Kamala Harris speaks for the first time as vice president-elect
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Vice President elect Kamala Harris stands behind podium smiling with U.S. flags int he background

Kamala Harris addressed Americans for the first time as vice president-elect of the United States, making history as the first woman, Black American and South Asian American to win the nation’s second highest office.

At an event in Wilmington, Delaware, with President-elect Joe Biden, she nodded specifically to the work of the women who came before her, adding: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.”

She spoke about an America under the Biden administration that focused on equality and justice, and reminded supporters that “America’s democracy is not guaranteed — it is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it.”

The Associated Press called the 2020 election for Biden after calling the race in Pennsylvania, giving him more than the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the presidency. “We the people have the power to build a better future,” she said.

 

Source: PBS News Hour

Watch Amy Coney Barrett get sworn in as Supreme Court Justice
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Chief Justice John G. Roberts (R) administers the Judicial Oath to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett as her husband Jesse Barrett holds the Bible in the East Conference Room, Supreme Court Building on October 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court ofthe U.S.

Amy Coney Barrett is sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice, and addresses a crowd gathered at the White House to witness the event.

Amy Coney Barrett is a lawyer, jurist, and former academic who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She was nominated by President Donald Trump and has served since October 27, 2020. She previously was a United States circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 2017 to 2020.

Trump nominated Barrett to the Seventh Circuit and the Senate confirmed her on October 31, 2017. Before and while serving on the federal bench, she was a professor of law at Notre Dame Law School, where she has taught civil procedure, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation.

On September 26, 2020, Trump announced his intention to nominate Barrett to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court of the United States. The United States Senate voted 52–48 to confirm her nomination, with all Democrats opposed and all but one Republican in favor.

Described as a protégé of Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett supports an originalist interpretation of the Constitution.

Meet Mika M. Hilaire, the ‘Legal Gladiator in High Heels’
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Mika Hilaire seaed at desk in professional attire with laptop open smiling

A founding partner of the Equal Rights Law Group, attorney Mika M. Hilaire has won so many numerous settlements and verdicts for the employees she represents throughout California and the United States in a wide range of matters related to employment law and litigation, she is often considered the ‘the legal gladiator in high heels.’

In addition to Hilaire’s representation of clients, she also provides employment-related counsel. She regularly assists clients in contract negotiations, workplace negotiations and offers training on a variety of topics, such as sexual harassment and discrimination.

Hilaire earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, with a major from the nationally recognized Rhetoric Department. While at Berkeley, she was a member of the Women’s Track and Field and Basketball teams. After earning her law degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law and her admission to The State Bar of California in 2001, Hilaire immediately focused on employment law, giving her almost 20 years of valuable experience in the practice area.

Thanks to Hilaire’s focus and extensive legal knowledge, she has secured countless successful settlements for her clients, including one recent case that resulted in a $47 million verdict. Her long and impressive record of success has led to a number of honors, including a “Superb” rating from Avvo. Hilaire was recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer in 2019 and 2020, and as a Southern California Rising Star from 2007-2013 for her representation of clients in employment law.

In addition to these honors, Hilaire has also earned the respect of the legal community. She is a regular guest speaker on local, state and national levels. She is also a member of a number of organizations, including the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Virginia’s New Slogan should be “Virginia is for all Lovers”
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Virginia slogan being held by a hand on the side

On April 11, Virginia became the most progressive state in the southern United States in just two days. Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, signed the “Virginia Values Acts,” which will expand and clarify the protections of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Act specifically details the protections that the LGBTQ+ community has against employment, housing, and credit discrimination as well as protections of transgender students in the school system. Additionally, the act gives a non-binary option for driver’s licenses, expanded the definition of LGBTQ+ hate crimes, and makes the process of changing the gender on official documents an easier process.

The Virginia Acts Bill is only one of the many progressive bills that Governor Northam has passed this year. Along with about 16 other laws put in place to support the LGBTQ+ community, Governor Northam has also passed laws that protect reproductive rights and call for a stricter protocol on gun ownership.

The Virginia Values Act is set to take effect on July 1 and is widely supported by Virginia’s LGBTQ+ community. Northam is known by the community to be a longtime ally and vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ issues and legislation.

Landmark Ruling Grants Women Equal Rights in Indian Army
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A group of people, mostly women, holding small Indian flags in the air.

By Sara Salam

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.

Source: CNN

BECOMING – OFFICIAL TRAILER
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Michelle Obama book jacket cover

BECOMING is an intimate look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama during a moment of profound change, not only for her personally but for the country she and her husband served over eight impactful years in the White House.

The film offers a rare and up-close look at her life, taking viewers behind the scenes as she embarks on a 34-city tour that highlights the power of community to bridge our divides and the spirit of connection that comes when we openly and honestly share our stories.

Film Release Date: May 6, 2020
Format: Original Documentary Feature

Directed by: Nadia Hallgren
Produced by: Katy Chevigny,
Marilyn Ness, & Lauren Cioffi
Co-Producer: Maureen A. Ryan
Executive Producers:
Priya Swaminathan & Tonia Davis

A NOTE FROM MICHELLE
I’m excited to let you know that on May 6, Netflix will release BECOMING, a documentary film directed by Nadia Hallgren that looks at my life and the experiences I had while touring following the release of my memoir. Those months I spent traveling—meeting and connecting with people in cities across the globe—drove home the idea that what we share in common is deep and real and can’t be messed with.

In groups large and small, young and old, unique and united, we came together and shared stories, filling those spaces with our joys, worries, and dreams.

*BECOMING is the third release from Higher Ground Productions and Netflix*

For more information about the documentary visit, netflix.com/Becoming.

#IAmBecoming

As she becomes Pasadena PD’s first African American deputy chief, Cheryl Moody adds to a long list of achievements
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Commander Cheryl Moody from the Pasadena Police Department pose with an award she received during black history parade festival. Cheryl is one of the founding members of the San Gabriel Valley Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) which started in 2003. Photo by James Carbone

The law enforcement career of Pasadena Police Department Commander Cheryl Moody has been marked by a series of “firsts.” And with each milestone, Moody has been asked to take on more responsibility and higher levels of leadership.

As Pasadena PD prepares for its first major reorganization in decades, Moody is being promoted to acting deputy chief, making the 27-year veteran of the department the first African American woman to hold the position.

When Moody was promoted from lieutenant to commander five years ago, she was Pasadena PD’s first ever African American female commander.

As acting deputy chief, Moody will help spearhead the reorganization.

If all goes well, the “acting” part of the title will disappear and she will hold the title of deputy chief.

“We’re looking forward to her meeting those expectations and getting it done and providing something that we need here … from her perspective and experience,” Police Chief John Perez said. “She is in the position and getting it done. Now that she is deputy chief, we’re looking for more from her.”

Moody is up for the challenge and why shouldn’t she be?

She’s been taking on challenges since being a kid, growing up in Long Beach on what she described as “the rough side of town.”

Even then, Moody said she could see life from the perspective of the police, who were a common site in her neighborhood, and the residents, some who weren’t always making the best choices.

Moody joined the Air Force after getting an ultimatum from her parents – either go to college or join the military.

“So I went into the military,” she said. “I didn’t want to go to college.”

Fast forward a few years and now Moody is a single mother raising two sons.

She was drawn to a career in law enforcement in 1992, when working for the Long Beach Police Department as a fingerprint classifier – a non-sworn position.

“I started watching the officers in the building and reading reports and I said I too can do this job because I want to help people,” Moody said. “I could see how people were being victimized and I’ve seen it growing up in my own experiences. So I wanted to go into law enforcement to make a difference.”

When she was hired by Pasadena PD at age 32, Moody was one of the older cadets going through rigorous police academy.

Just before getting off probation, Moody was assigned to Pasadena PD’s gang unit

“Because I had grown up around gang members, I didn’t have a problem interacting with them,” said Moody was one of two women in the 20-person unit. “They didn’t frighten me. It was just part of the community I grew up in.”

Cocaine use had been running rampant at the time, and Moody worked undercover as both a drug buyer and drug dealer.

She also worked undercover posing as a street walker during prostitution stings.

“It was hard to keep my composure when these guys would say things or try and do things,” Moody said. “It was hard to stay undercover in that capacity.”

Continue on to Behind the Badge to read the complete article.

Two female astronauts make history. How to watch NASA’s first all-female spacewalk
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two female astronauts pictured in a spacewalk outside the ISS spaceship

Men have floated out the hatch on all 420 spacewalks conducted over the past half-century. That changed recently with spacewalk No. 421.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir ventured outside the International Space Station before 8 a.m. ET Friday and spent over five hours replacing a broken battery charger, or BCDU. NASA’s livestream of the historic spacewalk features astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson as one of the female narrators.

The units have previously been replaced using a robotic arm, but the newly failed unit is too far away for it to reach.

The units regulate how much energy flows from the station’s massive solar panels to battery units, which are used to provide power during nighttime passes around Earth. Three previous spacewalks had been planned to replace lithium-ion batteries, but those will be rescheduled until the latest BCDU issue is resolved.

The hardware failure does present some concern, especially since another BCDU was replaced in April and there are only four more backups on the station. In total, there are 24 operational BCDUs.

The battery charger failed after Koch and a male crewmate installed new batteries outside the space station last week. NASA put the remaining battery replacements on hold to fix the problem and moved up the women’s planned spacewalk by three days.

All four men aboard the ISS remained inside during the spacewalk.

The spacewalk is Koch’s fourth and Meir’s first.

Continue on to USA Today to read the complete article.

Viola Davis To Play Michelle Obama In New Showtime Series
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Michelle Obamba and Viola Davis pictured side by side

It’s fair to say that the next potential next TV role for Viola Davis will come with a lot of pressure.

The actress has signed on to play former First Lady Michelle Obama in a series titled “First Ladies” which is in the works at Showtime.

The network has given the prospective one-hour drama a three-script commitment, with novelist Aaron Cooley on board to write and executive produce.

The series will peel back the curtain on the personal and political lives of First Ladies from throughout history, with season one focusing on Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Michelle Obama.

“First Ladies” will turn it lens on the East Wing of the White House, as opposed to the West, where many of history’s most impactful and world changing decisions have been hidden from view, made by America’s charismatic, complex and dynamic First Ladies.

The series hails from Showtime and Lionsgate Television.

Continue on to Variety to read the complete article.

10 Reasons to Work for the Federal Government
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three professionally dressed women

Are you thinking of working for the federal government? If so, opportunities and benefits lie ahead. Check out these ten reasons to pursue a career in the field.

  1. Make a difference
    The work of government employees impacts the lives of every American and the lives of people around the world. Federal employees can play a vital role in addressing pressing issues, from homelessness to homeland security. Students interested in working in government can engage in high-impact work, such as helping disrupt the laundering of billions of dollars derived from illicit U.S. drug deals.
  2. Great benefits/competitive pay
    Average government salaries are competitive with the private and nonprofit sectors. Recent graduates can expect a starting salary from $32,415 to $42,631 a year. Pay can also increase fairly quickly for top candidates with experience and a strong education. Federal benefits, including health insurance, retirement and vacation, are extremely competitive with, if not superior to, other sectors.
  3. The government is hiring
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected an employment increase of ten percent through 2018 in federal employment.
  4. Location, location, location
    Federal opportunities are not only found in the D.C area. Eighty-four percent of federal government jobs are outside of Washington, D.C. If students are interested in international job opportunities, more than 50,000 federal employees work abroad.
  5. Jobs for every major
    Working in the federal government is not just for political science majors. In fact, 28.4 percent of federal employees work in STEM fields. There are federal jobs for every interest and skill, from art history to zoology.
  6. Opportunities for advancement and professional development
    Federal employees have many opportunities for career advancement in government. An internal Merit Promotion Program helps ensure that new employees succeeding in their job have easy access to information about job openings within government. The government also offers excellent training and development opportunities and has human resources personnel to help connect current employees with these opportunities.
  7. Interesting and challenging work
    Today’s government workers are leading and innovating on issues, such as developing vaccines for deadly diseases, fighting sexual and racial discrimination, and keeping our massive systems of transportation safe.
  8. Work-life balance
    Flexible work schedules, including telework, are a major plus for those with busy schedules or long commute. Competitive benefits also include generous vacation time combined with federal holidays and sick leave. All of these packaged together make government an attractive employer for students looking to successfully balance their work and personal lives.
  9. Job security
    Government work is steady and secure, an attractive selling point, especially during difficult economic times.
  10. The federal government can help pay for school loans
    Some federal agencies can help pay back up to $10,000 per year in student loans, up to a total of $60,000.

Source: ourpublicservice.org

The Top 25 Highest Paid Federal Jobs

Did you know that the 25 highest paying government jobs all pay over $50,000 per year?

Below is a list of 25 of the most sought after federal jobs, ranked by the Office of Personnel Management as the highest paid jobs currently offered by the U.S. Government.

1) Astronomer – $116,072

2) Attorney – $114,240

3) Financial Manager – $101,022

4) General Engineer – $100,051

5) Economist – $94,098

6) Computer Scientist – $90,929

7) Chemist – $89,954

8) Criminal Investigator – $88,174

9) Microbiologist – $87,206

10) Architect – $85,690

11) Statistician – $81,524

12) Librarian – $78,665

13) Accountant – $78,030

14) Chaplain – $76,511

15) Ecologist – $76,511

16) Human Resources Manager – $76,503

17) Health and Safety Specialist – $73,003

18) Air Traffic Controller – $72,049

19) Budget Analyst – $71,267

20) Correctional Officer – $67,140

21) Nurse – $65,345

22) Technical Engineer – $63,951

23) Border Patrol Agent – $63,550

24) Medical Technician- $59,840

25) Customs Inspector – $59,248

Source: Office of Personnel Management

After Careers With U.S. Armed Forces And Fema This Couple Opens Their Own Business
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McDuffie,Sharron, Rodney, Lee's Summit, MO

After Rodney and Sharron McDuffie retired from long and successful careers that included both the U.S. Armed Forces and the U.S. Government, the Raymore couple was looking for an attractive business opportunity to bolster their pension income.

So on April 15, Rodney, “61 years young,” and Sharron, “59 years younger,” as they note, officially opened for business as franchise owners with Floor Coverings International, whose representatives visit customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International Lee’s Summit serves customers throughout greater Kansas City.

Sharron retired after 30 years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where she was a Technological Hazards Specialist assigned to several nuclear power plants throughout Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Rodney retired from the U.S. Navy with 25 years as a Yeoman Administrator before joining the Department of Immigration, where he spent more than a decade before retiring as an Immigration Supervisor this past February. “We had started talking about what we would be doing in life with retirement approaching and looking forward to living the lifestyle we were comfortable in after more than 30 years working for the government,” Sharron said. “And we were not sure that once we retired on a government pension, if it would be enough. We are still pretty young and in good health, so we started looking for a business we could purchase that also offered plenty of flexibility, such as being able to work from home when we wanted to.”

In Floor Coverings International, the McDuffies found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations.

The McDuffies are also very excited about having the opportunity for their children to play a role in the business. Their oldest son, who just earned his master’s degree in Public Affairs, is “more excited than my husband and myself,” said Sharron, while their youngest son, who just graduated from high school, is looking forward to joining one of their flooring installation teams where he will gain the necessary experience to later become a Project Manager or Design Associate. A daughter, currently a middle school biology teacher, might join the business as an office manager or Design Associate while her husband is assisting with local marketing. “Since we have been up and running, the whole family is seeing what a great opportunity it is by joining or just participating in this family business,” Sharron said.

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2019. For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location, floorcoveringsinternational.com.

Air Force Civilian Service

Air Force Civilian Service

Verizon

Verizon