How to become a Black Woman In Europe…my journey by Destiny Gordon

In a new series of articles black women share their stories on Europe. In the 6th article in this series  Destiny Gordon chronicles her destiny to live in Europe.

So, how does one become a black women in Europe?  That is a good question, and one I have been searching to find an answer for.  I know you’re probably saying “thanks for nothing”, but it was only recently that the path leading to my answer came together.  I’m a single, a young lady with no children and like most people I want to live not just exist.

A former college drop out, before Kanye made the term popular.  I recently decided to go back to school and get a degree.  I graduated and now I’m pursuing another degree to establish a career in Public Relations and/or Market Research and in the midst of this I realized that I don’t want to remain in the United States.  Therefore, being the natural researcher that I’am, I decided to start finding out more about the international market and making it known to anyone that would listen that I wanted to live and work in another country.

The first person I expressed my interest to was my Public Relations professor, who was a sweet woman from a small town.  She had been in the business for several years and had even got offered a position in New York paying her six figures!  However, she decided to do the right thing, like caring about being with her family and tucking her kids in at night  (I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing).  Needless to say, she turned the position down and because her husband had a job transfer, she decided to take the position she has now as the Public Relations professor at the university I attend.  She was very insightful on the different positions one could take under the Public Relations umbrella.  One of those areas was “international relations”.  This immediately peaked my interest since I had been learning languages via “duolingo” (don’t judge me) and knew that this was something I wanted to do and take to the next level.  She had given us endless resources and named many of the top agencies in the business.  At the end of the semester as our final project, we had to research three areas within the industry that we had an interest in.  It was her way of us learning whether or not this was something we wanted to continue to study.  Of course one of my three areas was international relations.

While doing my research, I learned that several of the top companies had offices all over the world.  Also, almost all of them had some kind of office or internship program in London, (I will get to why that is later).  Knowing this and discovering that in some international markets, a foreigner (that would be us Americans) is more sought after because we have an outside voice.  We can become an asset, because we can help these companies appeal to the American market.  Well, you know that made the desire to go the international route all the more enticing; and one of the ways I found to get my foot in the door knowing my current situation is INTERNSHIPS.  I’m talking programs out there that get you international work and experience and you don’t have to necessarily be enrolled in school.  Did anybody else know this?  I know I didn’t, but anyway, this is my stop so I got to go.  I’ll have to tell you the rest of my story later when you get back on the bus.

Same place, same time? ….The journey begins.

71732 116005155127287 3434525 n 300x295 How to become a Black Woman In journey by Destiny Gordon


Destiny Gordon is a communications professional/writer, with background experience in the banking industry.  Her written work was featured in an online magazine for the History club at her former college.  Also, her work made an impression on her writing teacher so much, that the teacher told her she was scared to be too critical of Destiny’s work in fear that she would “cause her to change her writing style.”

She obtained her Associates degree in Communications at Delaware County Community College. While a student at Delaware County, she was placed on the Dean’s list.  She is currently attending Temple University as a Strategic Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Business.  She holds a 3.22 GPA and is expected to graduate in the summer of 2015.

She is also a member of PRSSA, the Public Relations Student Society of America and recently signed on to the schools newsletter committee.

Destiny Gordon currently resides in Delaware.





Afrophobia in the EU: A Greens/EFA hearing

5436be67ed Afrophobia in the EU: A Greens/EFA hearing

Afrophobia in the EU


MEPs Jean-Jacob Bicep, Jean Lambert and Philippe Lamberts (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance), in collaboration with the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR), organise a European Hearing on Afrophobia on 20th February 2014 at the European Parliament in Brussels. This event, which will gather MEPs, EU officials, civil society organisations, artists and academics, aims at providing evidence on the existence of a specific form of racism called Afrophobia, targeting specifically Black people in Europe. The main objective of this event is to raise awareness and concerns about how People of African Descent (PAD) and Black Europeans (BE) are specifically affected by racial discrimination and stereotypes and to emphasize the urgency with which this specific form of racism must be recognized and tackled politically in order to really make a change in the lives of the 7 to 12 million PAD/BE residing in the EU.


Welcome and greeting
Mr. Jean Jacob Bicep, Member of the European Parliament

Keynote speech
Ms. Cecile Kashetu Kyenge, Minister for Integration, Italy tbc

First panel – Patterns of racism affecting specifically People of African Descent/Black Europeans

Ms. Philomena Essed, Professor, The Netherlands and USA
Mr. Pascal Blanchard, Historian, France tbc

Exchange with the audience

Second panel – Challenges and coping strategies on the ground: the role of NGOs, arts and media

Ms. Rokhaya Diallo, activist and journalist, Les Indivisibles & ENAR, France
Mr. Jallow Momodou, Pan-African Movement for Justice & ENAR, Sweden
Mr. Quinsy Gario, activist, The Netherlands tbc
Dr. Chokri Ben Chika, Truth Commission – Action Zoo humain, Belgium tbc
NN, Artist tbc

Exchange with the audience

Third panel – How to act politically at local, national and EU level

Mr. Jean-Paul Makengo, Deputy Mayor of Toulouse, France
Mr. Peter Bossman, Mayor of Piran, Slovenia tbc
European Commission official tbc
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights official tbc

Exchange with the audience

Closing speech
Mr. Philippe Lamberts, Member of the European Parliament tbc




The multi-award winning Black Women in Europe™ Blog is looking to hire interns for 3 positions. In addition to an award winning blog, 2 Facebook groups and the Black Women in Europe™ Power List: A Room of Our Own© are part of the Black Women in Europe™ brand started by an American living in Europe. Interns hired for these positions will need strong planning, organizational or writing skills in order to drive the blog content and publication schedule. Exciting opportunity for people with great online experience who are interested in expat life. 3 non-paid positions available for academic credit only.

1. Publication and Community Manager Intern
2. Blogger and Social Media Specialist Intern
3. Design and Search Engine Optimization Intern


Preferred majors are journalism, communications, marketing, design, and IT.


These internships are unpaid but provide the opportunity to portfolio build, expand professional networks, learn new skills while honing old ones, and receive a professional letter of recommendation from an award-winning blogger and business consultant.


1. Publication and Community Manager Intern
Major Responsibilities

Create website publication schedule for minimum 1 post a week with goal
of 3 posts a week

Source guest blog posts

Create integrated social media plan (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) to
distribute posts

Write Black Women in Europe™ monthly newsletter

Manage Black Women in Europe™ Facebook page

2. Blogger and Social Media Specialist Intern

Major Responsibilities

Create blog posts to implement publication schedule

Use social media including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., to implement social media plan

3. Design and Search Engine Optimization Intern

Major Responsibilities

Website redesign

Website and social media optimization

Keyword analysis


Students must be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university and be able to receive academic credit. Must be a member of or sympathetic to the African Diaspora. Priority given to students who can commit to a 2 consecutive semesters internship and/or are studying abroad, especially Europe. Past travel to Europe is an advantage, as is fluency in an additional European language other than English. All work is performed online.

How To Apply


Only students may apply.

Black Women in Europe™: Power Lists – A List of Our Own© are in the top 4% most viewed on SlideShare in 2013.

Slideshare 2013 Black Women in Europe™: Power Lists – A List of Our Own© are in the top 4% most viewed on SlideShare in 2013.

Since debuting in 2010 the Black Women in Europe™: Power List – A List of Our Own© has been popular. 2013 was no exception. Have you read the power list? Nominations for 2014 can be submitted to through 1 September 2014.


View the 2013 list today.

Gloria Dixon-Svärd – An American in Norrland

In a new series of articles, black women living in Europe share their views from the inside. In our sixth article, Gloria Dixon-Svärd traded her dreams of being a diplomat for a life way up north. 

So what made a big city girl like me venture off to a small town way up in the north of Sweden and stay there for 19 years and become a “Norrlänning”? Well I suppose this question can’t be answered in one short story since there are so many factors which play a part. Some have to do with the person I was before coming to Sweden and the rest has to do with experiencing Sweden as a new arrival in the north. I had a lot of the quietness that is the stereotype of most people from the north and I simply fit right in.

hqdefault Gloria Dixon Svärd   An American in Norrland

My first encounter with Sweden was back in 1974 when I came as an exchange student to small town outside of Katrineholm. That doesn’t say much for those who don’t know Sweden but at that time Katrineholm probably had a population of about 20,000 as opposed to Washington DC’s over 700,000. The fact that I had fallen so deeply in love with a Swedish exchange student at my school the year before had a lot to do with it. Still, in my junior year I had expected to study abroad in Paris. I was very focused on becoming a diplomat and working at the US State Department so an international experience was mandatory. The romance with the Swede and contact with Sweden became a big plus in my quest for international knowledge. When I got to Sweden I simply fell in love with the country – its simplicity, the standard of living; the people, one couldn’t help but love the country. It was the closest thing to a “Utopia” which I had read so much about in my history and political science classes during the 70’s. But that’s another story.

BodenSunseta Gloria Dixon Svärd   An American in Norrland

The years came and went. I finished a 2 year visit in Sweden and went back home to become the diplomat I thought was my destiny. It didn’t happen! I continued to vacation in Sweden and on one such vacation I met my future husband who just so happened to be from a small northern town called Boden. I could write an entire article to describe my encounter with Boden and the north. In terms of “area” Boden’s Kommun is a very big town comprised of several small, neighboring towns. Up until the late 90’s Boden was Sweden’s northern most strategic, security point of protection. And yes, my husband like so many other men who lived in Boden worked for the military. So in the spring of 1979 I was living a life I never thought was possible: married and living in northern Sweden. Boden is a beautiful town in the summer. Like Stockholm it is a city on water but without the stress and the masses. I was now in the land of the midnight sun and it was truly an experience to find oneself up at midnight wondering when you would get tired. That comes at the price of November and December when there is approximately 3 hours of daylight! But there was something very exotic about that contrast which enthralled me for about 10 years. Experiencing the northern lights for the first time, Wow! I considered myself enlightened back then but I had never heard of the northern lights until I found myself on a dark, lonely road on my way home one night. Mine was the only car for miles around and the lights suddenly appeared in the sky, dancing as they say in the north in all its magnificence. I was terrified! I was sure that I was experiencing an encounter with the unknown. This is before mobile phones so I was “ALONE” and scared in every sense of the word.

Aurora borealis Gloria Dixon Svärd   An American in Norrland

Northern Lights

In the north you find yourself living in wait of the return of spring and the new life waiting around the corner.  Still, Boden turned out to be my door into the world of international business. As an American I was quite unique for that part of the country so I can truly say that I was a novelty in the right place at the right time. And I was a novelty because I was American, black, female in high heels and skirts, spoke not only Swedish and English but I also possessed at the time a working knowledge of French which was exactly what was needed for the job I secured. I was in charge of all the international contacts with both customers, suppliers and several sister companies around the world. So my studies of diplomacy came in handy after all.

My husband, son, daughter and I moved to Stockholm in 1998 as my son had just started to become a person to reckon with in track and field and the opportunities in the north were not many. We wanted him to have the best possibility to fulfill his dreams and I would come closer to an international scene and maybe work for the Swedish government. The job with the Swedish government didn’t happen, but I work for another international company and my life is here. My husband passed away 5 years ago but my son and daughter and granddaughter are within reach. They mean the world to me which is why I am still in Sweden. Yes I think about moving home but I have lived here longer now than I have lived in the US. I have become European and I don’t know how I would fit in to American society, trying to go back to being the American I once was after the exposure to a life in Sweden! Not just a Swedish experience but a European experience!!

Gloria 300x195 Gloria Dixon Svärd   An American in Norrland

Gloria Dixon-Svärd was born and raised in Washington, DC. She moved to Sweden 34 years ago where she married, had two children and became a grandmother. Instead of becoming the US diplomat she dreamed of she built a career working for International companies in northern Sweden and Stockholm.

In our next article Erica Smith-Escassut found a way to feed her spirit in France.

pixel Gloria Dixon Svärd   An American in Norrland