By Lorraine Spencer (the force of nature who organized this event)

Planes, Trains, Automobiles and my take on things……….

The “A Room Fulla Sistahs” gathering was absolutely fantabulous! As many were in town for the Obama Inauguration activities, it was only logical to have the gathering during this time. We had sisters come in from everywhere to meet WAD and BWIE founder and guest of honor Adrianne George. The setting was intimate and supremely perfect. Almost every person who came was a BWIE or WAD member. A big thanks to Adrianne for starting these wonderful networks that provided a portal for us to meet and share our lives.

Others there were readers of www.blackfemaleinterracialmarriage.com. Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Evia Moore advocates marriage for black women and encourages them to demand reciprocity from their mates. Her message is for black woman to examine their choices and to seek men outside the black community if they cannot find a suitable black mate. Evia’s sincere desire is for black women to choose a quality man regardless of race. Most of the ladies in attendance (not all) are married or dating interracially, but that became a secondary theme because we just celebrated our sisterhood.

Adrianne shared the story of her family and educational background and how it influenced her to go to Europe. She gave a fascinating account of her experiences in Belgium, how she met her fiancé, moved to Sweden and how she came to create the Women of the African Diaspora and Black Women In Europe Networks. Again, without her portal, most of us would not have been able to make this wonderful connection and share our experiences on a personal level. Adrianne got to speak to everyone and made us all feel welcomed and at home. Thanks girlfriend!

Adrianne brought her charming mother Mrs. Luvenia George, Ph.D. who sat back and took it all in. Now we know why Adrianne is so outgoing and ambitious. It must run in her family. It was wonderful meeting Mrs. George and watching her enjoy with some of Adrianne’s old and new friends. I am sure this was nothing new for her, as Adrianne knows people from all over the world, but we loved meeting and having her there. We did learn however, that Mrs. George does not do dogs. lol (explanation later). Glad she is local because a sistah may need a surrogate mom now and then.

We welcomed special guest Angela Shaw of Toulouse, France. Everything about Angela is scholarly. She is an avid reader and can spout off literary works like a child recites the alphabet. This seems natural when you are one of the first black women to graduate from Harvard Law School. Angela started off the evening by telling us the wonderfully romantic story of how she and her husband met; their travels, and their children’s stories. Her story was captivating and inspired some of the single women to hope for a similar destiny. Thanks Angela. We truly felt honored to meet her. Many of us hope that our skin is as radiant and flawless when we mature as gracefully as Angela has. She is a true portrait of class and perfection.

We also welcomed another special guest Yvette Jarvis of Athens, Greece who is a picture of number one confidence. She wowed the ladies with the story of how she got to Greece, how she met her present husband (and ex); her many careers (basketball player, singer, model, actress, talk show host, Athens City Council members; and how she ended up being the special advisor to the Mayor of Athens on Immigration. The ladies listened in amazement as she conveyed her story complete with the all the required dramatics. We were entertained, thrilled and astonished all at the same time. Yvette knows she is a class act! To top it off, she looks just like her pictures — Gorgeous! She better expect some sisters to come to Greece because her story was so inspirational she may just find them right there in Athens. See what you started?

Yvette also invited one of her best friends and colleague from Greece — Vivian Gales. A university professor, a style personified, Vivian was fierce! She also shared some stories from the Hellenic Republic and we found her simply delightful. Vivian is with the University of Indianapolis Athens Campus. http://psychology.uindy.gr/faculty.html

Also present was well-known DC area entertainer and WAD member Charisma Wooten. She is a smart, talented and beautiful woman who has her hands in everything — acting, singing, writing, directing, producing and developing other talent. She even sang with Aretha Franklin at The Kennedy Center’s Martin Luther King Celebration on Jan. 19, 2009. Charisma provided wit and charm throughout the evening and shared with us the details and flyers of her upcoming production of “Femmes de Chanson” at the National Theater in Washington DC on Jan. 26, 2009. I’m sure it will be a dazzling show. As I said, Charisma is in all kinds of productions in metro DC area so I am sure you will see her either performing or producing. When you go up to get your Oscar, Grammy, Tony or Emmy, we’ll all be saying: “I know her!”

Charisma brought her dear friend and performance poet Abena Disroe. Abena, known as the high priestess of poetry, gave a marvelous dedication to her sister and aunt and others stricken with breast cancer. She was great! Read her bio here: http://www.soulsuite.com/Abena.html.

Another Harvard Law School graduate and Harper Collins writer Karyn Folan was also in attendance. It was so nice to see Karyn and hear the story of how she met her husband online (via interracialmatch.com). Many people are apprehensive about meeting their soul mates online but Karyn is proof that it works! The ladies were excited to hear about Karyn’s books and anxiously await the next best seller that she is currently penning. Something tells me that Karyn’s latest novel “Unfinished Business” will be the subject of an upcoming book club meeting. Check out Karyn’s other books: “Street Level”, “A Personal Matter”, and Diary of an Ugly Duckling” www.karynlanghorne.com http://www.harpercollins.com/authors/28333/Karyn_Langhorne/index.aspx.

We had three ladies come over from Pennsylvania. Misheka Wilson came from Pittsburgh (drove all the way — piece of cake for a mechanical engineer). Misheka had a really good time and enjoyed meeting everyone. We also had Marilyn Pendelton and Antoinette Poindexter come by train from Philly. They arrived frozen as they walked to Capital Hill from the DC Spy Museum. That is dedication I tell you. Once she thawed out, Marilyn became the life of the party. She is a statuesque, beautiful woman and dedicated mother. Marilyn was just full of joy and laughter. Did I mention how pretty she was? And let’s not forget Annie. This bronzed beauty belongs on the cover of a fashion magazine. This sister was together and so beautiful. Her make-up was flawless and she had the personality to match! Everyone was so happy to see them. Icicles notwithstanding, they are super-fab women!

Miss Talaya Grimes graced us with her beautiful presence. She has a terrific attitude and takes on the world head on. Hearing her travel stories proved that we can do what we want and go where we please. Inhibition is not in Talaya’s vocabulary. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ bout!

What can I say about that cute Gena Pearson? Other than that she was the most enthusiastic about exploring options overseas? I don’t know. She drove all the way down from Delaware and braved Inauguration traffic — even swinging by to pick up her cousin Nicole Walker from suburban Maryland (thanks dear). Gena could not have thought that she would have so much good advice to offer some of the women considering options for travel and international education. Her message was a resounding: “Just GO!!!” Couldn’t agree more. Gena is not done with the world yet. We could all see that! I am waiting to see what she does next. We’re with you sister wishing you the best and continued enthusiasm.

We had a new bride there by the name of Katrice Jones-Saunders. We know her from the BWIE network as Kay. She was still beaming with a bridal glow. Kay was so reserved and so quiet. We enjoyed her too and Adrianne pointed out that Kay was in France where she worked temporarily when the expat conversations were taking place. Her experienced offered further encouragement to some of the ladies who may just find themselves overseas. Actually, Kay is doing very well here with a great position. We wish her and new hubby all the best for a long lasting and happy marriage.

Sweet Lisa Vango (who I am convinced is distantly related to the famous Van Goghs) came out to meet the group. She has not previously explored interracial relationships, but learned quite a bit from some of the ladies. Lisa is a member of neither WAD nor BWIE but we hope she soon joins after being so inspired by such a wonderful group of ladies. Lisa is a world traveler and I don’t know why she was not already on board, but look out for Lisa. Invite sent!

Our youngest attendee was Georgetown Medical School Student Reversa Mills. Brains and beauty too…… She wants to explore opportunities overseas and had a wonderful time meeting all the ladies. Reversa is a new member on BWIE so please reach out to her and welcome her to the group. She will be graduating this semester. We wish her all the best as she embarks upon a career in medicine. She still has internships and residency requirements but mere formalities. She can do them anywhere and I hope she is offered many wonderful opportunities. I have the honor of seeing Reversa every week because we attend the same church. Lucky me.

Recent law school grad Anilia Arneus sneaked in and I somehow missed her. It was ok though, I caught up with her in the kitchen. Anilia is like the little church mouse shy, pretty and sweet as she observed and quietly met the ladies. It is always nice to see her but we chat often.

How could I forget the MultiMixxer herself in the flesh, Miss Nikki Doughty? I have previously referred to Nikki as a firecracker. That doesn’t do her justice. I admire Nikki for speaking her mind and telling her truth! It is not hard to tell Nikki is from NYC because she wears it on her sleeve. Nikki is going after what she wants in life and explores all opportunities and options. We look forward to hearing from this natural beauty as she takes on London by storm. Be kind to ’em Nikki, be kind! Loves ya girl!

Finally, my good friend Ada Izunwanne the Ibo Princess was able to make an appearance and meet some of the sisters. She really enjoyed it and will hopefully join the networks too. Her son and studies barely give her enough time to breathe, so I was glad to see she made it out.

On to the hostesses…. Thanks so much to Tama Mattocks for hosting such a wonderful gathering. That woman knows what she is doing when it comes to hosting. Some people just have to have the personality and know-how to pull off such things. Tama has it whatever it is. Her lovely condo was the perfect setting for the sisters to enjoy one another and have a great time. Tama is the best and kept a perfect pace of the activities. She provided for the wonderful catering, she had champagne and non alcoholic sparkling drinks. The atmosphere was simply just what the doctor ordered. We could not have paid for a better place. Thank you so much Tama. People will be talking about your place for some time. It is so chic and so stylish and so YOU!

Tama also invited two of her friends and neighbors Susan Leigh and Denise Mitchell. I hope to see them here on the network too. We enjoyed meeting and interacting with them and had a great time.

Natasha Small became an impromptu hostess. I must say that SHE showed up and showed out. This woman got in there and worked as if ARFS was her own personal party. I don’t know if everyone else noticed, but I did and thank her tremendously. She wanted no credit or acknowledgement of the wonderful works and service she provides, so I will mention it here. Natasha is a professional editor and scriptwriter. She specializes in fiction but can and does edit everything. Her website www.writerslikeus.biz details her services but she also edits novels, scripts for TV, film and major motion pictures. Because this was not about her, Natasha made sure that we all were taken care of and had everything we needed. She came early to help stuff the gift bags (explanation later) and to fill in wherever she was needed. (So did Yvette by the way). Again, I thank her.

Dr. Lori Wilson, the other co-hostess saved the day by bringing more beverages. She thrilled the ladies with her Alaskan adventures and stories of the Arctic tundra. Actually, as Lori is commissioned as a Lt. Colonel with the US Public Health Service, her assignment was extreme northern Alaska. Lori’s is another prime example of what we can as black women achieve. Her dental practice, http://thegentletouch.org/ is thriving and Lori is doing well by serving as an inspiration other black women. What Lori didn’t say is that she has met a wonderful man online (thank you Craigslist) and is also getting to know him. You know I will keep you updated on that progress. We wish Lori all the best in her practice, relationship and life. She is so sweet.

Lori brought in her fantastic cousin and friends Kathy Wilson, Tyrell Williams and Mariea Broomfield from Miami. That cold wind must have really chilled their bones. Mariea is a gospel singer. We want to express condolences to Mariea as she recently lost a son in a tragic accident. This was one of the first times Mariea got out and she had a fabulous time. When we get the info about her new CD, we’ll put it up on WAD & BWIE.

Everyone had a wonderful time. I thought gift bags would add a touch of serendipity for the ladies and went about getting sponsors. Due to the tardiness of my requests, I got only three sponsors so the bags were incomplete. But with what we had, I was still able to make it a nice little bag. Both Natasha and Yvette helped me stuff the bags. Thank you, thank you. The bags included a mirror and some other goodies. I told everyone they could definitely keep the mirrors, but I wanted them to pass it on to a victim or survivor of domestic violence. Women in domestic violence situations over the years lose all hope and confidence and at some point are no longer able to look at themselves. So I asked everyone in a non judgmental manner to share the mirror with a victim or survivor they knew. This was/is to encourage her to look in that mirror and gain back her self-worth and confidence. Perhaps she’ll garner the strength she needs to leave. If she is already gone and is a survivor the mirror could serve as continued encouragement; and as a reminder of her inner strength and courage. I also included the song I wrote called DV (found in the Domestic Violence Group discussions) to pass on as well.

Everyone who signed in with their address will receive:

· a copy of Dr. Debra Condren’s book “Ambition Is Not A Dirty Word: A Woman’s Guide to Earning her Worth and Achieving Her Dreams www.AmbitionIsNotADirtyWord.com;

· a book mark from www.divatoolbox.com

· handmade bath salts from Mary’s Handmade Spa Gifts http://mkantonelli.webs.com/apps/webstore/

As soon as they get to me, I’ll get them out so hopefully everyone will have pleasant memories of our ARFS. The special guests and hostesses got a little something extra compliments of Miranda Murrell, Mary Kay representative in Dale City, Virginia and a Karyn Folan as she gave them all a copy of her latest novel “Unfinished Business”. I would like to thank everyone who came out especially on the Metro as it was so cold. This is one of the coldest winters I have experienced here. It really reminds me of my time at the University of Alaska (yes I have my own Arctic Adventure Stories). All I can say is bundle up baby!

Lastly, I must give little Ming a shout out. Ming, Tama’s tiny, little Shih Tzu wanted all the attention and let us know it. She did eventually calm down and welcomed everyone in her little way. She was fine except for Mrs. George and maybe a couple of others. Unfortunately little Ming was drowned out by all the noise of the sisters chatting and enjoying themselves. It was after all, A Room Fulla Sistahs. Thanks to everyone again for coming out. It was fun!

Just a note: The information sheets handed out detailed a request from freelance writer Kitara Wilson. She writing an article on black woman interracial relationships for a major US magazine and is seeking participants for a survey. More info in the IR Group & Forum. Take the survey here. http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/93030/the-dynamics-of-black-women-loving-white-men.

By the way, A new interview is up over at Lorraine’s Corner. http://evolvingslices.typepad.com/lorraines_corner/ Go on over and check it out. Feel free to make a comment on the latest interview and any of the other ones posted. Your feedback is appreciated. Thanks again ladies. All went extremely well.

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