Winnie Madikizela-Mandela: Anti-apartheid campaigner dies at 81

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South African anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has died aged 81, her personal assistant says.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was the former wife of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela.

The couple – famously pictured hand-in-hand as Mr Mandela walked free from prison after 27 years – were a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for nearly three decades.

However, in later years her reputation became tainted legally and politically.

Family spokesman Victor Dlamini said Mrs Mandela “succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones” following a long illness, which had seen her go in and out of hospital since the start of the year.

Retired archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu praised her as a “defining symbol of the struggle against apartheid”.

“Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists,” he added.

President Cyril Ramaphosa – who Mrs Madikizela-Mandela praised earlier this year – is expected to visit the family home this evening, African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Gwede Mantashe said.

He added: “With the departure of Mama Winnie, [we have lost] one of the very few who are left of our stalwarts and icons. She was one of those who would tell us exactly what is wrong and right, and we are going to be missing that guidance.”

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, reading out a statement on behalf of the family, paid tribute to “a colossus who strode the Southern African political landscape”.

“As the ANC we dip our revolutionary banner in salute of this great icon of our liberation struggle,” he said.

“The Mandela family are deeply grateful for the gift of her life and even as our hearts break at her passing we urge all those who loved her to celebrate this most remarkable South African woman.”

Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was born in 1936 in the Eastern Cape – then known as Transkei.

She was a trained social worker when she met her future husband in the 1950s. They were married for a total of 38 years, although for almost three decades of that time they were separated due to Mr Mandela’s imprisonment.

It was Mrs Madikizela-Mandela who took his baton after he was jailed for life, becoming an international symbol of resistance to apartheid and a rallying point for poor, black township residents who demanded their freedom.

Five years later, she too was jailed by the white minority government she was fighting against.

But Mrs Madikizela-Mandela – an icon of the struggle – also found herself mired in controversy.

She was heard backing the practice of “necklacing” – putting burning tyres around suspected informants’ necks – and was accused of conducting a virtual reign of terror in parts of Soweto by other members of the ANC in the late 1980s.

She was also found guilty of kidnapping and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for her involvement in the death of 14-year-old township militant Stompie Seipei. She always denied the allegation, and the sentence was reduced to a fine.

Mr Mandela, who stood by her throughout the accusations, was finally released from prison in February 1990.

But two years later, their marriage crumbled. The couple divorced in 1996, but she kept his surname and maintained ties with him.

Continue onto BBC to read the complete article.

Stacey Abrams Wins Georgia Democratic Primary for Governor, Making History

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Georgia Democrats selected the first black woman to be a major party nominee for governor in the United States on Tuesday, choosing Stacey Abrams, a liberal former State House leader, who will test just how much the state’s traditionally conservative politics are shifting.

By handily defeating Stacey Evans, also a former state legislator, Ms. Abrams also became Georgia’s first black nominee for governor, a prize that has eluded earlier generations of African-American candidates in the state. The general election is sure to draw intense national attention as Georgia voters determine whether a black woman can win in the Deep South, a region that has not had an African-American governor since Reconstruction.

She will face either Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the top Republican vote getter Tuesday, or Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Mr. Cagle and Mr. Kemp will vie for their party’s nomination in a July runoff.

Ms. Abrams’s victory, confirmed by The Associated Press, came on the latest 2018 primary night to see Democratic women finding success, as voters in Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas also went to the polls. Among the winners was Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, who upset Mayor Jim Gray of Lexington in a House primary in Kentucky.

But it was the breakthrough of Ms. Abrams that drew the most notice. A 44-year-old Yale Law School graduate who has mixed a municipal career in Atlanta and statehouse politics with running a small business and writing a series of romance novels under a nom de plume, she is now a central character in the midterm elections and the Democratic Party’s quest to define itself.

In a Facebook post declaring victory Tuesday night, Ms. Abrams, who won more than 75 percent of the vote, acknowledged the general election would be tough and cast herself as the candidate representing “the Georgia of tomorrow.”

Speaking later to a throng of supporters at a downtown Atlanta hotel, Ms. Abrams did not directly invoke her barrier-breaking nomination but held up her candidacy as a sign of the state’s progress.

“We are writing the next chapter of Georgia’s history, where no one is unseen, no one is unheard and no one is uninspired,” she said.

Continue onto the New York Times to read the complete article.

Tammie Jo Shults, who landed crippled Southwest plane, was one of first female fighter pilots in U.S. Navy

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The pilot who coolly landed a Southwest Airlines plane after one of the jet’s engines failed and torpedoed shrapnel through a window midflight has gone against the odds before.

Identified by The Associated Press as Tammie Jo Shults, she wasted no time steering the plane into a rapid descent toward safety when chaos broke out shortly after takeoff from New York — maintaining her composure even as passengers reported from the cabin that a woman had been partially sucked out of a shattered window.

“We have part of the aircraft missing, so we’re going to need to slow down a bit,” she’s heard calmly telling air traffic controllers in audio transmissions after reporting the aircraft’s engine failure.

“Could you have medical meet us there on the runway as well? We’ve got injured passengers,” Shults then requests.

A air traffic controller asks her if her plane is on fire, to which Shults calmly replies: “No, it’s not on fire, but part of it’s missing. They said there’s a hole, and — uh — someone went out.”

One passenger was killed, and seven others suffered minor injuries, authorities said. But many say the toll on Dallas-bound Flight 1380, which had 149 people aboard, would have been much higher had it not been for Shults’ quick thinking during her emergency landing in Philadelphia.

“Most of us, when that engine blew, I think we were pretty much going, ‘Well, this just might be it,'” said passenger Peggy Phillips, from Brandon, Texas. “To get us down with no hydraulics and a blown engine and land us safely is nothing short of miraculous to me. She’s a hero, for sure.”

A 1983 graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, Shults, 56, received her degree in biology and agribusiness, said Carol Best, a spokeswoman for the university.

Shults then became one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. military, according to the alumni group at her alma mater.

Cindy Foster, a classmate of Shults, told The Kansas City Star that when Shults enlisted in the Navy, she encountered “a lot of resistance” because of her gender. She was passionate about flying and dreamed of being in the Air Force, but went to the Navy instead after the Air Force denied her a chance, Foster added.

“So she knew she had to work harder than everyone else,” Foster told the paper. “She did it for herself and all women fighting for a chance.”

5 Things To Know About Maya Angelou’s Complicated, Meaningful Life

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It’s only fitting that the first week of U.S. National Poetry Month in April coincides with what would have been the 90th birthday of the poet Maya Angelou, who died May 28, 2014, at the age of 86.

But while she’s best known today for her writing — as the author of more than 30 books and the recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees — she had many different careers before becoming a writer, and all before the age of 40, as TIME pointed out in her 2014 obituary. Such jobs included: cook, waitress, sex-worker, dancer, actor, playwright, editor at an English-language newspaper in Egypt, Calypso singerand cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess. In fact, her name is more of a stage name than a pen name; she was born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis in 1928, but in the 1950s came up with “Maya Angelou,” which is a portmanteau of sorts, by combining her childhood nickname and a riff on her then-husband’s surname.

In a Google Doodle marking her April 4 birthday, she can be heard reading “Still I Rise,” alongside testimonials from her son Guy Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Laverne Cox, Alicia Keys, America Ferrera, and Martina McBride. The 15-time Grammy-winner Keys calls her a “renaissance woman,” while 14-time Grammy nominee McBride says Angelou inspired her to write her own songs. Winfrey, who has called Angelou a mentor, says that “Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it’s how she did it all. She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence, and a fiery, fierce grace and abounding love.”

Here are five things to know about the literary legend:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was her first book

As the world marks her birthday in 2018, Maya Angelou’s breakout work is particularly relevant to the national conversation. Long before the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements brought sexual assault into the national conversation, she wrote in her 1969 memoir about her own experience with sexual trauma, and how her mother’s boyfriend raped her when she was a child. He was convicted and imprisoned, and after his release he was beaten to death, a series of events that led her to stop talking for a period.

“I thought I had caused his death because I told his name to the family…” she wrote in a 2013 op-ed in The Guardian. “I decided that my voice was so powerful that it could kill people.”

In an interview with Winfrey, Angelou said that, while some places banned the book because of the rape scene, she also believed the book had saved lives by providing a model of endurance. “I just read someplace that after a woman had read Caged Bird, she realized she wasn’t alone,” she told the media mogul. As she once said in another interview, “the encountering may be the very experience which creates the vitality and the power to endure.”

She was San Francisco’s first female African-American cable car conductor

“I loved the uniforms,” she once said to Oprah Winfrey, explaining why she wanted this particular job as a 16-year-old. Per her mother’s advice, she went to the city office that hired cable car conductors and sat there reading Russian literature until they agreed to hire her. Her mother got up with her at 4:00 a.m. for her daybreak shifts and trailed her in her car “with her pistol on the passenger seat” to keep an eye on her.

Continue onto TIME to read the complete article.

Linda Brown, Center Of Brown v. Board Of Education, Dies At 76

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Linda Brown was the young girl at the center of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that would end legal school segregation.

Linda Brown, the young girl at the center of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case, died on Monday at the age of 76.

Brown’s sister, Cheryl Brown Henderson, confirmed the death to the Topeka-Capital Journal. Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel of Topeka independently confirmed Brown’s death with HuffPost.

“Sixty-four years ago a young girl from Topeka brought a case that ended segregation in public schools in America,” Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer tweeted Monday. “Linda Brown’s life reminds us that sometimes the most unlikely people can have an incredible impact and that by serving our community we can truly change the world.”

It was Brown’s father, Rev. Oliver Brown, who sued the Topeka school board to allow his daughter the right to attend an all-white school in the Kansas capital city. Four other school segregation cases were combined with Brown’s to be heard by the Supreme Court, but the justices’ unanimous ruling was named for Brown.

Brown, who was also known as Linda Carol Thompson after her marriage in the mid 1990s, was forced to attend an all-black school far away from her home even though an all-white school was only blocks away.

Brown told MSNBC in 2014 that she remembered the embarrassment of being separated from her neighborhood friends and the long walk to the bus stop.

“I remember a couple of times turning around and going back home because I — you know, it was a small town,” she said. “I got really, really cold and would get home and be crying. And mother would, you know, she would try to warm me up and tell me it would be all right and everything.”

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Brown. In its decision, the court overturned the 1896 “separate but equal” ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, marking the case as one of the biggest legal victories of the civil rights era. It was due to Brown v. Board of Education that the federal government could force states to integrate schools, allowing children of color the opportunity for an equal education to white children.

Brown credited her father and the other families who took their cases to court for removing the “stigma of not having a choice” during a 1985 interview for the PBS documentary series “Eyes on the Prize.”

“I feel that after 30 years, looking back on Brown v. The Board of Education, it has made an impact in all facets of life for minorities throughout the land,” Brown said during the interview. “I really think of it in terms of what it has done for our young people, in taking away that feeling of second class citizenship. I think it has made the dreams, hopes and aspirations of our young people greater, today.”

Continue onto the HuffingtonPost to read the complete article.

NOBLE Center for Excellence

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The NOBLE Center for Excellence will serve as an official Community Policing Certification e-learning (CEU-POST) state of the art content hub for Law Enforcement Officers from across the globe to enhance building relationships between law enforcement and the community.

To further boost the capacity of the NOBLE Center for Excellence, we have partnered with the Attorney Benjamin Crump Social Justice Institute to make course content accessible in multiple platforms through a licensed online self-paced learning Virtual Campus system that is accessible 24/7/365 days a year allowing law enforcement departments or individual officers of the law to take courses through a digital live streaming television channel, mobile app, and a 21st Century Avatar virtual reality simulations that can activate on any mobile device, tablet or personal computer.

NOBLE is very excited and honored to be launching the NOBLE Center for Excellence. This is another step towards providing critical training to the law enforcement community and the nation,” stated Clarence E. Cox, III, NOBLE National President.

The program also includes:

  • Women and Leadership: Owning Your Strengths and Skills
  • The Transpire Women’s Leadership Institute
  • Developing Your Executive Presence
  • Networking for Success

The NOBLE Center for Excellence Institute is open enrollment — click here to begin your selection of a program.

The 21st Century Community Policing POST-CEU online certification program is also open for enrollment – click here to enroll.

16 Girls Who Changed The World

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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.

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

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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.

The Living Legacy of Dr. Olivia J. Hooker

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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

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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

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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.