First ever African American female state trooper pushes for more women in uniform


In 1968, when graduating from the Connecticut State Police academy, Louise Smith had no idea she was making history.

Smith became the first African American woman to join a state police force.

“There were some troopers who were all for it,” said Smith. “We’re going to treat you like a sister. There were other troopers who didn’t even talk to me.”

Smith joined when the fight for civil rights was at the forefront and race riots were rampant, especially following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

She said it further complicated her job because of discrimination while out on patrol.

Some people didn’t want help from a black woman and others couldn’t believe Smith was an officer, like deputies working at a courthouse during the Black Panther Trials with activist, Angela Davis.

“I had to take her down to the cell in the court in New Haven and they put me in the cellar and I said no, not me. I’m the officer,” Smith recalled.

Smith said, her job was also difficult because of a few colleagues.

“Hey, we all went to the academy together. Aren’t we equal? You know? We did what you did. What’s the problem? To me, it was a lot of ingrained discrimination,” said Smith.

Smith said surprisingly, she got the motivation to keep moving forward from a hit, 1970’s TV show, “Get Christie Love” centered around a black woman working as a detective in Los Angeles.

“My life was like her life. It was totally new to me. I didn’t have anybody to ask. What do you do? I didn’t know any police women,” said Smith.

However, as time progressed, Smith said, so did attitudes toward her role as a police woman. She fondly recalls the many lifelong friendships forged with fellow troopers.

It wasn’t just a battle for Smith, but all women. Women we eventually allowed to move up in rank, given uniforms, allowed to drive cruisers and were referred to as troopers.

Continue onto FOX to read the complete article.

16 Girls Who Changed The World

young ruby bridges

Women’s History Month is a great time to look back on the achievements of women who have made waves over the years.

Just in the last few weeks, we’ve witnessed impressive teen activism following the deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida ― an important reminder that you’re never too young to make a difference.

Below is a list of women who changed the world when they were young girls and teens. From promoting girls’ education to raising money for meaningful causes to marching for civil rights, their accomplishments are impressive and inspiring.

1. Ruby Bridges

In 1960 at the age of 6, Ruby Bridges became the first black student to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. The first-grader faced protests and riots and had to walk to school accompanied by federal marshals. She became an icon and inspiration in the Civil Rights Movement.

2. Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani human rights advocate known for her activism in promoting education for girls. In 2012, when she was just 15 years old, a Taliban gunman shot her in an assassination attempt in retaliation for her work. At the age of 17, she received the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest Nobel laureate.

3. Anne Frank

A German-born Jewish girl who moved to the Netherlands during the Nazi regime, Anne Frank rose to fame following the publication of the diary she kept while hiding from the Gestapo. After her family was discovered and arrested, Frank died at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 at the age of 15. Her father Otto — the only surviving family member — was moved reading her diary after the war and published it posthumously. It has been translated into more than 60 languages.

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read more about these courageous girls.

The Living Legacy of Dr. Olivia J. Hooker


Dr. Olivia J. Hooker is the kind of person who’ll credit everyone else for her lifetime of achievements before she credits herself.

And her list of accomplishments is seemingly endless. She has two Coast Guard buildings named after her for being the first black woman to enlist. She advanced psychology for people with disabilities as one of the few black women in the field. She took the fight for reparations for fellow survivors of the Tulsa race riot in Oklahoma to Capitol Hill. She’s been called “fearless” and “an inspiration” by President Obama.

But rather than give herself any sort of credit this, Hooker has her doctors to thank, her roommates in basic training, the teachers who helped her along the way — and her mom.

“She was the person that wanted to see you doing something that was a higher aim,” Hooker says. “We knew as children, don’t let mama catch you idle. You better have a book in your hand, a pen to write.”

Because of this, Hooker has spent the majority of her 103 years learning, teaching, and living out the belief that if you want to see change in the world, you better do it yourself. She’s dedicated her life to serving others with a humility and generosity of spirit that seems, in 2018, almost of a bygone era — an era that she saw and survived firsthand.

When she was 6 years old, Hooker’s family — mother, father, three sisters, and one brother — was attacked in the 1921 Tulsa race riot. The “catastrophe,” as Hooker calls it, began when a black man named Dick Rowland came in contact with a white woman named Sarah Page in an elevator. It’s likely that he tripped and grabbed her as he fell, but the truth didn’t matter. Rowland was arrested, the story escalated, and the city’s white residents, emboldened by the Tulsa police, terrorized Greenwood. They burned homes and businesses, including Hooker’s father’s clothing store, and killed roughly 300 residents. Greenwood, known as “Black Wall Street” for its collection of black businesses and wealth, was decimated.

“It was devastating,” Hooker says, “I did not know about people discriminating because of color. I didn’t know that there were people who hated other people for no reason. It was a distinct shock.”

Hooker’s family survived and moved to Topeka, Kansas. They lived near a brick factory, where the sounds of dynamite blowing up the earth for clay reignited Hooker’s memories of the massacre. She says it was years before she could sleep without screaming or having nightmares.

In spite of — or perhaps because of — what she witnessed in Tulsa, Hooker decided to devote herself to making the world a better place. She studied psychology and education at Ohio State University and taught third grade until it was announced that the Navy would allow black women to serve. Hooker had fought for this right along with her sisters in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, but after a while, she noticed no one seemed to be signing up.

“I thought, if you have fought for a right, as we had campaigned for the Navy to take in black women, then somebody ought to take advantage of it,” Hooker says. “So I thought, alright, if nobody else comes up, I’ll try.”

Hooker tried to enlist and was rejected twice due to an unexplained “complication.” Her third letter, she says, was answered by Navy secretary James Forrestal, who told her she could start at the bottom and work her way up. She claims her sister’s boss at the Government Accountability Office then told her to try the Coast Guard — where she would be one step removed from those in the Navy who viewed her as a “complication.”

“The Coast Guard recruiter was very welcoming,” she says. “She really wanted to be able to do something for her country by integrating.” Hooker knew nothing about the military: She showed up for basic training with her steamer trunk alongside seven white women and their duffel bags. Nevertheless, she would become the first black woman on active duty.

Continue onto Shonaland to read the complete story.

NGLCC Renamed “National LGBT Chamber of Commerce”, Reaffirms Mission as Business Voice of the LGBT Community


The business voice of the LGBT community, formerly known as the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, has announced that the organization will formally shorten its name to its acronym “NGLCC” and be known as the, “National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.”This change, which is accompanied by an organizational visual rebranding, moves to better include the bisexual and transgender members of the LGBT business community for which NGLCC has fiercely advocated over the past 15 years.

As NGLCC marked its fifteenth anniversary at its 2017 National Dinner awards gala on Friday, November 17, NGLCC co-founders Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell were joined on stage by transgender business leaders as they reiterated the organization’s pledge to advancing economic opportunities for all members of the LGBT community.

“The LGBT business community is stronger than ever and our organization must continue to evolve to be the best champion we can be for our businesses. That starts with ensuring every element of our brand demonstrates our commitment to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender entrepreneurs, as our new moniker of ‘NGLCC: The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce’ shows,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson. “As we continue to assert our community’s presence and importance in the American and global economies, it is essential that NGLCC lead boldly with a vision for the future of LGBT business that is not only inclusive of all members the LGBT community but also celebrates diversity in all of its forms.”

Under its new name, NGLCC will continue to advance the interests of LGBT business owners, which now number at an estimated 1.4 million in the United States and boast a combined estimated economic impact of over $1.7 trillion, per NGLCC’s groundbreaking America’s LGBT Economy report.  Additionally, the NGLCC Global program will continue expanding the important connection between LGBTI human rights and economic opportunity around the world.

“In the fifteen years NGLCC has been increasing opportunities by certifying and networking LGBT business owners we have witnessed countless shifts toward greater inclusion and recognition of the diversity that makes our community so dynamic and vital.  While our name may change, our mission remains constant: ensuring economic opportunity and prosperity for the LGBT business community in the United States, and around the world,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & CEO Chance Mitchell.

NGLCC expects to see support for the LGBT business community continue to grow, particularly with the recent inclusion of LGBT-owned businesses as an application criterion for the Billion Dollar Roundtable and to a company’s survey on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. NGLCC recently certified its 1000th LGBTBE and plans to double that number by 2020.

Read more here

LaToya Cantrell elected first female mayor of New Orleans


New Orleans voters elected LaToya Cantrell as mayor Saturday, making her the first woman to hold that position in the city’s 300-year history.

Cantrell, a city councilwoman, got 60% of the votes over her opponent, former municipal court Judge Desiree Charbonnet, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office.

“We deserve better and together we truly will be better,” Cantrell told supporters Sunday morning.

“This victory is not about LaToya Cantrell, this campaign did not start about self. It only started with and has been rooted in the people of the city of New Orleans.”

The two women earned spots for Saturday’s runoff election after the October general election. Cantrell, an activist-turned-politician, will succeed Mayor Mitch Landrieu in May as the city marks the 300th anniversary of its founding.

“Congratulations to our very own District “B” Councilmember LaToya Cantrell, our city’s first elected female mayor!” the New Orleans City Council tweeted.

Cantrell, 45, grew up in California and moved to New Orleans to attend the Xavier University of Louisiana. She rose to prominence as a neighborhood activist in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

After the historic flood, officials considered turning Cantrell’s neighborhood into parkland but it caused an uproar among residents. Cantrell, who was the president of the Broadmoor Improvement Association, organized protests and helped rebuild the neighborhood.

She won a seat in the New Orleans’ city council in 2012, and was re-elected in 2014. During her time in office, she has led the passage of an ordinance that prohibits smoking in bars, casinos and most public spaces in New Orleans, as well as taken part in an initiative to make the city more diverse.

Continue onto CNN to read the complete article.

Danica Roem of Virginia to be first openly transgender person elected, seated in a U.S. statehouse


Virginia’s most socially conservative state lawmaker was ousted from office Tuesday by Danica Roem, a Democrat who will be one of the nation’s first openly transgender elected officials and who embodies much of what Del. Robert G. Marshall fought against in Richmond.

The race focused on traffic and other local issues in suburban Prince William County but also exposed the nation’s fault lines over gender identity. It pitted a 33-year-old former journalist who began her physical gender transition four years ago against a 13-term incumbent who called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe” and earlier this year introduced a “bathroom bill” that died in committee.

“Discrimination is a disqualifier,” a jubilant Roem said Tuesday night as her margin of victory became clear. “This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias . . . where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it.”

Continue onto the Washington Post to read the complete article.

Female US marine breaks glass ceiling by becoming the force’s first woman officer


A female marine has broken the glass ceiling by becoming the first to qualify as an officer for the elite force.

The lieutenant, who did not want to be named, was accepted after completing the famously grueling marine officer training.

She is the first woman to do so since the US military opened up the role to women in April last year.

Less than a quarter of recruits who start marine officer training qualify.

Around 10% drop out within the first day.

The US Marines said that 131 hopefuls began training in the intake the included the female lieutenant, of whom 88 graduated.

Force Commandant General Robert Neller hailed her achievement as he congratulated all those who passed.

“I am proud of this officer and those in her class‎ who have earned the infantry officer MOS [military occupational specialty],” he said.

Marines expect and rightfully deserve competent and capable leaders, and these IOC graduates met every training requirement as they prepare for the next challenge of leading infantry Marines; ultimately, in combat.”

Continue onto ITVNews to read the complete article.

Meet Allie B. Latimer – Attorney, Civil Rights Activist and Humanitarian


Allie B. Latimer’s pursuit of opportunities for women is legendary. She made history in 1977 when she was the first woman and the first Black person appointed General Counsel of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), as well as the first woman to attain the GS-18 salary level at GSA, directing a staff of over 150 lawyers. After graduating from Hampton Institute, she volunteered for two years with the American Friends Service Committee, performing work in prisons and mental institutions. She participated in the effort to desegregate the New Jersey State Hospital at Vineland and an effort to integrate a suburban community outside Philadelphia. Latimer later enrolled in Howard University School of Law and earned her Juris Doctor in 1953. In 1958, she went on to earn a Master of Legal Letters degree from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, and earned both a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Howard University School of Divinity.

She is the recipient of the Ollie May Cooper Award, presented by the Washington Bar Association for a lifetime of legal humanitarianism and outstanding contributions to the legal profession. Among more than 50 awards and citations, she has received Presidential Rank Awards from Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan and the GSA’s Distinguished Service Award. Ms. Latimer has been inducted into the National Bar and the Washington Bar Associations Halls of Fame. In 2009 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Her life is an example of not only how she broke down barriers herself, but also how she has worked tirelessly to help women, minorities, and many others overcome barriers.

While serving at the GSA, Ms. Latimer became troubled by the fact that salary and qualification restrictions for women made certain employment, such as with the FBI and the police, prohibitive for women. With these inequities in mind, in 1968, she cofounded Federally Employed Women (FEW) and became its first president. FEW’s mission is “to work to end sex and gender discrimination, to encourage diversity for inclusion and equity in the workplace, and for the advancement and professional growth of women in federal service.” Today, FEW is an international organization with over 3,000 members and located in 10 regions. FEW’s many accomplishments and activities have impacted the federal workplace and contributed to improved working conditions for all.

To women climbing the ladder to greatness, Ms. Latimer advises, “…you didn’t get where you are by yourself, someone pulled you up so it is your responsibility to pull someone else up.”  As for achieving work-life balance, Ms. Latimer recalls, “As we were formulating FEW, and as people went up the ladder serving as volunteers, they were also learning … and this education would do them well in their jobs, in their churches, with their children; in any endeavor in life.  It was preparing them for leadership, management, supervisory roles… wherever they were. Even as mama!”

Positive Strides in Income and Education


African Americans and Hispanics, the largest racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, made positive strides economically and educationally during the past year but continue to lag behind whites, a civil rights group’s annual study contends.

“The theme of this year’s State of Black America report is ‘protecting our progress,’ ” National Urban League CEO Marc Morial said.

In its recent study, the league found the standard of living for African Americans was 72.3 percent of that of whites, on average. For Hispanics, the equality index was a bit higher, at 78.4 percent. The index measures quality of life for blacks and Hispanics in terms of economics, health, education, social justice and civic engagement.

Minority employment is at its highest level in almost a decade, but “any progress made toward racial equality is increasingly under threat.” Morial said. More minorities have health care at a time when efforts are under way to roll back expanding coverage, he added.

The report indicated that African Americans made gains in education, with a growing percentage of blacks staying in school and obtaining associate degrees.

According to the report, racial disparities plague minorities in terms of social justice equality. As examples, the report noted that more blacks are jailed after being arrested than are whites, and that whites posted a greater decline than blacks in their likelihood of being victims of violent crime.

The study also found a troubling rise in hate crimes committed against members of religious and racial minorities. “A nation of a great mosaic that the United States of America represents cannot tolerate hateful incidents. It is corrosive, it is divisive and it is un-American,” Morial said.

The Trump administration has proposed major budget cuts to government programs that help low-income Americans, who are disproportionately black. The civil rights organization said it would press lawmakers and private groups to invest $4 trillion over the next 10 years in job training, enhanced education programs and infrastructure projects to revitalize minority communities.


American Legion Auxiliary honors founders of R. Riveter with Woman of the Year Award


The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) named Cameron Cruse and Lisa Bradley, founders of R. Riveter, as co-recipients of its Woman of the Year Award for their support of military spouses through their U.S.-based handbag company. 
“… this is about every military spouse who ever had a dream,” said Cruse.

Based in Southern Pines, N.C., R. Riveter employs military spouses who help make the handcrafted handbags the company sells. This work can be done remotely, offering military spouses flexible and mobile job opportunities in response to employment challenges – such as frequent relocations – which can come with military life.

2016-2017 ALA National President Mary E. Davis called the work opportunities offered by R. Riveter to military spouses “something they desperately need considering the employment challenges that do come with military life.”

R. Riveter had its modest start in November 2011, in the small attic at Cruse’s home near Camp Merrill, Ga.
By 2014, R. Riveter’s brick-and-mortar store in Southern Pines had opened. Another highlight in the life of the company was Cruse and Bradley’s successful appearance as contestants on “Shark Tank,” ABC’s business-themed reality TV show, in February 2016. Cruse and Bradley’s pitch landed them a partnership with, and financial investment from, well-known billionaire businessman Mark Cuban.

“Although R. Riveter started in an attic, we’re now providing income to over 100 military spouses. We’re fiercely dedicated to providing income to military spouses,” said Bradley.

Bradley has a Masters in Business Administration from Chapman University. Cruse has a Masters in Architecture from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Established in 1984, the American Legion Auxiliary Woman of the Year Award recognizes outstanding women who exemplify the values and ideals of the American Legion Auxiliary, particularly those women whose contributions advance the quality of life for America’s military, veterans, and their families. Past Woman of the Year honorees include former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tammy L. Duckworth, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Army Wife Talk Radio Host Tara Crooks, Patriot PAWS Founder Lori Stevens, and U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson. To learn more about the Woman of the Year Award and the American Legion Auxiliary, visit


Portland Mayor Selects First African American Woman To Be Next Chief Of Police


Danielle Outlaw, a 19-year veteran of the Oakland Police Department who started as a police explorer when she was in high school, will serve as Portland’s next  chief, only the third outsider named to lead the Police Bureau.

Her appointment Monday by Mayor Ted Wheeler comes at a critical time when community and police relations are strained and the force faces a daunting list of federally mandated reforms.

The mayor said Outlaw shares his goals of improving bureau relationships with Portland’s communities of color, increasing diversity on the 950-member force and embracing equity.

Outlaw, 41, who has served as a deputy chief since 2013, rose to the top of a pool of 33 candidates who applied for the job. She becomes the first African American woman to head the bureau.

The mayor selected Outlaw after a national search that lasted less than three months and was conducted largely behind closed doors with input from a select group of community members.

“I have concrete goals for the Portland Police Bureau, all of them challenging to achieve,” Wheeler said in a statement. “I need a partner. I need a leader. More than that, I need someone with a passion for this work who will be in it for the long haul. Danielle Outlaw is that person.’

Continue onto Oregon Live to read the complete story.