Our Mission Statement

Women's Empowerment Street Team members (WE) are Etsy sellers dedicated to encouraging artistic empowerment for women and girls worldwide.

WE would like to help each and every woman and girl to:
  • discover and develop her own strengths and creative talents,

  • explore and express her creativity,

  • speak with her own unique voice, believe in herself, and achieve her potential.

WE will achieve our goals through encouraging and supporting our members to:
  • create art that celebrates womanhood and girlhood

  • donate time, money, and/or supplies to charitable organizations, of their choice, that support women's resources

  • be a visible presence at street fairs, art/crafts shows, charity walks, and other events that work towards the above goals

  • teach and mentor other women and girls respect herself and choose to surround herself with those who respect her, too

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu may be one of the most unique voices of her generation. Badu embodies the spirit of neo-soul and hip hop while bringing to mind the feeling of legendary songstresses, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Chaka Kan. Born Erica Abi Wright in Dallas, Texas, 1971, she could be heard freestyling over radio waves by the age of 14. Erica was a dance student at Dallas's performing arts magnet school, Booker T. Washington High. During her time at Booker, Erica created the stage name of Erykah Badu. In Egyptian, "Kah" refers to the soul, a human's vital energy or the inner self. Badu is a reference to the scat style of singing used by singer's during the hay day of jazz. Badu studied theater at Grambling State University, but left college early to pursue a musical career.

In 1997, Erykah Badu released her first album, the critically acclaimed, Baduizm. In the years that followed, Badu released three more hit albums including: an album of live recordings, "Live", a down to the roots, soulful collection called "Mama's Gun", and her latest album, "Worldwide Undergound", released in 2003. Through the years, Erykah Badu has also worked on numerous collaborations with artists such as The Roots, Mos Def and Queen Latifah.

While Badu's musical accomplishments look impressive when listed across a computer screen, reading about them is nothing compared to listening to them yourself. The deep rhythms, clever melodies and soulful heart of her music can erupt movement in the hips of even the most staunch wallflower. The music alone is enough to make me a fan, her lyrics make her a legend. She expresses female confidence and power in every word, making her an important icon for generations of women to look up to. The beauty of being a woman is something that Badu embodies completely. That sense is complimented by humility, a sense of humor and of course, soul, soul, soul.

"The Kabah", Badu's upcoming album is expected to release October 23, 2007. Warm up your headphones, ladies.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Women's Contributions: Betsy Ross

There are so many inspirational, amazing women both historical and contemporary that have affected change in some way for other women, men, and humanity at large that choosing the very first one to feature here seemed a daunting task. But one name stuck with me as I thought about this first column inspired by women’s empowerment and Etsy: Betsy Ross. She seemed like a natural fit: a pioneering woman who knew how to use a pair of scissors.

From a very young age, Betsy was a very passionate, confident woman. She was working as an apprentice upholsterer when she fell in love with a fellow apprentice named John Ross. In order to follow her heart and marry the man she loved, she was forced to elope with him: her parents were staunch member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers; who scorned interdenominational marriage). Her parents disowned her when they learned of her marriage to an Episcopal reverend’s son.

The young couple opened up an upholstery shop, but business was bad due to the lack of fabric during the American Revolution. It didn’t take long for John to join the Pennsylvania militia. Shortly after joining, John Ross was killed in a gunpowder explosion making Betsy the sole proprietor of their upholstery business.

In June 1776, Betsy received the fateful visit from George Washington, George Ross (John’s uncle), and Robert Morris of the Continental Congress. The Committee of Three showed Betsey a sketch of a flag that Washington drew in pencil with a six pointed star. Betsy, however, suggested a five pointed star instead because she could make it in just one snip. The flag was sewn from American grown hemp by Betsy in her parlor. The flag was flown when the Declaration of Independence was read aloud at Independence Hall on July 8, 1776.

The story of Betsy Ross's life is one of triumph through adversity. She was disowned by not just her parents, but the Quaker Church. She lost one husband to an explosion at a munitions depot; her second husband died in a British prison; and she survived her third husband, who was sick for many years. She had seven daughters, two of whom died in infancy. She maintained a business through it all and became one of the most memorable founding mothers of our country.

I encourage you to explore more about this remarkable woman and the part she played in shaping our nation. A great place to start is the Betsey Ross Homepage.