Welcome to the women’s empowerment issue of ONYX Magazine. March is
Women’s History Month—an opportunity for us to recognize the significant
impact women have on societies all over the world. From the board room to
the living room, women continue to play important roles that bring strategic
growth across the globe. This month, ONYX Magazine celebrates 23 of these
women during ONYX Magazine’s Women on the Move. Returning live in our
seventh year—after virtual recognition in 2021 due to COVID-19—2022 will
be memorable for several reasons.
First: It comes on the heels of my mother’s transition from this life. Udell
Theodora Black was the backbone of our family and the inspiration behind
Women on the Move. Her strength and tenacity kept our family close, often
in difficult times. In the 1960s, she and my father, Reginald Black, Sr., rose to
the challenge of establishing the first Black-owned restaurant in downtown
Orlando. Facing racism and discrimination, she modeled incredible faith that
led to the success of their business. Mom had incomparable compassion for
others, offering quiet encouragement to those who struggled with addiction
and lifting the spirits of rehabilitation patients. Through it all, she taught me
and my seven siblings about courage and to always reach for the best. Our
successes are her testimony. In this issue, we celebrate her life. Thank you for
your invaluable show of support to me and my family.
Second: We honor Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Ph.D., the only person to serve as
president of both U.S. colleges for Black women: Spelman College and Bennett
College. Cole is a powerhouse in academia, a voice in social justice and a leader
of women’s empowerment. She was the first woman board member at Coca-
Cola Enterprises, the first African American on the board of United Way, and
she served on boards of some of the nation’s most powerful corporations.
As the seventh national chair of the National Council for Negro Women, an
organization founded by Mary McLeod-Bethune, Cole ushered in a new era of
social activism and continued progress and growth for the organization. In our
cover story, we explore Cole’s early life and tap into her inspirations.
Finally: Among this impressive cadre of women is the International Woman
on the Move Bertha Cooper-Rousseau. With extensive experience in the field
of diplomacy and international relations, including in the United Nations and
its agencies, she serves the government of the Republic of Botswana as its
honorary counsel to The Bahamas. Also among our honorees is Barbara
Tripp, Florida’s first Black woman fire chief, the first female chief in Tampa’s
126-year history and the 13th Black woman fire chief in the nation. They are
among a slate of women who are firsts in their fields. Their stories and a look
at how Trayvon Martin’s death inspired a movement in Sanford, Fla., make up
this critical issue of ONYX Magazine.
As you pore over these pages, we hope you glean inspiration from their
words. As always, we are happy to bring you stories that entertain, inspire
and inform. Thank you for following us.