Michigan’s Eastpointe Welcomes its First Black Mayor
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Mayor Monique Owens sitting on a bench and smiling and the camera

By Sara Salam

In November, Monique Owens became the first Black mayor of Michigan’s Eastpointe.

Prior to her election as mayor, Owens served as a councilwoman for two years. Owens is the first African American elected to either position.

Her journey to this post has been nothing short of eventful.

Back in 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a suit in which it argued that Eastpointe violated the Voting Rights Act. The suit claims Eastpointe systematically denied its African-American residents the opportunity to elect people who look like them by holding citywide votes for its city council seats. In contrast, cities like neighboring Detroit divide the city into districts, which then elect their own representatives.

One outcome of the lawsuit was Owens’s election to the Eastpointe City Council. Subsequently this past November, she was elected mayor. She narrowly beat fellow City Council member Michael Klinefelt, earning 1,648 votes to his 1,629 votes—a 19-vote victory.

Currently, about 30 percent of Eastpointe’s 32,000 residents are African American. According to the U.S. census, African Americans made up 4.7 percent of the population in 2000.

Owens is the first African American elected to either position.

Owens moved from Clinton Township in Macomb County to Eastpointe about ten years ago. She started her career as a clerical employee in the Detroit Police Department and later as a Wayne County Sheriff deputy.

She first got into politics when she applied to finish an Eastpointe council member’s term following their death. She applied again when a council member resigned a month after they were elected.

After her election to the Eastpointe City Council in 2017, she developed a greater desire to serve as mayor.

“I want people to own their own homes, be proud of where they live at and invest more into the city,” Owens said in a statement.

She also wants to work with police to lower crimes and bring more recreation parks to the city.

A community once named East Detroit, Eastpointe changed its name in 1991 per voter choice as a means of distancing itself from the negative connotations associated with its Motor City neighbor.

Owens wants to help educate Black people about politics and public policy that she was not taught as a child.

“I want to write a children’s book to teach kids about public policy at a young age,” she said. “When they get to a certain age, they will know what a councilperson is, what a mayor is—and become that.”

Sources: michiganadvance.com; clickondetroit.com; metrotimes.com

Foundation For Women Honors Amanda Gorman, Amanda Nguyen, Dr. Kizzmekiah Corbett, Laura Jiménez, And Marissa Nuncio At 2021 Gloria Awards
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Marlo Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Patricia Carbine and Letty Cottin-Pogrebin speak during the 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision virtual event

Recently, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the nation’s first and oldest women’s foundation, hosted The 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision, which paid tribute to the remarkable achievements of those whose courage and leadership move our society toward a more just and inclusive world, and raised funds that will help support women-led nonprofits and community organizations in the nation’s most impacted communities.

The evening honored Rise CEO and founder Amanda Nguyen, Immunologist at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Moderna Vaccine co-developer Dr. Kizzmekiah Corbett, 2021 Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman, along with two leaders from grantee partner organizations–Laura Jiménez,  Director of The Garment Worker Center, and Marissa Nuncio, Executive Director for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. Photo: Marlo Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Patricia Carbine and Letty Cottin-Pogrebin speak during the 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision – VIRTUAL EVENT on May 19, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images Ms. Foundation for Women)

The Gloria Awards, named for Gloria Steinem, one of the organization’s founding mothers, is a yearly celebration to benefit Ms. Foundation grantee partners around the country and to recognize leaders who have made an indelible impact on the movement for gender equity at the local, state, and national level. Ms. Nguyen, Ms. Jiménez, and Ms. Nuncio, received the Women of Vision Award, honoring feminist leaders who create positive change. Dr. Corbett received the Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award, named after the former CEO and President of the Foundation to recognize young, trailblazing feminists. Ms. Gorman received the Free to Be You and Me Award.

Championing the theme “JOY UNMUTED,”more than 1,000 registrants celebrated a much-needed release after this very intense year, demonstrating that no matter what, they will rise in collective joy as they speak truth to power.

HIGHLIGHT: Gloria Steinem opened the The 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision ceremony with a reflection of the past year.

TOP QUOTE: Gloria Steinem, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”The past year has had a life-altering effect on everyone, and especially on especially women, particularly women of color. But even in the face of the most daunting challenges and great pain, women found the passion and determination to continue to fight for equality and justice. Tonight, we’re here to honor that collective power and draw inspiration from each other, knowing that we can all take action.”

HIGHLIGHT: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett received the Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award Recipient:

This award honors trailblazing feminist leaders who amplify their voice and enact positive change by paving the way for generations to come. Dr Corbett is an immunologist who developed the Moderna Vaccine and spends her weekends educating marginalized communities about vaccine safety and efficacy in an effort to ease health disparities.

TOP QUOTE: Dr. Corbett said, “What I want women and girls of color, in particular, to know is that you have a purpose. You have meaning. And you belong. Oftentimes we are made to feel like we are outside of all the great things that are happening, when actually the opposite is true. We are at the heart of it. Women of color have been and continue to be the backbone of this country. We create, we lead, and with that comes amazing movements like for example the COVID-19 vaccine. Part of the reason why we are able to do that is because of our strength. Because we understand what the strength is in our purpose. Finding that strength, understanding that purpose is how you as a woman or girl can fuel what you are destined to be.”

HIGHLIGHT: Amanda Gorman, Free to Be You and Me Award Honoree: 

This award honors young activists enacting change and leading the way for future generations.  Her unbridled passion for poetry and the written word has cemented much-needed messages of power, agency, and hope across generations. Ms. Foundation’s Founding Mother, Marlo Thomas presented her with this award.

TOP QUOTE: Poet and Changemaker Amanda Gorman said, “To ‘unmute joy,’ you also have to unmute your hope, your faith, your belief, your fire. And one of the ways in which continue to unmute my joy is by unmuting my voice. Growing up with a speech impediment, being a spoken word poet wasn’t always easy. And every single time I get onstage, whether it be at the Inauguration or in a third grade classroom, I am still terrified. But unmuting joy doesn’t mean that you are unafraid, it just means that there’s something more important than your fear. So I hope that you continue to unmute your joy, and furthermore to put it on full volume.”

HIGHLIGHT: Amanda Nguyen, Woman of Vision Award Recipient:

Amanda was honored not only for  her work not only as CEO and founder of Rise, a civil rights accelerator that empowers everyday citizens to pen their own rights into existence, but also for her outspoken candor regarding Anti-Asian Racism and attacks against the AAPI communities. Actor Kelly Marie Tran presented her with this award.

TOP QUOTE: When introducing Amanda, Kelly Marie Tran said, “Amanda is not only my friend, my sister, and my role model, she is also a civil rights activist…I am so proud of you. I am truly, constantly inspired by your persistence, tenacity, and your grace. You’ve taught me so much.”

TOP QUOTE: Amanda Nguyen, CEO and Founder of Rise,  upon receiving the award, said, “We can absolutely speak our issues into the consciousness of the nation, of the world. There’s a long history of people taking their painful living truths and channeling that into justice, and I have joined that tradition by penning my own rights into existence…We are certainly stronger when we come together.”

HIGHLIGHT: President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation, Teresa C. Younger,  shared remarks about the theme of the event.

TOP QUOTE: “We decided we would embrace joy as a stance towards resistance. And so tonight, we are joy unmuted,” and continued on with the importance of the Ms. Foundation’s work, “By letting our grantees lead, we’re able to amplify the voices of the next generation. And with your help, we are going to continue the fight for true equity and justice for all.”

HIGHLIGHT: Annually, the Ms. Foundation honors grassroots leaders, influencers and philanthropists who have made an indelible impact on the gender justice movement at the local, state, and national levels, and this year, Marissa Nuncio, Director of The Garment Worker Center and Laura Jiménez, Executive Director for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice were the recipients of this Women of Vision Award.

TOP QUOTE: Marissa Nuncio said, “Organizing for worker rights is also about organizing for women’s rights because it is women who bear the brunt of labor abuses at their impacts.  At GWC [The Garment Worker Center], when women are organizing, they’re organizing for the agency that fair compensation gives them in their personal lives and household, for the right to have their bodies respected and free from danger and violence in the workplace, for freedom from mental abuse by their bosses, and for the empowered voice that they enjoy when they take collective action side-by-side their sisters and brothers in struggle. We’re grateful the Ms. Foundation champions this collective power within our membership.”

TOP QUOTE: Laura Jiménez said, “We have seen how over the last four years especially the situation for reproductive rights, health, and justice has become more and more dire – but I also want to remind you that even so, we have made significant wins: passing legislation to support young parents, defeating restrictive abortion laws at the Supreme Court, and turning out voters. This is the power of women, girls and femmes who will not be silenced into submission.  So, make sure you use your voice to speak about issues that matter to you because your voice matters for you and so many others.”

HIGHLIGHT:  Founding Mothers Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, Patricia Carbine and Letty Cottin-Pogrebin made special appearances for the event, discussing the history of the founding of the Ms. Foundation for Women in 1973. Key quotes include:

TOP QUOTE: Gloria Steinem, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”There was no other foundation devoted to the female half of the population in all of its diversity.”

TOP QUOTE:  Patricia Carbine, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”We had the luxury of deciding how we were going to arrange ourselves as a group at the Magazine. We really started from scratch.”

TOP QUOTE: Letty Cottin-Pogrebin, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”We had that, what is now called intersectionality, in our minds. There was a consciousness that maybe didn’t have a name.”

TOP QUOTE: Marlo Thomas, Founding Mother of Ms. Foundation stated, ”That’s why this Foundation started, we were four women who reached out to these other women Dolores Huerta, Maxine Waters, and all the ones that we’ve been discussing today. We knew that we wanted their voices, and we knew what we wanted to do with the money. We were very purposeful. We were ambitious, audacious, and purposeful. You have to be that way to change the world.”

The 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of  Vision is still available for viewing at: wov2021.forwomen.org and paid ticket purchasers can gain access to the full exclusive Founding Mothers conversation.

For over 45 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The Ms. Foundation invests in and strengthens the capacity of women-led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in the lives of women. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world in which the worth and dignity of every person are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.

WBENC’s weekly virtual event in June
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four women sitting on stage with microphones at a WBENC event

Have you heard about WBENC’s weekly virtual event in June that’s focused on the future? Every Tuesday starting on the 8th, this series is bringing together America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises and WBE Stars to help women business owners like me achieve a successful and sustainable future. Come network with me!

See the full event schedule, session details, and pricing information at wbenc.org/june2021

Just In Time For Mother’s Day, OpenTable Reveals its 2021 List of the 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America
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A group of people is dining in a elegance restaurant or hotel

OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations and part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), recently released its annual list of the 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America for 2021.

As restaurant restrictions ease in the U.S, a recent OpenTable survey* shows 33% of Americans haven’t had an extended family gathering in more than a year, and OpenTable data shows Mother’s Day reservations are up 64% compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic levels) – a clear sign families are eager to reunite and celebrate with their loved ones this Mother’s Day.

“This Mother’s Day will be more meaningful than as it may be one of the first occasions that families are reuniting around the table since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Debby Soo, CEO at OpenTable. “We wanted to make sure diners had the best brunch restaurants at their fingertips as they make plans to celebrate this special holiday with their loved ones.”

Featuring restaurants coast-to-coast, across 24 states and Washington, D.C., the list is a comprehensive look at the best brunch spots in the country. The Best Brunch Restaurants in America list was culled from more than 12 million verified diner reviews of over 30,000 restaurants in 50 states and Washington, D.C. California is the most recognized state on the list with 17 restaurants honored, followed by Florida and Pennsylvania with eight winning restaurants. Illinois and Texas each boast seven winning restaurants and Georgia, Minnesota and Nevada claim six honorees.

From restaurants with just the right ambiance for both indoor and outdoor dining, like Foreign Cinema in San Francisco, to sweet and savory favorites at Yardbird Southern Table and Bar in Las Vegas and Miami to local big-city favorites like Perch in Los Angeles, the Best Brunch list features a wide variety of options for any type of menu and environment diners are looking for.

The annual list comes on the heels of OpenTable’s national “Frame the Feeling” promotion, an initiative to help families capture the moment as they reconnect this Mother’s Day. The campaign offers professional family photos for all reservations made on Mother’s Day at 14 select restaurants nationwide.

The 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America for 2021 according to OpenTable diners, are as follows (listed alphabetically):

  1. a’Bouzy – Houston, TX
  2. Ambar Capitol Hill – Washington D.C.
  3. Anis Cafe and Bistro – Atlanta, GA
  4. Atchafalaya Restaurant – New Orleans, LA
  5. The Aviary Restaurant & Bar – Swansea, MA
  6. Baldamar – Roseville, MN
  7. The Barn at Rocky Fork Creek – Gahanna, OH
  8. Beachcomber Cafe – Crystal Cove – Newport Coast, CA
  9. Beetlecat – Atlanta, GA
  10. Bistro at Edgewood Tahoe – Stateline, NV
  11. The Bistro at LaBelle Winery Amherst – Amherst, NH
  12. Bistro L’Hermitage – Woodbridge, VA
  13. Bistro Niko – Atlanta, GA
  14. Black Bass Hotel – Lumberville, PA
  15. Blue Bell Inn – Blue Bell, PA
  16. The Boathouse – Lake Buena Vista, FL
  17. Brennan’s – Multiple Locations
  18. Bristol Seafood Grill – Leawood, KS
  19. Brix – Napa, CA
  20. Buttermilk & Bourbon – Boston, MA
  21. Cabra – Chicago, IL
  22. Café Ba-Ba-Reeba – Chicago, IL
  23. Cafe Monte – Charlotte, NC
  24. Canoe – Atlanta, GA
  25. Cap City Fine Diner & Bar – Grandview – Columbus, OH
  26. Cappy’s Restaurant – San Antonio, TX
  27. Carson’s Food & Drink – Lexington, KY
  28. Cheever’s Cafe – Oklahoma City, OK
  29. Chianti Grill – Burnsville, MN
  30. The Dandelion – Philadelphia, PA
  31. Del Vino Vineyards – Northport, NY
  32. Duke’s La Jolla – San Diego, CA
  33. Eiffel Tower – Las Vegas, NV
  34. Eight4Nine – Palm Springs, CA
  35. Fabian’s Italian Bistro – Fair Oaks, CA
  36. Farmhouse at Rogers Gardens – Corona Del Mar, CA
  37. Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar – Memphis, TN
  38. The Food Market – Baltimore, MD
  39. Foreign Cinema – San Francisco, CA
  40. The Front Yard – North Hollywood, CA
  41. Good Day Cafe – Golden Valley, MN
  42. Grace’s – Houston, TX
  43. Great Maple – San Diego, CA
  44. Green Valley Grill – Greensboro, NC
  45. The Hampton Social – Multiple Locations
  46. Happy Camper – Denver, CO
  47. Haywire – Plano, TX
  48. Hazelwood – Bloomington, MN
  49. Hell’s Kitchen – Caesars Palace – Las Vegas, NV
  50. The Henry – Phoenix, AZ
  51. Honey Salt – Las Vegas, NV
  52. JOLO Winery & Vineyards – Pilot Mountain, NC
  53. La Merise – Denver, CO
  54. Lake Elmo Inn – Lake Elmo, MN
  55. Latitudes on Sunset Key – Key West, FL
  56. Le Diplomate – Washington D.C.
  57. Le Yaca – Williamsburg, VA
  58. Ledger Restaurant & Bar – Salem, MA
  59. Lindey’s – Columbus, OH
  60. Little Goat – Chicago, IL
  61. Lon’s at The Hermosa – Paradise Valley, AZ
  62. The Love – Philadelphia, PA
  63. Madison – San Diego, CA
  64. Meson Sabika – Naperville, IL
  65. Mon Ami Gabi – Las Vegas, NV
  66. Murphy’s – Atlanta, GA
  67. OBC Kitchen – Lexington, KY
  68. Old Ebbitt Grill – Washington D.C.
  69. Ouisie’s Table – Houston, TX
  70. Pacific Coast Grill – Cardiff By the Sea, CA
  71. Parc – Philadelphia, PA
  72. Perch – Los Angeles, CA
  73. Pier W – Cleveland, OH
  74. Poor Calvin’s – Atlanta, GA
  75. Preserved Restaurant – St. Augustine, FL
  76. Prime: An American Kitchen & Bar – Huntington, NY
  77. Print Works Bistro – Greensboro, NC
  78. RH – Multiple Locations
  79. The Rooftop by JG – Beverly Hills, CA
  80. Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant – Long Branch, NJ
  81. Root Down – Denver, CO
  82. Seed Kitchen + Bar – Marietta, GA
  83. Sheldon Inn Restaurant & Bar – Elk Grove, CA
  84. Simon Pearce Restaurant – Quechee, VT
  85. Soby’s – Greenville, SC
  86. Summer House Santa Monica – Chicago, IL
  87. Sunset Terrace – Omni Grove Park Inn – Asheville, NC
  88. Talula’s Garden – Philadelphia, PA
  89. The Tap Room at Dubsdread – Orlando, FL
  90. Tavern 4 & 5 – Eden Prairie, MN
  91. Terrain Cafe – Glen Mills, PA
  92. The Tropicale – Palm Springs, CA
  93. Ulele – Tampa, FL
  94. Union and Finch – Allentown, PA
  95. Vintage – Vail, CO
  96. WeHo Bistro – West Hollywood, CA
  97. Whiskey Cake – Plano, TX
  98. Wine Bar George – A Restaurant & Bar – Orlando, FL
  99. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar – Multiple Locations
  100. Zaytinya – Washington D.C.

The complete list may also be viewed at: https://pages.email.opentable.com/Top100BrunchUS. To learn more about the “Frame the Feeling” promotion, visit the OpenTable blog at http://blog.opentable.com/2021/mothers-day-2021-frame-the-feeling.

OT Best Brunch Methodology:
The 100 Best Brunch Restaurants list is generated solely from diner reviews collected between from April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021. All restaurants with a minimum rating and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the sum of tags for which “brunch” was selected as a special feature.

*OT Survey Methodology:
OpenTable partnered with YouGov on April 19 – 20, 2021 to survey 1,326 adults (aged 18+) online within the U.S. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+).

About OpenTable
OpenTable, part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), powers reservations for the hospitality industry. OpenTable’s software seats more than 1 billion people per year and helps more than 60,000 restaurants, bars, wineries and other venues attract guests, manage capacity, improve operations and maximize revenue.

Stacey Abrams is Re-Releasing Three of Her Romance Novels
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Stacey Abrams standing in front of a microphone stand while smiling away from the camera.

By , Vulture

Get ready to swoon. Berkley, a Penguin Random House imprint, is rereleasing three Stacey Abrams romantic suspense novels that have been out of print for many years. Originally published under the pen name Selena Montgomery, Rules of Engagement, The Art of Desire, and Power of Persuasion will be out in hardcover and audio in 2022. According to a release, each of these novels, which were her first published books, features “international espionage, page-turning action, a core love story, Black heroines, and a diverse cast of characters.”

While the Democratic political leader and Team Spike fan has since written bestsellers on topics from voter suppression to leadership, she has never shied away from her romance-novelist roots. “As my first novels, they remain incredibly special to me,” Abrams said in a statement. “The characters and their adventures are what I’d wished to read as a young Black woman — stories that showcase women of color as nuanced, determined, and exciting. As Selena and as Stacey, I am proud to be a part of the romance-writing community and excited that Berkley is reintroducing these stories for new readers and faithful fans.”

Click here to read the full article on Vulture.

Joye Hummel, first woman hired to write Wonder Woman comics, dies at 97
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Joye Hummel at a comic-con convention speaking on a pannel.

By Harrison Smith

In March 1944, shortly before Joye Hummel graduated from the Katharine Gibbs secretarial school in Manhattan, she was invited to meet with one of her instructors, a charismatic psychologist who had been impressed by her essays on a take-home test.

Over tea at the Harvard Club, professor William Moulton Marston offered her a job — not in the classroom or psych lab, but in the office of his 43rd Street art studio. He wanted Ms. Hummel to help him write scripts for Wonder Woman, the Amazonian superhero he had created three years earlier and endowed with a magic lasso, indestructible bracelets, an eye-catching red bustier and a feminist sensibility.

PHOTO: Wikipedia

Ms. Hummel, then 19, had never read Wonder Woman; she had never even read a comic book. But Marston needed an assistant. His character, brought to life on the page by artist H.G. Peter, was appearing in four comic books and was about to star in a syndicated newspaper strip. He was looking for someone young who could write slang and who, perhaps most importantly, shared his philosophy and vision for the character.

“You understand that I want women to feel they have the right to go out, to study, to find something they love to do and get out in the world and do it,” Ms. Hummel recalled his saying. She was “astonished and delighted” by the job offer, according to historian Jill Lepore’s book, “The Secret History of Wonder Woman,” and soon began writing for the comic. “I always did have a big imagination,” she said.

Ms. Hummel worked as a Wonder Woman ghostwriter for the next three years, long before any woman was publicly credited as a writer for the series. As invisible to readers as Wonder Woman’s transparent jet plane, she was increasingly recognized after Lepore interviewed her in 2014. Four years later, she received the Bill Finger Award, given to overlooked or underappreciated comic book writers at the Eisner Awards.

Ms. Hummel, who was known in recent years by her married name, Joye Murchison Kelly, died April 5 at her home in Winter Haven, Fla., a day after turning 97. Her son Robb Murchison confirmed the death but did not know the precise cause.

“Joye was absolutely a pioneer in bringing her own voice into these stories,” Lepore said in a phone interview. “She was then pretty much entirely forgotten. … I sort of think that people hadn’t bothered to find her. I called her up and said, ‘Are you the Joye Hummel who wrote Wonder Woman in the 1940s?’ She nearly dropped the receiver — she was delighted but surprised. It was a story she had told her grandchildren, but they didn’t believe her.”

By the time Ms. Hummel started writing for Wonder Woman, the comics had an audience of 10 million readers. The character debuted in a 1941 issue of All-Star Comics, three years after Superman first lifted a car on the cover of Action Comics and two years after Batman leaped across the pages of Detective Comics.

Together, the three superheroes became linchpins of DC Comics, with Wonder Woman emerging as arguably the world’s most famous female superhero. She appeared on the cover of Ms. Magazine’s first issue (“Wonder Woman for President”), inspired a hit 1970s TV show starring Lynda Carter and was revitalized for the big screen beginning in 2016, played by Gal Gadot

The character was “created by a whole series of women” who were never publicly credited, Lepore said. Marston — whose psychological research contributed to the development of the lie-detector test — received help from his wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston, as well as their partner, Olive Byrne, the daughter of radical feminist Ethel Byrne and niece of birth-control activist Margaret Sanger. Both women worked behind the scenes, forming a fruitful creative triad and secret domestic arrangement: one husband, two wives.

After Ms. Hummel became the first woman hired to write for Wonder Woman, Byrne gave her a copy of Sanger’s book “Woman and the New Race,” which advocated for legalized birth control, and told her it contained everything she needed to know about the character.

Ms. Hummel at first typed Marston’s scripts before writing more than 70 scripts of her own, with detailed instructions for the artists. She developed stories that were often more innocent than her boss’s, which showed Wonder Woman fighting fascism while also being bound, tied, lassoed or gagged. Years later, she recalled that when she brought her scripts to editor Sheldon Mayer, “He always OK’d mine faster because I didn’t make mine as sexy.”

All of the early comics were published under a pseudonym, Charles Moulton, invented by Marston. Individual writers were credited in later anthologies by DC, which revealed that Ms. Hummel was behind some of the series’ more fantastical stories, involving beautiful mermaids and winged maidens. “They’re like fairy tales,” said cartoonist and historian Trina Robbins, who later worked on Wonder Woman.

Ms. Hummel stopped writing the comics in late 1947, shortly after she married, deciding to stay home and raise her stepdaughter. Marston had died earlier that year, and the series passed to writers who did away with much of the comic’s feminist messaging, including a regular centerfold feature chronicling the lives of influential women.

The changes infuriated Ms. Hummel, who remained loyal to Marston’s original vision of Wonder Woman as an emblem of free and courageous womanhood. Decades later, she wrote in an email to Lepore: “Even if I had not left because of my new daughter, I would have resigned if I was told I had to make [Wonder Woman] a masculine thinking and acting superwoman.”

Joye Evelyn Hummel was born April 4, 1924, and grew up on Long Island. Her son said that she rarely spoke of her upbringing; at various times, both of her parents apparently managed a grocery store chain.

Read the full article at  The Washington Post.

A software developer built a simpler vaccine sign-up website in her state while on maternity leave
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woman sitting at dining table sewing on a sewing machine wearing a mask

Originally posted on CNN

After her mother-in-law had difficulty signing up for a Covid-19 vaccine, a Massachusetts woman created a website to make it easier for her — and she made it easier for everyone.

Olivia Adams built a website that pulls in vaccination appointments from across the state, including government sites as well as ones operated by private businesses. She called it macovidvaccines.com.

Photo Credit: CNN

The 28-year-old software developer from Arlington, Massachusetts, says she spent three weeks and about 40 hours building the website — and she did it while on maternity leave caring for her 2-month-old son, she told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Monday.

“I thought I’d take a look and I was surprised at how decentralized everything was and how there are a thousand different websites to go to,” Adams said. “I thought, ‘How can I put my software skills to use to make this better in my free time?'”

Free time usually happened when her newborn is sleeping, Adams said. She said her 2-year-old son is at day care, so she’s lucky not to be caring for both during the day.

The inspiration came after listening to her mother-in-law, who had a tough time signing up for an appointment. Her mother-in-law is a dental hygienist who qualified for the first phase of vaccinations, she said.

“She had a little trouble figuring out where to go and how to get signed up,” Adams said. “She was able to do it, but it took a little while and then she had the same problem when she was able to sign her father up when he became eligible at the beginning of our phase two.”

Her family isn’t alone in their vaccine sign-up struggles. People across the country, from senior citizens to others in the early vaccine phases, have faced with hours waiting on the phone and logging online to see no spots available.

Adams examined Massachusetts’ online vaccine portal and realized she could make it better for everyone.

She said she is used to making complicated software related to health care needs in her job as a lead member of the technical staff at Athenahealth, a health care technology company.

But, she’s never created a website quite like this.

“This was my first time making a complicated website myself,” she said. “The hardest part about it is that every website that has availability information I have to kind of tell my computer how to read that website like a human. That’s where all the man hours went in.”

The vaccine appointments are available at a number of sites, from those run by the state to those administered at grocery stores and pharmacies. Parsing all that information for each provider is where it got a bit time consuming, she said.

Adams has a script that runs every five minutes across about 20 different vaccine sites, she wrote in an email.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was asked about Adams’ vaccine website at a press conference on Friday. “Send us her name, we’ll talk to her,” Baker said Friday.

Read the complete article here.

Cultural Brokers Build Bridges for African American Women in STEM
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by Danielle Ferguson, Ed.D., Researcher, American Institute for Research (AIR)

Dr. Danielle Ferguson, now a researcher at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), focused her dissertation on African American Women in STEM: Uncovering stories of persistence and resilience through an examination of social and cultural capital.

In this article, Dr. Ferguson shares some of what she learned from her research.  

There have been many calls from researchers to increase the diversity of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field (Archer et al., 2015; McGee & Bentley, 2017), especially including the participation of more African American women. The lack of representation of African American women and other people from diverse backgrounds could be viewed through multiple lenses but diversity could only improve the global competitiveness of the United States. Furthermore, STEM careers provide economic benefits for individuals because they are amongst the fastest growing career path and provide higher salaries than other careers (Pew Research Center, 2018). 

Many teachers, professors, researchers, and others have answered this call to action by creating programs at the institutional level to increase the interest, participation, and retention of African American women in the STEM field, such as the Defense STEM Education Consortium program at Morgan State University. But what happens to African American women after they enter STEM careers? According to the eight successful African American women with a terminal degree in the STEM field, who were interviewed as part of Dr. Ferguson’s research, their experiences in their STEM careers are not what they expected. They feel undervalued, face both sexism and racism, and lack the guidance and support that they need to advance in the field. 

In order for African American women to be successful once they enter the STEM field, they need guidance and support. Glen Aikenhead (2001) argued that learning science is a cross-cultural event for non-white students, therefore success in the field requires a cultural broker. A cultural broker is someone who relates to an individual’s culture and the culture of science and can help individuals build a bridge between the two cultures. Cultural brokers offer individuals, including African American women, strategies for success in their field by providing them with specific feedback for how to advance in their field, introducing them to key people, and helping them navigate cultural borders by showing them how to leverage their cultural capital in the STEM fields. They encourage African Americans to bring their full selves to their careers while also assisting them in being successful in STEM. 

Cultural brokers spend time building relationships with African American women. They offer them authentic opportunities for professional growth. For example, instead of only suggesting that these women attend professional conferences, cultural brokers provide them opportunities to participate in projects that they can present at conferences. Additionally, cultural brokers help African American women understand the importance of attending professional conferences is networking with prominent researchers in the STEM fields and assist them in making important connections with these individuals. Cultural brokers assist African American women in getting articles published in peer-reviewed journals by modeling the process and connecting them with others with whom they can collaborate, since publications help individuals build prominence in STEM fields. Cultural brokers listen to African American women. They do not downplay the hardships that they face but work with them to find solutions to overcome the barriers. Furthermore, they advocate with and for African American women. In summary, the role of a cultural broker is to go beyond providing African American women with information but to assist these women in building bridges between their experiences and perspectives and the experiences that are valuable in STEM fields.

If we truly believe that increasing the diversity of STEM fields is beneficial to individuals and our nation, we cannot continue to encourage African American women to pursue STEM careers then leave them scrambling for opportunities once they arrive. We cannot continue to provide mentorship that requires these women to detach from their identities and culture. We have to become cultural brokers for these women to help them bridge the gap between their culture and the culture of science by providing genuine opportunities, support, and listening to these women. Trial by fire can no longer be a rite of passage in STEM, especially for African American women. 

References: 

Aikenhead, G. S. (2001). Integrating western and aboriginal sciences. Cross-cultural Science Teaching, 31, 337-355. 

Archer, L., DeWitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillion, J., Willis, B., & Wong, B. (2013). ‘Not girly, not sexy, not glamorous’: Primary school girls’ and parents’ constructions of science aspirations. Pedagogy, Culture & Society 21(1), 171-194. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681366.2012.748676

Ferguson, D.S. (2016). African American women in STEM: Uncovering stories of persistence and resilience through an examination of social and cultural capital (Accession No. 10158857). [Doctoral dissertation, Morgan State University, Baltimore]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.  

McGee, E. O., & Bentley, L. (2017). The troubled success of Black women in STEM, Cognition and Instruction, 35(4), 265-289.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07370008.2017.1355211

Pew Research Center. (2018). “Women and Men in STEM Often at Odds Over Workplace Equity.” Retrieved from https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/01/09/women-and-men-in-stem-often-at-odds-over-workplace-equity/

Mississippi’s Asya Branch Wins Miss USA 2020
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Miss USA pageant winner Asya Branch smilign with sash on and clasping hands

Better late than never! Months after the competition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Miss Mississippi USA Asya Branch has been crowned Miss USA 2020.

Branch, 22, was awarded the coveted title on Monday in a competition that aired live from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. She was crowned by her predecessor, Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst.

Placing second runner-up was Miss Oklahoma USA Mariah Jane Davis, and just ahead of her was first runner-up, Miss Idaho USA Kim Layne.

Branch was the first African American to be named Miss Mississippi USA and comes from Booneville.

Prior to her win on Monday night, Branch shared her take on gun laws in her final statement.

“We should require people to pass training and safety classes” before attaining guns, she said.

This year’s winner was chosen by a selection committee that included Fox Nation host Abby Hornacek, entrepreneur Gloria Mayfield Banks, sports reporter and Miss USA 1999 Kimberly Pressler, businesswoman Susan Yara, Miss USA 2000 Lynnette Cole and Carolyn Aronson, CEO of It’s a 10 Haircare and Be A 10 Cosmetics.

The night’s festivities — which were originally slated for spring, but got postponed due to COVID-19 — were hosted by sports reporter and Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce and American Ninja Warrior co-host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, a former professional football player.

The competition also included a virtual performance by American Idol alum Haley Reinhart.

With the crown now sitting pretty atop her head, Branch will move to New York City to represent the Miss USA brand and various philanthropic organizations, just as Kryst did before her.

“Being Miss USA has afforded me the opportunity to be an advocate for issues that deserve attention, including criminal justice reform and racial inequality,” Kryst said in a statement. “I am proud to continue the legacy of national titleholders who speak up and encourage change, and I look forward to supporting the next Miss USA and Miss Teen USA in doing the same.”

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Photo Credit: People

Letter from the Editor: Fall 2020
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Newest Rihanna Cover for Professional Woman's Magazine

By Samar Khoury

Our first Wonder Woman issue was created three years ago, featuring the Wonder Woman film, and it has soared in popularity ever since. Each year, we select women doing amazing things, and there is no shortage of them. Women all over the world are inspiring us to follow in their footsteps and take the lead.

Wonder Woman 1984 will make its debut this year, once again starring Gal Gadot. But she and original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter are heroines not only on-screen but also in real life. Read about what the dynamic duo is up to now on page 25.

What’s more, our cover story – the amazing, caring, and hardworking Rihanna – is truly an example of grace and resilience, which is why we made her Professional WOMAN’s Magazine’s Wonder Woman of the Year.

The philanthropist has made it her mission to give back and push for equality, and she hasn’t stopped. Through her businesses, charity organization, and big heart, Rihanna never ceases to amaze us. The superstar has been especially supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement and has even provided generous donations to COVID-19 relief efforts. “We are not staying silent and we are not standing by. The fight against racial inequality, injustice, and straight up racism doesn’t stop with financial donations and words of support,” the icon stressed.

But Rihanna’s accomplishments go far beyond the above. Read more about the thriving businesswoman’s efforts to make the world a better place on page 38.

This issue is full of inspiring and dedicated women moving the needle: Senator Kalama Harris, the second African-American woman and first South Asian-American senator in history, and now presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate; the Duchess of Sussex; executives paving the way in business; and much, much more.

If you think you can’t make it in business during these unprecedented times – think again. As you flip through this issue, you’ll discover many powerhouses are thriving right now – some are even reinventing their industries.

Every issue of Professional WOMAN’s Magazine aims to motivate you to be the best version of yourself. Even during uncertainty, being your own wonder woman is more than possible, and what better time than the present to show your worth? The women in this issue have been thriving among uncertainty, and you can, too!

Samar Khoury
Managing Editor
Professional WOMAN’s Magazine

Meet the first black women to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from their respective colleges
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three black women nuclear engineers seated at table on the grass outside office building

By Amanda Zrebiec

On most days, the corner conference room in Building 26 on the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory’s Laurel, Maryland, campus is indistinguishable from the many quiet work spaces that surround it. But on a gray afternoon in mid-February, the voices, laughter and energy bounding from its occupants differentiate it from the rest.

As Jamie Porter, Mareena Robinson Snowden, and Ciara Sivels gather around the small table inside, the feeling of stumbling onto a gathering of old friends is difficult to shake. Their bonds, though, are forged less through time than their shared experience of being “the first.”

Each one—Porter, APL’s radiation effects lead for NASA’s Europa Clipper mission; Snowden, a senior engineer in the National Security Analysis Department; and Sivels, a nuclear engineer in the Air and Missile Defense Sector—was the first black woman to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in nuclear engineering from their respective colleges: University of Tennessee, 2012; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2018; and University of Michigan, 2018.

Now, Porter, Snowden and Sivels work in three different sectors at APL, dedicating their time and their brains to important challenges facing the nation. Here, they have created a community.

Path to the Ph.D.

“I used to hate physics,” Porter says with a laugh. “Lord, I don’t know how, but now I live in this world.”

Porter arrived in APL’s Space Exploration Sector in 2015. She focuses on radiation hardness assurance for all electric, electrical and electrochemical parts of missions, specifically NASA’s planned Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter’s icy moon. She also manages the sector’s Radiation Analysis and Test section.

Three years before she arrived at APL, Porter was the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee. It’s likely, Porter said, that she was just the second black woman in the country to do so, after J’Tia Hart, who received hers from the University of Illinois and subsequently appeared on Season 28 of the CBS show Survivor.

After completing her undergraduate studies, Porter said her goal was to get a master’s. Her professor and graduate advisor, Lawrence Townsend, told her a Ph.D. was what she needed. Porter credited Townsend for pushing her—from undergraduate classes through her doctorate, and even a postdoctoral fellowship. “He told me, ‘You need to do this for yourself, and you need to do this for other people,’” Porter said.

It wasn’t until Porter was nearing her graduation that Tennessee discovered she’d be their first. They didn’t publicize it at the time—a decision reached through a conversation with Porter, where the school admitted embarrassment that it took until 2012 to reach the milestone. They later acknowledged regret at not celebrating it more publicly.

“I actually got to be the speaker at the hooding ceremony the year after I graduated, and it resonated with a lot of people,” Porter said.

When Snowden became the first black woman to earn a nuclear engineering Ph.D. from MIT in 2018, on the contrary, it was well publicized, particularly after her own Instagram post from graduation day went viral. That doesn’t mean her path to that moment was smooth. In retrospect, it wasn’t even a path she necessarily chose.

“People ask me, ‘How did you pick nuclear engineering?’ and I’m like, ‘Nuclear engineering picked me.’ You get a ticket, you get on the train,” she said.

Snowden credited her father, Bill Robinson, with guiding her into studying physics as an undergraduate at Florida A&M University, a historically black college in Tallahassee. It was a visit with a friend of a friend who worked at the school that started her trajectory.

The mantra of FAMU is they don’t expect you to be the best student on the way in, but you will be the best and most competitive student on the way out. That, Snowden said, was absolutely her experience.

It was acceptance into a summer research program at MIT after her freshman year that set Snowden on a firmer course. “It was the only application I sent out because I just knew I was going to be at FAMU doing research in the lab like normal,” she said. “But they messed around and accepted me. And we celebrated like I got into the Ph.D. program.”

A few years later, she did that, too.

Snowden, whose work at APL leverages her technical training in nuclear engineering on current and future national security challenges, applied to eight graduate schools. She got into one.

That’s where she met Sivels.

Sivels and Snowden first connected when the former was an undergraduate MIT student in nuclear engineering and the latter was working toward her Ph.D. That fact alone would knock a 16-year-old Sivels over with a feather.

Originally wanting to be a chef, Sivels’ chemistry teacher pushed her to explore her options—urging her to take his class (advanced placement chemistry) as a senior, recommending she look into chemical engineering schools, and turning her down time after time as she suggested potential colleges that might be a good fit.

“He kept saying, ‘This isn’t good enough, this isn’t good enough,’” Sivels recalled.

To boost her credentials for engineering school, Sivels enrolled in a local community college physics class that covered the history of the discipline. Fascinated by antimatter, she read about work at the California Institute of Technology. The Virginia native showed that school to her mom, who nixed the idea. But as she researched Caltech further, their rival, MIT, popped up.

“I didn’t know what MIT was, the prestige associated with it, anything,” said Sivels, whose work at APL focuses on how radiation interacts with and changes the properties of various types of materials. “It just came up in the sentence with Caltech, so I took it back to my teacher, Robert Harrell, and he was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s the kind of school you need to be applying to.’”

Even after she was accepted, Sivels was certain she’d be attending Virginia Commonwealth University. It was a campus visit to MIT—coupled with the release of the movie 21—that helped convince her of the school’s esteemed reputation.

Her undergraduate studies were difficult. Sivels noted, among other setbacks, she failed a class and shed many a tear. She got through it, and knew she wanted to further her impact in the field. That’s when her advisors suggested moving on to Michigan for her graduate education.

And it wasn’t until she went searching for a mentor there—preferably another black woman who’d gone through the program—that Michigan noted she’d be the first.

 The Challenges of Being the First

In many ways, these women know they are the exception, not the rule. They were able to navigate turbulent waters and persevere through biases and other challenges.

It doesn’t mean, however, that just because they did it, black women trying to get nuclear engineering Ph.D.s are suddenly no longer the exception.

“I come from an HBCU [Historically Black Colleges and Universities], and so much of that culture and legacy is about that question of responsibility,” Snowden said. “FAMU was intentional about teaching us the context—about what it meant to be black in America and in professional spaces. I went into my Ph.D. process with that context, so when I came up against a challenge, or a person coming at me sideways, I could leverage that context to help me interpret the situation.”

“Both of my parents went to HBCUs, so I had that training, too,” Sivels added. “My parents didn’t want to jade me, but they knew I was smart, and they knew it was coming…When I used to cry to them at MIT, my parents were like, ‘You’ll get over it. Welcome to the world—something is finally hard for you.’”

Porter, who grew up in Tennessee with a white mother and a black father, said, “There are moments when I am like gosh, I do feel the pressure, because I have to deal with comments or expectations that my counterpart does not. Sometimes I will send out an e-mail that says, ‘This is a learning moment, please do not do this [thing you may not think is offensive, but is offensive],’ and I’ll put it out there because I feel like…”

As Porter trails off, Sivels jumps in. “If you don’t, who will?”

“That’s exactly right,” Porter said. “But it’s hard. You have to pick and choose your battles. You have to think, ‘How is this going to affect me if I react right now?’”

“I read a paper once that talked about that,” Snowden said. “They called it the tax. It’s the tax you have to pay of being ‘one of only’ of an identity. That extra calculation you have to do in your mind of ‘How am I going to be perceived in this environment? How do I respond to this stimulus?’ That’s a tax your counterparts from majority populations don’t have to pay.”

And that, the women noted emphatically, doesn’t even include bouts of impostor syndrome that often lurk just around the corner even as they continue their ascents.

Eyes on the Future

To listen to Porter, Snowden and Sivels, you’d think their trailblazing happened with a shrug of the shoulders—they just put their heads down and did what they thought they were supposed to do. It wasn’t nearly so simple.

They also know the rewards of their perseverance come with a duty to future generations.

“I definitely feel a responsibility,” Porter said. “I am the lead radiation engineer for a billion-dollar flagship NASA mission, and when I do reviews, most often I am the only black person in the room. So, I try really hard to bring people with me.”

They make an effort to mentor those behind them. They work on committees and in outreach programs, like the IF/THEN Ambassador program, of which Sivels is a part.

And they tell their stories. They talk about their journeys so that their shared experiences as “the first” are ultimately just a way to pave the road for those behind them.

“I look at the diversity and inclusion conversation as two sides to one coin,” Snowden said. “You have the recruitment piece, and the second, less-talked-about part, is the retention piece. Once they’ve gotten into these programs, and they’ve gotten their Ph.D.s and they’re STEM professionals, how do we get them to and through mid-career, promoted up to senior levels, given power so they can hire, and all of those types of things that will make an impact?

“Now, I think the mission is to preserve the recruitment momentum but create a new body of momentum on the retention piece, but it’s the harder challenge to me.”

In a way, what Porter, Snowden and Sivels would like is for their accomplishments as “the firsts” to fade. For them to be the firsts of many—and for that to extend through to professional life.

“I love outreach,” Porter said. “It’s telling your story. It’s letting a little girl see what’s possible. [Snowden and Sivels] saw each other [at MIT], but they didn’t really see it was possible until it happened. I didn’t see anybody and it was just like, ‘Well, this is happening.’

“But it all goes back to that responsibility and the fact that now we have that responsibility to put ourselves out there—so other girls can see it’s possible.”

Photo Caption: From left, Jamie Porter, Ciara Sivels, and Mareena Robinson Snowden, who all now work at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, were each the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. from their respective colleges in nuclear engineering.

Credit: Johns Hopkins APL / Craig Weiman

This story is courtesy of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. This is an abridged version. The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, or to read the unabridged story, please visit www.jhuapl.edu.

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Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE)
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  2. WIFLE Annual Leadership Training
    August 16, 2021 - August 19, 2021
  3. WiCyS 2021 Conference
    September 8, 2021 - September 10, 2021
  4. 2021 ERG & Council Conference
    September 15, 2021 - September 17, 2021
  5. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021