The law enforcement career of Pasadena Police Department Commander Cheryl Moody has been marked by a series of “firsts.” And with each milestone, Moody has been asked to take on more responsibility and higher levels of leadership.
As Pasadena PD prepares for its first major reorganization in decades, Moody is being promoted to acting deputy chief, making the 27-year veteran of the department the first African American woman to hold the position.
When Moody was promoted from lieutenant to commander five years ago, she was Pasadena PD’s first ever African American female commander.
As acting deputy chief, Moody will help spearhead the reorganization.
If all goes well, the “acting” part of the title will disappear and she will hold the title of deputy chief.
“We’re looking forward to her meeting those expectations and getting it done and providing something that we need here … from her perspective and experience,” Police Chief John Perez said. “She is in the position and getting it done. Now that she is deputy chief, we’re looking for more from her.”
Moody is up for the challenge and why shouldn’t she be?
She’s been taking on challenges since being a kid, growing up in Long Beach on what she described as “the rough side of town.”
Even then, Moody said she could see life from the perspective of the police, who were a common site in her neighborhood, and the residents, some who weren’t always making the best choices.
Moody joined the Air Force after getting an ultimatum from her parents – either go to college or join the military.
“So I went into the military,” she said. “I didn’t want to go to college.”
Fast forward a few years and now Moody is a single mother raising two sons.
She was drawn to a career in law enforcement in 1992, when working for the Long Beach Police Department as a fingerprint classifier – a non-sworn position.
“I started watching the officers in the building and reading reports and I said I too can do this job because I want to help people,” Moody said. “I could see how people were being victimized and I’ve seen it growing up in my own experiences. So I wanted to go into law enforcement to make a difference.”
When she was hired by Pasadena PD at age 32, Moody was one of the older cadets going through rigorous police academy.
Just before getting off probation, Moody was assigned to Pasadena PD’s gang unit
“Because I had grown up around gang members, I didn’t have a problem interacting with them,” said Moody was one of two women in the 20-person unit. “They didn’t frighten me. It was just part of the community I grew up in.”
Cocaine use had been running rampant at the time, and Moody worked undercover as both a drug buyer and drug dealer.
She also worked undercover posing as a street walker during prostitution stings.
“It was hard to keep my composure when these guys would say things or try and do things,” Moody said. “It was hard to stay undercover in that capacity.”
Originally posted on Axios by Lachlan Markay, Alayna Treene, Jonathan Swan
Former Olympic decathlete and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner has filed her initial paperwork to run for governor of California and will officially announce her bid later today, her campaign tells Axios.
The big picture: Jenner, a longtime Republican, is seeking to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election, hoping her celebrity status and name recognition can yield an upset in the nation’s most populous state.
But in deep-blue California, she’s decidedly not branding herself as a Trump Republican even as she’s counting on some of the former president’s advisers to drive her strategy.
She’s assembled a team of prominent GOP operatives including Tony Fabrizio, the top pollster on Donald Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns, Ryan Erwin, founder of RedRock Strategies, and Tyler Deaton, president of Allegiance Strategies.
She’s also hired Steven Cheung, a former Trump White House and campaign communications hand who worked on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s successful 2003 recall campaign. Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale, a personal friend of Jenner’s, has helped her assemble her team but doesn’t plan to take an official title on the campaign.The campaign’s website and WinRed donation page are set to go live today.
Jenner said in a statement that “Sacramento needs an honest leader with a clear vision” and that “for the past decade, we have seen the glimmer of the Golden State reduced by one-party rule that places politics over progress and special interests over people.” The statement decries California’s taxes as “too high” and criticizes an “over-restrictive lockdown” response to the COVID pandemic including on in-person schooling.
“This is Gavin Newsom’s California, where he orders us to stay home but goes out to dinner with his lobbyist friends.”
A campaign adviser tells Axios that Jenner has greater name ID than Newsom and can command the kind of earned media that “will go to every possible demographic you could think of.”
Jenner, a trans woman, “is very socially liberal,” the adviser said. “She’s running as someone that’s socially liberal and fiscally conservative.”
Don’t forget: Jenner publicly voiced support for Trump until 2018, when he rolled back federal guidelines allowing transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice. “My hope in him … was misplaced,” she wrote.
“Certainly she has not seen eye-to-eye with [Trump] on a lot of things,” the adviser said. “I think that Caitlyn will talk to anyone, Democrat or Republican. Donald Trump is not going to be the deciding factor for the state of California.”
The big picture: Jenner’s team is convinced that the race is “totally winnable,” but recent polling shows the scale of the challenge.
President Biden will nominate Christine Wormuth to be the next secretary of the Army, the White House announced Monday. She would be the first woman to serve in that role if confirmed by the Senate.
Wormuth has an extensive background in foreign policy and national security, and notably served as undersecretary of defense for policy — the third most senior civilian position in the Department of Defense — during the Obama administration.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin described her in a statement as a “true patriot with a dedicated career in service to America and our nation’s security.”
“As the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Christine advanced the department’s counter-ISIS campaign and the rebalance to Asia, and her deep expertise will be critical in addressing and deterring today’s global threats, including the pacing challenge from China and nation-state threats emanating from Russia, Iran, and North Korea,” Austin said. “I have no doubt that, if confirmed, she will lead our soldiers and represent their families with honor and integrity as the Secretary of the Army.”
Wormuth joined the Obama administration in 2009 as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and civil support, and also served as the senior director for defense policy on the National Security Council.
Currently, she is the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corp., a nonprofit think tank, and teaches as an adjunct professor in Georgetown University’s graduate program in security studies.
Wormuth led the Biden-Harris Defense Agency Review team during the presidential transition in January, the White House noted, and is a two-time recipient of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.
She also serves on the honorary advisory board of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security, a coalition established in 2019 to “promote concrete solutions to the national security gender gap.”
Wormuth’s nomination is being cheered by many as a milestone in the notoriously male-dominated field.
The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Dr. Rachel Levine as assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services. The vote is a history-making one: Levine is the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate.
The vote was 52-48 in favor of her confirmation.
Levine was previously Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, where she led the commonwealth’s COVID-19 response.
Before the vote, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., urged her colleagues to support Levine’s nomination, calling her a “trusted voice” for Pennsylvanians on matters, including opioid prescribing guidelines, health equity and LGBTQ health care.
Murray also noted the significance of the vote.
“I’ve always said the people in our government should reflect the people it serves, and today we will take a new historic step towards making that a reality. I’m proud to vote for Dr. Levine and incredibly proud of the progress this confirmation will represent, for our country and for transgender people all across it who are watching today,” she said.
Levine began her medical career as a pediatrician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, and she is a professor at the Penn State College of Medicine, where she teaches on topics such as adolescent medicine, eating disorders and transgender medicine. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Tulane University School of Medicine.
In a statement in January about the nomination, President Biden said Levine “will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their ZIP code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond.”
Last month’s confirmation hearing for Levine included combative questioning by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in which the lawmaker demanded to know if Levine believes minors are capable of making “such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex,” comparing sex reassignment procedures to “genital mutilation.”
Levine replied, “Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care that have been developed and, if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed as the assistant secretary of health, I will look forward to working with you and your office and coming to your office and discussing the particulars of the standards of care for transgender medicine.”
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History was made and made again during the 2020 election. From the most votes cast in a presidential election in U.S. history to a wave of new, young, novice, minority, and LGBTQIA+ representatives in Congress, the litany of firsts made an immediate impact, widening representation among our elected leaders and laying out a new landscape of inclusion and diversity.
It was the election of Kamala Devi Harris, however, to the second-highest office in the country –
making her the highest-ranking woman in the history of American politics – that tipped the scale and underscored its historic relevance.
Though undeniably her highest accomplishment, Harris’ newest title, Madam Vice President, is just the latest in an enduring, ceiling-shattering career of firsts.
This trailblazer is no stranger to making history.
Paving the Way
Long before her ascension to the vice-presidency, Harris’ resume of firsts had ensured her place in the history books several times over.
First African-American, first South Asian-American, and first woman elected district attorney of San Francisco. First African-American, first South Asian-American, and first woman attorney general of California. First Indian-American woman and second Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
Focused, determined, and passionate, her accomplishments can be traced back in part to her upbringing, her education, and a piece of life-shaping advice offered by her mother: “Don’t sit around and complain about things, Kamala. Do something.”
Armed with Education
Harris’ monumental career is rooted in an educational foundation that provided a unique perspective and experience to her journey. As the daughter of academically inclined parents – both earned doctorates in their respective fields – the expectation was to excel.
She earned a degree in political science and economics from the illustrious Howard University (chosen largely due to the fact that her hero, trailblazing lawyer and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, also attended). Immersed in and influenced by the unmatched cultural atmosphere offered by a historically Black college, she credits the experience as formative to her personal evolution.
“I became an adult there,” the former senator shared in a Washington Post interview. “Howard very directly influenced and reinforced – equally important – my sense of being and meaning and reasons for being.”
Surrounded by a common-place sense of political awareness and activism, Harris’ credence in the value of racial representation in government and corporate institutions was stoked during her tenure, alongside a keen sense of argumentation and an overarching belief that the best way to change a system is from the inside out. Internships with Senator Alan Cranston of California and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as jobs at the National Archives and the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, provided a pathway to do so.
By the time she graduated in 1986, she had made her mark: chairing the economics society, leading the debate team, participating in campus activism, and joining Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (the first African-American Greek-lettered sorority).
Her postgraduate journey led her to the University of California Hastings College of Law, where she attended as part of the Legal Education Opportunity Program and served as president of the Black Law Students Association before graduating in 1989 and being admitted to the California Bar the next year.
If Harris’ varied collegiate experience was the catalyst for her career of service, then her family was the incubator. Years before she ever pursued higher education, she was surrounded and influenced by a familial tradition of public service.
“Growing up, there was no question in my family that you must serve,” she said during a lecture at Spelman University in 2018. “There was simply no question.”
Her maternal grandfather, P.V. Gopalan, was a high-ranking government official who fought for Indian independence; her grandmother, Rajam, was an activist who traveled the countryside teaching impoverished women about birth control.
In fact, her decision to enter the legal field was influenced heavily by her grandfather, who she frequently overheard discussing politics, corruption, and justice while visiting India during her childhood.
“The lessons I learned from my grandfather are a big reason I do what I do today,” she said during an event supporting India’s Independence Day. “Lawyers have a profound ability to be a voice for the vulnerable and the voiceless, and that’s what I wanted to be.”
Raised to Make a Difference
To understand the trajectory of Harris’ life and her journey to the White House, you have to understand where she comes from. The daughter of two immigrants, her upbringing centered and solidified her identity and desire to be engaged and aware of the politics, organizations, and struggles of the Black community – and beyond.
Her father, Donald Harris, an emeritus professor of economics at Stanford, was born in Jamaica’s St. Ann’s Parish and came to the University of California at Berkeley in the early 60s on a scholarship from the British colonial government. Drawn to the civil rights movement, he joined the school’s Afro American Association, a building block of the Black Power movement that would help build the discipline of Black studies, introduce the holiday of Kwanzaa, and establish the Black Panther Party. An astute academic, he viewed the US as a “lively and evolving dynamic of a racially and ethnically complex society,” and was the first Black scholar to receive tenure in Stanford’s economics department.
It was her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a renowned breast cancer research scientist, however, whom Harris credits with being most responsible for shaping her into the woman she has become.
“I’m the daughter of a mother who broke down all kinds of barriers,” she shared last Mother’s Day. “Shyamala was no more than five feet tall, but if you ever met her, you’d think she was seven feet. She had such spirit and tenacity, and I’m thankful every day to have been raised by her.”
The oldest child in a high-achieving Brahmin family from Tamil Nadu, India, Gopalan relocated to the states in 1960 to pursue a doctorate in endocrinology at UC Berkeley, receiving her PhD the same year Harris was born. She, too, was drawn to the energy of the civil rights movement, and as a former colonial subject and person of color, found herself wholly accepted into the Afro American Association.
It was against this backdrop of activism and change that she and Donald met, married, and began expanding their family (with Kamala in 1964, followed by sister Maya in 1967).
Harris fondly recalls her early grounding in the movement for equality: the energetic waves of bodies and voices as she attended protests with her parents; hearing Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to mount a national campaign for president, speak in 1971; and being part of the second class to integrate her elementary school.
“My parents would bring me to protests strapped in my stroller, and my mother raised my sister and me to believe that it was up to us and every generation of Americans to keep on marching,” she divulged during her first campaign appearance as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee.
“It’s because of them and the folks who also took to the streets to fight for justice that I am where I am. They laid the path for me.”
When the couple divorced in 1971 (Harris was seven), Gopalan settled in Oakland, California, and took on the sole role of raising her daughters, simultaneously balancing a growing research career, protesting and advocating for civil rights, and bringing up her biracial children with an understanding and appreciation of both of their cultural identities – especially their Blackness.
“My mother understood very well that she was raising two Black daughters,” Harris wrote in her 2019 autobiography, The Truths We Hold. “She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as Black girls, and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud Black women.”
To that end, Gopalan herself adopted African-American culture, ensuring her daughters attended a Black Baptist church with neighbors and a preschool with prominent photos of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, as well as surrounding them with the supplemental love, guidance, and support of her fellow Afro American Association members.
The culmination of this conscious and nurturing upbringing resulted in Harris’ fully realized and unapologetic acceptance of her multicultural identity. In her words, both her Black and Indian heritages are of equal weight in terms of who she is.
“The point is: I am who I am. I’m good with it,” she told the Washington Post while on the campaign trail. “You might need to figure it out, but I’m fine with it.”
For the People
The impact of Harris’ appointment to the second-highest office in the nation is – much like the former senator herself – multifaceted. Americans who have never seen themselves represented in the country’s absolute highest echelons now have the chance.
It is a responsibility she does not take lightly. Time and again, Harris has proven through her words and actions that she is acutely aware of her ability to engage with and appeal to many American identities, and committed to her duty of ensuring they are seen and heard.
She is a source of pride for the children of immigrants and the Black, Indian, and South Asian communities, expanding the beliefs and perceived potential of how high they can ascend and how much they can influence the American story.
She embodies the fighting spirit of women and girls of all races, backgrounds, creeds and political affiliations, encouraging them to speak up as they make their ways through life.
“What I want women and girls to know is this: You are powerful and your voice matters,” she told Marie Claire. “You’re going to walk into many rooms in your life and career where you may be the only one who looks like you or has had the experiences you’ve had. But you remember that when you are in those rooms, you are not alone.
We are all in that room with you, applauding you on. Cheering your voice. So you use that voice and be strong.”
She personifies the grit and legacy of Black women like Shirley Chisholm and Carol Moseley, and is reflected in the millions of little girls of color who see their faces in her, challenging them to stand firm in their identities and what they bring to the table.
“There will be people who say to you, ‘You are out of your lane,’” she told participants of the 2020 Black Girls Lead conference. “They are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don’t you let that burden you.
Don’t be burdened by their perspectives or judgement, and do not let anyone ever tell you who you are. You tell them who you are.”
She, along with her husband, Doug, and step-children Cole and Ella (who lovingly call her Momala), are a shining example of the beauty of family – no matter how they are constructed. All you need, she posits, is love.
“The thing about blended families is this – if everyone approaches it in the way that there’s plenty of love to share, then it works,” she said about her modern-day brood. “And we have plenty of love to share within our extended family.”
And, perhaps most importantly, she is an enduring reminder that while breaking barriers may be painful, the fight is worth it to ensure that the next generation will have a path. It is the immortal lesson given to her by the most important role model of her life: her mother.
“My mother would look at me and she’d say, ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last,’” she recalls often. “That’s why breaking those barriers are worth it. As much as anything else, it is also to create that path for those who will come after us.”
Guided by this life motto, Vice President Harris knows one thing for sure – she may be the first woman to hold the office, but she won’t be the last.
Days before leaving office, the Trump Administration has created a new network of women in business that aims at implementing the Abraham Accords, a series of normalization agreements that were signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and subsequently Bahrain and other countries, backed by Washington.
The initiative, called “United Women’s Economic Development Network” is part of Ivanka Trump’s flagship work in the White House, the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative, and was spearheaded by Kelley
(Photo Credit – MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Currie, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, and Aryeh Lightstone, a recently-appointed Special Envoy for Economic Normalization.
The network is one of the Trump Administration’s last efforts to promote the Abraham Accords and its work in the Middle East before the end of the Presidency—but it’s unclear what is going to happen to the initiative once a new administration is in the White House.
“Following the signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020, signatory parties have worked to establish across the region a warm peace, inclusive of all, and to develop new cross-country economic partnerships,” a press release issued by the White House on Thursday said. “In pursuit of those goals, the advancement of women’s economic empowerment has come to occupy a role of central importance.”
According to the White House, women entrepreneurs from the United States, Bahrain, Morocco, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Uzbekistan, and Kosovo took part in the launch of the initiative. A group of about 40 women attended the event, including Dr. Shaika Rana bint Isa Alkhalifa, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, and Netta Korin, co-founder of Israel’s largest blockchain infrastructure company Orbs.
Kamala Harris addressed Americans for the first time as vice president-elect of the United States, making history as the first woman, Black American and South Asian American to win the nation’s second highest office.
At an event in Wilmington, Delaware, with President-elect Joe Biden, she nodded specifically to the work of the women who came before her, adding: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.”
She spoke about an America under the Biden administration that focused on equality and justice, and reminded supporters that “America’s democracy is not guaranteed — it is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it.”
The Associated Press called the 2020 election for Biden after calling the race in Pennsylvania, giving him more than the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the presidency. “We the people have the power to build a better future,” she said.
Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice, and addresses a crowd gathered at the White House to witness the event.
Amy Coney Barrett is a lawyer, jurist, and former academic who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was nominated by President Donald Trump and has served since October 27, 2020. She previously was a United States circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 2017 to 2020.
Trump nominated Barrett to the Seventh Circuit and the Senate confirmed her on October 31, 2017. Before and while serving on the federal bench, she was a professor of law at Notre Dame Law School, where she has taught civil procedure, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation.
On September 26, 2020, Trump announced his intention to nominate Barrett to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court of the United States. The United States Senate voted 52–48 to confirm her nomination, with all Democrats opposed and all but one Republican in favor.
Described as a protégé of Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett supports an originalist interpretation of the Constitution.
A founding partner of the Equal Rights Law Group, attorney Mika M. Hilaire has won so many numerous settlements and verdicts for the employees she represents throughout California and the United States in a wide range of matters related to employment law and litigation, she is often considered the ‘the legal gladiator in high heels.’
In addition to Hilaire’s representation of clients, she also provides employment-related counsel. She regularly assists clients in contract negotiations, workplace negotiations and offers training on a variety of topics, such as sexual harassment and discrimination.
Hilaire earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, with a major from the nationally recognized Rhetoric Department. While at Berkeley, she was a member of the Women’s Track and Field and Basketball teams. After earning her law degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law and her admission to The State Bar of California in 2001, Hilaire immediately focused on employment law, giving her almost 20 years of valuable experience in the practice area.
Thanks to Hilaire’s focus and extensive legal knowledge, she has secured countless successful settlements for her clients, including one recent case that resulted in a $47 million verdict. Her long and impressive record of success has led to a number of honors, including a “Superb” rating from Avvo. Hilaire was recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer in 2019 and 2020, and as a Southern California Rising Star from 2007-2013 for her representation of clients in employment law.
In addition to these honors, Hilaire has also earned the respect of the legal community. She is a regular guest speaker on local, state and national levels. She is also a member of a number of organizations, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
On April 11, Virginia became the most progressive state in the southern United States in just two days. Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, signed the “Virginia Values Acts,” which will expand and clarify the protections of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Act specifically details the protections that the LGBTQ+ community has against employment, housing, and credit discrimination as well as protections of transgender students in the school system. Additionally, the act gives a non-binary option for driver’s licenses, expanded the definition of LGBTQ+ hate crimes, and makes the process of changing the gender on official documents an easier process.
The Virginia Acts Bill is only one of the many progressive bills that Governor Northam has passed this year. Along with about 16 other laws put in place to support the LGBTQ+ community, Governor Northam has also passed laws that protect reproductive rights and call for a stricter protocol on gun ownership.
The Virginia Values Act is set to take effect on July 1 and is widely supported by Virginia’s LGBTQ+ community. Northam is known by the community to be a longtime ally and vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ issues and legislation.
In February, India’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of equal rights in the country’s armed forces, ordering the government to grant permanent commission and command positions to women officers in consistent practice with men.
This landmark judgment means that all women will now be eligible for the same promotions, ranks, benefits and pensions as their male counterparts. While the court’s ruling does not permit women to serve in army combat units, like the infantry or artillery corps, they are now eligible to command entire battalions or run the intelligence department.
This change will allow women to serve a full tenure and earn a higher rank, with greater salary and leadership potential. Women have been inducted into the army through short service commissions, which only permit them to serve for 10 to 14 years.
“This change will lift up women – not just in the army but all girls across the country and the world,” said Lt. Col. Seema Singh to reporters after the court ruling as reported by CNN.
In the judgment, the Supreme Court indicated that it was time for change in India’s armed forces.
“The time has come for a realization that women officers in the army are not adjuncts to a male dominated establishment whose presence must be ‘tolerated’ within narrow confines,” the court said.