February Empress Email

Waagwan Empresses,

Happy February! Whether you have a partner near or far to share the day with, tek taim for self love and self care. Treat yourself to something special this month, whether it’s as small as a bar of chocolate or as big as a trip out of site for the weekend (or longer). You deserve it. Remember that the more you take care of yourself, the more you can take care of others.



This month, we recommend listening to Ayla Nereo’s song “Show Yourself” remixed by The Human Experience (or not, the original is great to chill to but the remix is fun to dance to). Ayla’s music is poetic and her lyrics are uplifting. About this song, Ayla says “[Show Yourself] is so much about permission and really claiming our right to be beautiful, independent of how anyone sees us. We are not trying to show who we are for approval. We are showing ourselves because it’s so natural and of the earth. When I sing the song I get to embody all of that, and it feels really good”.

We also recommend listening to the song “Oom Sha La La” by Haley from her album I Need to Start a Garden. Haley is an upcoming artist from Oregon. Her music is folksy and her lyrics are beautiful and sometimes unexpected.

Coping Mechanisms:

A volunteer strongly recommends learning an instrument during service. She says “I bought a ukulele for myself last May for my birthday (it cost $50 US but you can find even cheaper ones in Kingston). I just look up tabs for songs I like and teach myself. It has changed my service! It’s a productive way to keep my mind occupied and to prevent me from going stir crazy at site. Instead of binge watching TV, I learn a new song instead and it’s so much better for my health.” Another volunteer adds that tabs is a great app for learning songs for both guitar and ukulele.

A volunteer suggests listening to some powerful poetry by expressive female poets this month. Check out her recommendations “Boobs Vs. Brains” by Angela Aguirre and “Thick Chicks” by Tamara Blue.

Self Care:

Try meditating this month! Sitting quietly for lengths of time can be overwhelming (or underwhelming) for some, so start your meditation journey with guided meditations. We recommend listening to a short 10 – 15 meditation led by Tara Brach. Before bed or after a morning workout is a good time to tune into a guided meditation. The meditation “Awakening Compassion” guided by Tara Brach is a relaxing and calming meditation to start with.

Here is the description of this meditation: Our hearts awaken as we let ourselves be touched by the suffering within and around us. They shine as we respond with care to what has touched us. This meditation uses the breath to guide us in letting in and contacting suffering, and offering out our love. With practice this meditation enables us to realize the truth of our connectedness and the luminous love that is intrinsic to awareness.” Listen to the meditation at this link: https://www.tarabrach.com/meditation-awakening-compassion/

If you enjoy this meditation, more of her meditations can also be downloaded as podcasts on iTunes.

Good News:

A year after millions of people turned out for the Women’s March and took to the streets en masse to protest President Trump’s inauguration, demonstrators gathered once again this January for a second Women’s March. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/20/us/womens-march.html

French President Macron and Rihanna join forces to improve education in developing countries. They brought that mission Friday to a financing conference of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in the African nation of Senegal, attended by African heads of state and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/rihanna-emmanuel-macron-join-forces-improve-education-developing/story?id=52814553

Big Brands from Disney to Walmart back tech startups to tackle supply chain slavery. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-slavery-business-funding/big-brands-from-disney-to-walmart-back-tech-startups-to-tackle-supply-chain-slavery-idUSKBN1FJ22U

More women entering the Dairy industry in Wisconsin. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/wisconsin/articles/2018-01-06/more-women-entering-dairy-industry-in-wisconsin

The hole in the Earth’s ozone layer is healing, first of its kind study shows. https://www.space.com/39315-nasa-satellite-shows-healing-ozone-hole.html

Plastic microbeads have been banned in UK. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/09/plastic-microbeads-ban-enters-force-in-uk

Award winning Nepalese farmers grow bananas to avert floods. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nepal-climatechange-agriculture/award-winning-nepalese-farmers-grow-bananas-to-avert-floods-idUSKBN1F60LD

18 times the internet roasted the absolute shit out of gender roles. https://www.buzzfeed.com/jasminnahar/jokes-about-gender-roles


Social Media Highlights:

For this month’s Facebook Highlight, we suggests checking out Studio 174 on Facebook. It’s an art gallery in downtown Kingston. They also currently have a show of Kingstonian youth work running until February 25th and it’s free to check out. Their Facebook page is uplifting and interesting. See the Fb page here: https://www.facebook.com/Studio174Jamaica/

Our Instagram Highlight this month is BunnyMichael. On her Ig, this artist, author, musician, and healer posts insightful and entertaining thought conversations between her and her higher self. See her instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/bunnymichael/


Empress Book Club:

This month, the Empress book Club is reading “Akata Warrior” by Nnedi Okorafor and “Halsey Street” by Naima Coster.


January is Black History Month!

Black History Month started in 1915 and is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. Black History is now also celebrated in many countries around the world. The Black History Month 2018 theme, “African Americans in Times of War,” marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and honors the roles that black Americans have played in warfare, from the American Revolution to the present day. Read more about Black History Month here:



This month, follow the hashtag #blackhistorymonth on social media (twitter, instagram, and Facebook).




Follow videos and articles in celebration and observance of Black History month on Huffpost as they are posted throughout February on the site here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/topic/black-history-month


See how 15 millennials celebrate Black History Month in 2018: https://www.bustle.com/p/how-15-millennials-celebrate-black-history-month-2018-from-watching-black-panther-to-being-unapologetically-black-8091161

Watch this short video about the history of NAACP co-founder Ida B Wells. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/profiles-in-blackglory-ida-b-wells_us_5a74c36de4b0a9d3e1964a3d


Read what Bernice King, MLK’s Daughter, says about remembering her mother’s legacy too. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/coretta-scott-king-mlk-day_us_5a5cb6c1e4b04f3c55a48bcc


28 Days, 28 Films for Black History Month https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/01/movies/28-essential-films-black-history-month.html


January is also Reggae Month!

Check out this article with 7 female reggae artists you should know! https://theculturetrip.com/caribbean/jamaica/articles/7-female-reggae-artists-you-should-know/


Other Jamaican, American, and International Holidays and Observances in February:

  • Feb 1st – National Freedom Day (US)
  • Feb 1st – World Hijab Day
  • Feb 2nd – National Wear Red Day (US)
  • Feb 2nd – Groundhog Day (US)
  • Feb 2nd – World Wetlands Day
  • Feb 3rd – Ice Cream for Breakfast Day
  • Feb 4th – Rosa Parks Day (US)
  • Feb 4th – Super Bowl (US)
  • Feb 5th – National Frozen Yogurt Day (US)
  • Feb 5th – 11th – World Interfaith Harmony Week
  • Feb 6th – Safer Internet Day
  • Feb 8th – Fat Thursday
  • Feb 9th – National Pizza Day (US)
  • Feb 10th – International Purple Hijab Day
  • Feb 12th – International Day of Women’s Health
  • Feb 12th – National Freedom to Marry Day
  • Feb 13th – Mardi Gras
  • Feb 14th – Valentine’s Day (aka Singles Awareness Day)
  • Feb 14th – Ash Wednesday
  • Feb 15th – Susan B Anthony Day (US)
  • Feb 19th – Presidents’ Day (US)
  • Feb 19th – Eastern Orthodox Lent Begins
  • Feb 20th – World Day of Social Justice
  • Feb 21st – International Mother Language Day
  • Feb 22nd – National Margarita Day (US)
  • Feb 23rd – International Stand Up to Bullying Day
  • Feb 28th – Rare Disease Day


That’s all for this month ladies!

One Love,

Your Empress Board

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