Anybody that knows me can tell you that I have a few borderline-obsessions: coffee is absolutely one of them.
Alyza Bohbot took over the family business, Alakef Coffee Roasters, when she was 29 and saw that the company was struggling. One of the first things she did was start a sister company, City Girl Coffee Company, which makes it a point to fight gender equality in the coffee industry. She was adamant that a company that took a strong social stance could not only be profitable, but that social justice advocacy could be their greatest marketing tool.
City Girl Coffee gets its beans from farms that are owned or managed by women, and donates 5% of all profits to Orgs with similar stances (including International Women’s Coffee Alliance and Café Femenino). City Girl has a VERY strong online sales presence, and is slowly but surely moving into Midwest markets, getting into more and more grocery stores and co-ops.
In 1995, country music legend Dolly Parton started a local non-profit to help foster literacy in Sevier County, Tennessee. She started this program thinking of her father, a smart man who was unable to go to school because he had to work at a very young age to help provide for his family. He never learned to read or write. After remarkable success at the local level, Imagination Library quickly grew at a national level, now mailing at a pace of 1 million books per month to children in the program. This past week, Dolly was invited to the Library of Congress to celebrate the program’s 100 millionth book delivery.
The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics are now behind us, and there was a great showing from the kick-ass women representing the US. Below are the medal winners:
Gold: US Women’s Hockey
Probably my favorite event/results. The US Women’s Hockey team won gold for the first time in 20 years, preventing rival Canada from reaching the top podium spot for a 5th consecutive time. Added cool fact (not that it needed any): this win came on the anniversary of the Miracle on Ice, when the US Men’s Hockey team beat the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics, preventing their rival from moving on to the gold medal match, and potentially winning top honors ALSO for the 5th consecutive time (US went on to win gold).
Gold: Snowboarding – Women’s Slopestyle
Silver: Snowboarding – Women’s Big Air
Gold: Snowboarding – Women’s Halfpipe
Gold: Alpine Skiing – Women’s Giant Slalom
Silver: Alpine Skiing – Women’s Alpine Combined
Jessica Diggins & Kikkan Randall
Gold: Cross-Country – Women’s Team Sprint Freestyle
Lauren Gibbs & Elana Meyers Taylor
Silver: Bobsled – Women’s 2-Man Competition
Bronze: Figure Skating – Mixed Team
Mirai Nagasu, Bradie Tennell, Maia Shibutani (who also got bronze in Figure Skating – Mixed Ice Dance), & Alexa Scimeca Knierim
Bronze: Snowboarding – Women’s Halfpipe
Bronze: Freestyle Skiing – Women’s Halfpipe
Bronze: Alpine Skiing – Women’s Downhill
Bronze: Speed-skating – Women’s Team Pursuit 6 Laps
Heather Bergsma, Carlijn Schoutens, Mia Manganello, & Brittany Bowe
I’ve been so inspired by the Florida students who are stepping up and becoming agents of change following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But I’ve been reminded that there have been students struggling to make their voices heard on the gun violence that happens in their communities on the regular, affecting their well-being every day. So I wanted to dedicate today’s post to some of those students in Chicago.
A group of classmates banded together after the death of their classmate, Hadiya Pendleton in 2013, and created a movement to wear orange, the color commonly worn by hunters in the woods to protect themselves from being shot. It has since become a national movement, but I admit that until today I had not heard of it.
Henderson Elementary School March
In March of 2017, students at Henderson Elementary School marched and had a rally protesting gun violence after Kanari Gentry Bowers (12) and Takiya Holmes (11) were shot while playing on local playgrounds.
Polaris Charter Academy
A good NPR story (3min) of students at the Polaris Charter Academy, who did an anonymous survey and found that 91 out of 100 students were directly affected by gun violence in their area. Near the end of the 2017 school year, they organized a march that cultivated in playing on the playground (something that they were kept from doing multiple times during the school year, as nearby gunshots would force them to have recess inside)
There was a lot going on on Wednesday, so this post is back-dated. I just wanted to say that I am in awe of these students in Florida, who are choosing to focus their grief and anger into activism. As of today (February 19th), there are plans for a student-led march in Washington DC on March 24th.
Emma’s essay, published on 2/26/2018 at Harper Bazaar
Sherry Johnson was raped when she was 8 years old by multiple men in positions of power within her family’s religious institution. She was pregnant and gave birth at age 10, and was married off to one of her rapists at age 11. This did not happen in some hard to imagine, rural area of India or Afghanistan, but in Florida, USA.
Sherry’s story is at times an unsettling read (trigger warning), but I still highly recommend taking time to read it, because this blog post won’t do it justice at all.
Sherry is now sharing her story and spearheading efforts to call on Florida legislators to change current laws that allow young girls to be coerced into marriage via loopholes (permission from parents/judges). She hopes to help Florida become the first state to abolish child marriages (200,000 in the US in the last 15 years, 87% of which were young girls). The original bill proclaiming 18 to be the legal marriage age, no exceptions passed unanimously on January 31, but a similar bill was introduced last week to allow exceptions for pregnancy of 16 and 17 year olds.
I braced myself last night, but still cringed pretty hard listening to President Donald’s State of the Union address, especially when he got into the subject of Immigration reform. I just find it amazing that many members of the GOP’s ancestors would not have been able to come into the US under their proposed new rules, and was reminded of the fantastic story of Jennifer Mendelsohn (@CleverTitleTK) and the fun #resistancegenealogy movement on Twitter.
Jennifer, an author, journalist, and genealogist, has been using her skills in the latter to uncover public records and shine light on some of the hypocrisy rhetoric surrounding the immigration debate. Examples:
- Rep Steve King, who said last year that “you cannot rebuild civilization with somebody else’s babies.”… Jennifer quickly uncovered that King’s 4-year old grandmother came through Ellis Island in 1894.
- Tomi Lahren who said that Dreamers were not “law-abiding citizens”…Jennifer found that Lahren’s great-great grandfather was indicted by a grand jury for forging his naturalization papers.
- Found evidence of “Chain-migration” history on both Dan Scavino and Vice President Mike Pence
Your Grandma Was a Chain Migrant – The New Yorker
A very hearty congratulations to Maame Biney & Erin Jackson, who became the first and second African-American women ever to qualify for the U.S. Olympic speedskating teams! (Biney on the short-track team, and Jackon on the long-track)
Biney, who was born in Ghana, is just 17 years old, making her the youngest member of her team. Jackson, 25, had only picked up the sport 4 MONTHS AGO after making the transition from inline skating.
I grew up in a Classic Rock and Alternative Rock household. Pink Floyd, The Doors, Rolling Stones, The Who, Yes, Rush, Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads, Ozzy Osbourne, I enjoyed all of those guys (key word), to name a few, and would race my siblings to “Name the Band” first whenever they came on the radio. I don’t think I had the mentality that only men can rock out, but I didn’t exactly listen to any women that stood out to me (closest was maybe Stevie Nicks, who I didn’t fully appreciate until later in life)
Enter “Zombie” from The Cranberries
Holy crap, do I love this song. Written in 1994 about an IRA bombing that killed two children, Dolores O’Riordan completely shattered my experience and expectations of female rockers, and to this day I stop what I’m doing and rock out to the song whenever it comes on. RIP, Dolores. 46 is way too young to go.
Luciana Vega is American Girls’s 2018 Girl of the Year, inspiring young girls to aim for the stars and pursue STEM. A Chilean-American girl, Luciana’s story has her going to Space Camp and hoping to one day make it to Mars with NASA.
To get things just right, American Doll collaborated with some stellar badasses of the industry:
- Megan McArthur Behnken (astronaut)
- Ellen Stofan (former NASA chief scientist)
- Deborah Barnhart (US Space and Rocket Center CEO and Executive Director)
- Maureen O’Brien (manager of strategic alliances at NASA)
“I think a lot of girls are sometimes intimidated by STEM careers because they think they have to be perfect in math or the top of their class. But what you really need to have is determination, the spirit to pick yourself up when you make a mistake and keep going. I really think it’s that determination, that will, the ability to come back from failure, that are the most important characteristics. I hope that girls who read these books are inspired by these tales of failure but persistence.” -Ellen Stofan