Friday, September 23, 2011

BET Teams Up With Girl Scouts of USA for Black Female Leadership Panel

The Root reports that for this week's Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference, Beverly Bond, the DJ and founder of Black Girls Rock! -- a movement that was first conceived as a T-shirt slogan. brought the movement to D.C. On Thursday she appeared on the panel "African American Girls: Leadership and Resilience," sponsored by Girl Scouts of USA and BET, and hosted the Black Girls Rock! & Soul Tour, presented by Chevy, featuring singer Melanie Fiona and DJ Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa. The panel was based on a recent study, The Resilience Factor: A Key to Leadership in African-American and Hispanic Girls, a report by the Girl Scout Research Institute that examines how African-American and Latino girls view, experience and aspire to leadership.

The Root caught up with Beverly and asked for her take on the findings.

"I think it's fortunate that a lot of African Americans do aspire to lead because they're often affirmed by their parents, black mamas and other stakeholders in the community," said Bond. "Sometimes that confidence also needs the tools to make their goals come into fruition. Even though our girls are confident, we have to look at whether their aspirations are being realized. We have to look at the numbers in education, where we see that African-American girls' graduation rate is lower than that of other girls. We have to look at the health disparities. We have to look at what's happening in leadership roles in corporate America, where only 5.3 percent of all management professionals are African-American women. Where is that disconnect happening? How are our girls being led astray?"

BET reports that Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks, along with Rep. Karen Bass of California, Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief Constance C.R. White and other media, took part in the panel along with youth and business leaders.

"Growing up in a community rooted in achievement, making a difference and having a positive impact on African-Americans is something that has always been important to me," said Lee in a statement prior to the panel. "At BET Networks, empowering our young people for a brighter future is at the core of who we are and certainly a big part of the work we do on air and in our community with organizations like the Girl Scouts."

How do you think one's leadership aspirations are affected by being a minority?