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Malik Turley, Hip Circle Empowerment Center

"In time, we'll reach ALL women and girls."

· Non-Profits,Fitness

Tell us about Hip Circle Empowerment Center.

Our mission: Through dance, fitness, and community we empower ALL women to believe they are strong, beautiful, and worthy of attention. We offer a variety of bellydance and fitness classes as well as workshops and community events designed to promote and celebrate the strength women have and need to remember. We have been in operation since June 1, 2010 and became the 501c3 nonprofit we *should* have been all along in the spring of 2017. I grew up here in Evanston and came back to raise my children. I am a fierce champion of small businesses and local networks and am loving being a business in the Main-Dempster Mile.

709 Washington St, Evanston, IL 60202

Why did you start this business? If you were a superhero, what would your origin story be?

Well, I for sure wanted to be Wonder Woman when I was a kid (and again this past year with the release of the movie), so let's say my story of origin was this...

I grew up in a single-parent household with strong role models in my two grandmothers. They lived in different worlds (Northbrook and what is now called Bronzeville) and I went back and forth between their worlds, seeing different examples of what being a Strong Woman meant. When I grew up and realized the world around me didn't support that vision, and that the women around me didn't understand their power, I adopted my super hero disguise of fitness clothes and bellydance costuming and set out to change the world, one woman at a time.

Hip Circle Empowerment Center is my not-so-secret lair where women from all walks of life come together to experience and celebrate their power. They recharge in the space and prepare to go out into the world and effect change with the women and girls they meet. In time, we'll reach ALL women and girls.

What's the story behind the name of your business?

Hip = bellydance, cool

Circle = circle of women, circle of friends, circle of life

Empowerment = sharing tools to provide room for self growth/discovery

Center = where things happen

Why did you choose to locate your business in Evanston? What do you love about coming to work here?

Evanston is home. I grew up here and returned here with intention. My childhood is full of memories of shopping/spending time on and around Main Street, and getting to open a business here just seemed right.

What sets your business apart from others that perform the same service or sell the same products?

Our philosophy and intention - we have been mission-driven from the very beginning and truly believe that ALL women and girls are strong, beautiful, and worthy of attention. The positive and supportive environment found in our center is unique.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about opening a business?

Know what you're getting into and surround yourself with people who are awesome at the things you don't know (yet).

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