Rochelle Humes’ pop star life

Photo from Reveal.co.uk

Rochelle Humes’ successful singing career, television career, marriage and motherhood sounds exhausting, but she makes it all look easy, and she looks good doing it. She and her former pop star turned DJ and radio host husband are a fantastic looking couple with a great TV presence. I caught them on “This Morning”, this morning and was pleasantly surprised.

And they are in demand for live appearances as they recently presented an award at the British Soap Awards and the BAFTAs. Catch Rochelle with The Saturdays.

Lessons learned: From my mother and while living in Sweden

In the 9th article in our Inside View series Faith set out to travel the world while making a difference in people’s lives. While in Sweden she got a phone call that changed her life forever.

At about 10:00pm on August 28, 2007, I arrived at Stockholm Arlanda airport. I remember the day so vividly because it was the eve of my 24th birthday. I had just left Phuket, Thailand after spending about two weeks there, most of which were spent with me suffering and recovering from food poisoning.

About three months prior I had just received my Master’s degree in Educational Administration and Policy at Howard University in Washington, DC. Instead of joining the work force like most of my peers, I decided instead to travel with a global education program called Up with People. The program is an opportunity for participants to travel for 6 months with others from around the world to volunteer and perform a show of cultural peace.

I can remember a couple of days after I arrived in the very multi-cultural Sodertalje, Sweden, I emailed my mother to tell her that one day I hoped to move to Sweden. To me, Stockholm, especially reminded me of Chicago. Perhaps the Swedish immigrants in Chicago felt similarly. My mother’s reply was that she and I could move there together for a couple of months. It was a great suggestion; one that I hoped would come true. After all, she was my best friend.

It was only about 20 days later, while in Vimmerby, Sweden that I got a very disturbing email. My father emailed me to say that I should come home right away. He told me that my mother was sick. I knew immediately that my mother was dead. She was gone and I was all the way in Sweden.

My journey back to Chicago from Sweden was long and physically taxing. After planning my mother’s service and taking care of her estate, I decided to rejoin my cast for the last 6 weeks of our tour in the US.

After my tour finished, I traveled to other countries visiting my castmates from Up With People and eventually settled into a career as a teacher in Chicago. It wasn’t long before I landed a job as the Dean of Students at my alma mater; an all-girl high school on the south side of Chicago. My passion to empower girls and young women became even more evident.

Even as a school administrator in Chicago, I decided to connect with the large Swedish population in my hometown. I joined the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, and became a volunteer at the Swedish American Museum. Since I knew that I had hoped to one day hoped to live in Sweden, I applied for a scholarship with the American Swedish Institute to research bullying in multi-cultural schools in Sodertalje, Sweden.

So, in August of 2011 I moved to Sweden for one year to perform research in schools in Sodertalje about bullying among 6th grade girls. Additionally, I spent the year working on my recently published book: Ten Lessons My Mother Taught Me Before She Died, which is dedicated to “girls” without mothers.

Initially, it took me a while to adjust to the idea that I was taking more than just a vacation to Sweden, but actually living there. It was quite an adjustment for me, but living in a Swedish host family helped make the transition a lot less stressful. Admittedly, I was not used to living a “green life”, but even now, I am a lot less wasteful than I was before I moved to Sweden. I am must move environmentally friendly. I grew to appreciate the Swedes appreciation for the environment.

In Chicago I wasn’t used to taking public transportation everywhere, so in Sweden I would get lost at least twice week: especially if I was going to Stockholm. My Swedish friends still joke with me about how horrible my sense of direction can be.

There were adjustments that did not frustrate me as much, like being able to take a “fika” or coffee break in the middle of meetings and even church service. The dress code at school was much more relaxed than in the USA which helped with my level of stress and anxiety. I did not feel as constrained. Actually as a Lupus patient, I was happy that I spent much of the year there without experiencing many symptoms of the disease. I was able to better under the health care system in Sweden as a patient who received amazing care from doctors who communicated about my status regularly. As an American I wish that we could adopt a similar method of healthcare.

I hated to leave Sweden, but was so happy that I had the opportunity to return to a country that means so much to me. Organizations like the American Women’s Club of Stockholm provided me with friends that I still keep in contact with today. Perhaps one day I will return Sweden to live permanently, but for now I remain connected here in Chicago to the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce and the Swedish American Museum. Most of all, I try to practice speaking and writing Swedish as much as possible. Jag hoppas att jag ska aldrig glomma Svenska.

Ms. Faith Elle

Ms. Faith Elle is a life coach, providing life coaching services to girls and women. Her company Faith Elle Enterprises also conducts workshops for youth and staff development in schools. Faith is currently an adjunct faculty member at Harry S Truman College, where she teaches College Success, an interdisciplinary class which prepares students to matriculate through the collegiate pipeline. She is a noted speaker, author and global citizen: to date she has traveled to 25 countries on five continents. Faith is a girls advocate and expert. The product of an all-girl school and a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of the USA.

In 2010, Faith was diagnosed with, Lupus, a chronic auto-immune disease which can affect the entire body. In order to raise awareness, Faith has committed to donating ten percent of all this book’s proceeds to Lupus research. Her book: Ten Lessons My Mother Taught Me before She Died is dedicated to “girls” without mothers worldwide.

Editor’s note: Faith’s fee for writing this article was donated to an organization dedicated to Lupus research, in her name.

Report from the European Network Against Racism’s Hearing on Aphrophobia

A hearing on Afrophobia took place on 20th February, in the European Parliament, Brussels. This event which gathered around 200 persons physically and hundreds virtually through the web streaming, was a fundamental step towards the recognition of Afrophobia as a specific form of racism that affects People of African Descent and Black Europeans (PAD/BE) in Europe. As it was raised during the debates, this recognition is a question of democracy and human rights and must lead to the implementation of progressive policies and initiatives to improve the situation of PAD/BE in Europe. The fact that several hundred people mobilized around this event shows the strong determination and the wide popular support to act against Afrophobia in Europe. The new European Parliament and European Commission will have to tackle this problem head on!

We are now happy to share with you the report of this event that gave evidence that a lot of challenges are still to overcome, but that many people, academics, politicians, activists, citizens, are strongly committed to fight for the rights of PAD/BE.

This hearing is only one example of successful initiatives that are being organized to advocatepolitically in favor of a more diverse and equal Europe. There is still a long way to go to reach a racism-free Europe and the next key-date will be the European Parliament elections in the coming weeks. This is an impossible-to-miss occasion for civil society to put forward its recommendations and demands, as it is being done by European black advocacy groups through their catalogue of demands on People of African Descent and Black Europeans, or by ENAR through its 7 equality demands that candidates can endorse. We strongly advise you to use these tools available to ask your candidates to commit to them and be in touch with us would you require any support.

Indeed, these elections are taking place in a particular climate of increasing xenophobic speeches and violence and there is a real risk that more candidates who are holding discourses and proposing policies profoundly harmful for equality and progress, will be elected. To illustrate that and put pressure on parties, the ENAR-ILGA monitoring campaign of hateful speeches of EU candidates published its first report. You can be involved by making sure you report any incidence of hate speech by candidates here:http://enar-eu.org/Campaign-with-NoHateEP2014.

This is now our responsibility to mobilize to be able to continue giving voice to equality and diversity!

NollywoodWeek Paris is back for it’s second edition showcasing the best of Nollywood in France.

The second edition takes place from Thursday June 5th to Sunday June 8th 2014 in Paris at l’Arlequin Theatre, between the Latin Quarter and Montparnarsse.

The official selection for 2014 (in alphabetical order):

  1. Confusion Na Wa directed by Kenneth Gyang
  2. Flower Girl directed by Michelle Bello
  3. Half of a Yellow Sun directed by Biyi Bandele
  4. Journey to Self directed by Tope Oshin Ogun
  5. The Meeting directed by Mildred Okwo
  6. Misfit directed by Daniel Emeke Oriahi

All films, including Opening and Closing Night, are 7 euros. You can purchase individual tickets on FNAC (a few weeks prior to the event) or directly at the theatre the day of the screening.

Passes are also available for 39 euros. Discounts apply if purchasing the pass early or in pack of two (Pass Duo). Purchase your pass.

UGC and Ecrans de Paris cards are accepted.