The Black Female Development Circle is a 501(c)3 organization that was established in 1994 to serve as a support system for black women. The organization's mission is"To Educate, Explore, Enhance, and Celebrate Womanhood" and has chapters at UCF, FSU, TSU, and FIU. Read more...

Over the weekend we learned the very sad news of the passing of Karyn Washington, founder of “For Brown Girls” and the “Dark Skin, Red Lips” project. At the tender age of 22, she decided to take her own life as a result of her battle with Depression. Sadly, while she was a beacon of hope and motivation for others, she did not have that same support for herself. Trust me, when dealing with depression, it’s really important to have people around you who have enough sense not to shrug off your feelings with a simple “pray about it” or “you’ll be fine”.

Depression and other forms of mental illness are uncontrollable diseases, so while it’s great to encourage prayer, why wouldn’t you also encourage someone to seek professional help? A person suffering from depression is less in control of their illness than a person with hypertension, but we don’t judge and shun persons with hypertension. We must continue to encourage and support those around us who suffer from this painful disease.

Do you tell a Diabetic to pray about it, or do you encourage them to eat the right foods and take their medicine?

Do you tell a person with Asthma that they’ll be fine, or do you pass them their inhaler when they have an asthma attack?

What is Depression? (1) :  a state of feeling sad :  dejection (2) :  a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.

Myths about Depression:

Myth 1. A depressed person has low self esteem. Fact: Depression is not simply suffering from low self esteem. One of the things that makes it so powerful is that it actually has nothing to do with your perception of yourself. Triggers or outside influences are what cause depressive episodes. Which means happy, well adjusted people with depression, anxiety, or other forms of mental illness can experience severe sadness seemingly for no reason at all or can react with extreme emotional distress to a seemingly small occurrence.

Myth 2. All depressive episodes are the same. Fact: Depression, like other illnesses have different symptoms and different treatments. People who suffer from severe depression have very distinct periods of sadness that can be so overwhelming that the only thing that will help them is medication. Those who suffer from milder forms of depression have varying degrees of sadness and symptoms and often do not require/qualify for medication.

CLICK HERE for more myths and facts about Depression. Signs/Symptoms of Depression are listed below. If you or someone you know are exhibiting one or more of these symptoms, then please consider/recommend a consultation with a licensed clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. One appointment could save a life.

Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.


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by Ionia Knott on April 7, 2014

Sisterhood. That is the best way I can describe the connection amongst us in BFDC. I first realized how strong our sisterhood is truly got to experience this while preparing for the Miss Woman of Excellence pageant. I was worried about getting all my requirements done in time but the members of my chapter showed me full support and helped me along the way.

During the pageant, I wasn’t sure what to expect because I had never met the other contestants before, but I was happy to find that they were warm, friendly, and above all encouraging of one another proving that the bond of BFDC is stronger than any competition. Even afterwards, it was sweet to see different chapters of BFDC work together to assist with clean up without even being asked. I’m just so happy that I can be a part of a sisterhood that continues to grow stronger.

Share your “sisterhood” moments in the comments below!


“Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness.”~ Sacha Guitry

Someone said “It happens every day, opportunities are lost, progress is forgone, ridiculousness is endorsed and evil is sown.”

And it happens all because people are afraid of what others will think of them. They play it safe, and they never accomplish extraordinary things, all because they’re afraid of looking foolish.

The fact of the matter is some people just don’t have what it takes to look “foolish” to aspire to greatness.

BFDC was a thought, that turned into a dream and then a reality. Our incorporators and director took a leap of faith to look “foolish” to the naysayers to expanded BFDC from being only a college club to what we are today, a national organization.

The following are inspirational quotes about risking foolishness for greatness:

“I learned pretty soon that it was essential to fail and be foolish.” –Daniel Day-Lewis, only three-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor

“The greatest fools are ofttimes more clever than the men who laugh at them.” –George R.R. Martin, novelist and creator of Game of Thrones

“I think it’s my job to risk looking foolish. One of the things I’ve learned from the actors I’ve worked with is you don’t get something for nothing. If you don’t risk looking foolish, you’ll never do anything special.” –Ethan Hawke, actor and writer

“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.” –Hermann Hesse, German novelist, poet, and painter

“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.” –Sidonie Gabrielle Colette, French novelist

 ”Until you’re ready to look foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great.” –Cher

Today is the day to experience and accomplish extraordinary things. April Fool Day will inspire you to laugh at yourself, be a little silly, take life in your strides and acquire that happy go lucky attitude that let’s all worries just roll off like the water of a duck’s back…

Someone once said- ““It is the ability to take a joke, not make one, that proves you have a sense of humor.”  ~Max Eastman

This is so true, we all can laugh at ourselves and it is the sign of true maturity and sense of humor that one can take a joke and laugh at herself. So enjoy and laugh and joke with your friends and loved ones and spread the joy :)



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Farewell… And Welcome!

by Sandra Miles on March 24, 2014

This past weekend, the Black Female Development Circle, Inc. had the opportunity to show appreciation for our outgoing National Miss Woman of Excellence, Miss Brynn Freeland. We truly appreciate all that she contributed to our board and feel proud to have had her as a representative. brynn4

The National Miss Woman of Excellence Scholarship pageant is one of the most unique pageants a woman can participate in. The traditional “talent” segment has been replaced with an oratorical category. In addition, beyond just being judged on stage, the contestants are also scored on their interview skills, critical thinking skills (via a required essay), and societal contribution (via campus/community involvement verification).

Each category is weighted only 10- 20%, so there is no possibility that a person can simply do well in one section and “win it all”, however, if they perform very poorly in a particular section, it could cost them the title. The purpose of the categories and weighting structure is to award the title to the most well-rounded contestant.

At the conclusion of this weekend’s pageant, we were delighted to honor our newest titleholder, Miss Ionia Knott, National Miss Woman of Excellence 2014! We look forward to getting the opportunity to work with her and we are confident that she will be an excellent ambassador for our organization and our philanthropies.



Always Wear Your Crown

by Maya Francis on March 17, 2014

With the Miss Woman of Excellence Pageant quickly approaching within the coming week , it is important for me to remind my fellow sisters of the Queens Legacy that we as black females must embody on a daily bases. Following is a poem by an unknown author that speaks heavily on the Queens that you all are and that you are destined be !

A Queen

A Queen is proud of herself. She respects herself and others.

She is aware of who she is. She neither seeks definition from

the person she is with, or does she expect them to

read her mind. She is quite capable of

articulating her needs.

A Queen is hopeful. She is strong enough to make all her

dreams come true….. She knows love, therefore she

gives love. She recognizes that her love has

great value and must be reciprocated.

If her love is taken for granted,

it soon disappears.

A Queen has a dash of inspiration, a dabble of endurance.

She knows that she will, at times, have to inspire others

to reach the potential God gave them. A Queen knows

her past, understands her present and

moves toward the future.

A Queen knows the Creative Energy. She knows that with

this the world is her playground, but without she will just

be played. A Queen does not live in fear of the future

because of her past. Instead, she understands that

her life experiences are merely lessons, meant

to bring her closer to self knowledge

and unconditional self love.

With BFDC Love, Maya Francis



by Johnesha Hinson on March 10, 2014

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.”

Serenity is the state of calmness or peacefulness. This is one of my favorite words because I feel that everyone should always strive to be in a state of peacefulness with no negative disturbances or conflict. This can be applied to family, relationship, friendship, and work conflicts that you may be dealing with at this time. Personally, saying this prayer to myself in certain situations has helped me to handle the conflicts in a more mature and appropriate way. I have had to work through coworkers spreading lies about me, disagreements with my parents, having to end friendships, and more. By repeating the serenity prayer in difficult situations you are reminding yourself that there will be situations that are beyond your control and you have to learn to be okay with that and for situations that you can resolve we should aim for peaceful resolutions. Sometimes this may require putting your pride to the side, removing people from your life, or making changes within yourself, but you have to understand that ultimately its for your own well-being.

I challenge you all to use this tool in a conflict or difficult situations you may be in because I guarantee that you WILL feel better in the end. Good luck!

BFDC love,

Johnesha Hinson



Hello Ladies,
I hope that you all are as excited about the upcoming National Miss Woman of Excellence Pageant as we are. This year the pageant themed “Unmask the Lady in You: Exposing Minds, Not Bodies” will be held in beautiful Orlando, Florida on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 6:00pm. We are looking forward to a night of overwhelming Excellence as we crown one of our five contestants below, the new MWOE.

University of Miami- Miss Natalie Diala
Florida State University- Miss Imani Osborne
University of South Florida- Miss Ionia Knott
University of Central Florida- Miss Sherma Jean
Florida International University- Miss Ashley Keys

We hope that all chapters are planning to provide their contestants with all the support they can. Each of these ladies have served this organization, they have given their time and their passion. It is our time to celebrate our MWOE, as they welcome the opportunity to use BFDC and their platform to reach many more with our message. Whenever we get together it is guaranteed that each woman will feel enhanced, embraced, and empowered. Let’s Celebrate!


Have We Really Overcome?

by Jazmin Jones on February 24, 2014

This past year has been an amazing year in film & television for African Americans as we could see from the beautiful display during the 2014 NAACP Image Awards. It brought so much joy to see my people win for the great contributions they have made in our communities. With more diversity in shows like “Scandal”, “House of Lies”, “The Good Wife.” Break through movies like Lee Daniel’s “The Butler”, “12 years a Slave”, and “Fruitvale Station” has made African Americans a trending topic for sometime now. However, injustices with the Jordan Davis and Marissa Alexander cases, and Zimmerman claiming PTSD after killing Trayvon Martin, one can ask: Have We Really Overcome?

It is Black History month in 2014 and it is still more hatred towards African Americans and a lot us (myself included) are not doing enough to fight. This generation is so spoiled and naïve. Although public discourse on social media has helped the awareness of all the injustice in this country, simply “liking” a status and posting a Instagram will not change the law. I listened to Jordan Davis’s father on the radio this morning and my heart went out to him. His family is doing all they can to retry Michael Dunn and traveling around the country to inform us on the details of the “Stand Your Ground” Law. It is unfortuante that he lost his son, and for that reason alone we should do more to prevent this nonsense from continuing.I am a Florida resident and will be writing my State Capitol in support of revising the “Stand Your Ground” Law.

There is still more work to be done in our everyday lives that can’t be done just by supporting “black” films when they come out or making sure to watch any show with a black person in it to make sure the show stays on air. We have not overcome yet.

“Either the United States will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.”
-W.E.B. Du Bois





by Sandra Miles on February 17, 2014

Do you know what this year is? It’s our anniversary!

    bfdc 20 years 2-2

2014 is a very special year for the Black Female Development Circle, Inc. because we are celebrating our 20-year anniversary! It is hard to believe that our incredible organization has been around for two decades, serving as a support system for women of color.

Today we honor our founders, celebrate the vision of our incorporators, thank our members, and show appreciation for the leadership of our national board members – past and present. Without all of these phenomenal women, we would not be here today.

Since 1994 we have:

-       Witnessed and supported the development of hundreds of women. 

-       Created opportunities for our Alumni to remain involved with our organization.

-       Hosted 6 Purple Power Seminars

-       Convened 4 National Conferences

-       Crowned 2 National Miss Woman of Excellence pageant winners

-       Established 8 chapters across the country.

While we are proud of these and other accomplishments, we realize our best is yet to come! We will continue to be intentional. We will continue to be BFDC ON PURPOSE!

Cheers to the next 20 years of Educating, Exploring, Enhancing and Celebrating Womanhood!

This past week we revealed the new BFDC 20 year logo! Special thanks goes to Mallize Wilkes from the Florida State University chapter for creating this beautiful new design.


Find Your Inner Peace

by Brynn Freeland on February 11, 2014

“Eliminate every thought or emotion that does not bring more peace, joy or love into your experience” – Iyanla Vanzant.

For the last few weeks it seems I have been going non-stop. I haven’t had any down time to just relax, and with my classes and the numerous organizations I am a part of I feel as if the walls are closing in on me. I feel like I just need to come up for air, but there’s constantly one thing after another. Now normally I would be stressing out and just want to crawl in a corner and check out on the world. I still want to crawl in a corner sometimes, but the only difference is I’m not stressing anymore. I realize that what needs to get done will get done, eventually. I just have to follow my checklist, and cross everything off the list one task at a time. I am able to do this though, because I have found an inner peace that I once didn’t have. This peace allows me to analyze whatever situations I’m in without getting all worked up. Instead I just take it one step at a time.

So I encourage you all to just take it one step at a time. Classes can be stressful, planning events and going to a million committee meetings can be a pain, and an inconvenience as well. But when you have responsibilities, you get the job done anyway! Finding your inner peace will allow you to conquer all of your obligations a little easier than you would with all the stress and the drama. You’ll be amazed at how much of a weight is lifted off your shoulders once you let the stress go and allow the peace to come. So find your inner peace today! And conquer your world one step at a time.

Have a peaceful week!

—Brynn Freeland