As of this writing, Hidden Figures is the number one film in the country!
I am so excited about that. And I remain excited about the film. I can’t wait to see it again!
Unless you’ve been hiding underneath a rock, then you are now familiar with a story that had been quite unfamiliar to most for far too long: The story of the African American women whose computations helped make space flight happen–among them, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan and Katherine Johnson.
Indeed, Johnson was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in November 2015. But at least she is getting some well-earned and long-overdue recognition.
(Take a moment to hear a bit about her journey in her own words below.)
The film doesn’t beat the viewer over the head regarding racism. It doesn’t have to. While showing the tensions of the era and the obvious foot-dragging to delay desegregation (even though the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education regarding school integration) the film shows the more subtle, casual yet no less devastating versions of both racism and sexism. Even still, you get to see these brilliant women as whole people. You see them with their families and at church and with each other.
For me, it’s not just the fact that these brilliant women are lived and worked in Virginia, my home state. Or that they are all members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., of which I am a proud member. (We are 109 years young today!)
The film celebrates the best of us and shows how powerful we are when we work together.
Though we know the late-John Glenn’s story–as an astronaut and as a Senator–we can see once again that he, too, represented the best of us.
Oh, what we can accomplish together when smart, brilliant people are free to innovate, create and solve problems without constraint.
The sky is hardly the limit. As these Alpha Kappa Alpha ladies figured.
Intelligence. Elegance. Excellence.
These are but a few attributes that describe the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. And today, Alpha Kappa Alpha marks 108 years of service to all mankind.
I am so proud to be a member of this illustrious organization. This sisterhood has been one of my life’s delights. We are doctors, actors, scientists, judges, lawyers, activists, elected officials and writers (as well as bloggers!), but we are all committed to the high ideals and purpose of sisterhood and service. That legacy, borne of our Founders’ vision, continues to this day. And I continue to be awed, amazed and inspired by the wonderful women who are my sorority sisters.
Today, I’d like to share just a fraction of that inspiration with you. Here are speeches by members on topics as varied and diverse as we are. Please enjoy.
Edwidge Danticat at UC Santa Barbara.
Mae Jemison at TEDTalk in Monterey, CA.
Mellody Hobson at TEDTALK in Vancouver.
Maya Angelou at Spelman College in Atlanta.
Kamala Harris at EMILY’s List’s 30th Anniversary Gala in Washington, DC.