Category: Uncategorized

Hidden Figures: Showcasing the Best of Us. 

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.

Michelle’s “Master Class.”

This is a can’t-miss speech.

Courtesy C-SPAN

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke in Manchester, New Hampshire last week at a presidential campaign event on behalf of Secretary Hillary Clinton. But this speech was no mere campaign stump speech. It was a speech that Washington Post columnist Jena McGregor described as a “master class” that “…should be required viewing for every leader.”

Her speech named the disrespect so often aimed at women and rebuked it. And in so doing, the First Lady elevated our discourse, reminding us to remember the dignity and worth of every human being, young and old.

Her speech demands our attention. Make time to watch and listen to her important words.

Speaking of the First Lady, make sure you read To the First Lady, With Love. Its lead essay was written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Monday Motivation: Be a Force!

Musical Muse: The Star Wars Theme song by John Williams, played by students from the École de l’Harmonie St Édouard and École secondaire de La Seigneurie.

Courtesy Matthieu Pierrot

Welcome to the Week!

I viewed the video above a few days ago. It made me smile then, and makes me smile now. Most of all, it inspires me to share this simple message today: Be an unstoppable force, whether you’re speaking or riding–or whatever you find yourself doing over the course of the week.

Use the force to stay motivated this week!

 

 

 

The National Mall’s New Museum: A Presidential Preview.

Watch remarks made by President Obama this evening on the eve of the opening of the Smithsonian’s African American Museum of History and Culture.

Both the best of times, and troubled times–that describes where we are today as a nation, and describes the experience that a museum strives to capture. 

This is not just a museum that tells African American stories–it tells American stories. 

The museums’s opening day tomorrow promises to be both amazing and inspiring, with the speeches to match. 

Stay tuned!

Courtesy PBS Newshour

Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile and What Congress Could Be Doing Today.

Another day, another horrific police shooting. First, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and now Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota–and both instances recorded on video.

These killings should be a national outrage. Congressional hearings should be conducted. Right now.

In fact, FBI Director James Comey is testifying as I write this…about email.

How I wish, instead, that he was testifying about why data regarding unjustifiable police killings doesn’t exist.

Courtesy FBI.

He delivered a speech about it last year at Georgetown University.

The first step to understanding what is really going on in our communities and in our country is to gather more and better data related to those we arrest, those we confront for breaking the law and jeopardizing public safety, and those who confront us. “Data” seems a dry and boring word but, without it, we cannot understand our world and make it better.

How can we address concerns about “use of force,” how can we address concerns about officer-involved shootings if we do not have a reliable grasp on the demographics and circumstances of those incidents? We simply must improve the way we collect and analyze data to see the true nature of what’s happening in all of our communities.

The FBI tracks and publishes the number of “justifiable homicides” reported by police departments. But, again, reporting by police departments is voluntary and not all departments participate. That means we cannot fully track the number of incidents in which force is used by police, or against police, including non-fatal encounters, which are not reported at all.

Without complete and accurate data, we are left with “ideological thunderbolts.” And that helps spark unrest and distrust and does not help us get better. Because we must get better, I intend for the FBI to be a leader in urging departments around this country to give us the facts we need for an informed discussion, the facts all of us need, to help us make sound policy and sound decisions with that information. –FBI Director James Comey

Why not ask Mr. Comey about this speech? Why not pledge to give him the tools he needs both to combat unjustifiable police killings, and influence behavior on the local and state level?

That’s just one of the many questions Members of Congress could be asking today–but aren’t.

Read or watch this important speech.

And remember that you can’t fix what you refuse to define or quantify.

 

 

Making a Start, and Choosing Strength

The massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando was one of 43 shootings that happened on June 12, 2016. It was the 141st mass shooting in the United States this year.

And today marks the ninth time President Obama will visit a community to offer words of comfort in the wake of such unspeakable violence.

Let that sink in for a moment.

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Wednesday Word: Patience.

May I have a Wednesday Word with you? That word is “patience,” a virtue we all need to practice.

Including me.

I planned to blog on March 1, and share this picture.

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The fabulous followup to my December 1 class.

The blog post was to be an update for the “Now Year’s Resolutions” challenge (not “new”) I issued to my cycle class.

I blogged about it on December 1. I challenged my class members that day to think of one small aspect of their lives that they wanted to change, and to commit to writing down the change and taking steps to achieve it, instead of waiting until New Year’s Day to do so.

Little did they know that I planned to follow-up with them and ask them about their progress on March 1.

That class was an awesome one. I was well-pleased with the level of effort they displayed. It was a challenging class with new music and routines, and they didn’t miss a beat. Most of all, I was very impressed with the individual changes they had made since December 1. I walked out of the gym with a bigger-than-normal smile on my face. Since I was feeling so good, I decided to do a bit of a yoga before starting the work day.

Little did I know–as I tried to move from chaturanga into an upward-facing dog–that my left ankle would have other plans.

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