MIH'S OUSTANDING AFRICAN AMERICAN FOR DECEMBER 2005
Meet Asheville, N.C.'s Youngest Mayor Ever
- Making Her Mark
Teryy Bellamy will be one of three black mayors running a city with more than 50,000 people and less than a 20 percent African-American population.
On Dec. 6, Terry Bellamy will be sworn in as the first African-American and the youngest mayor of her hometown of Asheville, N.C. The city of close to 70,000 people, known as the economic and cultural hub of Western Carolina, elected the 33-year-old who was in the midst of her second term as city councilwoman. While African Americans only make up about 17 percent of the population of the city, almost 57 percent of the residents voted for Bellamy.
"After (high school) graduation a lot of people left because they couldn't afford to live here. Opportunities were limited and they couldn't afford housing," said Bellamy, who graduated from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. "Instead of leaving, I decided to do something about it."
According to the National Council of Black Mayors there are over 500 black mayors but Bellamy is one of three running a city with more than 50,000 people and less than a 20 percent African-American population.
Married and the mother of two children, she initially became active in her community because she "wanted to make sure the school board members cared about the education of all children."
She works fulltime as marketing and development manager for Mountain Housing Opportunities, a nonprofit community development corporation that builds and improves homes for people with limited resources. Since 1999 she has been a member of the Asheville City Council. She served as vice mayor from 2001-2003 after being elected by her fellow council members. This was her second run at the mayor's job.
In addition to affordable housing, her campaign mandate was to create more jobs that pay a living wage, keep students from dropping out of school, and reduce drug usage and improve public safety.
Some community activists, who have watched Bellamy working throughout the city at neighborhoods events and meetings weren’t surprised at her victory.
"Terry contacted me right after I got here," said Rev. Keith A. Ogden, pastor of Hill Street Baptist church, one of the most active black churches in Asheville. "She is very involved. She has her hand on the pulse as far as empowering people to move to a higher level. She does a lot of door-to-door work. She's very enthusiastic and knowledgeable."
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John R. Hayes, Asheville NAACP branch president, has been an informal mentor to Bellamy since she was in middle school and attended an enrichment program for youths, which he founded. He hired her to be his administrative when she returned home after graduating from college. "Some say she is too young, but I don’t look at it like that" said Hayes. "I've seen her mature. This is the work I believe God has for her to do. Whenever you can humble yourself -- don’t flaunt your degrees -- continue to meet people where they are and not tell them what to do but work with them on what they want to do, then your work is anointed."
Hayes said now he sometimes calls her for her advice on issues. "I am her elder but I don't mind. I can call her and get a perspective when I need to brainstorm with someone. Terry came back to her community. She didn’t run off. She came back to serve."
Bellamy suggests her community activism may come from having a mother who has helped homeless kids and who has volunteered in prisons for over 20 years. As for her political victory, Bellamy said, "It shows that dreams really do come true. You can come home again.
|Dirk Evans the “Hair Care Doctor” answers hair care questions for Ebony magazine readers
Detroit, MI., Dec. 12, 2005 Michigan-based hair stylist, Dirk Evans, is featured in Ebony magazine's December 2005 issue. Evans answers pressing beauty questions in the magazine's Beauty & Style section.
Ebony's "Getting to the Root" connects a reader directly with Evans who can give professional, practical advice to even a hair care novice. Evans addresses a common hair care question regarding relaxer strength in the issue that has Beyonce' and Tina Knowles splashed on the cover. He also answers these same type of questions everyday on his website HomeHairCareHelp.com.
This hair care pro had this to say about the opportunity to work with such a popular and well-respected publication, "I looked at the feature in Ebony as another opportunity to help black women with their hair care needs. Hair is very important to black women. If I can help them maintain beautiful, healthy hair, then I'm satisfied." causes of major scalp disorders of women that actually receive the chemical relaxing treatment, especially over long periods of time.
The December issue is right on time for the holiday season. Evans comments that this time of year is a perfect for "turning up the heat" on style. Dirk Evans the “Hair Care Doctor” has over 26 years of experience in the hair care industry and lectures extensively throughout the United States. He also has a recently released book, "Home Hair Care Help," available to help keep black women beautiful and informed. Evans' book and other materials are available online at www.HomeHairCareHelp.com