Lieutenant General Gwendolyn (Gwen) Bingham: The Barrier Breaker

By Destine Wilson

From breaking barriers in high school by becoming the first Black homecoming queen to becoming the only second African American woman to serve as a three-star General in the army, Lieutenant General Gwen Bingham is not yet done breaking barriers, PERIOD.

While on her journey to breaking these barriers, she was faced with a couple of obstacles of her own, especially the barriers that come with being a womanespecially a Black woman.

So, it’s no surprise that Bingham is no stranger to racism and discriminatory practices, as she has encountered injustices for the majority of her life. In her teenage years, she was subjected to a race riot. In college, she was belittled by her college professor, who responded to her request for study advice with ‘Well, it’s a known fact that people like you don’t do well in education,’ causing her to return to her room in tears.

Despite the racial discrimination that she has faced throughout the years, she still decided to serve four years in a career that presents mental, physical, and emotional challengesthe Army.

As they say, “can’t stop, won’t stop,” Bingham decided to continue to stay in the Army because of her love of vocation, and she began to climb the ranks. Even with discriminatory remarks made by those UNDER her, she says, “I keep moving forward. I surround myself with positive-thinking people, and that’s who I am. And from that, I think I’ve been able to clear a path for women in general in the military, and certainly women of color.”

In her pursuit of remaining true to the goal of “clearing a path” for women, especially women of color, she has become a co-chair with the Racial Equity and Inclusion Initiative. She is a part of the initiative’s DEPLOY (Diversify and Expand the Pipeline Of Leaders for Your military Community) Fellowship program. This program trains “military spouses of color to become the voices of color to promote and position themselves” to become the voices that support military communities.

Ultimately, Bingham works on applied research and social impact to better the lives of military families through policy.

“I would love to be on the Hill making a change on the policy side. I want to change the way military families are treated, not only from the medical standpoint, but spouse employment-wise, from the educational component, mental health, there are so many things.”

Due to her considerable efforts to increase inclusivity for military families by training, mentoring, and promoting women, her story will be included in the “Color of Freedom” display, which celebrates diversity and women like her in the country as she should be!

In an age where some women live to tear down other women, we should look at women like Bingham, who are making strides to support and include other women and see how we can become more like her.

Wednesday Enlighten Restaurant To Visit Special State Fair Edition.

This week for Enlighten Tours, we have a special edition for you. This episode is of our visit to the Dallas State Fair. We stopped by Southern Fried Chicken with Chef Greg Parish and ordered some delicious fried foods of his menu. This was a treat for us and had fun tasting the different fried foods. Watch the full episode below and be sure to stop by the fair to get some food from Southern Fried Chicken.

What’s Next For HBCUs Since Their Expected Funding Is Being Cut?

As you heard the news last week, the Biden Administration has cut HBCU funding in the infrastructure bill. This news has frustrated a lot of HBCU Alums and Presidents. But the question moving forward is what is the next step?

The initial funding that HBCUs were set up to receive was $45 billion. This money was set up to be allocated for HBCUs within the $3.5 trillion infrastructure deal that congress is trying to pass. This was a big campaign go to when Biden talked to Black voters. But as usual, with the Democratic Party working to have this deal be bi-partisan, it has resulted in a decrease of funding for all HBCU Schools.

The colleges will receive the new total amount of $2 billion, which is not as significant as the promised $45 billion. Current HBCU Presidents are disappointed and have discussed the importance of losing that extra funding and its impact on the institutions they preside over.

Not only has the funding been cut, but the talks have changed to having the funds being allocated as a grant, which opens the door for some schools not getting as much funding and removing total control from Presidents getting the funds directly. It has become a significant issue that is not consistent with conversations the HBCU Presidents had in the past with the Biden administration.

So what’s next now is the big question? Since the administration has received so much negativity with this news last week, they may try to go back and add more funding to calm things down. But if that doesn’t happen, the Presidents will have to operate on whatever amount is given to them.

These presidents were depending on the $45 billion that was proposed and had some incredible ideas and plans to use with the funding. However, the reality of the situation is those plans will have to be deferred again.

Wednesday Enlighten Restaurant To Visit: Krab Kingz

We are back with a new episode of Enlighten Tours. This episode we had the pleasure to stop by Krab Kingz in Desoto, TX. We got a chance to taste their delicious Snow Crab Shrimp platter. There are many different options that you can order with different flavors for your seasoning. They have enough to feed your family or individual orders for one person. Either way you can’t go wrong and won’t be disappointed. Watch the full episode below and be sure to stop by Krab Kingz to support.