With her trademark silky black braids and her bright, engaging smile, Susan Taylor, editor of Essence, has always exuded an unmistakable glow that has endeared her to millions of young African American women across the globe.
Taylor, 61, the editorial director of Essence magazine, announced that she is leaving the publication after 37 years to start a nonprofit to help at-risk youth.
Taylor said in a recent e-mail, “I will be leaving Essence to do what at this juncture in my life has become a larger work for me–building the National Cares Mentoring Movement, which I founded as Essence Cares and today is my deepest passion.”
With pressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, gang violence, and the lure of drugs continuing to assail black youth, Taylor realized that the need to save young lives is more critical than ever.
Taylor is putting forth the challenge to enlist a force of one million mentors to make a positive and significant impact in the lives of African American children and teenagers. The Essence Cares Movement will encourage black adults to serve as mentors for at-risk young people. According to the program’s Web site, “Essence Cares is a call to action for every abled black adult to take under wing a vulnerable young person, which costs nothing.”
This year Taylor appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to promote the National Essence Cares Mentoring Movement, which she founded in 2006 with the goal of signing up more than one million people to become mentors. The organization is a coalition of advocacy groups, including the National Urban League, 100 Black Men in America, and the Y.W.C.A.
Barbara Perkins, one of the principles in the L.A. Cares Mentoring Movement (LACCM), said, “The statistics showing how poorly our children are doing in schools across America are stunning. Ms. Taylor feels that we can no longer sit and talk about blame and who did not do what they should have done for our children. The time is now for all of us to do what we can to help ourselves and the National Cares Movement is about the same love, passion, and commitment that Susan L. Taylor has shown us all these years.”
Taylor will be arriving in Los Angeles on Friday, Jan. 18 to celebrate the launch of the Los Angeles Cares Mentoring Movement’s local outreach for youth. LACMM will focus on outreach for Greater Los Angeles by pairing youth with organizations that can offer accessible mentoring services and programs throughout Los Angeles neighborhoods. On Friday evening, Jan. 18, Taylor will be the guest of 100 Black Men of Los Angeles at a reception for Essence Cares from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Museum of African American Art.
On Saturday, Jan. 19, Taylor will appear at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center from 1 to 3 p.m. with special celebrity appearances and live entertainment.The LACMM launch is free to the public and will include exhibits and mentor organizations, refreshments, spoken word, and special guest speakers.
On Saturday, Jan. 19 from 3 to 5 p.m., Taylor will appear at Eso Won Books in Leimert Park to sign and autograph copies of her fourth book, All About Love: Favorite Selections From In the Spirit on Living Fearlessly (UrbanBooks, $19.95). The book is a collection of her thought-provoking columns that are spiritually empowering and range from such subjects as finding harmony to building wealth, committing to social and political change, staying in good health, shedding anger, and finding real love in relationships.
A woman of many talents, Susan Taylor will no doubt inspire and influence thousands of young people and encourage countless African American adults to “spread their wings” to join a blossoming mentoring movement.
To RSVP for the reception for Susan Taylor at the Museum of African American Art, email full name to Platinumstarpr@aol.com.