By Journalist Ms. Jones
NEW YORK CITY – Thousands of people attended the Circle of Sisters Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Saturday, September 30. The Circle of Sisters Expo is the biggest expo for females of color in New York City.
There was no shortage of celebrities. The Circle of Sisters Expo featured a performance stage where celebrities performed including Estelle, Tank, Melanie Fiona, Demetria McKinney, and Sevyn Streeter. There were breakout panels and seminars about money, health, beauty, love, and Black America with Vivica A. Fox, Elise Neal, Evelyn Lozada, Rotimi, Remy Ma, Papoose, JJ Hairston, and Rev. Al Sharpton. Even Bobby Brown and DJ Enuff cooked at the Cooking Pavilion!
Many people come to The Circle of Sisters Expo to see the unique vendors. There were over 200 vendors and businesses with booths where expo goers could shop, win prizes, taste food, and learn about services offered.
Wanda Knight won two tickets from MetroPCS during a raffle drawing to go see Janet Jackson in concert at the Barclays Center.
“Last year my friend [Darryl Jefferson] won four tickets for the Gospel Explosion concert and four [admission] tickets for Circle of Sisters. I’m just excited. I can’t believe it,” said Knight.
Organizations in the community spread the word about services and programs that they offer.
“500 Men Making a Difference has been around for seven years. We are a volunteerism organization… We mentor young men fourteen years and older. We also run different STEM… programs throughout the city… We have a Small Business Expo coming up for the community… We’re heavy into civic engagement… This is our first time coming [to the Circle of Sisters Expo]… It’s been wonderful… We have to support our sisters,” said James Frazier, board member of 500 Men Making a Difference.
World Financial Group had a table to inform the community about the free financial literacy workshops that they offer in the Tri-State area.
“We have a series of five workshops. We talk about budgeting, we talk about saving, we talk about reevaluating ways to save money based on what they’re spending money on now and also becoming more confident when it comes to money. Not only that, but defining assets versus liabilities, debt management, increasing cash flow, retirement planning, all different types of life insurance protection… Medicare supplements, long-term care, estate planning when it comes to passing down wealth to the next generation,” said Aaron Pagan, Marketing Director at World Financial Group.
The Omegas promoted their Black College Tour at the Circle of Sisters Expo.
“We take about 40 to 50 high school-age students on the tour of HBCUs between Alabama and work our way up to DC… It’s not just a tour. We have enrichment workshops… The students are from the Tri-State Area. We also take some from Pennsylvania as well. It’s a week-long tour…. They go during the President’s Week Break in February,” said Mike Gilbert, chairman of the Black College Tour. The Deltas and the Zetas also attend the tour to assist.
Vendors came all the way from the Hudson Valley to exhibit.
“We are trying to promote Mentoring in Medicine. We are trying to get underrepresented populations… from middle school all the way to college and after college into medical careers. So, we place them with doctors, nurses, PAs so they can see the life of those people and see if that’s what they want to do for their careers. They are shadowing them and we as college students, we are helping to mentor those students that are in elementary school and middle school as well… as we are having doctors be our mentors,” said De’Andre Eccles of Newburgh who is a Pre-Medical Biology Major Student at City College of New York .
People also came from the Hudson Valley just to visit the Circle of Sisters Expo, participate in the events, and support the vendors.
“We’re just trying to see what our sisters are doing, see… what the vendors have, to see how our culture is flourishing… We are here to support our own… There is so much to see… Things that you wouldn’t think anyone would have, they have it here,” said Jestina O’Bryant who came with her friend Shirley Matthews. Both are from Monroe. O’Bryant looked forward to going to the MetroPCS Gospel Explosion as she is an aspiring artist.
If you hadn’t bought your ticket ahead of time online for the Gospel Explosion, you were out of luck because they were sold out! The Gospel Explosion included Jekalyn Carr, Kierra Sheard, Tina Campbell, Ricky Dillard and New G, and Erica Campbell who headlined the concert. Donnie McClurkin was a surprise guest. The concert was co-hosted by WLIB/WBLS’ Liz Black and WLIB’s Niecy Tribbett, Tye Tribbett’s mother, who carried around her “goodie bag” and gave out prizes to those who brought their bibles and church programs to the concert.