Aja Brown, Compton’s Youngest Mayor, Re-Elected For Second Term

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Aja Brown, the incumbent mayor of Compton, California, has been re-elected to lead the city for a second term.

The 35-year-old ― who made history in 2013 at age 31 when she was elected as the city’s youngest mayor ever ― won about 60 percent of the vote, defeating former Mayor Omar Bradley in Tuesday’s election, KABC reported.

During the primary, Brown won by 20 points, a little less than what she needed to avoid a runoff with Bradley, according to KABC. Brown’s campaign strategy was to stress the work that she started and needed to finish in order to improve Compton via a “12-Point Plan.” That includes youth development, economic growth, culture and arts, safety and infrastructure.

Bradley’s conviction for misusing city funds after he left office in 2001, though overturned on an appeal, didn’t help his campaign. Brown told the local outlet that after the city “overcom[ing] decades of corruption,” it’s time for progress.

“Our unemployment rate has dropped from 18.5 percent to 7 percent so we’re focusing on the last 7 percent to make sure Compton residents are involved in the beautiful restoration of our city,” Brown said.

Brown doubled down on her promises to “build a better Compton” in a post-victory statement on Wednesday.

“Throughout this campaign, we witnessed the love that Compton residents have for their city and the interest they have in our shared vision for Compton’s future,” said Brown, who’s campaign slogan was “Let’s Finish The Work.”

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read more about Aja’s work in Compton.

Blood, Sweat, Gloves: Soldier Punches Way to Success

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Mays holds up gloves in a punching manner toward the punching bag

By Staff Sgt. Neysa Canfield

Puddles of sweat begin to form as the sound of 50-ounce gloves hitting a punching bag echo throughout the gym. A buzzer goes off. That’s the signal to the drenched-in-sweat Sgt. Larry Mays that the warmup has ended and the real workout is about to begin.

The unit supply NCO with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, used that warmup routine to help earn first place in the Colorado Golden Gloves heavyweight division in April.

“It’s a prestigious tournament that the state of Colorado holds on a yearly basis,” explained Mays. “I’ve been training since October of last year and it’s exciting to see that all my hard work paid off.”

Even though the Lambert, Mississippi, native began his training for the Colorado tournament in October, his journey with the sport started much earlier.

“I started fighting (when) I was in elementary school. I started with (mixed martial arts), taekwondo and Jiu-Jitsu,” said Mays. “I kept fighting as a way to stay in shape and relieve stress.”

While training in those combat sports, Mays’ coach recommended he try boxing as a way to help him with his MMA skills.

“I pretty much fell in love with (boxing) after that and never went back to MMA,” he explained. “It’s not an easy sport, but I love that there is always a challenge and something new to learn.”

Although boxing was a big part of his life, Mays said he found himself working odd jobs and bringing little income into his household.

With encouragement from his coaches, friends and Family members, Mays enlisted in the Army in 2012.

“I wanted to get out of Mississippi and I always wanted to join the military, so it was the perfect time to make that change,” said Mays.

He learned to adapt quickly to the military lifestyle.

“To me, my mindset with boxing and my military career are very similar,” he said. “You have to stay disciplined, have a clear and strong mind, and never back down from a fight.”

His ability to stay committed to his passion of boxing and effectively balance his career and Family life began to inspire other Soldiers in his unit.

“I would see him working long hours, helping his Soldiers and then still see him going to the gym after work to train—that’s dedication,” said 1st Lt. Wilbert Paige, platoon leader, HHC, 704th BSB, 2nd IBCT. “He is a great example, not only to the junior Soldiers in the company but to everyone, from top to bottom.”

Paige added that he hopes to see Mays in the “big leagues” in the future.

“He is a great example of what not quitting, putting in hard work and staying dedicated to your goals looks like,” said Paige. “He is the type of person who can do whatever he puts his mind to, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.”

With the support of his family and now his unit, Mays said he hopes to continue boxing and to ultimately do it professionally.

“This road of life I am on is kind of falling into place, I have come a long way,” said Mays. “I just want to be the guy who made it from nothing. I want to be the best Soldier, best NCO and best boxer I can be.”

He hopes others see his journey as a way to encourage themselves to follow their dreams, Mays added.

“I want to be an inspiration to not only Soldiers but to everyone,” he said. “You have to look at every day like a fight. Keep pushing even when you might be falling down because you can’t expect good things to happen if you don’t even try.”

Source: army.mil

Photo Credit: Mays STAFF SGT. NEYSA CANFIELD

Brothers Keep Family Tradition of Army Service

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Three Stovell brothers pose for photo at their training site in Saudi Arabia, 26 June 2019. From left to right: Staff Sgt. Daniel Stovell, Staff Sgt. Daryl Stovell, and Sgt.1st Class Davin Stovell. All three work as training instructors for the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's Military Assistance Group that advises the Saudi Ministry of Interior. Called MOI-MAG, the DoD program teaches Saudi security forces how to defend their country's critical infrastructure sites like ports, airports, bridges, oil pipeline and refineries. (U.S. Army photo by Richard Bumgardner)

By Richard Bumgardner, USASAC

In 2018, when Sgt. 1st Class Davin Stovell saw a job posted on the Army’s Tour of Duty website, he knew it was tailor fit, not only for himself, but also for his two brothers, Staff Sgts. Daryl and Daniel Stovell.Pictured from left, Staff Sgt. Daniel Stovell, Staff Sgt. Daryl Stovell and Sgt. 1st Class Davin Stovell.

“It was like the advertisement was a list of our qualifications and life experiences,” Davin said, who, like his three brothers and two sisters, grew up as military kids.

The three Stovell brothers, full-time members of the Los Angeles Police Department, who were once in the National Guard and now Army Reserve, applied and were soon accepted.

Davin, who enlisted as an active-duty Army infantryman in 1995, and his brothers, who joined post 9/11, follow a proud military family tradition and legacy of service to the Army.

Five generations of the Stovell family tree have worn Army colors, starting with their great-grandfather, the first Stovell to wear an Army uniform. Their grandfather served in Korea, and their father, Donell Sr., did two combat tours to Vietnam.

A fourth older brother is in the Army Reserve, and their older sister is deployed overseas with the Mississippi National Guard. The family has not only served in the Army but has also served in every Army component.

Altogether, the five generations have completed nine combat tours, with more on the way before their duty to country and service in the Army is complete.

Davin, Daryl and Daniel are serving as military training advisers, assigned to Security Assistance Command’s Ministry of Interior-Military Assistance Group, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. As a subordinate organization of USASAC, MOI-MAG’s mission is to build partner readiness that ultimately enhances regional security.

Collectively, the three brothers have already given more than 80 years of public service: 53 in the military and 26 as police officers with the LAPD. And they’re not done yet.

The MOI-MAG program is the only program in the world where a U.S. Department of Defense organization has a train-and-advise partnership with another country’s Ministry of Interior. One of the primary missions of MOI-MAG personnel – who are Army reservists – is training the Facilities Security Force that protect the country’s civil structures and facilities, much like what the U.S. government’s Department of Homeland Security does.

For the Stovell brothers, teaching defensive techniques to a partner force is natural fit. All are trained drill instructors. All have backgrounds in infantry. All have served on deployments in places such as Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, Panama, Germany and Australia. Altogether they have served four combat tours in Iraq.

“Ultimately, it will make the FSF soldiers better at what they do,” Davin said. “We’re trying to give them as much training as we can; training like how to handle a weapon, reflexive fire, clearing a building, establishing a checkpoint, how to do a patrol, conducting vehicle searches at an entry control, and even how to protect themselves if they are physically attacked.”

For Watson, having three brothers, all highly experienced noncommissioned officers, on his team is an interesting story, but he said, “I think what makes it a better story is that the three brothers that I have working for me are fantastic instructors; they are doing an extraordinary job of making FSF soldiers better at what they do.”

Source: army.mil

After Careers With U.S. Armed Forces And Fema This Couple Opens Their Own Business

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McDuffie,Sharron, Rodney, Lee's Summit, MO

After Rodney and Sharron McDuffie retired from long and successful careers that included both the U.S. Armed Forces and the U.S. Government, the Raymore couple was looking for an attractive business opportunity to bolster their pension income.

So on April 15, Rodney, “61 years young,” and Sharron, “59 years younger,” as they note, officially opened for business as franchise owners with Floor Coverings International, whose representatives visit customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International Lee’s Summit serves customers throughout greater Kansas City.

Sharron retired after 30 years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where she was a Technological Hazards Specialist assigned to several nuclear power plants throughout Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Rodney retired from the U.S. Navy with 25 years as a Yeoman Administrator before joining the Department of Immigration, where he spent more than a decade before retiring as an Immigration Supervisor this past February. “We had started talking about what we would be doing in life with retirement approaching and looking forward to living the lifestyle we were comfortable in after more than 30 years working for the government,” Sharron said. “And we were not sure that once we retired on a government pension, if it would be enough. We are still pretty young and in good health, so we started looking for a business we could purchase that also offered plenty of flexibility, such as being able to work from home when we wanted to.”

In Floor Coverings International, the McDuffies found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations.

The McDuffies are also very excited about having the opportunity for their children to play a role in the business. Their oldest son, who just earned his master’s degree in Public Affairs, is “more excited than my husband and myself,” said Sharron, while their youngest son, who just graduated from high school, is looking forward to joining one of their flooring installation teams where he will gain the necessary experience to later become a Project Manager or Design Associate. A daughter, currently a middle school biology teacher, might join the business as an office manager or Design Associate while her husband is assisting with local marketing. “Since we have been up and running, the whole family is seeing what a great opportunity it is by joining or just participating in this family business,” Sharron said.

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2019. For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location, floorcoveringsinternational.com.

Naval Veteran And Realtor Brings Number One Home Inspection Company To Norfolk

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Demetrius Payne posing in front of his Home Inspection van

(NORFOLK, VA)- Demetrius Payne knows how to use his expertise and skills. After serving in the Navy for 10 years, he then went on to operate a testing facility for aircraft carriers and submarines for 11 years! Interesting background to say the least, but practical Payne decided to become a licensed Realtor a year ago. In September he added a Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® franchise and training to round out the tremendous services he can offer home buyers and sellers.

Payne serves homebuyers and sellers throughout Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Southampton and Franklin City. The franchise brand is a favorite among veterans such as Payne. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is a member of VetFran, a program of the International Franchise Association that helps vets purchase franchises and it has achieved 5-star status in that program, the top ranking possible. In 2018, one-third of new Pillar To Post Home Inspectors franchisees were military vets. “I was impressed by the level of commitment Pillar To Post Home Inspectors makes to its franchisees,” Payne said. “My previous careers have taught me leadership, professionalism and customer service skills. My real estate experience helps me understand the ins and outs of homes.”

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, is the brand to which more than three million families have turned to for 25 years to be their trusted advisor when buying or selling a home. Consistently ranked as the top-rated home inspection company on Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise500®, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is enjoying its 19th year in a row on that list.

A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report that is printed and presented on site. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.

For more information visit: demetriuspayne.pillartopost.com or call 757-234-8566.

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with home offices in Toronto and Tampa. There are nearly 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has been named as Best in Category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® ranking for 19 years in a row. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit pillartopostfranchise.com.

Who is Stacey Abrams?

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Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate who narrowly lost the race for Georgia governor in 2018, will deliver the Democrats’ rebuttal to President Trump’s State of the Union address Feb. 5. The response is traditionally delivered by member of Congress or a sitting governor, making Abrams an intriguing choice given that she doesn’t currently hold a political office. However, as a progressive black woman who was defeated by one of Mr. Trump’s endorsed candidates, party leaders may be hoping that she can deliver a speech which demonstrates the stark differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Biography

Abrams, who is one of six siblings, was born in 1973 in Wisconsin, although her family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, during her childhood. Both of her parents later became Methodist ministers. Abrams graduated from Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college for women in Atlanta, and studied public policy at the University of Texas at Austin as a Harry S. Truman Scholar. Abrams received her law degree from Yale Law School in 1999.

While serving as a private tax attorney, Abrams was appointed the Deputy City Attorney for Atlanta at age 29. She was elected to the Georgia General Assembly in 2006, and became the first black woman to serve as minority leader in 2011. She became known for her ability to work across the aisle, and worked with GOP Gov. Nathan Deal on criminal justice reforms, public transportation packages and a scholarship for low-income Georgia students.

Gubernatorial race

In 2018, Abrams ran for governor of Georgia. She prevailed in a primary against Stacey Evans in part because she opted to focus on drawing out like-minded liberal voters instead of attempting to broaden her appeal to swing voters. The strategy was an outgrowth of her work with the New Georgia Project, an officially nonpartisan organization she helped establish that registered tens of thousands of mostly minority voters across the state beginning during the 2014 election cycle.

Abrams was defeated by Republican Brian Kemp in November. She initially did not concede the race to Kemp, due to concerns over voting irregularities, but acknowledged that Kemp had won later in the month. If she had won, Abrams would have been the first black female governor in the country. She remains a popular politician among Democrats, and a leader on the grassroots left. In late November, the Abrams-backed group Fair Fight Action filed a federal lawsuit challenging the way Georgia’s elections are run.

To read the complete article, head to CBS News.

Cory Booker Announces Run For President In 2020

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Democratic Sen. Cory Booker is running for president in 2020.

The junior senator from New Jersey announced his bid Friday in a video to supporters.

“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind … where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame,” Booker said. “Together, we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose. Together, America, we will rise.”

For the complete article, continue on to Huffington Post.

First Black Colonel: Charles Young

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Charles Young was born into slavery in a two-room log cabin in Mays Lick, Ky., on March 12, 1864. His father Gabriel later fled to freedom and in 1865 enlisted as a private in the 5th Regiment, U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery. His father’s enhanced status as a “Grand Army man” impressed Charles as he grew up in Ripley, Ohio.The son was sent to an all-black elementary school, but he was able to attend Ripley’s integrated high school and graduated at the top of his class in 1881. Two years later, at the urging of his father, he took the West Point entrance examination. Twenty-year-old Young scored well, received the required nomination from Ohio’s 12th District Congressman Alphonso Hart and reported to the U.S. Military Academy in June 1884. He was the ninth black American admitted to West Point; he would be the third to graduate with a commission as a second lieutenant.

Young had a miserable time at West Point. Charles Rhodes, a white cadet in Young’s class, remembered him as “a rather awkward, overgrown lad, large-boned and robust in physique, and of a nervous, impulsive temperament.” Rhodes recalled that Young’s “life was lonesome” at West Point––hardly a surprise, as most white cadets refused to associate with blacks and subjected them to racial slurs, cruel slights and hostile treatment beyond the normal hazing.

Young considered quitting West Point after his first year, but his father convinced him to stay—though it took Young five years to complete the curriculum. He had difficulty with engineering but excelled in languages, gaining a working knowledge of Latin, Greek, French, Spanish and German. His decision to persevere was a source of pride for him, and he accepted that “duty, honor, country” must be the foundation of his life as an officer. But Young later advised a young black man interested in attending West Point that he could expect “a dog’s life there.”

Young graduated last in his 49-member class in 1889, and from 1894 until 1936 he was the lone black West Point graduate in the Army.

Assigned to the predominantly black 9th U.S. Cavalry (aka “buffalo soldiers”), Young served in Nebraska and Utah in the early 1890s before reporting to Wilberforce University, near Dayton, Ohio, as professor of military science and tactics. While at Wilberforce, Young befriended W.E.B. Du Bois, a classics professor who would become one of the leading black American intellectuals of the early 20th century. After leaving Wilberforce, Du Bois and Young continued to correspond, and Du Bois considered Young one of the “talented tenth”—those individuals whom Du Bois and other prominent black intellectuals believed would lead the struggle for racial justice in America.

Young’s patience, discipline and hard work paid off when the United States declared war on Spain in April 1898. On May 13 of that year Ohio Governor Asa S. Bushnell appointed 1st Lt. Young a brevet major in command of the 9th Battalion Ohio Volunteers, an all-black unit. While the major and his men remained stateside, Young gained valuable command experience.

At war’s end Young returned briefly to Wilberforce University before rejoining the 9th Cavalry at Fort Duchesne, Utah. While in command of I Troop, 1st Lt. Young (he had reverted to his permanent rank) learned that one of his men, Sgt. Maj. Benjamin O. Davis, wanted to apply for a commission. Young tutored Davis for the competitive examination and wrote a glowing letter of recommendation. In early 1901 Davis passed the test and was commissioned a second lieutenant. He never forgot Young’s help, particularly after becoming the first black American to reach the rank of general.

In February 1901 Young was promoted to captain in the Regular Army—another first for a black man. Two months later Young and I Troop sailed for the Philippines with the rest of the 9th Cavalry. Stationed on Samar, Young and his men fought the Filipino insurrectos in the jungles of the island’s rugged interior. During one operation Young was leading a scouting party when it came under attack. “Captain Young had fired his revolver so fast,” a corporal later recalled, “that the sight was blown off.” Young then took another officer’s pistol and kept firing at the enemy until reinforcements arrived. Such instances of combat leadership earned Young the moniker “Follow Me” from his men, who vowed they would give their lives for him. The 9th Cavalry returned stateside in late 1902.

In May 1903, 39-year-old Captain Young, three other officers and 93 enlisted soldiers left the Presidio of San Francisco for Sequoia and General Grant national parks in north-central California. In the years before the 1916 creation of the National Park Service, the Army ran America’s national parks. The War Department detailed junior officers to the Department of the Interior to serve as acting superintendents during the summer. These assignments were always short-lived; the officers never served for more than two consecutive seasons. Consequently, little was expected.

But Young threw himself into his new job. He took charge of the payroll accounts and directed the activities of the park rangers. He stopped the illegal grazing of sheep in the park’s meadows. Young had his men dig firebreaks and place fences around the giant sequoias to protect them from root damage. The men also began work on a major project: completing a road to the Giant Forest, the park’s major attraction. Civilian crews had completed two-thirds of the road during the past few seasons. Young and his troopers finished it in two months and added another two miles to the road, going on to complete an unfinished road to the town of Visalia, seven miles farther west.

Read more about Charles’ life on History Net.

Kamala Harris Joins Democratic Presidential Field

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Senator Kamala Harris, the California Democrat and barrier-breaking prosecutor who became the second black woman to serve in the United States Senate, declared her candidacy for president on Monday, joining an increasingly crowded and diverse field in what promises to be a wide-open nomination process.

The announcement was bathed in symbolism: Ms. Harris chose to enter the race on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, an overt nod to the historic nature of her candidacy, and her timing was also meant to evoke Shirley Chisholm, the New York congresswoman who became the first woman to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president 47 years ago this week.

In addition, Ms. Harris will hold her first campaign event on Friday in South Carolina, where black voters are the dominant force in the Democratic primary, rather than start off by visiting Iowa and New Hampshire, the two predominantly white states that hold their nomination contests first. She will hold a kickoff rally Sunday in Oakland, Calif., her hometown.

For the first time, the Democratic presidential race now includes several high-profile women, with Ms. Harris joining two other prominent senators who have announced candidacies, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New YorkRepresentative Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, has also said she is running, and more women could enter the race in the coming weeks.

Ms. Harris made her announcement on “Good Morning America” and also released a video aimed at supporters and other Democrats.

“The future of our country depends on you, and millions of others, lifting our voices to fight for our American values,” Ms. Harris said in the video. She also debuted a campaign slogan that played off her background as a prosecutor: “Kamala Harris, for the people.”

Continue onto The New York Times to read the complete article.

Martin Luther King Day: 4 Ways to Honor His Legacy

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‘Crusader: Martin Luther King Jr.’

This newly opened photography exhibition features images of Dr. King’s Gandhi-inspired pilgrimage to India in 1959 and the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in which he was honored for his nonviolent crusade against racism. The exhibition continues through April 6 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Manhattan; nypl.org/locations/schomburg.

‘Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom’

In 1965 Lynda Blackmon Lowery marched as a teenager alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. She was jailed nine times before she turned 15 and was beaten on Bloody Sunday, when civil rights protesters were attacked by police officers and vigilantes. This play, adapted from Ms. Lowery’s memoir, dramatizes her experiences. She’ll be on hand for discussions after both matinee performances. Jan. 19 at 2 and 7 p.m., and Jan. 20 at 2 and 6 p.m. at the Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive; Manhattan; trcnyc.org.

‘Unsung Champions of Civil Rights From MLK to Today’

Jami Floyd and Brian Lehrer of Public Radio’s WNYC host a free program of interviews and panels focusing on the activists who have not yet received the recognition they deserve. The event will also include a photography exhibition and performances by Rutha Harris of the Freedom Singers and members of Urban Word NYC. Chester Higgins Jr., a former New York Times staff photographer, will be among the guests. RSVP in advance. Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. at the Apollo Theater; apollotheater.org/uptownhall.

Continue on to the New York Times to read the complete article.

Lauren Underwood is the youngest black woman to serve in Congress

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The 32-year-old registered nurse is one of three Democrats from Illinois sworn in to the House on Thursday.

Lauren Underwood, a Democrat from Naperville, Illinois, became the youngest black woman in history to be sworn in to the House of Representatives on Thursday afternoon.

Underwood, 32, a registered nurse with two master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University, began her political career as a policy professional in the Obama administration in 2014. Two years later, she became a senior adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services where she worked to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Underwood announced her candidacy in Illinois’s 14th Congressional District in August 2017 on a platform of expanding job opportunities, investing in infrastructure and improving the ACA. She defeated the incumbent Republican, Randy Hultgren, in the Nov. 6 election, garnering 52.5 percent of the vote.

“Are you excited to make history?,” Underwood was asked Thursday afternoon as she posed for pictures on her way to the Capitol.

“A moment in history,” Underwood responded, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Underwood is one of the three Illinois Democrats who were sworn into the House on Thursday; the other two are Sean Casten and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Her appointment means that Democrats now have a 13-5 advantage over Republicans in Illinois’ House delegation.

For her, losing was never an option.

“I learned to be a black woman in this community,” Underwood toldThe New York Times in July. “This is my home, and the idea that I might not be a good fit is an idea I never gave a lot of consideration to.”

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

Dr. Gladys West, Who Helped Develop The GPS, Inducted Into Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame

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This “hidden figure” is finally getting her due praise.

A “hidden figure” in the development of GPS technology has officially been honored for her work. Mathematician Dr. Gladys West was recognized for doing the computing responsible for creating the Geographical Positioning System, more commonly referred to as the GPS.

On December 6, the 87-year-old woman was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame by the United States Air Force during a ceremony at the Pentagon.

The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority member, born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, earned a full scholarship to Virginia State University after graduating high school at the top of her class. Gwen James, her sorority sister, told The Associated Press she discovered her longtime friend’s achievements when she was compiling a bio for senior members of the group.

“GPS has changed the lives of everyone forever,” James said. “There is not a segment of this global society — military, auto industry, cell phone industry, social media, parents, NASA, etc. — that does not utilize the Global Positioning System.”

Dr. West spent 42 years working on the naval base at Dahlgren, Virginia. During this time, she was one of the few women hired by the military to do advanced technological work. During the early 1960s, she was commissioned by the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory to support research around Pluto’s motion. From the mid-1970s to the 1980s, her computing work on a geodetic Earth model led to what became the first GPS orbit.

“This involved planning and executing several highly complex computer algorithms which have to analyze an enormous amount of data,” Ralph Neiman, her supervisor who recommended her for commendation in 1979, said. “You have used your knowledge of computer applications to accomplish this in an efficient and timely manner.”

Continue onto Blavity to read the complete article.

For the First Time in History, Two African Americans will Hold Top Leadership Positions in Congress at the Same Time

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Recently, CBC Member Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08) was elected chair of the Democratic Caucus, and Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (D-SC-06) was elected Majority Whip, making it the first time in history that two African Americans will hold top leadership positions in Congress at the same time.

In response to these elections, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02), released the following statement:

“When the Congressional Black Caucus was founded in 1971, I know our 13 founding members dreamed of the day when we would have more than one member in our ranks competing for top leadership positions in Congress. Today was that day, and I know they are proud.

“When Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries articulated to our colleagues why they were the best candidate for Democratic Caucus chair, it was one of the best displays of black brilliance that I have seen in a long time. The unfortunate part of their race against each other was that one of them had to lose.

“I congratulate Congressman Jeffries on being elected Democratic Caucus chair; he has more than demonstrated during his time in Congress that he is ready to lead in this position.

“I also congratulate Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn on being elected Majority Whip. There are few Democrats who have done more than Assistant Democratic Leader Clyburn to mentor young members of Congress and make sure that Democrats win elections.

“When former congressman George Henry White, the last African-American congressman to leave Congress before the Jim Crow Era, left office in 1901, he said in his famous farewell address, ‘This is perhaps the Negroes’ temporary farewell to the American Congress, but let me say, Phoenix-like he will rise up some day and come again.’

“Next Congress, the CBC will have 55 members, including two who will be in top leadership positions and five who will chair full House committees – former congressman George Henry White was right, and the Phoenix has risen.”

Continue on to BlackPrWire.com to read the complete article.

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