First Woman of Color Elected to Congress

Women of History are strong women who have marched before us. Patsy Takemoto Mink is one such woman. A political pioneer, Mink was the first woman of color elected to Congress. She was an ardent advocate for marginalized groups. She fought for equity, education, environmental causes, and social justice.  Early Life Patsy Takemoto was born on Dec. 6, 1927, in Paia, Hawaii. As a young girl, she first noticed the inequality between people who owned Maui’s plantations and the workers. the haole or white people owned the plantations. The workers were Filipino and Japanese. Inequality and injustice came up close and personal after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Her father was detained questioned simply because of his Japanese heritage. She’s been quoted as saying the experience made her realize “that one could not take citizenship and the promise of the U.S. Constitution for granted.” Education and her First First A junior at Maui High School, Mink became the first female class president. She graduated Valedictorian of the class of 1944. She started pre-med at the University of Hawaii. When WWII ended and travel bans to the U.S. Mainland were lifted, she transferred to Wilson College in Pennsylvania. But Wilson didn’t have […]

You Have to Do You

Continuing to celebrate Women’s History month, this week’s subject is an activist. She challenges stereotypes about Muslims, in particular Muslim women. And she not only believes “you just have to do you,” she lives it. She is a Somalian-American, a poet, a rapper, a feminist, and so much more. She is Mona Haydar. Women our future is winnable  We gotta be indivisible. Mona Haydar from  her song “Barbarian” Early Life & Education In 1971, her parents immigrated from Damascus, Syria to the United States. She was born in Flint, Michigan, in 1988, one of seven siblings. She graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint. Then in 2011, Haydar went to Damascus, Syria. She studied Islamic spirituality at Jami’ Abu-Noor. When the Syrian conflict erupted, she returned to the U.S. In 2012, Haydar lost a close friend to suicide. This made Haydar question how she lived her own life. She left Flint where she had been working as a substitute teacher and moved to the Lama Foundation  in the mountains of Northern New Mexico.  The Lama Foundation is an off grid, inter-spiritual community and retreat center. There she met her husband. They married and had their first child there. She also lived in the Redwood […]

An Inspiring Woman In Space And On The Ground

From last week’s strong Mohawk woman of the revolutionary war era we’re coming forward hundreds of years. This week’s Women’s History Month spotlight is on an inspiring woman in space and on the ground, Ellen Ochoa. Ms. Ochoa, a Hispanic-American Woman, made history in our lifetime. Engineer, inventor, astronaut, and administrator, she is a champion of and for women. “We do a disservice to society as a whole, if we are not providing the same kinds of encouragement to women to contribute as we do to men.” – Ellen Ochoa Early Life Ochoa’s paternal grandparents immigrated from Sonora, Mexico to Arizona. They later moved to California where Ochoa’s father, Joseph, was born. Ellen Ochoa was born May 10, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. Her parents were Joseph and Rosanne (née Deardorf) Ochoa. She loved math and science in school, even if other kids looked down on her for that. She played the flute and wanted to be a musician. Like many of us, she watched the moon landing. She was eleven. It never occurred to her to want to be an astronaut. There were no female astronauts then. Education Ochoa’s parents divorced while she attended  Grossmont High School in El Cajon. She graduated […]