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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Armed protestors storm Michigan Capitol over stay-at-home-orders

Hundreds of protestors took to the streets of Lansing to protest Michigan’s statewide stay-at-home order, with several armed demonstrators storming the Michigan State Capitol building on Thursday.

In a video posted to activist Rob Gill‘s Twitter account, the protestors can be heard yelling “Let us in!” and “This is the people’s house, you cannot lock us out!” as they brandish firearms and hold signs in the statehouse. Many members of the crowd are pictured in “Make American Great Again” campaign hats and American flags.

Michigan United for Liberty organized the event in an effort to get legislators to open up businesses that have been shut down due to the virus.

At the time, the Michigan legislature had gathered to vote on Governor Gretchen Whitmer‘s request to extend the state of emergency, which grants her certain powers during a time of crisis, for 28 more days.

READ MORE: Trump administration official likens MAGA protesters to Rosa Parks

The House ultimately decided not to approve Whitmer’s request, and instead passed a resolution authorizing the Speaker of the House to commence legal action on behalf of the House, according to local news outlet WILX 10.

Thursday’s protest, dubbed the “American Patriot Rally,” is the latest in a string of demonstrations that have occurred in Michigan since the COVID-19 crisis has emerged.

Protestors try to enter the Michigan House of Representative chamber and are being kept out by the Michigan State Police after the American Patriot Rally organized by Michigan United for Liberty protest for the reopening of businesses on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on April 30, 2020. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Demonstrators took to the streets in April to speak out against Whitmer’s stay-at-home mandate, which was extended earlier this month until May 15. The demonstration, known as “Operation Gridlock,” was met with both adulation and criticism from the public.

READ MORE: Kentucky sees highest spike in coronavirus cases after protests

Whitmer, meanwhile, has faced backlash from Republicans, including President Donald Trump, for her no nonsense approach to the pandemic. Michigan currently has more than 41,000 cases of coronavirus, with 3,789 lives lost.

Detroit, the state’s largest city, has been especially impacted by the virus, with more than 8,500 infections reported. Of those cases, Black people account for more than 64 percent of them, according to AP. Almost 77 percent of the Detroit residents who have died from coronavirus complications have been Black.

The post Armed protestors storm Michigan Capitol over stay-at-home-orders appeared first on TheGrio.



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Nigerian filmmaker uses animated monster to teach kids about coronavirus

A Nollywood filmmaker came up with a creative idea to explain the coronavirus to children in his native Nigeria.

READ MORE: Travel entrepreneur chooses African over American in pandemic 

CNN reports that director Niyi Akinmolayan wanted to find a way to engage children while making sure they took the coronavirus seriously. That turned into creating a 30-second animated video complete with siblings Habeeb and Funke who were on opposite ends of coronavirus safety. Akinmolayan added an animated version of the virus to drive home the fact that it needs to be taken seriously.

“You want to tell your child not to go outside, but you need to explain why he needs to stay inside. Beyond that, you need to explain why he constantly has to wash his hands with soap and water. … It was really hard until I came up with the idea of the coronavirus monster,” he told CNN.

 

Akinmolayan helmed popular Nollywood features Chief Daddy, The Set Up and The Wedding Party 2 made the animated short completely online with the help of his Anthill Productions staff who worked remotely.

 

 

“I figured out that one of the best ways to explain it (coronavirus) was with graphics and animations so that we wouldn’t have real people gather in one place to film,” he said.

Nigeria, a country of 200 million, has had some of its more populous states, including Lagos, where Anthill is based, shut down to stop the spread of the virus. 1700 people in Nigeria have tested positive for the virus with 51 deaths so far, says CNN.

Akinmolayan created the film, then provided it for free via Google Drive download so that other countries could use it to educate their own children. (We’re not sure if jollof rice translates but maybe other countries just added their own favorite food.)

The 90-second video was made in English and three Nigerian languages – Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa, have been translated into French, Portuguese, and broadcast in Turkey and China.

READ MORE: ‘Africans are not lab rats’ trends after outcry over testing vaccine

The Nigerian film industry is a $600M plus industry but there have not been a lot of animated films out of the market.

“What we need to be thinking about is the power of children and producing family content,” Akinmolyan said. “We need to pass a lot of messages that hit at the level of kids.”

You can download the video assets via Google Drive HERE.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

 

 

(Photo: Video screenshot)

The post Nigerian filmmaker uses animated monster to teach kids about coronavirus appeared first on TheGrio.



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Lively Is Giving Your Beauty Rest an Accessory Today With a Free Sleep Mask on All Orders

Free Sleep Mask On All Orders | Lively

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Remdesivir, antiviral drug, shows positive results in treating COVID-19

A major study of the remdesivir, an antiviral drug, is showing some positive results. The study was sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases which is headed up by Dr. Anthony Fauci. Fauci called the findings “quite good news.”

“The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” Fauci said during a meeting with President Donald Trump and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. “This is highly significant.”

READ MORE: Trump retweets post calling for Dr. Anthony Fauci to be fired

The NIH trial of the antiviral drug began on Feb. 21 and was conducted by Gilead Sciences. The results have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal yet, but the NIH released the results after a data monitoring board analyzed the results.

The analysis found that the drug shortened the time that it takes for a hospitalized COVID-19 patient to recover when compared to a placebo. Fauci stated that the drug would also be administered to patients who got the placebo.

Dr. Anthony Fauci (R), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, while flanked by President Donald Trump during the daily coronavirus task force briefing in the Brady Briefing room at the White House on March 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Remdesivir has been shown to help COVID-19 patients recovered 31% faster. The recovery time was shortened from 15 days to 11 days. The results also show a slightly lower mortality rate, but there will be further study to that point.

Dr. Annesh K. Mehta, an investigator at the remdesivir trial site at Emory University, said at a news conference that, “We believe that remdesivir is the first medication to show a positive effect on patients with COVID-19.”

READ MORE: HHS official to file whistleblower complaint over drug pushed by Trump

However, Mehta stated that the drug has not “undergone the robust analysis that will be conducted by the statisticians and the scientists at the NIH in the coming weeks.”

While the study results are promising, Mehta warns that the drug and antivirals, in general, are not “silver bullets.” He says that the drug will not “immediately get rid of an infection.”

Fauci said that more studies will be conducted combining remdesivir with other drugs to see how various combinations compare to using remdesivir alone.

Remdesivir is an antiviral produced by the US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences.

The post Remdesivir, antiviral drug, shows positive results in treating COVID-19 appeared first on TheGrio.



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Majority Of NFL 1st-Round Picks Have Black Agents For The First Time

NFL Draft

History was made at the latest NFL draft! For the first time in National Football League history, more than half of the players selected in the first round of the draft were being represented by black agents, according to The Washington Post.

Seventeen of the 32 players who were drafted on Thursday night are being represented by black agents. This moment was noticed by NFL agent Nicole Lynn, who, just at last year’s NFL draft, became the first black female sports agent to represent a top-three pick when the New York Jets took defensive lineman Quinnen Williams.

She and 10 of her fellow sports agent colleagues, who include David Mulugheta, Damarius Bilbo, Tory Dandy, Jovan Barnes, and others, are all a part of the changing of the guard of respected NFL agents. They are helping players become more comfortable with a black agent representing them as well as the expected white sports agents.

“There’s always a struggle getting people comfortable with you doing the job,” Lynn tells The Washington Post, “and understanding that just because you don’t look like Jerry Maguire doesn’t mean you can’t do that job.”

The credit for the recent shift is owed to the late Eugene Parker, who some acknowledge as the “godfather” of black agents, for paving the way for them.

“Eugene set the tone for all black agents,” Lynn told the Post.

Parker, who died at the age of 60 in 2016, represented Hines Ward, Emmitt Smith, and Walter Jones, among others, and is often described as the first black “super agent.”

Lynn also said: “From my research, out of all the top black agents — David [Mulugheta], Tory [Dandy], myself, Chafie [Fields], [Damarius] Bilbo — not any of us have a single white player. I’m not talking about having a few white players. I’m saying not one. And between all of us, we’re talking about more than 150 players.

“And it’s not for lack of effort. I can’t get a white player, and I’ve tried. Literally my goal this year is to sign a white player. I want them to be able to believe in me because if we really want to change the way athletes view sports, we have to make everyone comfortable with us, not just people that look like us. The real test is to have people that don’t look like you buy in.”

Ultimately, the most successful black agents said they would like to be judged on merit, not because they are black.



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This Black-Owned Construction Company Went From Broke To Raking In Billions

construction workers

Owning a business can be a tumultuous journey filled with ups and downs. Many entrepreneurs have to create strategies to keep their accounts in order and deal with a fluctuating market. For this Georgia-based entrepreneur, his business represents a story of determination and how you can think of innovative ways to increase your revenue.

C. David Moody is the owner of C D Moody Construction, an award-winning construction company based in Lithonia, Georgia, and a BE 100s company, an annual ranking of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses. He opened his business in 1988 during a time where he and his wife were in debt, struggling to make ends meet, and working out of their bedroom. Today C.D. Moody Construction is a thriving large enterprise that has completed over 200 commercial projects worth almost $3 billion.

In addition to running his enterprise, Moody stays connected to the local community by planting seeds for future growth by mentoring the next generation of business leaders in Atlanta and teaching his kids the value of hard work and financial responsibility with his wife Karla. He feels that his kids will play a vital role in the business and wanted to provide the space for them to develop and grow.

“Every weekend we would go and look at all the job sites together as a family,” said Karia Moody, David’s daughter in an interview with Shoppe Black. “I grew up in construction. I always knew I wanted to go into it.”

The company’s growth coincided with rapid regional growth, and as Moody literally helped build 21st-century Atlanta, it’s emergence helped fuel Moody’s success. In September 2019, David Moody joined as a 49% partner on a $650 million mix of affordable and market-rate housing, restaurants, retail, offices, and a performing arts center.

Moody previously was identified as a construction partner but will now take on an ownership stake in the development if the deal is approved by the board.



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Megan Thee Stallion Tears Up Talking About Beyoncé...and Honestly, Same

Twitter was in shambles Wednesday after the rumored remix of Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” featuring the one and only Beyoncé officially dropped. During Bey’s two fire verses (because she raps better than a lot of your faves), she makes references to TikTok, OnlyFans, her mother Tina Knowles-Lawson, and of course,…

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This Black-Owned Construction Company Went From Broke To Raking In Billions

construction workers

Owning a business can be a tumultuous journey filled with ups and downs. Many entrepreneurs have to create strategies to keep their accounts in order and deal with a fluctuating market. For this Georgia-based entrepreneur, his business represents a story of determination and how you can think of innovative ways to increase your revenue.

C. David Moody is the owner of C D Moody Construction, an award-winning construction company based in Lithonia, Georgia, and a BE 100s company, an annual ranking of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses. He opened his business in 1988 during a time where he and his wife were in debt, struggling to make ends meet, and working out of their bedroom. Today C.D. Moody Construction is a thriving large enterprise that has completed over 200 commercial projects worth almost $3 billion.

In addition to running his enterprise, Moody stays connected to the local community by planting seeds for future growth by mentoring the next generation of business leaders in Atlanta and teaching his kids the value of hard work and financial responsibility with his wife Karla. He feels that his kids will play a vital role in the business and wanted to provide the space for them to develop and grow.

“Every weekend we would go and look at all the job sites together as a family,” said Karia Moody, David’s daughter in an interview with Shoppe Black. “I grew up in construction. I always knew I wanted to go into it.”

The company’s growth coincided with rapid regional growth, and as Moody literally helped build 21st-century Atlanta, it’s emergence helped fuel Moody’s success. In September 2019, David Moody joined as a 49% partner on a $650 million mix of affordable and market-rate housing, restaurants, retail, offices, and a performing arts center.

Moody previously was identified as a construction partner but will now take on an ownership stake in the development if the deal is approved by the board.



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16-Year-Old “TikTok Tutor” Goes Viral for Teaching Math to Peers in Quarantine

Bronx Honors Student

Before the COVID-19 quarantine, TikTok was viewed as an app for teens that many people couldn’t understand. Now, millions of people around the world are appreciating black culture and creating funny videos to keep themselves and others entertained while sheltering in place. Then you have 16-year-old Alexis Loveraz who is using the platform to tutor students in math.

More than 54 million students are home from school, leaving them and their parents to partner with teachers as they strive to finish the remainder of the academic year.

CBSNewYork originally reported that the high school junior has a 4.0 GPA and is passionate about helping others. While school is out, Loveraz took it upon himself to help others after being encouraged by his friends. On any given day he is helping students tighten up algebra, geometry, and chemistry.

Related: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to Offer Homeschooling Microgrants from COVID-19 Relief Funds

As a result, he has been named the “TikTok Tutor” with more than 165,000 followers and 2.3 million likes on the platform.

In an interview with CBS2, he told Alexis Sanchez, “I was, like, really shocked. Things that they probably forgot like before COVID-19, this is like a refresher of what I’m, like, giving them out. It’s really cool because they understand it even better the way I’m explaining it to them.”

Related: Oprah Winfrey to Present the Class of 2020 Commencement Address Via Facebook and Instagram

Meet Alexis Loveraz 

 

And other students have admitted that his tutoring style is more helpful than some teachers in the comments section of Loveraz’s TikTok account.

Related: Oprah Winfrey to Present the Class of 2020 Commencement Address Via Facebook and Instagram

His mother is also proud of his ability to lead and give back to others. During the interview with CBS2, she said, “I’m excited about this. I know he can do this and more. I’m so proud that he helped a lot of people,” mother Likmilian Hiciano said.

 



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16-Year-Old “TikTok Tutor” Goes Viral for Teaching Math to Peers in Quarantine

Bronx Honors Student

Before the COVID-19 quarantine, TikTok was viewed as an app for teens that many people couldn’t understand. Now, millions of people around the world are appreciating black culture and creating funny videos to keep themselves and others entertained while sheltering in place. Then you have 16-year-old Alexis Loveraz who is using the platform to tutor students in math.

More than 54 million students are home from school, leaving them and their parents to partner with teachers as they strive to finish the remainder of the academic year.

CBSNewYork originally reported that the high school junior has a 4.0 GPA and is passionate about helping others. While school is out, Loveraz took it upon himself to help others after being encouraged by his friends. On any given day he is helping students tighten up algebra, geometry, and chemistry.

Related: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to Offer Homeschooling Microgrants from COVID-19 Relief Funds

As a result, he has been named the “TikTok Tutor” with more than 165,000 followers and 2.3 million likes on the platform.

In an interview with CBS2, he told Alexis Sanchez, “I was, like, really shocked. Things that they probably forgot like before COVID-19, this is like a refresher of what I’m, like, giving them out. It’s really cool because they understand it even better the way I’m explaining it to them.”

Related: Oprah Winfrey to Present the Class of 2020 Commencement Address Via Facebook and Instagram

Meet Alexis Loveraz 

 

And other students have admitted that his tutoring style is more helpful than some teachers in the comments section of Loveraz’s TikTok account.

Related: Oprah Winfrey to Present the Class of 2020 Commencement Address Via Facebook and Instagram

His mother is also proud of his ability to lead and give back to others. During the interview with CBS2, she said, “I’m excited about this. I know he can do this and more. I’m so proud that he helped a lot of people,” mother Likmilian Hiciano said.

 



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More Than 80% of Patients Hospitalized for COVID-19 in Georgia Were Black, CDC Reports

As Georgia gets set to reopen more non-essential business this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study finding that more than 80 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were black.

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#MeToo founder Tarana Burke on Biden sexual misconduct allegations

Former Joe Biden staffer, Tara Reade, continues to cause difficult conversations regarding her sexual abuse accusation against the presidential hopeful. #MeToo founder, Tarana Burke recently broke her silence on the issue in a lengthy Twitter thread.

Burke stated that she had taken time away from work to “be present where I was needed as my family was affected with COVID.”

READ MORE: Stacey Abrams on sexual assault allegations: ‘I believe Joe Biden’

Burke went on to state that while she understands that people have been waiting on her “take” on the story, there are “no easy answers.”

The 14-part thread went on to say that her “stance has never wavered: survivors have a right to speak their truth and to be given the space to heal.”

Burke continues that “the inconvenient truth is that this story is impacting us differently because it hits at the heart of one of the most important elections of our lifetime.” She continues, “There are no perfect survivors. And no one, especially a presidential candidate, is beyond reproach. So where does that leave us?”

Burke further explains that in a “just world, we’d have a transformative approach to dealing with claims of sexual violence where a survivor’s story is given fair consideration and they are made whole by a process that supports both accountability and healing. This is doubly important when outsized power dynamics are involved. But, we don’t have that right now.”

Demonstrators participate in the #MeToo Survivors’ March in Los Angeles, California. The protest was organized by Tarana Burke (not pictured). (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Burke, who advocates for survivors, then chastised people who are exploiting Reade’s story, “Many of you are only interested in this story because you are entertained by the trauma of others or because it has the potential to be politically expedient — with no real regard for the survivor.”

She continued to explain that “the defense of Joe Biden shouldn’t rest on whether or not he’s a ‘good guy’ or ‘our only hope,’” she wrote. “Instead, he could demonstrate what it looks like to be both accountable and electable.”

READ MORE: Tarana Burke reveals fiancé tested positive for coronavirus

The activist concluded by saying that “survivors deserve more than being used as a political football by disinterested parties,” Burke wrote. “And a culture of acknowledging harm can’t exist if we continue to view sexual violence as a catastrophic outlier rather than an embedded toxic element of our culture.”

Burke made the comments on Twitter just hours before Vice Presidential hopeful Stacey Abrams who stated that she “believes Joe Biden.”

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How an Incurable Brain Condition Gave This Black Woman New Life as an Entrepreneur

entrepreneur Ashlyn Sanders

Today Ashlyn Sanders is an entrepreneur, the founder of a medtech company called NeuroVice, which is in the final stages of clinical development of a medical device to help people who suffer from seizures.

But just a few years ago she was a grad student planning to go to medical school—when a medical crisis of her own sent her down a new path.

“I started graduate school back in 2014, and a few weeks into the program, I was diagnosed with a Chiari malformation. I was rushed into emergency brain surgery that night, and spent quite a bit of time in the hospital and then at home recovering,” she says.

Not only did Sanders spend weeks in the ICU, and have to walk with a walker for the rest of the year, but she also started to have seizures after her brain surgery.

“I was having multiple seizures, multiple seizures every week, sometimes multiple seizures a day. I’ve lived with them now for about six years. Having to live with those residual effects definitely impairs my quality of life.”

An Accidental Entrepreneur

The experience also left her with an idea: a device that could be placed in the mouth to prevent people from biting their tongues while they were having a seizure.

“When I came up with the idea, it just never left me. I’m a very spiritual person and I prayed about it. I felt like if I didn’t do it, nobody would do it,” she says.

So after getting her graduate degree, she put her original plan on hold to develop the device—named PATI (protector against tongue injury)—that could help the 3.4 million Americans living with epilepsy plus the many others who may experience seizures related to traumatic brain injuries, brain tumors, strokes, and other conditions.

“I didn’t think that I would ever become an entrepreneur,” she says, “and then a life experience happened that motivated me to solve a problem for other people.”

Sanders’ experience makes her uniquely qualified to design the product: “PATI is by a patient and for a patient. It’s something I believe a patient would have to start. My patient experience has really been critical in terms of understanding the diagnosis and how it impacts people’s lives.”

“Typically, physicians are concerned with how do we minimize your future episodes or how do we minimize your risk of falling,” she says. “But oral health is important if you live with these episodes day after day, and every time you seize there’s a possibility of potentially lacerating your tongue or injuring yourself orally.”

The device is currently in Phase 2 (of 3) of commercial development. By the end of this year, Sanders is expecting to have an initial patent issuance and to file FDA clearance paperwork. The product should be on the market by the end of next year or the beginning of 2022.

 

No Money, Mo’ Problems for Black Founders

Despite the product’s potential, Sanders has had a tough time when it comes to fundraising.

“When I first started the company I was a little naive to the path of resistance that occurs being an entrepreneur, especially one of color,” she says. “It’s horrifying that we are the group that has the fastest-growing number of startups but yet we’re the least funded.”

Sanders initially tried to raise money through grants and pitch competitions. She always got positive feedback, but never got any actual money.

“I remember being told that I would never raise a seed round because my startup wasn’t as competitive as others and that it had nothing to do with the fact that I was a woman or I was an African American,” she says.

“But the more I faced that resistance, the more I started to understand the landscape and how difficult it is for us.”

So Sanders began pursuing funding that was designated for minority entrepreneurs, becoming a finalist in the New Voices competition and raising an angel investment through Pipeline Angels.

It was retired NBA legend Charles Barkley, however, that gave the company the financial assist it needed.

“I saw him on Shark Tank. He was a guest shark and I remember him saying something to the effect of he’s interested in investing in entrepreneurs of color, or people who are in the life science or tech space. So, kind of on a whim, I wrote him a letter. I told him about my background, I told him about the traction we’ve gained, and I told him what I needed—which was a pretty significant investment to get this product to market,” Sanders says.

“It took I would say 6 months or so to hear back. I got an email from one of his representatives, inviting me down to pitch to not only him but his financial adviser, two physicians that were in the neurology space, and a trusted adviser of his,” she continues. “A few months later I got the call that he would invest, and I was completely ecstatic but also emotional. I’m so grateful for him to believe in me and the product’s potential.”

Black Girl Unicorn

Unlike many entrepreneurs, Sanders has an exit strategy already planned—before her product has even come to market.

“It just wouldn’t be a wise business decision to go and scale a one-product company that would require millions of dollars in the manufacturing infrastructure and the marketing infrastructure. It just doesn’t make sense,” she says.

So she has a list of about 30 potential companies she will be approaching about acquiring NeuroVice or licensing the product.

“A lot of companies, at least in the medtech space, are looking for unique innovations that have been de-risked through development, through FDA clearance. All of those things, in addition to a human factors study with real patients, will position us to say, ‘We’ve done all the initial legwork, all you have to do is commercialize this product at scale and put it on the market.'”

The device would represent a literal disruption of the industry: current seizure safety guidelines advise not to put anything in a patient’s mouth while seizing.

That is a risk Sanders is confident the company will overcome: “Changing the way we think about symptom management and empowering consumers to take control of their own healthcare is a really hard task, but it can be done with the right person at the helm and the right product.”

Her projections are also based on the unmet need in the market—there are around 12 million seizure-related 911 calls a year in the U.S. and 1.4 million emergency room visits—and other factors such as the lack of direct competition.

“I’m really excited about the multiple revenue stream indications,” Sanders says. “It’s going to be a consumer technology, an intervention for first responders, and an inpatient clinical intervention. The revenue potential is immense, not only in the domestic market but worldwide.”

And Sanders predicts that that revenue potential will translate to a huge valuation when she sells the company.

“I believe that I will be one of the first African American females to exit the company at a billion dollars or more. And I want to be that unicorn.”



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How an Incurable Brain Condition Gave This Black Woman New Life as an Entrepreneur

entrepreneur Ashlyn Sanders

Today Ashlyn Sanders is an entrepreneur, the founder of a medtech company called NeuroVice, which is in the final stages of clinical development of a medical device to help people who suffer from seizures.

But just a few years ago she was a grad student planning to go to medical school—when a medical crisis of her own sent her down a new path.

“I started graduate school back in 2014, and a few weeks into the program, I was diagnosed with a Chiari malformation. I was rushed into emergency brain surgery that night, and spent quite a bit of time in the hospital and then at home recovering,” she says.

Not only did Sanders spend weeks in the ICU, and have to walk with a walker for the rest of the year, but she also started to have seizures after her brain surgery.

“I was having multiple seizures, multiple seizures every week, sometimes multiple seizures a day. I’ve lived with them now for about six years. Having to live with those residual effects definitely impairs my quality of life.”

An Accidental Entrepreneur

The experience also left her with an idea: a device that could be placed in the mouth to prevent people from biting their tongues while they were having a seizure.

“When I came up with the idea, it just never left me. I’m a very spiritual person and I prayed about it. I felt like if I didn’t do it, nobody would do it,” she says.

So after getting her graduate degree, she put her original plan on hold to develop the device—named PATI (protector against tongue injury)—that could help the 3.4 million Americans living with epilepsy plus the many others who may experience seizures related to traumatic brain injuries, brain tumors, strokes, and other conditions.

“I didn’t think that I would ever become an entrepreneur,” she says, “and then a life experience happened that motivated me to solve a problem for other people.”

Sanders’ experience makes her uniquely qualified to design the product: “PATI is by a patient and for a patient. It’s something I believe a patient would have to start. My patient experience has really been critical in terms of understanding the diagnosis and how it impacts people’s lives.”

“Typically, physicians are concerned with how do we minimize your future episodes or how do we minimize your risk of falling,” she says. “But oral health is important if you live with these episodes day after day, and every time you seize there’s a possibility of potentially lacerating your tongue or injuring yourself orally.”

The device is currently in Phase 2 (of 3) of commercial development. By the end of this year, Sanders is expecting to have an initial patent issuance and to file FDA clearance paperwork. The product should be on the market by the end of next year or the beginning of 2022.

 

No Money, Mo’ Problems for Black Founders

Despite the product’s potential, Sanders has had a tough time when it comes to fundraising.

“When I first started the company I was a little naive to the path of resistance that occurs being an entrepreneur, especially one of color,” she says. “It’s horrifying that we are the group that has the fastest-growing number of startups but yet we’re the least funded.”

Sanders initially tried to raise money through grants and pitch competitions. She always got positive feedback, but never got any actual money.

“I remember being told that I would never raise a seed round because my startup wasn’t as competitive as others and that it had nothing to do with the fact that I was a woman or I was an African American,” she says.

“But the more I faced that resistance, the more I started to understand the landscape and how difficult it is for us.”

So Sanders began pursuing funding that was designated for minority entrepreneurs, becoming a finalist in the New Voices competition and raising an angel investment through Pipeline Angels.

It was retired NBA legend Charles Barkley, however, that gave the company the financial assist it needed.

“I saw him on Shark Tank. He was a guest shark and I remember him saying something to the effect of he’s interested in investing in entrepreneurs of color, or people who are in the life science or tech space. So, kind of on a whim, I wrote him a letter. I told him about my background, I told him about the traction we’ve gained, and I told him what I needed—which was a pretty significant investment to get this product to market,” Sanders says.

“It took I would say 6 months or so to hear back. I got an email from one of his representatives, inviting me down to pitch to not only him but his financial adviser, two physicians that were in the neurology space, and a trusted adviser of his,” she continues. “A few months later I got the call that he would invest, and I was completely ecstatic but also emotional. I’m so grateful for him to believe in me and the product’s potential.”

Black Girl Unicorn

Unlike many entrepreneurs, Sanders has an exit strategy already planned—before her product has even come to market.

“It just wouldn’t be a wise business decision to go and scale a one-product company that would require millions of dollars in the manufacturing infrastructure and the marketing infrastructure. It just doesn’t make sense,” she says.

So she has a list of about 30 potential companies she will be approaching about acquiring NeuroVice or licensing the product.

“A lot of companies, at least in the medtech space, are looking for unique innovations that have been de-risked through development, through FDA clearance. All of those things, in addition to a human factors study with real patients, will position us to say, ‘We’ve done all the initial legwork, all you have to do is commercialize this product at scale and put it on the market.'”

The device would represent a literal disruption of the industry: current seizure safety guidelines advise not to put anything in a patient’s mouth while seizing.

That is a risk Sanders is confident the company will overcome: “Changing the way we think about symptom management and empowering consumers to take control of their own healthcare is a really hard task, but it can be done with the right person at the helm and the right product.”

Her projections are also based on the unmet need in the market—there are around 12 million seizure-related 911 calls a year in the U.S. and 1.4 million emergency room visits—and other factors such as the lack of direct competition.

“I’m really excited about the multiple revenue stream indications,” Sanders says. “It’s going to be a consumer technology, an intervention for first responders, and an inpatient clinical intervention. The revenue potential is immense, not only in the domestic market but worldwide.”

And Sanders predicts that that revenue potential will translate to a huge valuation when she sells the company.

“I believe that I will be one of the first African American females to exit the company at a billion dollars or more. And I want to be that unicorn.”



from Black Enterprise https://ift.tt/3bSWSQd

I’m a McDonald’s Restaurant Owner. Here’s How My Team is Navigating This Unprecedented Crisis

McDonald's

I have been part of the McDonald’s community for over 30 years, beginning when my mom became an operator in the 1980s. Today, my sister and I operate 18 restaurants across Los Angeles and are proud to be a familiar and reliable presence in our hometown. Over the decades, my family, restaurant teams, and our communities have experienced a lot together, but COVID-19 is truly unprecedented. We are all navigating this together, and I have never been more proud, grateful, and inspired by the character and generosity of spirit shown by my crew members.

Nothing matters more than making sure our crew is safe, informed, and supported as we continue to serve meals to the customers and community who rely on us. As we look to government leaders and medical experts for continued guidance on the most effective safety measures, our restaurant managers and I are making changes as rapidly as possible. To date, we have implemented:

  • Wellness checks at the start of each shift
  • Gloves and masks provided for all employees
  • Plexiglass barriers in the restaurants and Drive-Thrus
  • Guides on the floor to ensure proper social distancing

Throughout these uncertain times, as an owner and community leader, I am committed to being a resource for my crew, alongside our team of managers. No one has all the answers when it comes to dealing with a public health situation that is rapidly evolving, but we will continue to communicate and provide access to information and resources to help everyone make the best choices for themselves and their families. If any of our crew members are not comfortable coming to work, they know that their job will be here for them when they are ready to return.

For those who choose to continue to work, we are recognizing their dedication by providing additional pay, a free meal during their shift, as well as an extra free meal coupon for each shift they work to share with their families. In the event that any of our crew is exposed to or comes down with COVID-19, they are eligible for two weeks of paid sick leave to rest and recover before returning to work. At a time when unemployment rates are skyrocketing, I am proud that we continue to provide our crew members a steady job and a reliable income.

The men and women I work with inspire me every day. Seeing their commitment to supporting their families, colleagues, and local communities motivates me. Recently, on behalf of our McDonald’s team, my sister and I delivered McDonald’s to several local hospitals as a small token of appreciation for our first responders and healthcare workers. Together with our crew, we are making sure that essential workers know they have a place to go for a sense of normalcy and a bite to eat served by a familiar face. All our restaurants are honored to provide for first responders and want them to know they can get a free Egg McMuffin® and coffee at our local restaurants or Drive-Thrus. And, if their shifts mean they’re going to miss breakfast, they’re welcome to pick up a free lunch or dinner later in the day. We’re here to serve them, while they serve our communities and save lives.

My leadership philosophy in one word has always been collaboration. This has never felt more true. Our teams and our communities are at our best when we listen to each other, problem-solve together, and support one another, particularly in the face of this historic crisis. We truly are all in this together, and I have never been more proud to serve our communities.



from Black Enterprise https://ift.tt/2yZHHGA

'Every Beating That I Got, I Deserved It': The Cast of OWN's Love Goals Discuss Generational Trauma in New Episode Clip

When we think about our legacies in the black community and the act of passing down things to the next generation, we, of course, hope those things are fruitful. Unfortunately, there are some toxic behaviors that are passed around in a harmful cycle that needs to be broken. OWN’s new show, Love Goals, is attempting to…

Read more...



from The Root https://ift.tt/3cZTJhz

I’m a McDonald’s Restaurant Owner. Here’s How My Team is Navigating This Unprecedented Crisis

McDonald's

I have been part of the McDonald’s community for over 30 years, beginning when my mom became an operator in the 1980s. Today, my sister and I operate 18 restaurants across Los Angeles and are proud to be a familiar and reliable presence in our hometown. Over the decades, my family, restaurant teams, and our communities have experienced a lot together, but COVID-19 is truly unprecedented. We are all navigating this together, and I have never been more proud, grateful, and inspired by the character and generosity of spirit shown by my crew members.

Nothing matters more than making sure our crew is safe, informed, and supported as we continue to serve meals to the customers and community who rely on us. As we look to government leaders and medical experts for continued guidance on the most effective safety measures, our restaurant managers and I are making changes as rapidly as possible. To date, we have implemented:

  • Wellness checks at the start of each shift
  • Gloves and masks provided for all employees
  • Plexiglass barriers in the restaurants and Drive-Thrus
  • Guides on the floor to ensure proper social distancing

Throughout these uncertain times, as an owner and community leader, I am committed to being a resource for my crew, alongside our team of managers. No one has all the answers when it comes to dealing with a public health situation that is rapidly evolving, but we will continue to communicate and provide access to information and resources to help everyone make the best choices for themselves and their families. If any of our crew members are not comfortable coming to work, they know that their job will be here for them when they are ready to return.

For those who choose to continue to work, we are recognizing their dedication by providing additional pay, a free meal during their shift, as well as an extra free meal coupon for each shift they work to share with their families. In the event that any of our crew is exposed to or comes down with COVID-19, they are eligible for two weeks of paid sick leave to rest and recover before returning to work. At a time when unemployment rates are skyrocketing, I am proud that we continue to provide our crew members a steady job and a reliable income.

The men and women I work with inspire me every day. Seeing their commitment to supporting their families, colleagues, and local communities motivates me. Recently, on behalf of our McDonald’s team, my sister and I delivered McDonald’s to several local hospitals as a small token of appreciation for our first responders and healthcare workers. Together with our crew, we are making sure that essential workers know they have a place to go for a sense of normalcy and a bite to eat served by a familiar face. All our restaurants are honored to provide for first responders and want them to know they can get a free Egg McMuffin® and coffee at our local restaurants or Drive-Thrus. And, if their shifts mean they’re going to miss breakfast, they’re welcome to pick up a free lunch or dinner later in the day. We’re here to serve them, while they serve our communities and save lives.

My leadership philosophy in one word has always been collaboration. This has never felt more true. Our teams and our communities are at our best when we listen to each other, problem-solve together, and support one another, particularly in the face of this historic crisis. We truly are all in this together, and I have never been more proud to serve our communities.



from Black Enterprise https://ift.tt/2yZHHGA

Clint and DeAnna Lewis Balance Faith, Family, and Franchise

Clint and DeAnna Lewis, Franchise, wingstop, fatburger
Managing and building a successful business is no easy task. Building a successful marriage while building a successful business is even harder.
Clint and DeAnna Lewis are owners of five Wingstop and four Fatburger franchises and have made a commitment to growing their relationship as they do their joint business ventures. The recipients of the Million Dollar Store Club and Top Sales Increase awards, Clint, a certified personal financial analyst, has over 25 years of experience in financial planning and wealth management industry. DeAnna received a bachelor’s in Business Management and a master’s in Educational Counseling and has over 25 years of experience as a social worker. The Lewis’s have taken their learning and put it into a book entitled Faith, Family, and Franchise to help couples and singles navigate the path to business success and family wealth building.
Black Enterprise had the opportunity to discuss their new book, balancing business and relationships, and lessons to take away from COVID-19.

Why faith, family, and franchise?

We have a faith-based walk that we try to live every day. Our plan was always to build together as a family. I was already doing real estate investing so during the early 2000s before the bubble burst; real estate is very good to us. Once we found out that in my wife’s hometown of Bakersfield there weren’t a lot of eateries. We started to research and see what it would take to own a franchise. 

There was such a myth out there that if you own a franchise you’re not a real business owner. The part of saying franchise is about educating people on what that means. From the day-to-day responsibilities including operations, payroll, etc. 

How do you successfully balance the business of building a business and building your relationship?

It’s not easy but we work together well. One of the most important things is that we like each other. In the early stages of our relationship and then our marriage we made a pact that we will go ahead and get away every 90 days. This didn’t have to be an expensive getaway but something within the budget at the time. We would use this time to talk about our future, goals, and dreams that we share together. We were just really committed to building a solid foundation for each other, which in turn helps develop and grow our franchise business and most importantly our family.

What are two lessons from your book that you think are most important as we are going through the COVID-19 pandemic?  

As a business owner, it is extremely important to know your numbers. Basically, this boils down to understanding your budget. Your overhead, payroll, materials, and other expenses have to be accounted for accurately. 

If you are thinking about a new business startup or franchise, do your research. Also, talk to people within the industry you plan to start your business in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You would be surprised how many business owners will give you advice.  

What three pieces of advice would you share with couples starting a business together?

Get to know each other. Have a real conversation. Don’t pretend with whomever you want to build your life with. Be vulnerable enough to share those areas of possible insecurities including finances, family, divorce, and career. This will create a solid footing for all the other things that come along.



from Black Enterprise https://ift.tt/3cTEmr8

Clint and DeAnna Lewis Balance Faith, Family, and Franchise

Clint and DeAnna Lewis, Franchise, wingstop, fatburger
Managing and building a successful business is no easy task. Building a successful marriage while building a successful business is even harder.
Clint and DeAnna Lewis are owners of five Wingstop and four Fatburger franchises and have made a commitment to growing their relationship as they do their joint business ventures. The recipients of the Million Dollar Store Club and Top Sales Increase awards, Clint, a certified personal financial analyst, has over 25 years of experience in financial planning and wealth management industry. DeAnna received a bachelor’s in Business Management and a master’s in Educational Counseling and has over 25 years of experience as a social worker. The Lewis’s have taken their learning and put it into a book entitled Faith, Family, and Franchise to help couples and singles navigate the path to business success and family wealth building.
Black Enterprise had the opportunity to discuss their new book, balancing business and relationships, and lessons to take away from COVID-19.

Why faith, family, and franchise?

We have a faith-based walk that we try to live every day. Our plan was always to build together as a family. I was already doing real estate investing so during the early 2000s before the bubble burst; real estate is very good to us. Once we found out that in my wife’s hometown of Bakersfield there weren’t a lot of eateries. We started to research and see what it would take to own a franchise. 

There was such a myth out there that if you own a franchise you’re not a real business owner. The part of saying franchise is about educating people on what that means. From the day-to-day responsibilities including operations, payroll, etc. 

How do you successfully balance the business of building a business and building your relationship?

It’s not easy but we work together well. One of the most important things is that we like each other. In the early stages of our relationship and then our marriage we made a pact that we will go ahead and get away every 90 days. This didn’t have to be an expensive getaway but something within the budget at the time. We would use this time to talk about our future, goals, and dreams that we share together. We were just really committed to building a solid foundation for each other, which in turn helps develop and grow our franchise business and most importantly our family.

What are two lessons from your book that you think are most important as we are going through the COVID-19 pandemic?  

As a business owner, it is extremely important to know your numbers. Basically, this boils down to understanding your budget. Your overhead, payroll, materials, and other expenses have to be accounted for accurately. 

If you are thinking about a new business startup or franchise, do your research. Also, talk to people within the industry you plan to start your business in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You would be surprised how many business owners will give you advice.  

What three pieces of advice would you share with couples starting a business together?

Get to know each other. Have a real conversation. Don’t pretend with whomever you want to build your life with. Be vulnerable enough to share those areas of possible insecurities including finances, family, divorce, and career. This will create a solid footing for all the other things that come along.



from Black Enterprise https://ift.tt/3cTEmr8

2019 Finding Ashley Stewart Winner, Addlia Edwards, Uses Positivity & Resilience to Empower Her Community

Finding Ashley Stewart

The Finding Ashley Stewart finale on Sept. 14, 2019, was the day that changed Addlia Edwards’ life forever. As a loving mother and hairstylist from Rex, Georgia, Edwards had always dreamed of sharing her story to help others in her community and empower fellow women.

After being crowned as the 2019 brand ambassador for Ashley Stewart, Edwards has been doing just that — spending her year-long reign by giving back to the community and meeting young girls and women all around the nation (both in-person, and now virtually) to inspire them to follow their dreams, stay true to who they are, and strive for success just as she did.

From the life struggles that shaped her can-do attitude to receiving her crown, Edwards’ inspiring journey is representative of all that Ashley Stewart stands for — confidence, female empowerment, body positivity, and so much more. Black Enterprise connected with Edwards to discuss how her boundless resilience and positive mindset led her to win the crown at the Finding Ashley Stewart finale last September and what she plans to do next.

What prompted you to enter the 2019 Finding Ashley Stewart search?

Each year, Ashley Stewart, the leading inclusive lifestyle, fashion, and social commerce brand, hosts its annual nationwide Finding Ashley Stewart tour in search of the brand’s next ambassador—a woman who effortlessly embodies what Ashley Stewart stands for: kindness, resilience, confidence, leadership and, of course, fashion.

I’ve always supported the empowering movement, but never imagined that things would turn out as they did. After trying to get some of my other friends to enter, I joked with a friend and told her that I might enter. She said, ‘You really should.’ I told her, ‘There’s no way I would be chosen out of all those thousands of beautiful women.’ And she asked a great question, ‘What do you have to lose?’ I had absolutely nothing to lose! I had already lost it all! I had been praying for something new and exciting to happen in my life and I decided to take a leap of faith to see if this was the answer to my prayer.

How has your background influenced how you carried out your role as Ashley Stewart’s brand ambassador?

I’m no stranger to struggle and hardships. Throughout my life, I had no one to rely on other than myself. My strength and my self-confidence are what I fell back on time and time again to overcome my fair share of adversities, including homelessness and chronic illness. I am a fighter, but through it all, it has always been my passion to lift others up that continues to drive me to seize the next day ahead, and ultimately help and encourage others to fight and to embrace each and every day.

I think my positive outlook and effervescent personality always persevered and gave me the unwavering strength to keep moving forward. I am naturally hospitable. It was embedded in me to treat people kindly, the way I would want people to treat me, and to always be a positive influence no matter the circumstance.

How do you give back to your community? How has your platform helped you empower women across the country?

I’ve always been passionate about helping others and giving back to women who come from similar backgrounds. As a hairstylist, I provide hair services in women’s shelters and to underprivileged young girls.
I try to use the skills and life lessons I’ve learned through the years to spread positivity and confidence to fellow women and spread the message that they, too, can accomplish anything.

I speak to women in homeless shelters. I feed the homeless. I volunteer at my high school alma mater. I speak at different conferences and events, whether it be a mental health conference or women’s empowerment conference. I share my story with other single moms and future hairstylists!

As a part of my winnings, I get an allowance every month to shop at Ashley Stewart. I just recently started taking a portion of that allowance to randomly be a blessing to someone else. While in the Ashley Stewart Stonecrest location one day, there was a customer who was shopping for her birthday and another who had come in[to] the store for the very first time. I secretly took care of both of their purchases. It wasn’t what I did for them that was memorable, but it was their reaction that will forever stay with me.

I have big plans for the future and what I would like to accomplish as Ashley Stewart’s brand ambassador and beyond. I am working on a book and a women’s empowerment brunch. COVID-19 has made its entrance, but I will continue to be a light during this uncertain time. And I will continue to empower others, speak life into others, serve others, and do it fashionably while leaving a little sparkle wherever I go!



from Black Enterprise https://ift.tt/2KISLuh

Black Faith

  • Who are you? - Ever since I saw the first preview of the movie, Overcomer, I wanted to see it. I was ready. Pumped. The release month was etched in my mind. When the time...
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'We’ve got to stop the bleeding': Democrats sound alarm in Miami

MIAMI — Democrats are sounding the alarm about weak voter turnout rates in Florida’s biggest county, Miami-Dade, where a strong Republican ...