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Angela deJoseph Plans to Nurture Future Leaders

NONPROFITS: Women of Color Roar Goes to Washington, D.C.

If you thought you recognized a familiar face sitting near First Lady Jill Biden and U2 lead singer/songwriter Bono during President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address this earlier month, you weren’t mistaken.

San Diego’s Angela deJoseph was part of the crowd gathered at the president’s Feb. 7 speech, held during a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. DeJoseph attended as the invited guest of Sara Jacobs, the representative for California’s 53rd congressional district.

Angela deJoseph
Founder
Women of Color Roar Media

“I had primo seats, the leadership seats,” said DeJoseph, the founder of Women of Color Roar, a nonpartisan multimedia organization that supports, nurtures and encourages Black women to seek careers in public service and run for political office.

DeJoseph said she was able to meet and talk with New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who expressed interest in Women of Color Roar. She said Jeffries asked to speak to her further about possibly duplicating in other cities what the organization is doing in San Diego.

Women of Color Roar, which held its Women of Color Roar breakfast with its theme of “Sheroes Lead” at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation the Saturday before Biden’s speech, was founded by deJoseph in 2017. Women of Color Roar became a 501c3 nonprofit in 2020.

DeJoseph said the genesis of the organization came from a trip she made years ago to Washington, D.C. During a stop to visit to congressional offices, she said, “I did not see young women who looked like me. I wondered, ‘Why is it?’

“And the answer is you have to have two things: Know someone who has access, and the other is you have to be able to afford to live in D.C. You have to have the means. And people who come from disadvantaged communities have neither of those things.”

She said she developed Women of Color Roar as a way to change that, knowing that young Black women looking to be part of making progress in and for their communities needed a pipeline to politics.

DeJoseph said she was moved to create a place where Black women, particularly from traditionally underserved communities, could learn things like how to get internships, where to look for mentoring and why developing relationships is important.

An elected district delegate for the California Democratic Party, her political ties no doubt helped bring some top-tier names to the Feb. 4 “Sheroes” event, including California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber, California State Controller Malia Cohen, and San Diego City Council Mayor Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass also made a virtual appearance on screen in real time.

A Los Angeles native and the daughter of immigrants from the West Indies, deJoseph moved to San Diego in 2014 with plans to retire. That didn’t quite happen for the woman with the Twitter handle “Thee Notorious AdJ.”

DeJoseph said not long after she moved, San Diego Black Health Associates tapped her to help enroll people in the Affordable Care Act. That led to more work with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to educate women about breast cancer, something she had done similarly in L.A.

She also got involved with activist groups in San Diego County and parlayed the knowledge she gleaned from working with a group of political organizers at Indivisible as part of the foundation of Women of Color Roar.

“Basically, Indivisible, started by former staffers from the (Barack) Obama administration, taught people how to be active politically, how to ‘phone bank,’ write letters, march and visit political offices,” she said.

DeJoseph has an impressive resume. Most of her past career endeavors were not politically based.

She was a regular beauty makeover expert on the Regis and Kathie Lee Show, did the same on AM Los Angeles, and is an Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker who attended the USC School of Cinema, winning awards from PBS Television and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for her theater works.

DeJoseph first left Los Angeles while in her 20s to begin her career as an editor at Essence magazine in New York.

She has been vice president of the San Diego Black Journalists Association, hosts a weekly political talk radio show on KNSJ 89.1, handled communications on staff with Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber and is a Higher Heights Senior Civic Leadership Fellow.

She is also a lifelong entrepreneur.

“My mother owned her own beauty salon and had a line of hair products,” she said. “I had a line of hair products, too (African Wonders Hair Products), and an informercial where I made millions of dollars.”

Next on the horizon, DeJoseph is looking to expand the Women of Color Roar experience, adding a leadership academy with curriculum that will prepare young women of color to be community advocates and elected officials.

She said the group is looking for sponsors to help build out the nonprofit and work with women year-round. “We want to be this portal that’s going to help with them with this journey to be our future leaders.”

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