Updated: Jul 22, 2022
Leaders make the world go ‘round. Behind every incredible venture you have come to know and love, a leader sits at the helm, orchestrating greatness. Whether in the limelight, or behind the scenes, moving and shaking, a worthy leader instructs, innovates, and inspires.
This week, I was granted the high honor of parleying with the kind-hearted leader, Jóncquil Hope—the architect of her nonprofit, Hope Community Services. Ms. Hope’s nonprofit partnered with the Youngstown Creative Collective to host the eye-opening and life-changing second annual Weeklong Juneteenth Celebration. This year, the theme is “Sankofa.”
According to the Youngstown Creative Collective's website, Sankofa means, “to retrieve and return to.” They go on to explain the relevancy of Ghana’s Akan tribe’s symbol as the motif within their event; they state that, during the event, the focus will be on, “Returning to our culture, our ancestors, and ourselves. The steps we take forward will most definitely impact those who will come after us. So, during this weeklong celebration, we move with mindfulness and knowledge that the legacies that have come before us have set us up for the legacies we’ll leave behind.” What a week to remember, indeed.
The Elloparley with Ms. Hope took place on the occasion’s “Wellness Wednesday” event moments before the venue filled in steadily with women and men ready to listen intently to a guest panel of four esteemed speakers on the history of wellness in the African-American community. I asked Joncquil:
Who does the world see you as & what do you do as you?
“It would be nice that people view me as a person that's kind—that is dedicated to facilitating some sort of change in the world. I feel like I can't really control other people’s view of me. So, I just try to be my best self and put out energies into the world that I would like to receive back.
I'm a licensed counselor and I do things with a whole separate business—and then I have my nonprofit, which is my way of giving back. And I do a multitude of things. I've done programs to combat infant mortality. I've done programs to [help with] nutrition and wellness—and so, now, it's kind of like a combination of me being a counselor and the nonprofit. We are focusing on Juneteenth, but I wanted to really focus on wellness ‘cause especially in the black community, it’s kind of like, 'Ooh, it's taboo.’ And I think it should be talked about.”