Embrace Who You Are with Power and Confidence
By Frenetta Tate, Contributing Writer
“Embrace Who You Are” was the theme of the event recently held at The Preston Theatre hosted by the Houston Vitiligo Awareness Movement (HVAM). To say the event was successful is an understatement, as it brought together people from all over Houston and around the country to raise awareness of vitiligo in our city and the surrounding areas. Not only did the event dispel myths, but it also shared the truth about vitiligo.
Vitiligo is a condition in which a loss of cells (melanocytes) that give color to the skin results in smooth, white patches in the midst of normally pigmented skin. Diane Tribitt is the founder of HVAM and also living with vitiligo. She felt compelled to start the organization to raise more awareness and offer support to those living with vitiligo. In the process of starting HVAM, Diane connected with National Vitiligo Bond Foundation aka Vitiligo Bond Inc., 501c3 founded in 2010, by Mrs. Natasha Pierre McCarthy (VBI) in Atlanta and began to form bridges of support on a national level.
By virtue of their commonality of purpose, HVAM and VBI began a partnership and as a result, Mrs. McCarthy chose Houston to begin its tour themed “Be the True You.” Perry Whaley, , a volunteer at VBI, diagnosed with vitiligo at the age of 25, began his search for support and connected to VBI through other members of VBI support group. The collective goal of HVAM and VBI is to create a positive outlook and universal understanding of the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional effects of vitiligo.
The atmosphere of the event was filled with inspirational music, bold declarations and heart touching stories of trial and triumph. Hosted by KYND 1520AM radio personality, Amber Shaw, the program included an empowering mixture of attendees, vitiligo experts and entertainers creating an ambiance of acceptance, love and healing.
The evening began with a video by Sheila Moore Piper titled “Get Excited.” Ellis Grimes with Moore Unique Skincare discussed the technological breakthroughs and treatments for vitiligo. Dr. Alanna Bree shared her experiences treating children with vitiligo, highlighting the emotional and mental aspects of treatment. Brandie Nickerson shared her story about caring for her son, Kurtis, who is living with vitiligo. These presentations were peppered with dynamic music by bassist, producer and recording artist, Patrick Tribitt and world-renowned recording artist, Angel Taylor from the group Trin-i-tee 5:7. Kanita Turner aka Emoetry Speaks shared a powerful spoken word. Yolanda Roberts, founder of the Healing Hearts Network shared the organization’s vision, mission and motto and their outreach efforts to help women and youth deal with the challenges of life.
Confidently rocking the skin they are in, men, women and youth walked the runway in a fashion finale, making bold statements with unique t-shirts expressing their freedom of living with vitiligo. The event ended with a powerful statement of being EMPOWERED BY VITILIGO!
HVAM is here to stay, with its mission to continue to plant a SEED (Support, Embrace, Education and Donate) of awareness in Houston and the surrounding communities. For more information on the Houston Vitiligo Awareness Movement, please visit www.dlyricinspired.com. To read more on Vitiligo Bond, Inc., please visit www.vitiligobond.org.
Frenetta Tate is the CEO of Frenetta Tate International, an innovative coaching, training and business strategy company. Connect with her on Instagram @frenettatate.