Naomi Wadler and Sister Jean

I missed last week, so we’re double-dipping this week with two outstanding #WCWs.

Naomi Wadler

I am so proud of the students all over the country that are stepping up and driving the national conversation around gun violence and gun culture in the US. I am especially impressed how the affluent kids from Douglas are recognizing and owning that the national stage they have isn’t often afforded to those who have to live with gun violence every day (mostly those that are Persons of Color and from poorer neighborhoods). These kids have chosen to share the stage and raise those voices. Enter Naomi Wadler.

Naomi was the youngest speaker at the March for Our Lives protest in Washington D.C. At 11 years old, Naomi gave a passionate speech about how women of color are disproportionately affected by violence, and yet get little to no media attention.

Sister Jean

Sister Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeean!

This years March Madness had a lot of action, a lot of upsets, and a lot of me gloating because I won my groups bracket challenge for the second year in a row. But my favorite story of the tournament was everyone fascination with Sister Jean, the 98 year old Catholic sister who has been chaplain to the Loyola of Chicago Men’s basketball team since 1994. Beloved by the students on campus, Sister Jean was a principal, coach, and teacher at schools in California and Illinois before being hired at Mundelein College, an independent women’s college that eventually merged with Loyola. For 81 years, she’s been a sister in the religious order of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin (BVM).


Sheila Minor Huff


REALLY cool story about how an Illustrator working on a children’s book took to Twitter to help identify the only woman at the 1971 International Conference on the Biology of Whales (who happened to also be the only person “not identified”)

Spoiler Alert – the woman (Sheila Minor Huff), ended up being really dope.

The identity of the lone woman scientist in this 1971 photo was a mystery. Then Twitter cracked the case.

Alyza Bohbot


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.

Further Reading:

Giving a Family Business a Jolt With Coffee That Empowers Women

Dolly Parton


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.

Dolly Parton Gives The Gift Of Literacy: A Library Of 100 Million Books

2018 Women’s US Olympic Medalists

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).


Jamie Anderson


Gold: Snowboarding – Women’s Slopestyle

Silver: Snowboarding – Women’s Big Air

Chloe Kim


Gold: Snowboarding – Women’s Halfpipe

Mikaela Shiffrin


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

PY-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

Arielle Gold


Bronze: Snowboarding – Women’s Halfpipe

Brita Sigourney


Bronze: Freestyle Skiing – Women’s Halfpipe

Lindsey Vonn


Bronze: Alpine Skiing – Women’s Downhill

Bronze: Speed-skating – Women’s Team Pursuit 6 Laps


Heather Bergsma, Carlijn Schoutens, Mia Manganello, & Brittany Bowe

Students Against Gun Violence

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.

Wear Orange

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)

Parkland Survivors Meet With Chicago Students To Tackle Gun Violence ‘Beyond Gated Communities’


Emma Gonzalez

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


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.

Jennifer Mendelsohn


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


Further Reading:

Your Grandma Was a Chain Migrant – The New Yorker

They spoke out against immigrants. So she unearthed their own immigrant ancestors -CNN

Maame Biney & Erin Jackson


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.