Sunday, December 20, 2020
Friday, September 4, 2020
So much so, I refused to believe it was just me that was still wrestling with such pensive sadness days later. It couldn't just be me who decided to shut the world out last weekend to just lie in bed and grieve or as writer Damon Young implored in a curt yet impactful essay, to remove the need to "gotta do anything" else in this moment besides just cry. No, I couldn't be the only one re-watching Boseman's blockbuster movies and related interviews, or scrolling through photographs looking for any sign we all must have missed that revealed our black superhero was in the fight of his life battling stage 3 and, ultimately, stage 4 colon cancer, all the while expending his complete energy to bring us joy, inspiration, and hope.2018 commencement speech at Howard University or in simply offering a sly yet empowering smirk standing at home plate to embody the fullness of the late great Jackie Robinson or commanding the full attention of a courtroom to portray the honorable Thurgood Marshall or, of course, delivering a tour de force performance as Marvel's Black Panther in both a leading movie role and within the Avengers franchise, it was no debating Chadwick Boseman was "The One."
Rest in peace, Brother Chadwick. Job well done.
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Thursday, July 30, 2020
In examining my feelings, I was forced to recall that the last time an icon's passing had impacted me so deeply was that of D.C.'s Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown, which I blogged about as well in 2012. At that time I was able to instantly and undeniably pinpoint the source of my sorrow: the tears for Chuck were equally being shed for a city us D.C. natives were no longer recognizing greatly due in part to gentrification. Losing Chuck was losing a giant, living, breathing symbol of the heartbeat of our youth that would forever tie us to our native city even when many of us had long moved away. And in losing Chuck and thus that connection, it gave us trepidation about a new D.C. that was emerging where we weren't certain we would be embraced let alone included. And that's when I was more clearly able to understand the relative pain in losing the great Congressman: because his passing, too, symbolizes a country were we aren't certain we'll ever be embraced and were we are continuously fighting to be included. In losing Lewis, there was fear draped in sadness that we were not only losing a great man, but were also losing our compass, our consciousness, and our last living "civil rights caretaker."
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Monday, June 1, 2020
And herein lies the complexity in the collective fight for social justice that leadership must honestly ask itself: Do we, as a country, truly want to get well? There is no debating that since the inception of slavery in this country, the United Stated has profited off of the disenfranchisement of others, and there is still great profit being gained today. And so the systems that many leaders complain about are the same systems keeping those leaders gainfully employed and repeatedly elected--and that, sadly, is not exclusive to non-minorities in leadership (as is said, "not all skinfolk are kinfolk"). It is past time leadership confronts and rectifies this inner conflict with itself, but black and brown America is done with cheap talk. And so in the meantime we must continue to make our demands known and move, whether it's taking to street in protest, joining a organization for social change, donating to a bail fund, contributing directly to those organizations that are already in the fight for equality, or even registering people to vote. There has been more than enough time given to leadership for talking about what needs to be done; there needs to be more doing that starts right now.
video went viral over the weekend of Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson who did just that. Addressing a group of protesters in Flint Township on Saturday, Sheriff Swanson assured the group his officers were there only to protect their right to peacefully protest and that his officers were putting down their batons and helmets in solidarity. It was at that moment that the crowd held the officer to a higher level of accountability and began chanting for him to "walk with us." Sheriff Swanson briefly paused, considered the request, and then he did just that: an act that sparked law enforcement officers in other cities to follow suit marching, kneeling, and demonstrating to the communities they are entrusted with protecting that they are willing to "walk the talk" toward a better tomorrow. Now, we can spend time dissecting whether these officers' actions are indeed genuine or we can see it as a glimmer of hope of what it looks like when leadership stops talking about it and starts being about it.
Photo Credits: N/A
Instagram video courtesy of Hollywood Unlocked
Donation list courtesy of Rolling Stone
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Dr. Marian Croak - VoIP Pioneer
Alma Mater: Princeton University; University of Southern California
Employers: AT&T, Google
Marian Croak, a native New Yorker, is credited with developing Voice over IP (VoIP), and creating most of the methods and features that improved its reliability and led to its nearly universal adoption. VoIP is a method and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol, such as fax, SMS, and voice-messaging. After attending Princeton University and completing doctoral studies at the University of Southern California, Croak joined AT&T at Bell Labs in 1982, where she began advocating for the switch from wired phone technology to IP. In addition to her successful advocacy, Croak holds over two hundred patents, including over one hundred in relation to VoIP. Croak also pioneered the use of phone network services for donating to crisis appeals and also for the now popular phone voting practice utilized by many television shows such as American Idol. In 2014, Croak joined Google, where she currently serves as a Vice President for Engineering, leading Google's service expansion into emerging markets. In addition, Croak led the deployment of WiFi across India's railway system, and has assumed responsibility for reliability engineering for many Google services. Croak was inducted into the Women in Technology Hall of Fame in 2013. Dr. Croak, we salute you!
Dr. Gladys West - GPS Pioneer
Alma Mater: Virginia State University; University of Oklahoma; Virginia Tech
Employer: Naval Surface Warfare Center (formerly Naval Proving Ground)
Gladys West, a native of Sutherland, Virginia, is heralded for her contributions to the mathematical modeling of the shape of the Earth, and her work on developing the satellite geodesy models that were eventually incorporated into the Global Positioning System better known as GPS. In 1956, when West was hired to work at the Naval Proving Ground, she was the second black woman ever hired and one of only four black employees. West was a programmer in the Naval Surface Warfare Center for large-scale computers and a project manager for data-processing systems used in the analysis of satellite data. In the early 1960s, she participated in an award-winning astronomical study that proved the regularity of Pluto’s motion relative to Neptune, and also began to analyze data from satellites, putting together altimeter models of the Earth's shape. She became project manager for the Seasat radar altimetry project, the first satellite that could remotely sense oceans. From the mid-1970s through the 1980s, West programmed an IBM computer to deliver increasingly precise calculations to model the shape of the Earth. Generating an extremely accurate model required her to employ complex algorithms to account for variations in gravitational, tidal, and other forces that distort Earth’s shape. West's data ultimately became the basis for GPS. West retired from Dahlgren in 1998 after 42 years, and was inducted into the United States Air Force Hall of Fame in 2018. Dr. West, we salute you!
Dr. Patricia Bath - Laserphaco Probe Inventor
Alma Mater: Hunter College; Howard University
Employer: Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA
Patricia Bath, American ophthalmologist, inventor, humanitarian, and academic, is credited with being a pioneer in laser cataract surgery. A Harlem, New York native, at the age of 16, Bath became one of only a few students to attend a cancer research workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation. After graduating from high school in only two years, Bath entered Hunter College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in 1964. She then attended Howard University to pursue a medical degree. Bath graduated with honors from Howard in 1968, and accepted an internship at Harlem Hospital shortly afterward. The following year, she also began pursuing a fellowship in ophthalmology at Columbia University. Through her studies there, she discovered that African Americans were twice as likely to suffer from blindness than other patients to which she attended, and eight times more likely to develop glaucoma. Her research led to her development of a community ophthalmology system, which increased the amount of eye care given to those who were unable to afford treatment. In 1981, Bath began working on her most well-known invention: the Laserphaco Probe--a laser technology device that created a less painful and more precise treatment of cataracts. She received a patent for the device in 1988, becoming the first African American female doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose. She also holds patents in Japan, Canada, and Europe. With her Laserphaco Probe, Bath was able to help restore the sight of individuals who had been blind for more than 30 years. Dr. Bath, we salute you! Rest in peace.
To all of the phenomenal African-American women, past and present, who continue to create visions, chart courses, and give us voice, we salute and celebrate you!
Sources: Biography.com; Wikipedia.com
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