Black Excellence: Shaunelle Curry

unsung heroes
Shaunelle Curry — 2016 Unsung Heroes Award by the California Community Foundation | Photo Cred: Noe Montes’

 

Black Excellence is a progressive movement that honors and highlights the successes and achievements of our brothas and sistahs. Black Excellence is meant to empower our community by showing authentic representations and role-models of Black women and men, portraying our full humanity; all the while dismantling the racist and limiting stereotypes being perpetuated by the media and White Supremacists. Black Excellence is OUR platform, is OUR space to be able to show OUR faces and share OUR stories from OUR perspectives: we ARE human beings making grandiose contributions to society — being excellent is just within our nature! And for Black SOULution´s very first Black Excellence feature, we want to honor and give thanks to the one and only Super Woman of our time: Shaunelle Curry.

Shaunelle Curry is the embodiment of Black Excellence, for she is an unapologetic African-American leader and a powerful woman of many gifts. She is an author, Masters level instructor, an advocate for women and youth, and she is the Founder and President of the advancing non-profit organization, Media Done Responsibly. Shaunelle received her Bachelor´s degree in Speech Communication and her Master of Arts in Education at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. She uses her degree, over 25 years in child development and education service, over 20 years of leadership experience in community development and social and arts programming, combined with her fiery, infinite and nurturing care and love to make progressive and positive change within the city of Los Angeles and continuously expanding across the states.

Shaunelle Curry published her first book in 2003 entitled Shairi´s Journey Through Darkness Into Light, which is a toolkit for women´s self-development that she uses in her Victim to Victor workshops. Further, this book has been transformed into a two-woman multi-media stage play narrating a woman´s growth from being a victim of sexual and domestic assault to being a self-empowered and loved human being, in which Shaunelle is currently on college tour with this show entitled, Shattered Glass.

Shaunelle´s vigorous motivation carried on in developing her non-profit organization, Media Done Responsibly, in 2006. MDR was formerly known as Mother’s Day Radio and began as a movement that addressed the degrading and sexual objectification of women on urban radio, calling for a day of rest by replacing it with music that uplifts women and honors their greatness. Shaunelle developed the Mother´s Day Radio advocacy campaign in order to provide women and youth tools to counteract the aggression of misogyny centered media images of women of color. With her campaign, Shaunelle helped create and modify outreach curriculum, provided mentorship support and facilitated academic tutoring for youth. She worked with economically deprived youth who often were physically and/or sexually abused and were at high risk for entering into the juvenile system; also working with detained youth in the prison camps. MDR mobilized into forming a multi-city alliance with students of Culture & Language Academy of Success Middle and High School in Inglewood, CA; teenagers with the teen Outreach Program in St. Louis Missouri; and teenagers with Girl World in Chicago, Illinois that all helped petition for local radio stations to commit a whole 24 hours of encouraging music. As a result, for Mother´s Day weekend, on May 12, 2007, this movement launched with the participation of KJLH 102.3 FM and V100 FM in L.A., CA, and WERG 90.5 FM in Erie, Pennsylvania.

The Mother’s Day Radio advocacy movement expanded into what is now known as Media Done Responsibly, a mentor and leadership development, non-profit organization. MDR trains middle school to college students to be conscious consumers, developers and advocates of media that reflects their full humanity. Expanding from just 2 partner high school sites to 23 middle and high school partner sites, MDR has trained over 5,000 youth in Los Angeles within the realm of critical media literacy and has trained over 200 college students to be media leadership mentors. These college students help youth dismantle the challenges of varying social issues that are otherwise normalized in today’s media, i.e. bullying, racial profiling and discrimination, premature and dangerous sexual behaviors, and violence. MDR has resulted in a 100% reduction in cyber bulling, and 100% increase in media literacy awareness for participants. Further, due to the development of MDR, Shaunelle has provided internships that have led to job opportunities for leading participants.

Shaunelle’s greatness has been commended by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for “developing young advocates for a better, more peaceful world.” She has received an Impact Award from the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable for being an example of “unswerving dedication to building community self-sustainability.” And she has been recognized as a 2016 Unsung Hero of Los Angeles County by the California Community Foundation.

Shaunelle Curry continues to pave the way towards progression and empowerment for her self but especially everyone she comes into contact with. She is a powerhouse, a force to be reckoned with, and she carries with her the light and joy of the world. Her charismatic personality and warmth radiates outwards, inviting everyone to bask in the joy and love she offers — it would be impossible to not want to laugh and smile when in her presence! Shaunelle carries with her an endless amount of energy and a genuine concern to care for those in need and for those she loves. Shaunelle Curry is the true embodiment of Black Excellence.

 

 

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