuan.

Local media outletBusiness Koreareportedon January 6, 2020, that the PCFIR suggested that the Korean government allow financial institutions to launch cryptocurrency-related products, such as Bitcoin derivatives, as a medium- and long-term strategy for the institutionalization of cryptocurrencies.

As part of this strategy of working toward both nearer and longer term goals, the committee also recommended the development and implementation of a Korean custody solution to avoid relying solely on foreign custodians in the process of handling crypto assets.

This problem seems especially salient for South Korea, as it also formally recommended directly listing bitcoin for sale on Korea Exchange, the nations sole securities operator. Additionally, the report called for the legalization of private firms selling futures on bitcoin products. For this latter measure, the report explicitly drew comparisons to governments like the United States, which have enacted similar measures, calling these regulations a model to be emulated.

Given the way that the PCFIR referenced the international crypto industry, specifically claiming that it is no longer possible to stop crypto-asset trade worldwide, commentators havedrawn attentionto Chinas test phase of developing its own state-backed crypto asset: the digital yuan. The Chinese economy being a significant competitor to South Koreas in a wide range of areas (and also considering Chinas support for North Korea) adds validity to this notion that South Korea has a rivalry with the economic giant in mind in its own approach to formal crypto adoption.

The proposal of these new measures has not been the only crypto-friendly overture from the South Korean government recently. On December 30, 2019, the Ministry of Finance and Strategyconfirmedthat nothing in the countrys tax code currently supports the taxation of capital gains made through trading cryptocurrencies. Although there has been some chatter that the government will seek to tighten its tax codes in the future, concrete legislative attempts are yet to materialize.

Although it is unclear what amount of material resources the South Korean government will commit to the promotion of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies, the suggestion that it will allow private firms more leeway to expand their services independently is a good start. As the possible global implications of Chinas new program begin to crystallize, South Koreas response will surely also become clearer.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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South Korea Moves Toward Institutional Acceptance of Cryptocurrency - Nasdaq

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January 11th, 2020 at 5:41 am

BCC launches service workshops for Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration – Fall River Herald News

Posted: January 9, 2020 at 6:45 am


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FALL RIVER Bristol Community College will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. with free community breakfast and new service workshops on Monday, Jan. 20.

For its 20th anniversary, Bristol is transforming the colleges annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. community breakfast into an all-new, interactive Day of Service, serving multiple age groups and community offerings. Following the breakfast and a brief program, including a keynote presentation by Marquis Taylor, founder of the school improvement initiative Coaching 4 Change, guests will have the option to visit multiple fun and engaging workshops and activities throughout the Bristol Fall River campus.

The annual celebration will be held in the Commonwealth College Center (G Building) cafeteria, on the Bristol Community College Fall River Campus, 777 Elsbree Street. The breakfast and brief program, which includes a keynote address, as well as entertainment by Mia Vaughn, will begin at 8:30 a.m., before transitioning to workshops and activities at 10:30 a.m.

New additions to the event include 90-minute workshops, about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., personal empowerment, financial literacy, a theatre workshop, as well as a motivational youth basketball clinic and more. For the most updated list of Day of Service workshops and activities at this years event, including descriptions and registration details, visit http://www.bristolcc.edu/mlk.

Taylor founded Coaching 4 Change while attending graduate school, at the age of 27. Marquis passion is inspiring people to understand that where you start is not where you have to end up. He encourages young people to fight negativity by taking action, evaluating and thinking differently. Growing up in a low-income community in South Central Los Angeles, he witnessed violence, experienced failure and overcame many challenges, which led him to dedicate himself to motivating others.

He graduated from Stonehill College with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and earned his Master of Education in Teaching from Smith College. He has also been honored as an Echoing Green Fellow and Pahara Institute NextGen Fellow.

For more information about the 20th Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast and Day of Service, please visit http://www.bristolcc.edu/mlk.

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BCC launches service workshops for Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration - Fall River Herald News

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January 9th, 2020 at 6:45 am

HUD Awards More Funding And New Designation To CMHA – WCBE 90.5 FM

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U.S. Housing and Urban Development officials were in Columbus Wednesday for a trio of announcements regarding the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority.

HUD Midwest Regional Administrator Joseph Galvan announced that CMHA has been awarded nearly $156,000 to help families attain self-sufficiency.

"These funds will help residents of public and voucher-assisted housing increase their earned income andreducetheir dependency on public assistance and rental subsidies," Galvan said. "HUD's Family Self-Sufficiency Program helps local public housing authoritiesto hire a service coordinator who can work directly with residents to connect them with existing programs and services in the localcommunity."

It's part of almost $3.5 million HUD awarded similar agencies across Ohio. Galvan also announced a $142,451 grant to CMHA to provide permanent homes to 24 veterans experiencing homelessness. The Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, known as HUD-VASH, combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. Officials say the vouchers help homeless veterans obtain affordable housing in the private market.

"Since 2017, the Columbus VA along with CMHA has provided permanent supportive housing to 310 veteran households," Director of Veterans Affairs Central Ohio Healthcare Vivian Hutson said. "The Columbus HUD-VASH program leads the region with an average occupancy rate of 96 percent."

HUD also designated CMHA's RISE center a HUD EnVision Center. The designation enables resource-sharing and partnerships with additional federal agencies, including the Commerce, Health & Human Services, Labor, Agriculture, and Education departments. RISE Center director Sonja Nelson.

"Once people have stable housing, they can begin to address the barriers that stand in their way to self-sufficiency," RISE Center director Sonja Nelson said. "The needs are many, from affordable child care and transportation to mental health services and job training. Everyday people walk through the doors of CMHA overwhelmed with challenges beyond housing. Coordinators at RISE will connect residents to resources provided at local agencies to support our residents in addressing obstacles to create pathways to personal and economic empowerment."

In addition to economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness, and character and leadership are the other points of emphasis.

"It's focused on CMHA residents, but it's open to anyone," Nelson continued. "When our housing advisors meet with someone and they need child care or help in finding a job, unfortunately our housing advisors don't have the time or the capacity or the tools. They're regulatory. So now they can say, yes you have support right across the street. You can go over to the RISE Center, and they will help you."

Nelson says while the HUB sits across the street CMHA's main office near 11th and Cleveland Avenues, there are also satellite locations at the organization's housing communities. Additional locations and services will be based on feedback from residents. Officials say they will measure success based on the outcomes of the residents they serve.

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HUD Awards More Funding And New Designation To CMHA - WCBE 90.5 FM

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January 9th, 2020 at 6:44 am

Top 5 albums of the 2010s – Wichita State Sunflower

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Karen Galindo and Brogan Gillmore|January 8, 2020

The Sound of the Life of the Mind album art

5. The Sound of the Life of the Mind by Ben Folds Five

Having broken up at the beginning of the millenium, Ben Folds Five reformed in 2011 then produced The Sound of the Life of the Mind, their fourth studio album, in 2012. The album debuted at number 10 on Billboards Top 200 and retained everything that made the band a hit in the mid-90s: catchy pop lyrics and piano riffs that take a 2-year lease in the back of your head.

In anticipation of the album Ben Folds Five released a music video for their uplifting pop-rock anthem Do It Anyway, featuring Jim Hensons Fraggle Rock muppets. Like most of the rock-groups albums, they have songs ranging from peppy feel-good anthems to angsty and aggressive songs like Draw a Crowd that you turn on just to blow off steam on bad days.

Beat the Champ album art

4. Beat the Champ by The Mountain Goats

If you ever thought Wow, I really need a whole album about pro-wrestling, then look no further; Beat the Champ is The Mountain Goats 2015 ballad album detailing the rise and fall of a pro-wrestler in the American southwest. If youre not a wrestling fan, this album still has something for you, with its vivid lyrics and storytelling that have more to do with morality and the mistakes we make in our lives than it does with wrestling. Although not successful on the awards circuit, the album received plenty of acclaim critically with Jer Fairall from Exclaim! referring to the album as a highlight in a career full of highlights.

Lemonade album art

3.Lemonade by Beyonc

Released in 2016, Lemonade resonated with the souls of fans across the world. The R&B album embodied vulnerability and empowerment with tracks such as Daddy Lessons, Dont Hurt Yourself,and Formation. In the album, Beyonc was able to unapologetically discuss gender and racial inequality and empowerment, all while singing from personal experiences and heartbreak. The singer was thoroughly honest with all her tracks, which range from R&B to country to rock. Nominated for nine Grammy awards and the winner of two (Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video), this album continues to be talked about and listed to by music lovers all around.

To Pimp a Butterfly album art

2. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar

Released in 2010, To Pimp a Butterfly launched Lamars hip hop career into a new stardom. The album won five Grammy titles, including Best Rap Album of the Year and Best Rap Performance. The Rolling Stones placed To Pimp a Butterfly as the third best album of the decade saying, To Pimp a Butterfly is the LP that defined hip-hops state of the art in the 2010s, not just for Lamars miles of MC styles and undiluted politics, but also for his musical vision Armed with introspective and powerful lyrics, the album became a symbol for the Black Lives Matter movement.

In To Pimp a Butterfly, Lamar vulnerably talks about Americas political and racial issues, his own mental health problems and his life growing up in Compton. Lamar continued with greatness in his next album DAMN. where he earned his first number one hit with HUMBLE, however, To Pimp a Butterfly is vulnerable and raw in ways that his 2017 album is not.

1989 album art

1. 1989 by Taylor Swift

Nominated for 10 Grammy awards and the winner of three (Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Music Video) 1989 was and continues to be a force to be reckoned with. Being whimsical, light and upbeat while armed with Swifts talent of lyrical word-play, 1989 rightfully deserves a spot in the Top Five Albums of the Decade.

Nearly every track in this album became a hit. Gossip tabloids could not get enough of the drama-filled hits, Bad Blood and Blank Space. Wildest Dreams and Style spoke of past relationships in a bittersweet melody, which millions worldwide could relate to. Finally, Shake It Off was either absolutely loved or hated by listeners, but nonetheless, still continued to climb its way onto the Billboard Hot 100. According to the New York Post, 1989 sold about 1.3 million copies in its first week of release making it the biggest debut for an artist since 2002. The album marked Swifts official crossover from country to pop, and it made Swift a tough contender for the title of The Queen of Pop.

Honorable Mentions (in no specific order):

Midnight Memories album art

Midnight Memories by One Direction

One Direction took the world by storm in the 2010s. Their third album, Midnight Memories, which contained hits such as Best Song Ever and Story Of My Life, became the best-selling album worldwide in 2013. One Direction quickly became the most-profitable boy band in history, even breaking records that were set by The Beatles. After their indefinite hiatus was announced in 2015, their popularity still continued to stay strong, which may or may not have helped to boost each individual band members solo careers. One Direction undoubtedly made a cultural impact in the 2010s, and their highest selling album, Midnight Memories, will continue to be sung by fans worldwide for many years to come.

Doo Wops and Hooligans album art

Doo-Wops and Hooligans by Bruno Mars

Although Doo-Wops and Hooligans was released at the very begining of the decade in 2010, it has not been forgotten. Hits such as Just the Way You Are, Grenade, Lazy Song and Marry You caught the hearts of every hopeless romantic and continues to ring in the minds of many as a nostalgic memory. This album launched Bruno Mars into music fandom, but his continued masterpieces on later albums such as When I Was Your Man, Versace on the Floor and Uptown Funk solidified his career. Although Bruno Mars switched from wearing fedoras to snapbacks and from singing Pop to R&B by the end of the decade, he still continued to rock the music charts. The reason why Doo-Wops and Hooligans is listed instead of his later albums, 24k Magic and Unorthodox Jukebox is simply because it perfectly captures the essence that was the early 2010s with its sweet, pop love ballads and happy tunes.

21 album art

21 by Adele

21 by Adele earned the title of Best Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2012. Adeles soulful voice matched with her powerful, lyrical storytelling made for a beautiful album. Hits such as Someone Like You, Rolling in the Deep and I Set Fire to the Rain spoke of the mourning that comes along with heartbreak. Adeles ability to create emotional ballads is absolutely unique to her sound and cannot be overlooked.

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Top 5 albums of the 2010s - Wichita State Sunflower

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January 9th, 2020 at 6:44 am

Youre Not Going to Kill Them With Kindness. Youll Do Just the Opposite. – The New York Times

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Id probably pick up any book that includes the words foreword by Jimmy Carter, because I know being in his company will make me feel better. OUR BETTER ANGELS: Seven Simple Virtues That Will Change Your Life and the World (St. Martins, 240 pp., $24.99), by Jonathan Reckford, C.E.O. of Habitat for Humanity, has such a foreword. When President Carter isnt writing his own historical or inspirational books, hes building homes with Habitat for Humanity for those who desperately need them. Our Better Angels lays out the seven virtues that can translate into action: Kindness, Community, Empowerment, Joy, Respect, Generosity and Service. This is a nifty way to organize a lot of great stories about people Habitat for Humanity has helped and to drive home the very important point that performing a service helps you, too even if the service is done out of duty, not love. Because in a certain sense, duty can become love as the British in general, and fans of Downton Abbey in particular, can surely tell you.

Which may be why I was drawn to a book called COSY: The British Art of Comfort (HarperOne, 176 pp., $19.99), by Laura Weir. The American market has been inundated with bossy little books in which other countries tell us how to behave. (Korea, please stop telling me to empty my mind so I can begin to claim the power of nunchi. I am 58. I can barely hold on to the few thoughts I have.) But O.K., Im an Anglophile, and I was drawn to this one. Unlike hygge, which is beautiful in essence, but too often seen through the lens of interior design magazines, being cosy is completely personal, affordable and democratic. Cosy is your authentic self undone. I particularly enjoyed the chapter Cosy and Kind, where Weir indirectly lays out the connection between duty and love, with advice like Become the stealth de-icer: rise early and chuck down de-icing solution on the drives and steps of your elderly neighbors homes. They dont need to know, but you will. Alas, she also talks a great deal about creating small dolls and knitting woolly hats for charity. My Anglophilia stops short of knitting. Can I just send a check?

Victoria Turks KILL REPLY ALL: A Modern Guide to Online Etiquette, From Social Media to Work to Love (Plume, 224 pp., paper, $15.99) is one of the more amusing digital-etiquette books youll read. Simply put, social media has created a new universe of ways we can be mean to one another. So digital good manners are a great kindness, whether they apply to friends, work or love. (I like one of Turks definitions of love: Texting them even though your batterys at 5 percent.) And now, I know I will never leave anyone in a specific circle of acquaintances out of a group chat, even if I think he or she is uninterested; let that person opt out himself. Lets say its a book club chat. By God, everyone must be in there, even if Janet has questionable opinions about Nabokov and Leslie can turn every club meeting into a discussion of her grandchildren. These, like many of Turks lessons, are kindnesses I can live with.

Perhaps the most interesting (because the most personal, while also the most steeped in data) is Kelli Hardings THE RABBIT EFFECT: Live Longer, Happier and Healthier With the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness (Atria, 272 pp., $27). For instance: In other wealthy nations over the past few years, life expectancy has been rising, while in the politically turbulent United States the trend has moved the other way. In 2016, we ranked 43rd in the world for life expectancy. Coincidence? We spend a fortune on health care, Harding notes. So whats missing?

Well, as it turns out: everything. To dismiss the role that issues like abuse, discrimination and loneliness play in health, Harding writes, is like fixing up an airplane engine and ignoring that the pilot is on his third drink at the bar and a massive storm is overhead.

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Youre Not Going to Kill Them With Kindness. Youll Do Just the Opposite. - The New York Times

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January 9th, 2020 at 6:44 am

Lush and luminous oil paintings of black men and women by Ghanian artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe – Creative Boom

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Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe Portrait in Yellow, 2019. Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California

Taking inspiration from strangers he meets on the street, encounters on social media or from friends and colleagues, Ghanian artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe paints bright and luminous portraits of black men and women.

Celebrating African culture, his latest paintings, Black Like Me, are to go on show at Roberts Projects in Culver City from 11 January, which the gallery says stand as "visual testaments to the resilience, power and strength inherent in African culture, as articulated by the artist".

A common theme throughout Otis's work is colour and how it depicts his subjects. "These are images of empowerment and redemption, sophistication and humility, curiosity and quietude," adds the Gallery. "Each figure becomes a symbol of the reclamation of cultural dignity, embracing the idea of origin and personal narrative as it relates to gender and race dynamics. That they are posed in classically derived poses only serves to reinforce the artist constructed narrative."

As Quaicoe explains: "Colour means a great deal where I come from. It's a distinguishing quality the very means of self-expression." Indeed, the colours reflect the subject's state of mind and suggest a more complicated and celebrated relationship to the world around them.

Using bright oranges, Yves Klein blues, lurid yellows and cherry reds, Otis aims to capture the essence of each of his subjects, including their sense of style and fashion.

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe was born in the Greater Accra Region, Ghana. He attended the Ghanatta College of Art and Design for Fine Art with a focus on painting. He currently resides in Gresham, Oregon.

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe: Black Like Me runs from 11 January until 7 March at Roberts Projects gallery in Culver City, California.

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe The Artist II. Kewsi Botchway, 2019. Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe Portrait of Albert Sowah Anan, 2019. Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe Orange Turtleneck, 2019. Courtesy of the Artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California

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Lush and luminous oil paintings of black men and women by Ghanian artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe - Creative Boom

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January 9th, 2020 at 6:44 am

Biglaw Firm Announces Generous Expansion Of Parental Leave Benefits For Lawyers – Above the Law

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By now it is pretty clear, if you want to be considered an elite law firm and be able to compete for the best legal talent you have to pony up with a generous parental leave policy. We are seeing more and more firms offering their attorneys generous paid leave, and the programs are increasingly gender neutral and offered without a primary caregiver stipulation.

The latest firm to offer improved parental leave is Dorsey & Whitney. Their newly expanded program, effective January 1, 2020, provides attorneys with 15 weeks paid leave up from 10 as well as a 4 week ramp up/down periods surrounding leave (for anyone that takes at least 12 continuous weeks of parental leave) which consists of a 50 percent billable hours expectation. The firm is also doubling their adoption assistance program, increasing the reimbursable expenses from $5,000 to $10,000 for qualified adoption expenses.

Bill Stoeri, Managing Partner, said the programs expansion is part of the firms commitment to helping employees have a real work/life balance:

We are committed to being a family-friendly workplace and to having the policies and benefits in place that enable our attorneys and staff to manage their professional and personal lives in the way that works best for them. We believe this benefits our lawyers, the Firm as a whole, and most importantly, our clients.

Staff at the firm also receive paid leave, but it is only 8 weeks (plus any applicable disability).

Dorsey has been recognized in the past for their family friendly benefits, including being named a Best Law Firm for Women by Working Mother magazine, an Adoption Advocate by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum.

You can read the firms full announcement of the new program on the next page.

Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email herwith any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).

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Biglaw Firm Announces Generous Expansion Of Parental Leave Benefits For Lawyers - Above the Law

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January 9th, 2020 at 6:44 am

Rise and Thrive: Brianna Joy Seipel creates landscapes of witness at the crossroads of art and allyship – Milwaukee Independent

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Milwaukee Independent: What was the inspiration for Rise and Thrive and how did it become a public exhibit?

Brianna Joy Seipel: My oil paintings typically fall into two categories commissions and passion projects capturing places that have transformed my life. Last summer I began to wonder how I could develop the latter into a charitable project to bless others, helping them find a visual language to describe their lives in a landscape. With this idea, I wanted to explore how the natural world shapes our identities. So I began considering why certain landscapes endure in our hearts, our memories, and most importantly in our stories That took me on a path to one of my favorite Milwaukee-area nonprofits. In December of 2018 I approached my friend and mentor Rachel Monaco-Wilcox, Founder and CEO of LOTUS Legal Clinic, to see if we could pilot the program as part of their ongoing empowerment initiative for survivors of sexual violence and trafficking. Serving the state of Wisconsin since 2013, LOTUS has provided direct, comprehensive legal services, advocacy, community education, and they invest in survivors as change agents. Specifically, I was interested in working with alumni of their Untold Stories program. As of this year more than 117 survivors have participated in Untold Stories trauma-informed writing workshops learning to be a witness and share their stories as platforms for social change. We presented the idea for Rise and Thrive to a small group of Untold Stories alumni as an opportunity to approach their story from a new perspective one of healing, inspiration, and transformation. Survivors were invited to write about a particular place in the natural world that had deep personal meaning, and to provide me with a photograph of that place, which I would respond to artistically and in writing. It turned out to be a powerful combination.

Milwaukee Independent: What was the creative process like for the survivors of sexual violence who participated?

Brianna Joy Seipel: All participants were asked a series of pre-interview questions via email to help them reflect on their journey to healing. These questions included writing prompts like telling me about a place where you find peace or purpose, a place that filled you with joy, or a place where you found courage. That was followed by an in-person meeting, usually at a coffee shop, to get to know one another. It is hard to describe how cool it was to sit down with a total stranger and talk about the landscapes that inspire us. It was also a little nerve wracking. Although I have experience designing programs like this from my past work in the nonprofit sector, I had never implemented one as the primary artist. The participants truly took a leap of faith on this journey with me, and I am so grateful for that trust. After our initial meeting, the survivor-writers chose a final photo and wrote rough drafts of the story they wanted to tell. Together we worked for several months to finalize those written statements. Throughout the summer and fall of 2019 I wrote responses to their work, and created oil paintings inspired by their photographs. Participants were welcome to visit my studio throughout the painting process, and all six survivor-writers chose to do so at various times. That was an unexpected joy. It was so fun to connect and share my workspace with fellow creatives.

Milwaukee Independent: Who helped to shape the project and were you able reach the goal you originally envisioned for it?

Brianna Joy Seipel: The amazing LOTUS team members provided feedback and oversight to help ensure the project ran smoothly and was respectful of each survivors privacy. One of the earliest decisions we made was to donate the original oil paintings to the survivors as a gift. It was really important to me that participants could walk away from the project with a tangible piece and these paintings are first and foremost their stories. It made perfect sense to structure the project that way.

Milwaukee Independent: What was the ultimate goal of the project and were you able to achieve what you originally envisioned for it?

Brianna Joy Seipel: This project was designed simply to honor the stories and celebrate the spirits of these individuals who have learned what it means to rise, and thrive. The work culminated in a series of 12 oil paintings, six sketches on paper, and six larger paintings on panel. They were accompanied by artist statements, which I wrote together with the participants. We hosted the exhibition at Knowlton Law Group Kate Knowltons private practice. Kate has always had a dream to host art exhibits in her space, and her office was the perfect destination for this show. The exhibition was a two-day event from November 15 to 16. Friday night was a private opening for survivor-writers and their families, and Saturday was a public exhibition. The show included process sketches, final paintings, artist statements, a print magazine, archival prints of each painting, and other print collateral for sale. With the exception of the original artwork, all of these pieces were for sale, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the ongoing work of LOTUS Legal Clinic.

Milwaukee Independent: How do you measure success with your art and creative work?

Brianna Joy Seipel: I believe we find satisfaction in knowing what our work is, doing it well, and the relationships we build along the way. This project has been especially rich in relationships. Being a self-employed artist can be isolating work, so the process of creating alongside LOTUS survivor-writers to collaboratively tell their story has been so inspiring.

Milwaukee Independent: What has been the most impactful creative challenge that you faced recently, and what did you learn from the experience?

Brianna Joy Seipel: As an artist, this was new territory for me because these stories were so deeply personal and yet the images and ideas themselves are truly universal. When working with survivors, I had to be sensitive to the fact that each individual is in a different place of their healing process. Privacy is incredibly important. Making sure we had contracts, so I knew how each participant wished to be represented, that was also a key element to make sure I was proceeding in a respectful way. LOTUS staff were always there to answer my questions. That was invaluable. One of the biggest lessons I learned this year actually came from a commission project that ran concurrent with the creation of this exhibit. I was really struggling with the piece and a mentor recommended literally putting the piece in a closet and taking time to play artistically with subject matter that brought me joy. She then recommended coming back to the piece in a week or two, and approach the piece differently by making a series of small sketches to see the work in a new light. That process was transformative. I never had a dedicated sketchbook practice until this year, but now I am hooked. Working small eliminates fear and leads to creative discoveries that I can take to the larger painting. Each painting in the Rise and Thrive exhibit began with such a sketch, and I feel that the final pieces are much better for that change in my artistic practice.

Milwaukee Independent: Was there a part of the project that exceeded your expectations or offered a pleasant surprise?

Brianna Joy Seipel: The Untold Stories alumni were incredibly creative and articulate writers, and the project blossomed above and beyond what I had originally imagined it would be. I am so thrilled with the resulting landscape-narrative pairings, and so honored to be trusted with the curation of these stories. In addition, I loved meeting visitors on our opening weekend who recognized physical locations in the paintings and began to tell their own stories connected to that place. There is something powerful about storytelling over shared places that brings us together. I want to continue to dig deeper into this idea with future projects.

Milwaukee Independent: Are there plans for a continuation of the project or was this exhibit all there will be?

Brianna Joy Seipel: Yes, planning for 2020s Rise and Thrive exhibit is already underway with a similar timeline interviews in the spring, artwork creation in the summer, and a culminating exhibition in the fall. We are also exploring ways in which this model can be replicated with other artists to keep the project sustainable long-term.

Support from LOTUS Legal Clinics team, particularly Director of Survivor Empowerment Austin Mahlon Reece, and interim Executive Director Kate Knowlton, was vital for the completion of the project. Their passion for championing the voices of survivors, both here in Wisconsin and sharing their program model across the United States, is unparalleled.

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Rise and Thrive: Brianna Joy Seipel creates landscapes of witness at the crossroads of art and allyship - Milwaukee Independent

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January 9th, 2020 at 6:44 am

Rising Star Sofia Evangelina: The movement I’m creating is designed to promote the belief in your self worth; Knowing your value makes you dangerously…

Posted: January 7, 2020 at 6:46 pm


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I stand against bullying and other negative trends amongst my peers and I aspire to inspire personal empowerment in youth and beyond, both with my music and as a person. When people say that we need to create a bully-free world, to me, it sounds too obvious, too generic. Its a good start to face up the issue, but once you look evil in the eye, what is your actionplan?

In practical terms, if we dont tackle the root of the problem, we will continue to deal with the same consequences over and over again as the evil will always find a way to seep in right back. Being a youth myself, and dealing with many problems first hand, I can attest, that bullying and all other negative trends of todays society, and specifically youth culture: suicide, cuttings, cliquing, etc all stem from the same underlying issuea lack of self worth. The magnitude of the problem is unreal. The movement Im creating is designed to promote the belief in your self worth and spread this awareness through various programs. Knowing your value makes you dangerously powerful. When you understand your purpose, you possess the strength to stand your ground and no one can ever mistreat you. Even if they try, it will bounce off you, because you are like hell to the no!morally and psychologically untouchable. You might even help them re-think their life choices. Ive seen the former bully became an anti-bullying advocate. Ive seen the girl who was able to break free from the clique. I have seen transformations, but these examples are rather sparse. There is so much more can be done. To live in a world of people who believe in their worth and see their own unique beauty, will be mesmerizing and inspiring. This organisation is my dream since middle school. I have a name for it,too!

I had the pleasure to interview Sofia Evangelina. Sofia is a teen, numerous award-winning RnB/Pop singer-songwriter from Canada. With an abundance of confidence, astonishing natural talent with a powerhouse voice, Sofia exceeds all expectations of such a young artist. From the very early days, Sofia was a natural-born performer full of boundless energy. Putting on her moms mascara and lipstick and cutting her scarves to create her own funky designs, she would spend hours performing in front of a mirror and later, entertaining random audiences. I have fallen for music since day one, Sofia explained. I can just remember hearing and seeing music everywhere as if it followed me. No matter where I went, I felt the rhythm and beat. I told my mother music paralyzed mefor the silly lack of better words at age 5. However Sofia was not born a musical prodigy per se, nor was she playing piano with closed eyes at 3 years old. Sofia was competing in her first ski race at 3. And from this age escalated quickly into a world-class, professional skier. She had to balance her souls calling of the entertainment world with her adrenaline-seeking spirit. Sofia tried to balance her career for as long as possible. She was competing at ski competitions and winning talent contests. She was practicing singing and competing at her sporting events. She had been recording her first album on and off in-between World Cups and while travel around the world. No matter where in the world she was, the Swiss Alps or the Italian Dolomites, she would be connected to her vocal coaches or the producers, via Skype. During 2018, the two careers had come to a complete clash and the choice had to be made. Sofia knew that she was responsible for a bigger picture, she longed to impact the world as with her music. The time had come. Sofia put skiing on old was ready to make her entrance into the world as an artist. Her career had grown its wings with the release of her debut album Butterfly, produced by Bryant Olender (a former art director for Michael Buble) The album comprised a collection of classic as well as modern covers, with interwoven elements of R&B, soul, gospel, and pop, mostly to showcase her growing vocal range and where she has the potential to go. July of 2019, Sofia was recognized by the Young Artist Academy, being awarded with Best Album for her debut comprised work, at the 40th Annual Awards Gala in Hollywood.In 2018, following the release of Butterfly Sofia had released her debut single as a recording artist This Is Your Song along with an empowering music video, with the storyline of a young bullied boy. In an art-centered school in Calgary, she won an award entitled The Closest to the Core of Arts and enthralled the audience into repeated standing ovations. She has won several talent competition awards ever since, such as The YAA Best Album, The LA Music Critics Rising Star award, The Joey Awards, Canadas National Overall Talent Awards from Talent INC, Canada TeenFest, The Mics and others, as well as nominations and has appeared at various festivals. The aspiring pop princess is now on course to releasing her newest material, with two singles recorded with Roy Hamilton III (Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Joe, etc) on the queue and an EP in the works. Its been two years of vocal evolution, artistic discovery and brand refinery. The results are two brand new records that land in the next ballpark. Smile and Endure. Sofia is fueled not only by her dreams as a vocalist, musician or those of becoming a dynamite performer but she is dedicated to using her influence to create impact. As a young teen and having been a former world-class athlete who has traveled the globe, Sofia has a first-hand, deep understanding of the issues and trends pertaining to youth culture. Through her music, Sofia hopes to inspire her fellow peers and encourage them to embrace their individuality, develop self-esteem, stand up for what is right and embrace their inner beauty. Working painstakingly on her vocals and mastering her craft with prominent North-American songwriters, she is on an upward trajectory to becoming the voice of her generation.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born in Canada and spent the first few amazing years of my life in a rural area surrounded by mountains, creeks and wildlife.

I can tell you that I grew and continue to grow, in the most unorthodox way possible. Magical to me. Crazy, some would say.

I was born a little entertainer and fashionista, and I love everything music and felt it deeply. I used to say to my mom, music paralyzes me, for the silly lack of better words at the age of 5.

I danced to everything that had a rhythm and a beat, from The Black Eyed Peas on the radio to a spinning washing machine, or even to a swinging trash cans lid

But Outside of my artistic and very girly self, I was also a little crazy ball of unorganized energy, inquisitive and recklessly active little thumbboy who jumped from everywhere onto everything, including my moms shoulders, of course, with no forewarning! To channel this energy out, my mom decided to put me into sports. We lived close to the mountains and my big bro was an extreme skier, so I began to follow his footsteps.

Little did we know that my adrenaline-filled passion for extreme action, within a short few years, would bring me onto the path of a professional sporting career.

After a few years of skiing around the Rocky Mountains, we moved to a ski resort town in British Columbia. Soon enough my sporting career had taken us all over North America, Europe, New Zealand, and China. My singing and acting endeavors were soon interlaced with a lifestyle of rigorous training, competition, and travel, my mom and I literally lived out of our suitcases.

My life became a juggling act between my souls calling (singing, acting) and between my success in extreme sports, my spirits work.

I was balancing two opposite worlds to such a degree that wed be flying all over the world from my sporting competitions into talent conventions, where on one trip Id come home with medals from winning a championship and trophies from a talent contest.

It would feel like I navigated in and out of the two separate galaxies, in and out. I joked that I was a prototype of Hannah Montana, version 2.0sport edition!

And yet, it felt organic.

In contrary to some popular opinions lol, the two Gods I was serving didnt conflict and actually enriched each others existence, my sport mindset helped me to achieve more in music, within a shorter time, and music was my escape from the tense regiment of sport, politics, physical pain

I tried to keep the balance for as long as possible. While traveling, I stayed connected to my team and vocal coaches via FaceTime, who would always start with the same first question Where is the world are you now?

It was not until the recording of my first album that my two careers began to clash. It was inevitable. We travelled many countries and states for World Cups, while simultaneously recording my album, one song at a time, between competitions.

During the shoot of one of my music videos in LA some of the young actors along with their parents, with tears in their eyes, revealed how relatable my song was to them. At the time, a radio host who was interviewing me had me asked to rename my song This Is Your Song into THIS IS OUR SONG, because he felt it was about him too, and that was it. I always knew I had so much to say and Ive always dreamed to create an impact with my music and life.

I felt that was music burning inside of me, and I need to let it out.

With the release of my debut album Butterfly the time had came, and I had to make a very painful choice. At a young age, I decided to retire from my sporting career, and floored the gas, and went a full throttle towards my singing career. And so the journey began.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

It was very clear to every observer, I was destined to be a performer, there is no place I feel more alive than stage.

When I was little, I use to cut up my moms scarves, model them as my own couture and put on my own exclusive show in front of the mirror, and performed any kind of show I could create for all my family, friends and random audiences. I wanted to write music and songs before I even knew how to, and for the lack of formal music education, I created my own scriptures and symbols to express my sounds so Id be able to decipher them later.

I knew my whole life what I was destined to do, but what fueled my decision to transit from a sporting career straight into my artist career was a greater cause.

Traveling the world as an athlete and simply living my every-day life, Ive interacted with my peers from many cultures, walks of life, societal layers, and age groups, I found that no matter where I went, kids and teens faced the exact same issues.

Lack of self-worth. Extreme loneliness. Fear. Exclusion.

Kids were bullying each other and hurting themselves. Depending on the demographics of the place, they would have done it either brutally, or in a more subtle way such as e.g. cliquing etc Girls had no self-esteem, they chased after boys, while boys mistreated and disrespected girls, and most of all, kids allowed themselves to be ripped apart and brought down by those who they deemed to be more popular.

One boy, whom was still bleeding after a recent attack from a bully, told me that he didnt want to complain, he didnt want to fight back or stand up for himself, he actually told me that he wanted to be like his perpetrator, because that guy is so cool and he felt he wasnt.

To me, each one of those kids or teens, were shining stars, unique, each in their own way, however themselves, they were convinced that they were not enough or in many cases, worthless.

In reality, no kid or anyone should ever allow themselves to be treated less than they deserve. Everyone should know and shine their self-worth.

Later on, I was told by numerous adults that my music was relatable to them, they didnt know at all that it was written for youth, and in reality I want my music to mean something, and affect an audience of all ages.

Having observed and understood their issue, I wanted to use my music to impact peoples lives and to show my audience that they too have a voice, and all the power they need within, to live life on their own terms, and I not only want to be that voice, I want to help them to find their own voice.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

The most interesting story is probably when we were in Mammoth, CA for a World Cup and we had a few days off before my next competition. We were so near LA that I had been begging my mama to go. My mom used to live in LA for a couple of years, so said why not, let us go, dip our toes in the ocean, visit some of her film friends and maybe plan some music video shoots for the future. Long story short, we were in LA for one week (the best week of my life!) and in those 7 days, we filmed 5 music videos, including 2 full productions (set, crew, locations). We casted, found makeup & hair, wardrobe, stylists, locations, crew and learned choreography, literally overnight.

I blame the city, there is something about LA, it casts magic upon us, every time!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I have a few, here is the latest.

Make sure that you are riding in a reliable car to your show Or else, you end up with a smoking hood in a fireighn country in the middle of nowhere with no mobile network, one hour before your set! If you are lucky the just driving by local police come to your rescue and escort you all the way to your show! Good times

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

My brand single Smile, part of a forthcoming EP has just been dropped on all platforms. We have an entire EP to follow as well as more singles coming soon, and I couldnt be more excited. There is a big, epic single coming next.

Outside of music releases, there are some big things cooking, which I hope will become shareable news soon. In other words, get ready for a whole lot of Sofia!

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think its important to have diversity represented in (music), film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

The entertainment industry, and especially the music industry, live and thrive off of cultural diversity. Our world of music has always been a constant, ever evolving, and highly interactive flow of cultural diversity.

For decades and decades, music has evolved by absorbing and assimilating various genres and styles, giving birth to ongoing new music ideas, trends and subgenres.

Today, numerous collaborations have become prevalent and more appreciated than ever, because of the interweaving of different cultural threads, genres and styles, sometimes, in the most unlikely combinations.

One can pay homage to existing styles and simultaneously create something unique, unheard of, and may even become a new trend, or style.

I think one of the best examples of musical fusion right now would be Country Rap Two genres, coming from two completely different cultures that no one would have ever believed to be possible to mix. Yet here we are, the biggest record breaking hit of 2019 was a country rap song. And it doesnt stop there, whether you like the new genre or not, its impossible to deny that the unusual crossover has picked up a huge fanbase. Many artists were inspired to release similar tracks and they too achieved major success.

Balanced diversity creates a beautiful society and I believe that music is the best medium to bring people together and celebrate our differences.

What are your 5 things I wish someone told me when I first started and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

Business sometimes meansbusiness.

I am very much a people person, I see the best in everyone and soon enough I get attached to people as if they were family. I am truly blessed by meeting many wonderful people who indeed have become family, a close circle of like-minded people. But Ive also had to learn the hard way that some people in this businesssome, who may be very charismatic, may treat you as a royalty one day, but then they change overnight if/when matters dont meet their agenda, and their belief in me appeared to be unscrupulously motivated.

However, a couple bad apples didnt make me stop trusting or loving people, I just had to strengthen my boundaries and allow people to prove themselves first.

There is no such thing as overnight success

While success certainly comes to some quicker and by luckier ways than others, its almost always years and years of hard work prior to any stardom

Therefore, one must believe in their dreams relentlessly, persevere through the trial times, jump the obstacles and I believe that there is no other way than to make it all the way!

Putting on a big show is more tiresome than my previous extreme athletics.

I used to train really hard in my sport, daily, and in multiple training facilities and the gym. Yet, putting on a dynamite shows really drains you more than any sport couldit feels like, giving you the best work out! To prepare yourself for blasting your vocals, communicating with your audience and dancing, you have to jog while singing, you must train to expand your lungs by holding your breath under water, and sing everyday for increasing hours so that you will get used to sustaining a life of touring and performing!

Performing can be a sport baby!

Dont get excited by peoples promises. When a name dropping occursrun!

Its very easy to get seduced or tempted by someone who offers you the entire world as he/she there was a genie in a bottle, people like to talk the talk.

Create your own reality, if someone presents you a breathtaking opportunity, take it as a bonus. Dont rely on it. Make your own destinyits more exciting and the satisfaction is deeper! Things will come.

Surround yourself only with A+ team players.

Dont put your success and your career into the hands of another. Because when they fail you, you have no one to blame but yourself. Hiring top-notch professionals may be deemed as unaffordable at first, but it will save you time (of not re-doing the job done wrong) and ultimately, money. The solution is simple, take all matters into your own hands until the day where you have yourself surrounded by a phenomenal, passionate team. You should only have people as absolutely crazy about success as you are, so together you become unstoppable.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not burn out?

Dont worry, be happy now!! Everything you do, do the love of music, or for the love of what you are passionate about the most, and remember the reason why you are doing it in the first place.

Before going to bed each night, no matter how tired you are, recall each and every thing that you are grateful for in life, they could even be little moments from that day. You will feel your heart overflow with gratitude and you will see just how blessed you truly are. My mom taught me that.

Also, I would say let your soul guide you, allow utmost expression and creativity from within. What inspires you, will inspire others!

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

As I said earlier in this interview I stand against bullying and other negative trends amongst my peers and I aspire to inspire personal empowerment in youth and beyond, both with my music and as a person.

When people say that we need to create a bully-free world, to me, it sounds too obvious, too generic. Its a good start to face up the issue, but once you look evil in the eye, what is your action plan?

In practical terms, if we dont tackle the root of the problem, we will continue to deal with the same consequences over and over again as the evil will always find a way to seep in right back.

Being a youth myself, and dealing with many problems first hand, I can attest, that bullying and all other negative trends of todays society, and specifically youth culture: suicide, cuttings, cliquing, etc all stem from the same underlying issuea lack of self worth.

The magnitude of the problem is unreal. The movement Im creating is designed to promote the belief in your self worth and spread this awareness through various programs. Knowing your value makes you dangerously powerful.

When you understand your purpose, you possess the strength to stand your ground and no one can ever mistreat you. Even if they try, it will bounce off you, because you are like hell to the no!morally and psychologically untouchable. You might even help them re-think their life choices. Ive seen the former bully became an anti-bullying advocate. Ive seen the girl who was able to break free from the clique. I have seen transformations, but these examples are rather sparse.

There is so much more can be done.

To live in a world of people who believe in their worth and see their own unique beauty, will be mesmerizing and inspiring. This organisation is my dream since middle school. I have a name for it, too!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My mom. My mom is my best friend, my biggest believer and my biggest inspiration. Above all, I feel that each success is hers as well, because she has taught me everything I know.

She has been the momager my whole life, she truly deserves a standing ovation.

Everything Ive ever learned about commitment, dedication or work ethic has been by example of my mom. She is the most hardworking person Ive ever met and she is so darn strong, its often un-human and it annoys me!

She teaches me the most incredible values and ethics to be a good person. To her, me being a good person with a strong head on my shoulders will always be the most important definition of success, above all talents and achievements, which means so much to me. My dad is is pretty cool dude too, in fact he is a real angel, he is beyond kind and has supported me all these years from sports to arts.

Can you please give us your favorite Life Lesson Quote? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Patience is a virtue! Since I was a little girl, Ive been a bit impatient, okay, a lot. Often named a right now girl.

It took some time (and patience on my parents behalf) to realize, that in reality, as exciting as times may seem, it is very important to develop the virtue of patience. Sometimes you need to wait until the time is right, just like there is patience involved to achieve a lusciously ripe peach Yumm.

BTWStill working on it!

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them.

Beyonce. Queen B. She is one of my biggest inspirations, and damn does she ever own the stage and captivate her audience. Beyond her artistic talents, she seems like an incredible person and a strong woman who has risen to the top early on and maintained her regency with grace throughout her entire career. It would be incredible to discuss the substance behind her long, beautiful and ever-evolving career and it would be special to find out what she feels most humbled by or grateful for, in relation to her life and career

Lastly, It would be meaningful and fun to get to know the real Beyonce, like, Im dying to know what her take is on pineapple on pizza, or hello, tomatoes on burgers???

Plus, the queen may have to mentor me on how to break it super down in stilettos!!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Absolutely! My website is: http://www.sofiaevangelina.com

IG: @sofia.evangelina

FB: @Sofia Evangelina Music

Look forward to connecting with you all.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

Thank you for a great interview!

See the article here:
Rising Star Sofia Evangelina: The movement I'm creating is designed to promote the belief in your self worth; Knowing your value makes you dangerously...

Written by admin

January 7th, 2020 at 6:46 pm


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