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.

‘Si, Se Puede’: With Inauguration, Latina Legislators Make History In Congress

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Congress’s youngest member, its first two Texan Latinas and first South American were sworn in on Thursday.

The youngest woman ever elected to Congress, first South American and first two Latinas from Texas: With their inauguration on Thursday, a group of Hispanic women made history in the 116th Congress.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., enters the Congress as its youngest woman elected and its current youngest member. Ocasio-Corterz, 29, of Puerto Rican descent, beat a veteran Democratic incumbent in the primaries with a grassroots campaign focusing on progressive policies such as “Medicare for all” as well as free higher education or trade school for all. She has publicly said she willoppose her own party’s rules against deficit spending if it takes money away from areas such as health care.

On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out a picture of her and other incoming women legislators with the phrase “Si, se puede,” (Yes, we can), the words that were coined by labor activist and United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta and then immortalized by President Barack Obama during his campaign.

Another women in the picture is Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, one of two Latinas who are the first to represent Texas in Congress.

Escobar takes the place of Beto O’Rourke, also a Democrat, in representing Texas’ 16th Congressional District, which includes the heavily Latino border area of El Paso. She was previously a county commissioner and county judge.

On Twitter, Escobar took on Trump’s insistence on $5 billion for a border wall — which has led to the current government shutdown — by writing that “the border has never been more secure” and “immigration is lower today than it was a decade ago.” Escobar instead argued for the need to work with Central American countries to address the root causes of migration.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

Lauren Underwood is the youngest black woman to serve in Congress

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The 32-year-old registered nurse is one of three Democrats from Illinois sworn in to the House on Thursday.

Lauren Underwood, a Democrat from Naperville, Illinois, became the youngest black woman in history to be sworn in to the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon.

Underwood, 32, a registered nurse with two master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University, began her political career as a policy professional in the Obama administration in 2014. Two years later, she became a senior adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services where she worked to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Underwood announced her candidacy in Illinois’s 14th Congressional District in August 2017 on a platform of expanding job opportunities, investing in infrastructure and improving the ACA. She defeated the incumbent Republican, Randy Hultgren, in the Nov. 6 election, garnering 52.5 percent of the vote.

“Are you excited to make history?,” Underwood was asked Thursday afternoon as she posed for pictures on her way to the Capitol.

“A moment in history,” Underwood responded, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Underwood is one of the three Illinois Democrats who were sworn into the House on Thursday; the other two are Sean Casten and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Her appointment means that Democrats now have a 13-5 advantage over Republicans in Illinois’ House delegation.

For her, losing was never an option.

“I learned to be a black woman in this community,” Underwood toldThe New York Times in July. “This is my home, and the idea that I might not be a good fit is an idea I never gave a lot of consideration to.”

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

Dr. Gladys West, Who Helped Develop The GPS, Inducted Into Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame

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This “hidden figure” is finally getting her due praise.

A “hidden figure” in the development of GPS technology has officially been honored for her work.Mathematician Dr. Gladys West was recognized for doing the computing responsible for creating the Geographical Positioning System, more commonly referred to as the GPS.

On December 6, the 87-year-old woman was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame by the United States Air Force during a ceremony at the Pentagon.

The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority member, born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, earned a full scholarship to Virginia State University after graduating high school at the top of her class. Gwen James, her sorority sister, told The Associated Press she discovered her longtime friend’s achievements when she was compiling a bio for senior members of the group.

“GPS has changed the lives of everyone forever,” James said. “There is not a segment of this global society — military, auto industry, cell phone industry, social media, parents, NASA, etc. — that does not utilize the Global Positioning System.”

Dr. West spent 42 years working on the naval base at Dahlgren, Virginia. During this time, she was one of the few women hired by the military to do advanced technological work. During the early 1960s, she was commissioned by the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory to support research around Pluto’s motion. From the mid-1970s to the 1980s, her computing work on a geodetic Earth model led to what became the first GPS orbit.

“This involved planning and executing several highly complex computer algorithms which have to analyze an enormous amount of data,” Ralph Neiman, her supervisor who recommended her for commendation in 1979, said. “You have used your knowledge of computer applications to accomplish this in an efficient and timely manner.”

Continue onto Blavity to read the complete article.

America’s first female Soldiers on screen for WWI centennial

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When Jim Theres first read about the “Hello Girls” of World War I, he knew the story of America’s first female Soldiers needed to be told on the silver screen.

So the Veterans Affairs employee set out on his own time to produce and direct an award-winning documentary, “The Hello Girls: The Army’s Special Weapon in World War I.”

The film was shown Saturday as part of activities surrounding the grand re-opening of the Army Women’s Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia.

Prior to that, the film won best documentary feature last month at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Broadcast journalist Cokie Roberts also introduced the film Oct. 8 at the Washington Convention Center during the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.

“I had never heard of the ‘Hello Girls’ and I write women’s history,” Roberts said. “That shouldn’t be.”

UNTOLD STORY

In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France as telephone operators for the American Expeditionary Forces. They donned Army uniforms and swore an oath of allegiance. They often operated near the front lines, connecting calls between trenches, and they endured artillery barrages. Two of them died and were buried in France.

Yet, when the rest of the women returned to the states, they were told they were not eligible for veteran’s benefits, until an act of Congress changed that in 1977.

Now their story has finally been fully documented.

Theres had already produced one documentary film when he decided in May 2017 the time was right to look for a World War I story because the 100th anniversary of America’s participation in the war was coming up.

“I Googled by accident … I meant to do World War I men, but I accidentally typed World War I women and I looked at the screen.” A webpage popped up about Elizabeth Cobbs’ book published last year: “The Hello Girls — America’s First Women Soldiers.”

Continue onto The Army to read the complete article.

Latina progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be youngest member of Congress

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Heavy rains on Tuesday didn’t stop voters from showing up at the polls and assuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of her congressional victory.

At 29, she will become the U.S.House’s youngest member of Congress.

“Rain is hard for turnout, sometimes people literally decide not to vote because is raining. Don’t do that,” said Ocasio-Cortez during Cosmopolitan’s Instagram-takeover on Election Day.

The newly-elected Congresswoman won on Tuesday night against her Republican opponent Anthony Pappas in New York’s 14th congressional district, which includes parts of Queens and The Bronx and it’s considered a safe Democratic district. “As the Congresswoman for New York’s 14th district, my job would be to basically commute between The Bronx and Queens and Washington D.C. to really write and pass the laws that would really govern this land,” said Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday morning during a radio interview with the New York-based station HOT 97.

Ocasio-Cortez first made national headlines back in June when she won her district’s House primary against Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley with a proudly progressive platform to address issues surrounding immigration, healthcare, education.

“We’re really fighting for a working class agenda. We’re fighting for universal healthcare. We’re fighting for tuition free colleges and universities. A 100 percent renewable energy, this is what — not just what our district needs — but what the city needs and what the country needs,” Ocasio-Cortez told HOT 97.

The 29-year-old first-time candidate of Puerto Rican heritage represents a district that is 46 percent Latino, 24.6 percent white, 16.4 Asian, and 11 percent black.

Continue on to NBCnews.com/latina to read the complete article.

3 Ways To Help Women Rise On International Day Of The Girl

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There are 1.1 billion girls in the world. On International Day of the Girl, it’s time to focus on solutions for change so those girls won’t have to wait 217 years to reach full gender equality. This means equal pay for equal work, a balanced gender ratio in leadership positions and the accurate portrayal of women and girls in media and advertisements.

Representation matters, because if you can see her, you can be her. We have a representation problem that is impacting the next generation of leaders: Women account for only 4.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs, just 22% of the world’s parliamentarians are women and 40% of women don’t identify at all with the women they see in advertising.

For those of you in the messy middle, not only are you overcoming cultural and systemic barriers every day as you rise up into leadership positions, but you are also helping to level the playing field for the next generation by being a role model. This isn’t about men versus women or boys versus girls. When we achieve equality, everyone wins. Gender equality isn’t a female issue; it’s a social and economic imperative. In fact, as much as $28 trillion dollars could be added to the global GDP if we reach full gender equality by 2025. On International Day of the Girl, here are three solutions for change to advance equality.

Practice mentorship in the moment. Mentorship matters: I’ve always believed that relationships are the key to success, and studies show thatwomen who have mentors are more likely to get promoted.

Mentorship doesn’t have to be formal—you can lead by example and share advice in the moment regardless of position or level. In honor of International Day of the Girl, The Female Quotient partnered with Plan International USA to bring young mentees into some of the world’s leading companies, such as NBCUniversal, Facebook, Viacom and Google. By shadowing strong female mentors there, girls see that they too can become leaders, and learn the skills they need to become one.

Be intentional about the media you consume. Media helps shape culture and how we see ourselves, yet equality is far from reality in Hollywood. You as a consumer can do your part to help support women, both in front of and behind the camera. It may sound too good to be true, but watching your favorite movies and shows can help advance equality if you mindfully choose media created by female directors and writers, as well as stories featuring strong female leads. Show up at the box office for films directed by women such as the upcoming “On the Basis of Sex” by Mimi Leder or “Mary Queen of Scots” by Josie Rourke. Check out projects done by Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine, which finances films created by women. Let’s support the creation of media that will help girls dream bigger for themselves.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Rashida Tlaib Is Set to Become the First Muslim Woman Elected to Congress

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Former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib has won the Democratic nomination to run unopposed for the House seat long held by former Rep. John Conyers, setting her up to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.

No Republicans or third-party candidates ran in Tuesday’s District 13 primary race, meaning Tlaib is set to win the seat in November’s election and begin serving a full two-year term in January. The special primary race to serve the last two months of Conyers’ term was still too close to call as of early Wednesday morning, with Tlaib and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones were neck and neck. The winner of that race will also run unopposed in November’s election.

Tlaib, 42, served in the Michigan House from 2009 until 2014. She defeated five other candidates to win the nomination to run for a full term representing the heavily Democratic district, which covers much of Detroit and some of its suburbs.

The 89-year-old Conyers was first elected to the House in 1964. He stepped down in December citing health reasons, though several former female staffers had accused him of sexual harassment.

“This is a huge victory for the Arab and Muslim American communities — it’s also a huge victory for the city of Detroit,” said Sally Howell, director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. “Rashida Tlaib brings forward the legacy of John Conyers in terms of the groundbreaking role he played in Congress and his commitment to civil rights.”

Continue onto TIME 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.

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.