AARP Ambassador Regina Belle visited Philadelphia recently to honor African American women entrepreneurs and community activists. Celebrating the life of one of America’s most unsung icons and advocate for economic equality, Madam CJ Walker, Belle proudly participated in the 32nd Annual Madame CJ Walker Awards Luncheon & Economic Empowerment Seminar sponsored by AARP PA.
“I’m so honored that AARP considered me to be a part of this auspicious event,” said Belle. The gregarious Grammy Award winning vocalist and advocate performed before a crowd of hundreds of women, small business owners and guests, responding to a standing ovation with, “Don’t let these gray hairs fool ya, I’ve still got it going on!”
Belle took the time to take selfies with attendees at the AARP Pennsylvania booth and sign copies of the Disrupt Aging book. The Rutgers University alumna shattered the “too old” stereotype by earning her bachelor’s degree decades after leaving the institution to pursue her professional singing career. Completing the midlife mission while disrupting aging, Belle enjoys being “an example for other people.”
The National Coalition of 100 Black Women presented awards to distinguished women that have driven meaningful change throughout the region. Promoting leadership development and gender equity in health, education, and economic development, the collaboration between the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and AARP Pennsylvania has proven to be a strategic alliance of significance.
“Our partnership with The National Coalition of 100 Black Women demonstrates our commitment to equity and socioeconomic advancement of older Pennsylvanians, particularly women of color,” said Angela Foreshaw-Rouse, AARP PA Manager of Operations and Outreach.
Acknowledging the luncheon’s 50+ honorees as “fine examples of how we collectively Disrupt Aging,” Foreshaw-Rouse highlighted the importance of financial empowerment with some of Pennsylvania’s most influential stakeholders.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, former Governor Ed Rendell, Congressman Dwight Evans, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and several Philadelphia City Council representatives attended the event.
According to the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, entrepreneurs over the age of 50 (encore entrepreneurs) are one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs in the United States. People 50+ account for more than $7.1 trillion in annual economic activity in the country. The Baby Boomer generation spends $4.6 trillion annually on goods and services.
“As millions from the Generation X community join the 50-plus
community, we appreciate opportunities to engage with amazing organizations like the National Coalition of 100 Black Women that serve so many wonderful women of this growing population,” said Foreshaw-Rouse.
AARP and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women are set to explore advocacy education initiatives that impact the African American community, especially women, later this year.