The Coalition of Elite African Americans is a program set to encourage African American women to stay in school and uplift the black community. The CEAA also promotes healthy living, discussions on relationships and mentoring programs for middle school girls, teaching them about teen pregnancy and the keys to success in school.
“What we do is spiritual and professional programs that drive meaningful change for women of color.” CEAA President Ashley Huntley said.
Huntley said the CEAA help women of color by teaching them the basics of finding a career and have discussions on everything from interview attire to how to build a resume.
“We do a lot of discussions,” Huntley said. “There’s one where we show an example of a good resume and a bad resume.”
The CEAA also has a mentoring program with Westlawn Middle School for young girls.
“It’s designed to promote interpersonal and collegiate success for middle school girls,” Lesley Morris, founder of the CEAA, said.
Morris said young women of color should be encouraged to stay in school and continue their education through college because the outside influence of rap music videos are usually a negative effect on black youth.
“We know that our black youth is in disarray,” Morris said. “The way our music is going, teen pregnancy and a high rate of black incarceration, the influence that we, as a community, impose is sometimes negative.”
Ashley McCurdy, vice president of the CEAA and chairman of the mentoring program, said she puts a high priority on education and the positive influence on the black community.
“African-American women are not portrayed in a positive light in the media,” McCurdy said. “As women of color, we have a difficult time, so it is important to be educated as a black woman.”
McCurdy said not only does education serve black women, but the whole African American community in many aspects.
“The biggest problem is the lack of education,” McCurdy said. “The more education you have, the more problems we can knock down. Education can lead to lower HIV/AIDS rates among African Americans and lower rates of black men in prison.”
The CEAA is having some programs lined up for the future, as well as the “Black In America” series.
“We have a partnership with the NAACP,” Huntley said. “We will be having talks about relationships, health and being active.”
Morris and Huntley said education is the base upon which one builds their life, and the CEAA is determined to instill that ideal in the mind of young black woman in order for them to create goals and reach success.
“We always promote that education is the foundation and in our society education is the key to get you where you need to go,” Morris said.
Their next meeting will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Bidgood Hall room 17. The topic will be relationships and the lecture is titled, “My Funny Valentine…He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.” The CEAA have meetings every other Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.