N Street Village…

N Street Village…

Photo credit: Courtesy of N Street Village

“The Village welcomes nearly 2,000 women each year across five locations in our city and provides housing for over 700 women and 51 families. Each year everyone is in step and continues to respect and offer the tools, meals, showers, doctors, job training, wellness classes and counseling that will help in their journey to healing,” said CEO  Schroeder Stribling in her opening remarks at the Annual Empowerment Luncheon Co-Chaired by Andrea Rinaldi and Jacqui Michel in honor of radio maven Cathy Hughes at The Ritz Carlton. “Every day at least one woman comes to N Street Village for the first time, and I know that – but for a few circumstances of fortune and timing – ‘she’ could be me.”

Crash Funk Brass

Despite the seriousness of their mission, N Street Village events are also filled with joy, laughter and music which was emphasized by the upbeat entrance to launch the luncheon of the Crash Funk Brass which paraded between the tables while guests joined in.

N Street Village

“Your personal story of triumph over adversity is inspirational and your business and civic leadership is a remarkable contribution and it gives us all a vision for what is possible,” said Stribling while introducing Cathy Hughes.  “We are honored that she came to visit the village recently and we’re so grateful for her generous acceptance of this gift and for becoming a new member of our village family. And believe me, once we get you, we don’t let go.”

Schroeder Stribling

“I am so, so, so very touched, so honored to receive this incredible, incredible recognition today,” responded Hughes. “I want to share a story with you about a luncheon very much like this one today. I was introduced by a very distinguished elected official, and she introduced me as a woman who had gone from being homeless to being a fearless girl on the drawing that Maggie O’Neill did standing in front of the bowl on Wall Street. I’ll come back to that story in a minute, but I didn’t correct her, but I really was kind of shocked that she had introduced me as being homeless. So, afterwards, she and I were talking and I said to her, why did you introduce me as being homeless? She said, well, when I researched you I learned that you had been in a sleeping bag for 18 months on the floor of your radio station. And I said yes, she said and you had to wash up in the public bathroom and sometimes you leave your bra and the staff would be running around [inaudible] saying who’s been in here having sex cause there’s a [inaudible]. She said, you cooked on a stove-top because you had to and I’m like yeah, yeah. She said, Miss Hughes, I really don’t want to upset you, but that’s the definition of being homeless. When I met Katrina, she and I immediately bonded on the issue of so often as women, we are so focused on helping others that we really don’t realize what fight, what dire straights we really are in ourselves. That was my case. After that, I proudly proclaimed the fact that I was homeless, all right?”

Cathy Hughes

“Mrs. H, as we fondly call her, came from humble beginnings in Omaha, Nebraska. She had her first job at 14 and found herself pregnant at 16. Being a single mother did not deter her but instead was a beginning of the catalyst that fueled her ambition to empower the African American communities around her. Mrs. H moved to D.C. in 1971 to a city that was still healing from the riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. She became the first female vice president and general manager at Howard University Radio, and eventually went on to purchase her flagship station WOL  In 1999, she took her company public and became the first African American to chair a publicly held corporation. Urban One, formerly Radio One, is now the largest African American owned and diversified media corporation in the nation. So again, Mrs. H’s philanthropic work is on par with her business success. She’s a champion for the homeless and mentor to women everywhere and an advocate dedicated to empowering minority communities. We spent some time last week with Mrs. H at the Village and she moved through with such ease, stopping to hug and chat with everyone she encountered, but this is no surprise. For years she spent her evenings in the D.C. shelters working with residents to help in various capacities. I have known this woman for about 40 years, and it is with great pleasure that we are here to present Cathy Hughes, Mrs. H, Chairwoman, whatever you want to call her, but now her most recent title, Village friend, with the 2019 Village leadership award.”

Here are their stories: