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The Virginia Black Lifestyle Magazine's Black Women's History Month Recognition 2024: Meet Sandra Wilson!

Beautiful Black woman in a black t-shirt.
Ms. Sandra Wilson (Submitted Photo).

The month of April is "Black Women's History Month!" The Virginia Black Lifestyle Magazine is excited to highlight incredible Black women throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia!

Meet Sandra:

I'm a single mom of four who has faced a lot of challenges in life. One day, back in August 2016, I was watching the game when Kaepernick decided to sit on the bench. That moment sparked something deep inside me - a desire to make a positive impact on my community. So, I turned to social media and started speaking out on my pro-black Instagram page. And that's when fate stepped in. I caught the attention of Mr. Dowdie, who admired my passion for our community. He offered me a job managing his social media platforms. That opportunity was just the beginning of an incredible journey. Working with Mr. Dowdie in 2018, he recognized my potential and encouraged me to start my own business supporting black-owned businesses. And that's how Black Connections came to be. Through this platform, I aim to create a supportive network for black business owners to flourish. It's been an amazing journey so far, and I couldn't be more excited for what the future holds. Thank you for being a part of this incredible adventure with me.

What are you most known for?

Here are some of the things I'm most known for: Advocacy, giving back, and volunteering Organizing the Inaugural Black Connections Black Business Expo on November 29th, 2019 Hosting the Juneteenth Black Connections Black Business Expo on June 19, 2021 Leading the Virtual Black Connections Black Business Expo & Black Author Expo Serving as the US Army Family Readiness Group Leader from 2015-2018 Supporting DEFY Drug Education for Youth from 2003-2005 Coordinating volunteers for Special Olympics Children from 2003-2005 Helping feed the homeless in Richmond, VA and Fayetteville, NC from 2018-2020 Producing the Returning Citizens Documentary in Richmond, VA in 2019 Presenting the "Returning Citizens Show Up and Show Out" event on February 5th, 2022 in Richmond, VA Publishing Black Connections Magazine Issue #1 in January 2022 Serving as a Navy Ombudsman from 1993 to 2004 There's more to my story than just these accomplishments, but I'm proud to have been a part of these impactful initiatives.

How would your best friend describe you?

Let me tell you about Sandra Wilson! She is an amazing human being and the best friend anyone could have. Sandra is so committed to her work, especially when it comes to helping her community and promoting black-owned businesses. Despite facing criticism and obstacles along the way, she gives it her all and then some. I met Sandra through our shared passion for the black community and I quickly realized she is the real deal. We became fast friends. I feel incredibly lucky to have her in my life, and my respect for her knows no bounds. Despite dealing with chronic illness, Sandra never gives up and continues to inspire me with her resilience. She restores my faith in humanity and reminds me that there are still good people making a difference in the world. Cristin McGraw

What inspires you?

You know what really inspires me? It's the fact that no matter what challenges my community faces every day, we never give up. Quitting just isn't in our blood. Our ancestors fought so that we could have a chance to keep fighting today.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

One of my proudest achievements is raising my four children. Despite not having the best upbringing and initially doubting my own abilities as a mother, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. Initially unsure about keeping the baby, everything changed when I felt that first kick. I knew in that moment that I had to break the cycle of hardship in my family. I made a promise to myself and my unborn child that we were in this together. As a single mother, it wasn't easy, but I was determined to be the best parent I could be. My children are my rock, and without them, I wouldn't be where I am today. Despite the odds being against me as a black single mother, all four of my children graduated high school, went on to college, and achieved incredible successes. I am forever grateful for my children, who never gave me a moment of trouble and excelled in various activities like FFA, band, track, and softball. I am amazed by their accomplishments, such as being honor roll students and even having two Eagle Scouts among them. Against all odds, my children have defied statistics and proven that with determination and love, anything is possible.

In a perfect world, share one thing you'd like to see happen for Black women?

As a Black woman in today's world, I believe it's important for us to be treated equally. Black women are making a huge impact on society, and I would love to see more representation of black-owned businesses in mainstream TV commercials. It would be amazing to have more black-owned franchises and for women in my community to receive the same treatment as everyone else. We shouldn't have to fight for equality - it should be a given. In 2024, it's disheartening that we are still fighting for fair treatment. We just want the same opportunities as anyone else. Let us show you what we are capable of if given the chance. It's not all about having a degree - there are so many talented black women who are qualified even without one. Let's uplift and support each other to create a more equal and inclusive world.

What are three songs on your playlist, that you think other women should add to theirs, and why?

"Hey, beautiful! Mary J. Blige's song, "Good Morning Gorgeous," is all about starting your day with positive affirmations. Even though the lyrics touch on struggles with self-love and body image, the chorus reminds us to say to ourselves, "good morning gorgeous." The message is clear - you don't need a physical makeover to feel amazing. Take a listen and remember to stay grounded in the midst of challenges.

Another empowering anthem for Black women is Jill Scott's "Womanifesto." She celebrates the strength and beauty of Black women beyond just their physical appearance. Scott challenges negative stereotypes and highlights the power that Black women hold within themselves.

Need a boost of empowerment? Jamila Woods' "Blk Girl Soldier" is the perfect song to recharge your activism spirit. She shines a light on the mistreatment and exploitation of Black women in media, urging us to stand up against injustice and discrimination. Let's continue to fight for equality and support our fellow Black women worldwide!"

If you could go back in time and have a conversation with your younger self; which year would you return to?

If I could go back in time and chat with my 14-year-old self, I would gently remind her that she can't control other people. It's not her fault if someone who should have protected her instead hurt her. I would reassure her that forgiveness is important, especially for things that were completely out of her hands. I would encourage her to not let anything or anyone stand in the way of getting to the courthouse to testify against the person who took advantage of her innocence. This experience will not define her, but it will give her the strength and bravery to become the amazing person she is destined to be.

She will be able to use her voice to help others who have been through similar situations. No matter what, she should never give up and continue speaking up, even if it's hard. Stay strong, young one. You are needed by others who have gone through the same. You are destined to make a difference in the world. Your voice will be a powerful advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. This moment will shape your future in a profound way. Although the journey may be tough, you will overcome every challenge that comes your way. Your experiences will fuel your passion to help others who have faced similar struggles. Your story will inspire those around you. You have the potential to break the cycle of negativity in your family and create a new, uplifting legacy for future generations. Your impact will be truly remarkable!

Where can our readers connect with you?

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