Tag Archives: international womens day

Women’s History Month: Brenda Hale

March is Women’s History Month. Although women have come a long way since the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 and the Voting Rights Act was signed into law in 1965, we still have a long way to go on the path to equality. This means equality that does not discriminate based on gender, race, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, or religion. Locally, there are many amazing women who are working hard to eradicate the practices that lead to oppression in these areas. What they have in common is a shared desire to help individuals in a community come together, care for one another, and help each other succeed. This month, we’d like to focus on one of those women specifically: Roanoke NAACP President, Brenda Hale.

Hale has had a passion for helping others since she was nine years old. Raised by her great uncle and aunt in Bridgeport, Connecticut, she went everywhere with them as a child.

“They taught me everything. I like to help people, and she taught me how to take pride in my work. No matter what you do, no matter what you become, be the best you can be,” she recalls.

That is a lesson Hale has carried with her throughout her life. As a veteran and a nurse, she has always been a resource for the people around her. It is no surprise that her history of helping others led her to the critical roles she plays today. From sit-ins at Bob Goodlatte’s office calling for action to strengthen voter protections to an appearance at the first Women’s March in 2017, Hale illustrates that she truly cares about the people she meets and represents.

Around the Roanoke Valley, and the nation, we are all beginning to have difficult conversations involving the qualities that make us all unique human beings. We don’t always meet people who agree with us, but it is possible to work towards solutions with those people. Hale approaches those discussions like peeling back the layers of an onion.

“Once you peel back the first layer, there is something of substance underneath. You may start out with socioeconomic conditions, but you’re going to hit other layers. One of those layers will be racism. One will be education. There are so many layers to what is going on right now, and you constantly have to be peeling them back. I’m not afraid to peel back the layers and have the conversations we need to move forward,” she explains.

Although it may seem easier to avoid those conversations, that attitude can often cause more damage than the discomfort is worth. One of the dangers of complacency is that these issues continue to be swept under the rug until resentment reaches a boiling point. People often reference Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his “I Have a Dream” speech when they call for peace. Hale wants them to know that there are multiple facets to that dream.

“It may have started out with economic empowerment and the right to vote. The thing of the matter is each community needs to be the beloved community he talked about. Everyone needs to be working. It can’t take just one person. It takes all of us being willing to have talks and dialogue and to work on those multiple layers,” she adds.

Perhaps this is most eloquently represented in Dr. King’s own family, and with one of Hale’s role models, Coretta Scott King.

“[She] was the glue who held her family together. Women have always been that. She was a mother, wife; she had to be a doctor, nurse, and a psychologist. If you’re taking care of the whole family you have to wear a lot of hats. She was a civil rights icon. She stepped it up further, and she loved people,” Hale says.

Hale continues to exhibit many of those qualities in her own life. At 72 years old, she is not slowing down. She is still a caregiver, and well respected within the region for community service. Additionally, she is serving her seventh term as the President of the Roanoke NAACP, and she remains actively invested in each member, especially the young people.

“We work as a team, the the Youth Council is our shining baby. We have almost 85 now, and every year we graduate about 30-34 kids. We keep filling it back up,” she says.

The Roanoke youth who participate in this program hold offices, attend quarterly meetings, and go to state and national conventions. They are allowed to wear Kente cloth stoles when they graduate.

“It doesn’t matter what you do after high school. You can go to college, the military, into a trade; whatever you decide to do, you walk into it as a leader. All I do is sit back and keep smiling. That’s our babies, look what we’ve done for our babies,” she explains.

And they are doing a lot. The NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) program is popular among the kids in the Roanoke NAACP unit. The yearlong achievement program is designed to “recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students.” It includes 32 competitions in STEM, humanities, business, and performing, visual, and culinary arts. The Roanoke NAACP (www.naacp.org) holds a local competition for ACT-SO every year, and members often go on to compete and win medals at the national level. A few years ago, one participant brought a tuxedo with him, because he knew he was going to win.

“When he walked up on stage to receive his medal, he was the only one in a tux,” Hale recalls, smiling. “His confidence was amazing!”

Her smile lights up the room when she talks about these teenagers, recalling many by more than their name. She can tell you their interests, accomplishments, and the last time she saw or hugged them.

Hale is a role model for women (and men!) of all ages. Her willingness and ability to work with individuals and groups of diverse cultural, religious, social, economic, and political identities helps address tough issues that many women face on a daily basis. We are proud that she is part of the Roanoke community, and look forward to seeing more of her in 2018!

There are plenty of opportunities to celebrate Women’s History Month, including International Women’s Day on March 8! Visit www.internationalwomensday.com for more information on how you can be involved in their call-to-action and the effort to progress gender parity. Within the movement, there is “a strong call to #PressforProgress motivating and uniting friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act, and be gender inclusive.”

While you’re working towards gender parity, make sure you are also staying informed on factors that affect others on the struggle to equality such as race, socioeconomic conditions, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Step outside your comfort zone and learn more about an issue that may not personally impact you. Doing so is a great way to honor those who came before us, and pave the way to a better future for every generation to come.

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Women’s History Month: Notable Women Inductees in the National Inventors Hall of Fame

Women’s History Month: Notable Women Inductees in the National Inventors Hall of Fame

Since the founding of the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), nearly 550 innovators have been honored for their contributions to making our world a better place through their patented inventions. In conjunction with Women’s History Month in March, NIHF celebrates the accomplishments of women Inductees in the Hall of Fame.

NIHF is Inducting three women inventors in its 2018 Class. On May 3, Sumita Mitra (Nanocomposite Dental Materials), Jacqueline Quinn (Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron), and Mary Engle Pennington (Food Preservation and Storage) will be Inducted as part of The Greatest Celebration of American Innovation®.

(l to r: Jaqueline Quinn, Mary Engle Pennington, Sumita Mitra)

Other notable past women Inductees include:

Mary Anderson, Windshield Wiper (1866-1953; Inducted in 2011)  While touring New York City in a trolley car on a snowy day in the early 1900s, Anderson conceived her idea of a windshield wiper blade that could be operated from the inside by the trolley driver. Her idea consisted of a lever inside the vehicle that controlled a spring-loaded arm with a rubber blade. With her 1903 patent, Anderson’s invention proved to be the first windshield-clearing device to be effective.

Frances Arnold, Directed Evolution of Enzymes (Inducted in 2014)  Arnold is a pioneer of directed evolution, a process for “breeding” scientifically interesting or technologically useful proteins by mutating and recombining their DNA sequences and screening for desired properties. Arnold’s methods are used for developing new biological routes to making pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, consumer chemicals and biofuels.

Stephanie Kwolek, Kevlar® Fiber (1923-2014; Inducted in 1995)  Thousands of police officers and armed forces members can attest to the value of Kwolek’s breakthrough research in para-aramid fibers. The fruits of her work can be found in lightweight bullet-resistant vests, mooring ropes, fiber-optic cables, aircraft parts and canoes. Kevlar is a polymer fiber five times stronger than the same weight of steel.

Frances Ligler, Portable Optical Biosensors (Inducted in 2017)  A biosensor is a device using biological molecules to detect a chemical or biological target. Ligler is recognized for her innovative application of emerging technologies in a variety of fields to make optical biosensors smaller, more versatile and more automated. Thanks to her work, biosensors have moved out of the laboratory and into use for food safety, disease diagnosis, pollution control and homeland security.

More information on Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame is available at www.invent.org/honor/ .

About the National Inventors Hall of Fame
The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) is the premier nonprofit organization in America dedicated to recognizing inventors and invention, promoting creativity, and advancing the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Founded in 1973 in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, NIHF is committed to not only honoring the individuals whose inventions have made the world a better place, but to ensuring American ingenuity continues to thrive in the hands of coming generations through its national, hands-on educational programming and collegiate competitions focused on the exploration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate. For more information, visit invent.org. To nominate an inventor for Induction, visitinvent.org/nominate.

Women’s History Month: A moment of recognition

March is Women’s History Month, marked by International Women’s Day on March 8.
Sometimes, as women, it is hard to remember that we are defined by so much more than our size, the way we wear our hair, and if we wear the right makeup.
What defines us, and what actually matters is something much deeper. It is our desire to make a positive change in our own lives and the lives of others. It is our willingness to listen when we need to and lead with our hearts when the opportunity arises.
Last year, we highlighted some extraordinary local women in our magazine and on our website for our 100th issue. We feel fortunate to work with and live alongside those women, and look forward to a future that is better because of them. 
Throughout the year, we will continue to introduce you to women in our area doing amazing things. After all, our publication is a celebration of you, our readers— the things that inspire you, make you healthy, and confident to pursue your dreams. We want to encourage you to reach out to the women in your life who have helped you achieve your goals or simply gave you a shoulder to cry on when times were tough. 
Take your mother, sister, or friend out to lunch. Remind someone you care by sending them chocolate or flowers if you cannot meet up with them. And if none of these are an option, call them or send them a text to let them know you care. We all need that every once in a while.
On that note, we would like to take the opportunity to recognize one important woman who has influenced each of our lives. Narrowing it down to one was hard— we have all known some very incredible ladies! 
We hope this inspires you to share a photo of yourself and a woman you would like to recognize with us by emailing editorial@beckmediagroup.com. We may give you a shout out on our Facebook page!

New ImageHayleigh: I know some pretty amazing women, but my mom is definitely the most important one in my life! As an adult, I feel fortunate to call her my best friend. I have so much to learn, and she is an inspiration every time I have to get up, dust off, and try again.

 

 

 

 

 

joeyJoey: Valerie became my “big sister” when I turned 12 as part of the Big Brother, Big Sister program. With no mother figure in my life, she became that and so much more. Today, we remain the best of friends. Even though we live miles apart– and through husbands, children, careers and daily lives– our friendship is stronger than ever.

 

 

 

 

cheryl2Cheryl: I know I have tried to model myself after my parents in many ways because I think they have done many things right. The way I live my life has been influenced by them; my faith, my hard work and determination. The simple values of life such as love, goodness, sympathy, and respect for others.

 

 

 

 

danielleandmollyDanielle: My aunt Mollie has been the most influential woman in my life. She is a selfless and beautiful person whom I hope to be like someday.  Because of her, I know how to garden, stay strong, and love. And she was the first person to make me realize my beauty and capabilities.

Celebrating Women Everywhere!

Ladies, I would like to remind you that Saturday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day.

Without the progress that we have made in the last century, we would not be able to celebrate the achievements of many female entrepreneurs, politicians, doctors, celebrities, and activists. The way we view ourselves as members of a community would change entirely.  Our imaginations would be stifled, and our dreams would likely burn out long before we began to pursue them.  There are many famous women who deserve celebration, but I want to remind you that YOU deserve just as much recognition.

mistakes

Perhaps you are a single mom, juggling two jobs and the responsibility of raising your children.  Or, you are a student, waitressing your way through college.  Maybe you are a cancer survivor, learning to face each day with the ability to enjoy your moments of happiness—without constantly living in fear of the future.  The fact that we wake up and face each day with determination—even just a sliver of it—in a world where anything can happen, is worth celebrating.  We balance the things we need to do to survive and the things that mean the most in our life on a daily basis.  This may not always be graceful; it may not always be pretty, but the fact that we keep trying makes us strong women worth celebrating.

I am lucky, because I have had so many strong female role models over the years.  However, there is one that I will not be able to thank in person tomorrow.  My aunt, Joyce Young, was one of the strongest women I have ever known.

joyce
Joyce Young

One of eleven children, she made it her personal responsibility to make sure our large family stayed connected after my great-grandmother passed away.  At times she worked two jobs, kept up her house, and still found time for her husband, son and extended family.  She would have given her last dime to anyone in need—no matter how hard she worked for it.  Although she will never be famous, she influenced the way I work and interact with other people.  There are days when her memory and the desire to make her proud inspire me to push forward.

Make the most of this opportunity to thank the inspirational women that you know.  Pick up the phone and call your mom, sister, aunt, grandmother, or friend and thank her for all the sacrifices she has made in her life.  Remind her that she is an amazing person, and congratulate her on her accomplishments.  Also, please know that I am celebrating YOU, and that I appreciate every contribution you have made to our area and our world.

awesomewomen

Feel free to share your stories about the influential women in your life in the comments below.