From a voiceless child to a woman sharing the voices of the community, Dwana Bradly shares her life of purpose in this guest blog post.
Looking back on my childhood, I would never have imagined being where I am today. I remember while growing up watching other kids play, and I’d never say a word. My mom would get frustrated with me because I would ask to go outside and then just sit, never speaking to others. The first time I sang a song at church, I grabbed the microphone and cried the whole time. My mom wanted to come to my rescue, but the choir director—who happened to be the Pastor’s wife at the time—stopped her by saying: “She needs to know how to speak to others. She will be alright.”
I’ve always remembered those words. I used to wonder why she put me through all of that, but I have since come to realize the Pastor’s wife saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. It was because she never let me run and hide that I’m the person I am today. I don’t back away from a challenge, and in my own way, I make sure my voice is heard. I speak with confidence, and I know I was put on this earth to make a difference.
My name is Dwana Bradley. I’m a mother of two, an entrepreneur, chair of the largest school district in the state of Iowa, choir director, speaker, caretaker, listener, and I’m living out my purpose in life.
As the owner of Iowa Urban Media, our purpose as a media company is to print, publish, and promote. One of our publications is Urban Experience Magazine. I, along with my father, started the magazine February of 2015 with the purpose of educating and empowering our readers through each article submitted. This magazine makes me proud because we tell stories just like they are. We have no hidden agendas, and we speak the truth. We educate people in the state of Iowa and beyond in the areas of health, culture, public affairs, spirituality, and finances, to name a few. The voices of people who look like me are often silenced, and I wanted to create a space where we could tell our stories and the stories of others.
I am also responsible for Iowa Juneteenth Observance, which is a program of my nonprofit, The Des Moines Urban Experience. Our mission is to provide education in African American culture and history, collaborating with like-minded organizations to cultivate awareness and appreciation of our contributions. Iowa Juneteenth will have a week-long celebration June 12-19, 2021. You will not want to miss this annual event.
I’m passionate about everything in which I’m involved. This season of life has been filled with blessings. I’ve met great individuals who have assisted me along the way. I am aware that everything I do could be gone tomorrow, so I don’t get caught up in the labels I carry. I’m a human being who hurts just like you do, and sometimes I do things that might not be right as well. But I’m continually learning how to be a better me.
There is a phrase I created for myself: “There is no competition, only purpose.” I wasn’t put on this earth to compete. I was put here for a purpose, and every day that I wake up, I will make sure to live that purpose out loud.
I love connecting and building relationships with others. If you have a story to tell, or would like me to tell your story, you can contact me at email@example.com. You may also check out Urban Experience Magazine at www.theurbanexp.com. Interested about Iowa Juneteenth? Please visit www.iowajuneteenth.org. We are looking for volunteers and sponsors for this year’s event.
Above all, I pray you all are living the life you were called to live. Blessings.
Dwana Bradley is a mother, an entrepreneur, chair of the largest school district in the state of Iowa, choir director, speaker, caretaker, listener, and owner of Iowa Urban Media.