This Sisters with Superpowers story is sponsored by Chevy.
Crystal Edwards wants to help single mothers. Through her nonprofit organization Empowering Single Moms, Inc., Edwards is teaching mothers around Philadelphia how to become self-sufficient despite their circumstances.
In addition to running the organization, Edwards is also a researcher, author, motivational speaker and education activist.
What do you consider your superpowers to be as a Black woman?
Transparency, grace, mercy, service to humanity, discernment and forgiveness.
What key skills or qualities make you unique as a Black female leader?
My key skills are my commitment to single moms and social justice, courage to go into uncharted territory and being non-judgmental when dealing with people’s lives.
What are your three career highlights?
First would be the purchase of The Empowering Single Moms House in Wilmington, Delaware. Second, becoming the number one school within the school district of Philadelphia. Third, being honored by Kelly Clarkson on her show as the “Rad Human of the Week” for my work with single mothers.
What is your greatest or proudest achievement as a successful woman in business?
My greatest achievement is when a single mother in my program successfully removes herself from all public assistance by either earning her college degree or finding a successful career that elevates her into self-sufficiency.
If you could thank any Black woman for her contribution to history and society, who would it be and why?
Without question, it is Fannie Lou Hamer. The sheer notion [that] this Black woman, born into the Jim Crow Era in the Mississippi Delta, a victim of unspeakable human atrocities, including forced sterilization, led in key aspects of the civil rights fights, is remarkable. Without means, she conquered a system not only for herself but for a legion of other Black people. She did not concern herself with “I,” she concerned herself with “us.” My work with the intricacies of single mothers is lifted on the shoulders of superwoman, Fannie Lou Hamer.
Why is it important for women of color to work in leadership roles and decision-making capacities?
It is dire that Black women work in leadership and decision-making capacities. America was built in the wombs of Black women at a time when we were property. In America’s subconscious, there are still areas in which we are still fighting for our place. Whether it is the right to wear our hair naturally, to have our say, demand equal pay, we are still proving we are more than capable, which is disgusting. Even though we are consistently the most educated group in America, we are still second-guessed and riddled with microaggressions, keeping us out of leadership seats. Folks want to constantly pick our brains, but won’t let us pick their pockets for payment of our intellectual property.
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Believe in yourself. You cannot have thoughts that become weapons that form against you so that you do not prosper.