R&B singer Mary J. Blige gave back to her hometown of Yonkers, New York earlier this week, when she opened her new facility, the Mary J. Blige Center for Women.
Blige and Hip-Hop mogul Steve Stoute founded the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now (FFAWN) in 2008, as a way to encourage women by supporting educational programs, career development, self-esteem and personal growth.
Blige and Stoute are initially concentrating the foundation’s focus on Yonkers and the surrounding communities of West Chester, although plans are underway to service the entire country.
Blige announced the center’s opening during an emotionally charged press conference, that brought the R&B singer to tears.
“When I was 5-years-old there was a lot that happened to me that I carried all my life,” a tear eyed Blige said. “When I was growing up after that I saw so many women almost beaten to their death by men. I heard them screaming next door in my apartment building where I lived. I would walk outside and I would see them being slapped so hard, it looked like their head was gonna come off….and it wasn’t just in poverty that I seen this abuse, it was everywhere.”
In the United States, a woman is abused by her partner every 9 seconds, while four women actually killed by their partner every 24-hours.
Blige hopes the foundation, which is located in Southwest Yonkers, will provide a positive outlet for women in distress and encourage self development through a network of support and resources.
“It starts here. I can’t start in Africa because we need help here. Then I will stay in New York, maybe do something in Brooklyn, maybe Philly,” Blige continued. “But then we will start going to Canada, Paris. Women are suffering in Paris really bad. Women are suffering in Italy and Australia…Women are suffering all over the world. It would be so unfair to me have come from here and seen every thing that I seen in Yonkers to not open it here.”
For more information visit: http://www.ffawn.org.