Breed, the city’s District 5 supervisor, is serving as acting mayor, though her board colleagues may elect someone to replace her at any time. She will likely carry on in the role until a citywide mayoral election is held on June 5.
The only other woman to serve as the city’s mayor was Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who held the position from 1978 to 1988. Breed is also only the second black politician to take the job, following Mayor Willie Brown’s tenure from 1996 to 2004.
Like Feinstein did after Mayor George Moscone was assassinated, Breed is stepping into the role in the wake of an unexpected death that’s sent shockwaves around the city.
“I ask for your patience, and I ask for your support, and I ask for your prayers,” Breed said at a Tuesday press conference. “Our city’s values have never been more important, and in the months ahead, let’s carry on in Mayor Lee’s honor.”
City officials kept Tuesday’s press conference focused on commemorating Lee, so it’s unclear whether Breed’s ascent to the mayor’s office will prompt her to run in next year’s election. She has less than a month to decide, as the filing deadline to run is Jan. 9.
Breed was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2012 and named its president in 2015. A native San Franciscan who grew up in public housing in the district she represents, she has long emphasized affordable housing as a city priority.
She worked on rehabilitating around one-third the Robert B. Pitts apartments in her district and proposed a district housing blueprint that suggests turning underutilized city spaces, such as parking lots, into housing complexes with hundreds of below-market dwellings.
On June 30, 1967, the U.S. Air Force selected the first African-American astronaut, Major Robert Lawrence, to train for a highly secretive mission to spy on the Soviet Union from space.
Lawrence, an accomplished jet pilot with a doctorate in physical chemistry, was selected for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program the day after he graduate from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot school in 1967. Publicly, the goal of the joint Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office project was to study whether crewed spaceflight could be useful for the military. Behind the scenes, however, MOL’s real goal was to keep an eye on the Soviet Union from low polar orbit.
From a series of small orbiting stations, two-man crews – composed entirely of Air Force officers – would spent 30 days at a time photographing Soviet operations around the world. Polar orbits are perfect for reconnaissance, because they can take advantage of the fact that the Earth rotates beneath the orbital path, giving a satellite the chance to view the entire planet at least once a day. A series of satellites, like those planned for MOL, would have even better coverage. The crews would launch and return to Earth in a modified version of the Gemini capsule that carried pairs of NASA astronauts into orbit in 1965 and 1966.
MOL astronauts trained to operate their orbital stations and take reconnaissance photographs, to work in pressure suits in case of an emergency in space, and to survive launch and re-entry in the cramped capsules. They practiced desert, jungle, and Arctic survival, but water survival was the most vital component of training. At the end of a mission, the capsule would splash down in the ocean, and the crew would have to survive at sea while they awaited pickup – which could take several days, according to astronaut Donald H. Peterson, who was part of the MOL program before transferring to NASA as a Space Shuttle astronaut.
The partially classified nature of the program meant that the Air Force announced its astronaut selections publicly, but the officers often travelled incognito for training. That presented some challenges when Lawrence’s status as the first African-American astronaut caught the attention of the public and the media.
“The rest of us were unknown, and we could travel on false I.D., and nobody knew – had any idea who I was. But they worried because the press learned to recognize [Lawrence]. In other words, they knew him on sight,” Peterson recalled in a 2002 NASA oral history interview. “And it becomes much harder to run a secret program when one of your guys is, a high interest to the media, and he really was for a while. He kind of shunned that, obviously to try to shut some of that down. We always worried that we’d show up at some place and somebody would recognize him and make a big to-do about it.” The Air Force and the NRO fully declassified the MOL program in 2015, releasing a massive archive of documents, video, and photos.
Georgia Democrats selected the first black woman to be a major party nominee for governor in the United States on Tuesday, choosing Stacey Abrams, a liberal former State House leader, who will test just how much the state’s traditionally conservative politics are shifting.
By handily defeating Stacey Evans, also a former state legislator, Ms. Abrams also became Georgia’s first black nominee for governor, a prize that has eluded earlier generations of African-American candidates in the state. The general election is sure to draw intense national attention as Georgia voters determine whether a black woman can win in the Deep South, a region that has not had an African-American governor since Reconstruction.
She will face either Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the top Republican vote getter Tuesday, or Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Mr. Cagle and Mr. Kemp will vie for their party’s nomination in a July runoff.
Ms. Abrams’s victory, confirmed by The Associated Press, came on the latest 2018 primary night to see Democratic women finding success, as voters in Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas also went to the polls. Among the winners was Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, who upset Mayor Jim Gray of Lexington in a House primary in Kentucky.
But it was the breakthrough of Ms. Abrams that drew the most notice. A 44-year-old Yale Law School graduate who has mixed a municipal career in Atlanta and statehouse politics with running a small business and writing a series of romance novels under a nom de plume, she is now a central character in the midterm elections and the Democratic Party’s quest to define itself.
In a Facebook post declaring victory Tuesday night, Ms. Abrams, who won more than 75 percent of the vote, acknowledged the general election would be tough and cast herself as the candidate representing “the Georgia of tomorrow.”
Speaking later to a throng of supporters at a downtown Atlanta hotel, Ms. Abrams did not directly invoke her barrier-breaking nomination but held up her candidacy as a sign of the state’s progress.
“We are writing the next chapter of Georgia’s history, where no one is unseen, no one is unheard and no one is uninspired,” she said.
It’s only fitting that the first week of U.S. National Poetry Month in April coincides with what would have been the 90th birthday of the poet Maya Angelou, who died May 28, 2014, at the age of 86.
But while she’s best known today for her writing — as the author of more than 30 books and the recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees — she had many different careers before becoming a writer, and all before the age of 40, as TIME pointed out in her 2014 obituary. Such jobs included: cook, waitress, sex-worker, dancer, actor, playwright, editor at an English-language newspaper in Egypt, Calypso singer, and cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess.In fact, her name is more of a stage name than a pen name; she was born Marguerite Annie Johnson in St. Louis in 1928, but in the 1950s came up with “Maya Angelou,” which is a portmanteau of sorts, by combining her childhood nickname and a riff on her then-husband’s surname.
In a Google Doodle marking her April 4 birthday, she can be heard reading “Still I Rise,” alongside testimonials from her son Guy Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Laverne Cox, Alicia Keys, America Ferrera, and Martina McBride. The 15-time Grammy-winner Keys calls her a “renaissance woman,” while 14-time Grammy nominee McBride says Angelou inspired her to write her own songs. Winfrey, who has called Angelou a mentor, says that “Maya Angelou is not what she has done or written or spoken, it’s how she did it all. She moved through the world with unshakeable calm, confidence, and a fiery, fierce grace and abounding love.”
Here are five things to know about the literary legend:
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was her first book
As the world marks her birthday in 2018, Maya Angelou’s breakout work is particularly relevant to the national conversation. Long before the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements brought sexual assault into the national conversation, she wrote in her 1969 memoir about her own experience with sexual trauma, and how her mother’s boyfriend raped her when she was a child. He was convicted and imprisoned, and after his release he was beaten to death, a series of events that led her to stop talking for a period.
“I thought I had caused his death because I told his name to the family…” she wrote in a 2013 op-ed in The Guardian. “I decided that my voice was so powerful that it could kill people.”
In an interview with Winfrey, Angelou said that, while some places banned the book because of the rape scene, she also believed the book had saved lives by providing a model of endurance. “I just read someplace that after a woman had read Caged Bird, she realized she wasn’t alone,” she told the media mogul. As she once said in another interview, “the encountering may be the very experience which creates the vitality and the power to endure.”
She was San Francisco’s first female African-American cable car conductor
“I loved the uniforms,” she once said to Oprah Winfrey, explaining why she wanted this particular job as a 16-year-old. Per her mother’s advice, she went to the city office that hired cable car conductors and sat there reading Russian literature until they agreed to hire her. Her mother got up with her at 4:00 a.m. for her daybreak shifts and trailed her in her car “with her pistol on the passenger seat” to keep an eye on her.
South African anti-apartheid campaigner Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has died aged 81, her personal assistant says.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was the former wife of South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela.
The couple – famously pictured hand-in-hand as Mr Mandela walked free from prison after 27 years – were a symbol of the anti-apartheid struggle for nearly three decades.
However, in later years her reputation became tainted legally and politically.
Family spokesman Victor Dlamini said Mrs Mandela “succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones” following a long illness, which had seen her go in and out of hospital since the start of the year.
Retired archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu praised her as a “defining symbol of the struggle against apartheid”.
“Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists,” he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa – who Mrs Madikizela-Mandela praised earlier this year – is expected to visit the family home this evening, African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Gwede Mantashe said.
He added: “With the departure of Mama Winnie, [we have lost] one of the very few who are left of our stalwarts and icons. She was one of those who would tell us exactly what is wrong and right, and we are going to be missing that guidance.”
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, reading out a statement on behalf of the family, paid tribute to “a colossus who strode the Southern African political landscape”.
“As the ANC we dip our revolutionary banner in salute of this great icon of our liberation struggle,” he said.
“The Mandela family are deeply grateful for the gift of her life and even as our hearts break at her passing we urge all those who loved her to celebrate this most remarkable South African woman.”
Mrs Madikizela-Mandela was born in 1936 in the Eastern Cape – then known as Transkei.
She was a trained social worker when she met her future husband in the 1950s. They were married for a total of 38 years, although for almost three decades of that time they were separated due to Mr Mandela’s imprisonment.
It was Mrs Madikizela-Mandela who took his baton after he was jailed for life, becoming an international symbol of resistance to apartheid and a rallying point for poor, black township residents who demanded their freedom.
Five years later, she too was jailed by the white minority government she was fighting against.
But Mrs Madikizela-Mandela – an icon of the struggle – also found herself mired in controversy.
She was heard backing the practice of “necklacing” – putting burning tyres around suspected informants’ necks – and was accused of conducting a virtual reign of terror in parts of Soweto by other members of the ANC in the late 1980s.
She was also found guilty of kidnapping and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for her involvement in the death of 14-year-old township militant Stompie Seipei. She always denied the allegation, and the sentence was reduced to a fine.
Mr Mandela, who stood by her throughout the accusations, was finally released from prison in February 1990.
But two years later, their marriage crumbled. The couple divorced in 1996, but she kept his surname and maintained ties with him.
Brown’s sister, Cheryl Brown Henderson, confirmed the death to the Topeka-Capital Journal. Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel of Topeka independently confirmed Brown’s death with HuffPost.
“Sixty-four years ago a young girl from Topeka brought a case that ended segregation in public schools in America,” Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer tweeted Monday. “Linda Brown’s life reminds us that sometimes the most unlikely people can have an incredible impact and that by serving our community we can truly change the world.”
It was Brown’s father, Rev. Oliver Brown, who sued the Topeka school board to allow his daughter the right to attend an all-white school in the Kansas capital city. Four other school segregation cases were combined with Brown’s to be heard by the Supreme Court, but the justices’ unanimous ruling was named for Brown.
Brown, who was also known as Linda Carol Thompson after her marriage in the mid 1990s, was forced to attend an all-black school far away from her home even though an all-white school was only blocks away.
Brown told MSNBC in 2014 that she remembered the embarrassment of being separated from her neighborhood friends and the long walk to the bus stop.
“I remember a couple of times turning around and going back home because I — you know, it was a small town,” she said. “I got really, really cold and would get home and be crying. And mother would, you know, she would try to warm me up and tell me it would be all right and everything.”
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Brown. In its decision, the court overturned the 1896 “separate but equal” ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, marking the case as one of the biggest legal victories of the civil rights era. It was due to Brown v. Board of Education that the federal government could force states to integrate schools, allowing children of color the opportunity for an equal education to white children.
Brown credited her father and the other families who took their cases to court for removing the “stigma of not having a choice” during a 1985 interview for the PBS documentary series “Eyes on the Prize.”
“I feel that after 30 years, looking back on Brown v. The Board of Education, it has made an impact in all facets of life for minorities throughout the land,” Brown said during the interview. “I really think of it in terms of what it has done for our young people, in taking away that feeling of second class citizenship. I think it has made the dreams, hopes and aspirations of our young people greater, today.”
The NOBLE Center for Excellence will serve as an official Community Policing Certification e-learning (CEU-POST) state of the art content hub for Law Enforcement Officers from across the globe to enhance building relationships between law enforcement and the community.
To further boost the capacity of the NOBLE Center for Excellence, we have partnered with the Attorney Benjamin Crump Social Justice Institute to make course content accessible in multiple platforms through a licensed online self-paced learning Virtual Campus system that is accessible 24/7/365 days a year allowing law enforcement departments or individual officers of the law to take courses through a digital live streaming television channel, mobile app, and a 21st Century Avatar virtual reality simulations that can activate on any mobile device, tablet or personal computer.
“NOBLE is very excited and honored to be launching the NOBLE Center for Excellence. This is another step towards providing critical training to the law enforcement community and the nation,” stated Clarence E. Cox, III, NOBLE National President.
The NOBLE Center for Excellence Institute is open enrollment — click here to begin your selection of a program.
The 21st Century Community Policing POST-CEU online certification program is also open for enrollment – click here to enroll.
The first African-American woman in space discusses her agricultural science initiative.
Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, knows firsthand the importance of exposing kids to STEM topics early. She also knows the significance of having kids see themselves in movies, on TV, and in certain careers.
“It means making sure that people get those images that show they have those things available to them,” Jemison told HuffPost.
Jemison is collaborating on “Science Matters,” an initiative to encourage kids of all ages and backgrounds to pursue agricultural science from pharmaceutical and life science company Bayer and youth development organization National 4-H Council. Jemison, a physician and chemical engineer, knows the field of agricultural science can sound intimidating, but she and Jennifer Sirangelo, CEO and president of the National 4-H Council, have set out to change that.
Digging into agricultural science can be as simple as asking, “Where does my food come from?” An increasingly popular way to kick-start this sort of interest is through urban gardens, Jemison explained.
“There’s nothing more exciting to see something growing ― and you can eat it!” Jemison said. “That’s something parents can do with their kids as well.”
Sirangelo agreed, noting that agricultural science is more than horticulture and animal science and has huge applications for our future.
“The need to produce more food with fewer resources over the coming decades is going to push our science even further,” she told HuffPost.
As Jemison put it, we need to prepare our kids “to not just survive, but thrive.”
Bringing more children into STEM topics like agricultural science isn’t enough, though. Diversity is imperative, especially for women and people of color, groups underrepresented in these fields, Jemison said.
“We’re losing talent and we’re losing capability by not including them,” she told HuffPost. “When people think about why it is important to have a diversity of talent in a field, they think of it as a nicety. No, it’s a necessity. We get better solutions.”
But rather than give herself any sort of credit this, Hooker has her doctors to thank, her roommates in basic training, the teachers who helped her along the way — and her mom.
“She was the person that wanted to see you doing something that was a higher aim,” Hooker says. “We knew as children, don’t let mama catch you idle. You better have a book in your hand, a pen to write.”
Because of this, Hooker has spent the majority of her 103 years learning, teaching, and living out the belief that if you want to see change in the world, you better do it yourself. She’s dedicated her life to serving others with a humility and generosity of spirit that seems, in 2018, almost of a bygone era — an era that she saw and survived firsthand.
When she was 6 years old, Hooker’s family — mother, father, three sisters, and one brother — was attacked in the 1921 Tulsa race riot. The “catastrophe,” as Hooker calls it, began when a black man named Dick Rowland came in contact with a white woman named Sarah Page in an elevator. It’s likely that he tripped and grabbed her as he fell, but the truth didn’t matter. Rowland was arrested, the story escalated, and the city’s white residents, emboldened by the Tulsa police, terrorized Greenwood. They burned homes and businesses, including Hooker’s father’s clothing store, and killed roughly 300 residents. Greenwood, known as “Black Wall Street” for its collection of black businesses and wealth, was decimated.
“It was devastating,” Hooker says, “I did not know about people discriminating because of color. I didn’t know that there were people who hated other people for no reason. It was a distinct shock.”
Hooker’s family survived and moved to Topeka, Kansas. They lived near a brick factory, where the sounds of dynamite blowing up the earth for clay reignited Hooker’s memories of the massacre. She says it was years before she could sleep without screaming or having nightmares.
In spite of — or perhaps because of — what she witnessed in Tulsa, Hooker decided to devote herself to making the world a better place. She studied psychology and education at Ohio State University and taught third grade until it was announced that the Navy would allow black women to serve. Hooker had fought for this right along with her sisters in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, but after a while, she noticed no one seemed to be signing up.
“I thought, if you have fought for a right, as we had campaigned for the Navy to take in black women, then somebody ought to take advantage of it,” Hooker says. “So I thought, alright, if nobody else comes up, I’ll try.”
Hooker tried to enlist and was rejected twice due to an unexplained “complication.” Her third letter, she says, was answered by Navy secretary James Forrestal, who told her she could start at the bottom and work her way up. She claims her sister’s boss at the Government Accountability Office then told her to try the Coast Guard — where she would be one step removed from those in the Navy who viewed her as a “complication.”
“The Coast Guard recruiter was very welcoming,” she says. “She really wanted to be able to do something for her country by integrating.” Hooker knew nothing about the military: She showed up for basic training with her steamer trunk alongside seven white women and their duffel bags. Nevertheless, she would become the first black woman on active duty.
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Mercedes-Benz Financial Services to present the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra in 2018
Detroit – Mercedes-Benz Financial Services has enhanced its long-standing partnership with the Sphinx Organization, a national nonprofit dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts, as the presenting sponsor of the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra for the 2018 season. This new support of the symphony complements Mercedes-Benz Financial Services’ long-standing sponsorship of the Sphinx Competition Audience Choice Award.
“We are thrilled to expand our existing partnership with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services,” stated Afa Dworkin, president and artistic director of the Sphinx Organization. “Their continuing support allows us to highlight the importance of inclusion in the field of classical music, both in our communities and the around the globe.”
The Sphinx Symphony Orchestra is the world’s first orchestra comprised of America’s top Black and Latino classical musicians. The ensemble includes past and present members of nearly a dozen of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious orchestras, as well as faculty members of leading music institutions in the country. Some of the organizations represented include:
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
The Cleveland Orchestra
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
New York Philharmonic
Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera House
Louis Symphony Orchestra
Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra
In addition to performing, the musicians of this ensemble fulfill a unique role. The orchestra members serve as mentors to young musicians and teachers through master classes and lectures. Plus, the group promotes works by Black and Latino composers.
“At Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, we aim to provide rewarding, life-changing opportunities in the communities where we live and work,” said Mary Beth Halprin, director of Corporate Communications for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
“In the 14 years we’ve been partners, the Sphinx Organization has impacted thousands of individuals across the nation. We are pleased to be able to continue to grow that impact globally through our sponsorship of the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra.”
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services has been a supporter of Sphinx and its mission since 2004 – previously providing support for Education and Access, Artist Development and Performing Artists programs. The company’s philanthropic efforts are rooted in long-term partnerships with organizations committed to creating positive social change in four focus areas: Education; Community Enhancement; Arts & Culture; and Diversity & Inclusion.
The 21st Annual Sphinx Competition, presented by DTE Energy Foundation and hosted by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, will be held from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, 2018 at the Max M. Fisher Music Center. Details related to acquiring tickets to attend the Finals Concert on Sunday, Feb. 4, may be found at www.DSO.org.
About the Sphinx Organization
The Sphinx Organization is a Detroit-based, national organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts. Sphinx programs reach more than 100,000 students, as well as live and broadcast audiences of more than two million annually. Sphinx works to create positive change in the arts field and in communities across the country through a variety of programs organized into four main principles: Education and Access, Artist Development, Performing Artists and Arts Leadership. Read more about Sphinx’s programs at www.SphinxMusic.org.
About Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC
Mercedes‐Benz Financial Services USA LLC, headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, with Business Center Operations in Fort Worth, Texas, provides brand‐specific financial products and services for Mercedes‐Benz and smart automotive dealers and their retail customers. In the U.S. trucking industry, it conducts business as Daimler Truck Financial and provides flexible financial products and services for Daimler Trucks North America commercial vehicles branded Freightliner, Western Star, Thomas Built Bus and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc.
Mercedes‐Benz Financial Services USA LLC serves as the headquarters for operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, and has approximately 2,242 employees throughout the Americas. It is a company of the Daimler Financial Services Group, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, which does business in 40 countries and has an employee base of approximately 12,062 people worldwide. Daimler Financial Services is one of the leading financial services organizations worldwide and was ranked fifth out of 25 on the list of the World’s Best Multinational Workplaces by the Great Place To Work Institute in 2016. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA LLC was also named one of the 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials in 2015 and 2016, and one of the 100 Best Workplaces for Women in 2016 by Great Place to Work and Fortune.com. For more information, please visit www.mbfs.com/corp or www.facebook.com/mymbfs. For more information about Daimler Truck Financial, log onto www.daimler-truckfinancial.com.
It was once said that boxing great Muhammad Ali believed parents should be very careful when considering the name of their newborn child(ren), because that name will follow the child throughout their lifetime and often serve as an introduction to an unfairly judgmental world.
The late boxing-civil rights icon felt a name should serve as an ‘honorable title’ to be remembered by, as opposed to being a discriminatory reason to dismiss someone from a particular subject matter. Therefore, this belief should’ve served notice to those who initially questioned the name M. Athalie Range.
Unusually small in stature, yet awe-inspiring and captivating in presence, Mrs. Mary Athalie Range of Miami was a giant in a small body. A profoundly impactful political visionary, effective civil rights trailblazer, and successful black female entrepreneur, she had no choice but to be a person of significance with a unique name like Athalie.
Long considered the Political Matriarch of the State of Florida, a trusted advisor to President Jimmy Carter and several governors in Florida and from other states too, those who were blessed to know her understand why it was so easy for people of all generations and backgrounds to adore this sweet little woman. She had a magical presence about her that even melted the hearts of the most hardened politicians and business leaders, and won her favor among countless notable figures throughout the U.S. When she entered a room—whether it was a corporate board room full of high-powered executives or the political chambers of government buildings throughout the State of Florida—she characteristically had the E.F. Hutton effect upon most people: “when Mrs. Athalie Range talked, everyone listened.”
Commanding such respect and admiration from people came natural for her, which explained why she had over 125 local, statewide and national awards and honors covering every space on one wall of her office. Additionally, it’s also why she was blessed to see the main branch of the U.S. Post Office in downtown Miami, and a public park and swimming pool named after her long before she died in 2006. Since her passing, a special group of local leaders, which includes her grandson N. Patrick Range II., are preparing to spearhead a multimillion-dollar capital investment campaign to build a state-of-the-art museum educating people about the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, once the only public beach in Dade County, Florida open to African-Americans (virginiakeybeachpark.net).
In 1999, after years of being closed and virtually abandoned, it was Athalie Range’s final mission when she, Gene Tinnie, and a small group of progressive minds prodded the City of Miami to not only eventually re-open the park, but also agree to designate it to the National Register of Historic Places list. A few years later, the park officially re-opened to the public and is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful, serene beach locations in the entire U.S. today. Unfortunately, most tourists visiting South Florida don’t realize that a breathtaking pristine beach is available to them just a 15-minute drive from downtown Miami and is a far more relaxing option than the typical overly-congested beachfront, streets and sidewalks of South Beach.
Residents of South Florida and visitors alike should forever feel indebted to Athalie Range because without her selfless endeavors and tireless advocacy, one of the last remaining examples of paradise on Earth simply would not exist.
To see a woman of her caliber evolve from fighting for the rights of children as the PTA President of her son’s school, to becoming a political and civil rights legend known for advocating for fairness among people, one can not help but wonder what Mrs. Range would’ve voiced about the current dynamics surrounding the senseless killings of black people by black people and black males by police officers.
Her grandson, N. Patrick Range II., recently expressed, “my grandmother would have been very disturbed by the violence and senseless killings taking place in our inner cities today. She always fought for blacks to have the same rights as others. During her lifetime, she dealt with issues like racial profiling and police violence in the inner cities. As an example, she was very vocal and extremely active during the killing of Arthur McDuffie. She was a loud and calming voice during the Miami riots, too. She urged blacks to stop the violence because we were only destroying our own community.”
He went on to say, without a doubt, Mrs. Range “would be unhappy with the lack of progress in community relations with police all over this country. She also would be equally concerned with the amount of black-on-black violence in every urban neighborhood and the proliferation of guns as well. She actually helped to start a program to encourage violent youth offenders to change their ways.
The program is called GATE and was designed to help minors avoid being convicted and carrying a record before they are adults. If the minor offender completes the coursework and program satisfactorily, then they have an opportunity to have their case dismissed. She was always proactive in doing things to resolve issues as opposed to sitting back and merely talking about the issue(s). She knew she could effect change with the right approach and that was always her goal.”
While many communities have never had the chance to learn from someone like M. Athalie Range, there’s always hope that the youth of today will grow into a modern day version of her. And, just maybe, help to make the world a far better place today and tomorrow than it has been for most disadvantaged people of color.
After all, we only live once. Why not make your life as meaningful as Athalie did?
• (Santura Pegram is a freelance writer and a business professional in South Florida. A former protégé – aide to M. Athalie Range – Santura often writes on topics ranging from socially relevant issues to international business to politics.)
There is no denying that African-Americans have had a complex relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department throughout its 149-year existence.
Retired captain Ann Young knows that history, which is why the LAPD pioneer now serves and connects with others after succeeding in the black and blue. Today, she connects with “future police” by teaching criminal justice at Cal State Dominguez Hills and two other colleges.
In April 2000, the New York native became the first African-American female captain of the LAPD. She said her career choice was inspired by her positive experiences with Brooklyn cops when she was a child.
“Foot beat officers in New York were so warm. They knew everything about us, ” she said. “I think it was true community policing. They would know if we had detention, why we were late from school, if we were working on our homework.”
Young served the LAPD for 19 years on the field, working in undercover narcotics, vice, internal affairs, robbery/homicide and more. But being the first female commanding officer at the department had its hardships.
“The entire community is not going to always be accepting of you,” she said, “but you stay professional and do your job.”
Those experiences inform every lesson plan in her classroom. “Community policing is truly the key and the tool,” Young said. “We have to learn to listen to understand.”
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