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.
Afternoon tea with the Americans. Queen Elizabeth II met with President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden on Sunday, June 13, at Windsor Castle in England. The Bidens arrived at the royal residence and reviewed the Guard of Honor, formed of the Queen’s Company First Battalion Grenadier Guards, which gave a royal salute. The queen, 95, POTUS, 78, and FLOTUS, 70, posed for photos at the same canopy from which the queen watched the Trooping the Colour on Saturday, June 12. After listening to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the trio went inside. The queen introduced the former vice president and his wife to her lady-in-waiting, Dame Annabel Whitehead, and they drank tea in the castle’s Oak Room. The sit-down lasted about 10 minutes longer than it was supposed to, the BBC reports.
“I don’t think she’d be insulted but she reminded me of my mother, the look of her and just the generosity,” the president told reporters before leaving London. “She’s extremely gracious, that’s not surprising, but we had a great talk.”
The 46th President of the United States is the 13th U.S. president to meet with the queen. Though she previously met Biden before his presidency when he was a senator in 1982, this was his first time meeting with the monarch since taking over the Oval Office.
The Bidens had briefly interacted with the queen and other members of the royal family, including Prince William, Duchess Camilla and Prince Charles, on Friday, June 11, during a reception at the G7 Summit.
The sovereign sat for a photo with many world leaders and joked, “Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourselves?”
Duchess Kate and Jill got some one-on-one time as they went to meet children at Connor Downs Academy preschool and participated in a roundtable discussion with early childhood education experts. “It’s a huge honor to have you in the United Kingdom,” the Duchess of Cambridge, 39, told the educator. “I’m very much looking forward to the conversation.”
In a statement shared via Instagram, Will and Kate thanked the first lady. “It was great to host Dr. Jill Biden and experts from the UK and the United States for a discussion on the importance of early childhood on lifelong outcomes, and how we can work together to make a difference,” they said.
The royal couple continued: “The importance of providing support for parents and children alike during early childhood, and the positive impact that this can have across society, is something we share a great passion for.”
Scroll through for more photos from the Bidens’ meetings with the royal family.
Click here to read the full article on US Magazine.
Alyssa Milano, a veteran of TV shows including “Who’s the Boss?,” “Charmed” and “Insatiable,” has her eye on a seat in Congress. “I am confirming that it is possible that I will run for office in 2024,” the actor-activist said Tuesday in a statement to The Times. Milano told the Hill on Tuesday that she was possibly interested in challenging California’s 4th District Rep. Tom McClintock for his House seat, building on a tweet she floated in late May. “I split my time between Truckee, Calif., and Bell Canyon, Calif., and the Republicans have basically had a strong arm there in the 4th District,” Milano told the Hill, saying she would love to potentially flip the red district to blue.
The district has consistently chosen a Republican as its House member since 1992, though Democrats were in charge there for 30 years prior. McClintock, who unsuccessfully ran for governor of California in the 2003 recall, has held his seat since the 2008 election. Milano’s decision wouldn’t happen in time for the 2022 midterms, though. She has a “Who’s the Boss?” reboot in the works, in addition to other commitments, and she couldn’t do that and run for Congress simultaneously. “It’s going to take someone with, I think, name recognition and deep pockets to be able to run against McClintock, and so I’m considering it,” the COVID-19 long-hauler told the Hill. “I’m basically gathering information right now, speaking to different consultants, speaking to the community.”
Milano’s political ambitions build on her history of activism and embrace of liberal and progressive causes, which is mirrored in her “Sorry, Not Sorry” podcast and likely in her upcoming book of the same name. She was an online leader, for example, in the #MeToo movement and has defended abortion rights. On Wednesday she will rally virtually with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to discuss canceling student debt. Milano has worked with UNICEF, PETA and other animal rights groups, and canvassed for various candidates. Leading up to the 2016 election, Milano first threw her support behind Sen. Bernie Sanders before switching to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She endorsed Biden in the 2020 presidential race.
Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! News.
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 Womenhas 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.
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
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):
a’Bouzy – Houston, TX
Ambar Capitol Hill – Washington D.C.
Anis Cafe and Bistro – Atlanta, GA
Atchafalaya Restaurant – New Orleans, LA
The Aviary Restaurant & Bar – Swansea, MA
Baldamar – Roseville, MN
The Barn at Rocky Fork Creek – Gahanna, OH
Beachcomber Cafe – Crystal Cove – Newport Coast, CA
Beetlecat – Atlanta, GA
Bistro at Edgewood Tahoe – Stateline, NV
The Bistro at LaBelle Winery Amherst – Amherst, NH
Bistro L’Hermitage – Woodbridge, VA
Bistro Niko – Atlanta, GA
Black Bass Hotel – Lumberville, PA
Blue Bell Inn – Blue Bell, PA
The Boathouse – Lake Buena Vista, FL
Brennan’s – Multiple Locations
Bristol Seafood Grill – Leawood, KS
Brix – Napa, CA
Buttermilk & Bourbon – Boston, MA
Cabra – Chicago, IL
Café Ba-Ba-Reeba – Chicago, IL
Cafe Monte – Charlotte, NC
Canoe – Atlanta, GA
Cap City Fine Diner & Bar – Grandview – Columbus, OH
Cappy’s Restaurant – San Antonio, TX
Carson’s Food & Drink – Lexington, KY
Cheever’s Cafe – Oklahoma City, OK
Chianti Grill – Burnsville, MN
The Dandelion – Philadelphia, PA
Del Vino Vineyards – Northport, NY
Duke’s La Jolla – San Diego, CA
Eiffel Tower – Las Vegas, NV
Eight4Nine – Palm Springs, CA
Fabian’s Italian Bistro – Fair Oaks, CA
Farmhouse at Rogers Gardens – Corona Del Mar, CA
Flight Restaurant & Wine Bar – Memphis, TN
The Food Market – Baltimore, MD
Foreign Cinema – San Francisco, CA
The Front Yard – North Hollywood, CA
Good Day Cafe – Golden Valley, MN
Grace’s – Houston, TX
Great Maple – San Diego, CA
Green Valley Grill – Greensboro, NC
The Hampton Social – Multiple Locations
Happy Camper – Denver, CO
Haywire – Plano, TX
Hazelwood – Bloomington, MN
Hell’s Kitchen – Caesars Palace – Las Vegas, NV
The Henry – Phoenix, AZ
Honey Salt – Las Vegas, NV
JOLO Winery & Vineyards – Pilot Mountain, NC
La Merise – Denver, CO
Lake Elmo Inn – Lake Elmo, MN
Latitudes on Sunset Key – Key West, FL
Le Diplomate – Washington D.C.
Le Yaca – Williamsburg, VA
Ledger Restaurant & Bar – Salem, MA
Lindey’s – Columbus, OH
Little Goat – Chicago, IL
Lon’s at The Hermosa – Paradise Valley, AZ
The Love – Philadelphia, PA
Madison – San Diego, CA
Meson Sabika – Naperville, IL
Mon Ami Gabi – Las Vegas, NV
Murphy’s – Atlanta, GA
OBC Kitchen – Lexington, KY
Old Ebbitt Grill – Washington D.C.
Ouisie’s Table – Houston, TX
Pacific Coast Grill – Cardiff By the Sea, CA
Parc – Philadelphia, PA
Perch – Los Angeles, CA
Pier W – Cleveland, OH
Poor Calvin’s – Atlanta, GA
Preserved Restaurant – St. Augustine, FL
Prime: An American Kitchen & Bar – Huntington, NY
Print Works Bistro – Greensboro, NC
RH – Multiple Locations
The Rooftop by JG – Beverly Hills, CA
Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant – Long Branch, NJ
Root Down – Denver, CO
Seed Kitchen + Bar – Marietta, GA
Sheldon Inn Restaurant & Bar – Elk Grove, CA
Simon Pearce Restaurant – Quechee, VT
Soby’s – Greenville, SC
Summer House Santa Monica – Chicago, IL
Sunset Terrace – Omni Grove Park Inn – Asheville, NC
Talula’s Garden – Philadelphia, PA
The Tap Room at Dubsdread – Orlando, FL
Tavern 4 & 5 – Eden Prairie, MN
Terrain Cafe – Glen Mills, PA
The Tropicale – Palm Springs, CA
Ulele – Tampa, FL
Union and Finch – Allentown, PA
Vintage – Vail, CO
WeHo Bistro – West Hollywood, CA
Whiskey Cake – Plano, TX
Wine Bar George – A Restaurant & Bar – Orlando, FL
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar – Multiple Locations
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.
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.”
Continue to NPR to read the full article
Photo by CAROLINE BREHMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
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.