A Message From The Creator

“Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!” 

Maya Angelou

Inspirational Woman Of The Day

Helena Kennedy, human rights lawyer

Homa Khaleeli

Tuesday March 8, 2011

Article History

Helena Kennedy

Human rights lawyer who originally worked on sex-discrimination cases before setting up Doughty Street chambers

Born into a working-class, strongly Catholic and socialist family in Glasgow,Baroness Kennedy, 61, is deeply influenced by her upbringing. “We were brought up to believe that material things were not important and that people had to be measured by what they did for other people,” she says. By this standard she is doing pretty well.

At just 24, the radical lawyer set up her own chambers to work on sex-discrimination cases, domestic violence against women and to defend women who had killed or assaulted violent partners.

By 1990, along with other human rights lawyers, she set up the Doughty Street chambers, and worked on headline-grabbing cases such as the Guildford Four and the Michael Bettany spy trial.

If criticism can’t silence her, nor can honours – despite being a Labour peer, she harshly criticised the Blair government’s erosion of legal rights and famously compared the then home secretary David Blunkett to Robert Mugabe.

She has chaired an independent inquiry recommending sweeping changes to the way sudden infant deaths are investigated, and headed organisations as diverse as the British Council and the Human Genetics Commission. She also has her own foundation funding disadvantaged students.

Inspiration Of Motherhood

Michael Morton and his mother, Patricia Morton, in October after a judge announced him free on bond after nearly 25 years in prison for a wrongful conviction.

Mom’s Faith Outlasts Her Son’s Wrongful Conviction

April 28, 2012
Michael Morton spent a quarter of a century in prison for a crime he did not commit. On Aug. 13, 1986, his wife was murdered in their home after he left for work. Their nearly 4-year-old son, Eric, was found by a neighbor, wandering in the front yard hours later. In 2011, DNA evidence freed Morton and identified someone else as the possible killer.
Morton’s mother, Patricia Morton, tells NPR’s Wade Goodwyn that she never lost faith in his innocence.

Interview Highlights

On innocence
“It was the most devastating thing that ever happened to me in my life. I knew my son was innocent, and I just couldn’t believe that they could convict him. And he said, ‘Mother, they can’t convict me because I’m innocent.’ And I knew that was true because I knew him, and I knew he loved [his wife] with all his heart.
On Morton’s son
“Eric was in the middle. It was difficult for him. [The other side of the family] always told Eric that his father was guilty. … I got a graduation invitation from him, and I sent him money and got a very sweet note from him. And then, after that, I didn’t hear from him again until after his father was out of prison. …That was a terrible loss for me because I loved him so much and I — he was almost like my own.”
On hearing the news of Morton’s release
“We were all overjoyed. We just couldn’t believe that finally, finally he was gonna get out, that they had found the man who had actually committed the crime.”

Women In The News

Veronica Melvin

LA’s Promise Board of Directors Picks Veronica Melvin for President and Chief Executive Officer

LOS ANGELES, Nov.3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The members of the Board of Directors of LA’s Promise have chosen Veronica Melvin to be their organization’s incoming President and CEO. Ms. Melvin will take the helm at LA’s Promise in mid-November.

Stephen Prough, LA’s Promise Board chairman, said of Ms. Melvin, “Veronica Melvin is the ideal person to lead LA’s Promise as our President and Chief Executive Officer. She is passionate about the importance of education. She understands the impact that good teaching and student achievement have on shaping a positive future for the LA’s Promise community and our broader society.”

“Veronica has focused her professional career on improving the lives of people. She has worked to make education relevant and purposeful for young people and their parents. She knows the ‘nuts-and-bolts’ of educational institutions. She has an eye for detail, but she always sees the big picture. She willingly and effectively collaborates with others to reach significant goals. She possesses great intellect, charm and wit. She knows how to manage people and navigate organizational change.Veronica Melvin is a perfect fit for LA’s Promise,” Mr. Prough said.

Ms. Melvin will leave her present position as Chief Operating Officer of Communities for Teaching Excellence to assume her new post as head of LA’s Promise. She previously served as Executive Director of Alliance for a Better Community (ABC), a Los Angeles-based community organization that advocates for improved education, health and economic development for L.A. residents.

She began her career as a community and government relations coordinator for the San Diego Workforce Partnership, a nonprofit organization that puts people to work by connecting employers to workers, and connecting workers to job skills and training.

Ms. Melvin was appointed by President Barack Obama in July 2011 to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence of Hispanics. She has earned a Masters degree in Public Policy from UCLA’s School of Public Affairs and a Bachelors degree in Political Economies of Industrial Societies from UC Berkeley.

LA’s Promise is a nonprofit organization working to radically shift the education, health and social outcomes for thousands of youth in one South Los Angeles community. LA’s Promise transforms chronically failing public schools, opens new schools and remakes schools into community hubs that offer comprehensive support services for students and families. LA’s Promise will prepare every child in LA’s Promise Neighborhood to be college-ready, healthy and successful in life. For more information on LA’s Promise, please go to www.laspromise.org.

A Message From The Creator

“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” 

Iyanla Vanzant

Inspirational Woman Of The Day

Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters began her career as a receptionist in an ad agency, then became a newswriter for a series of local stations, eventually working as a gopher and occasional writer for CBS News. She worked as an assistant to the producer at New York’s WRCA-TV, and as a publicist for long-time talk show host and Republican activist Tex McCrary, before joining Today as a researcher and writer in 1961.

After a few months with Today she was promoted to an on-camera position as a reporter, but assigned to cover only the fluffiest of topics. At her own urging she was gradually allowed to report on more serious topics, and by the mid-1960s she seemed to be the show’s co-host alongside Hugh Downs — a position that had previously been held only by men and a chimp named J Fred Muggs. But despite sitting across from Downs and subsequent host Frank McGee, Today maintained an informal rule that Walters was not to ask questions of the show’s ‘serious’ guests — economists, philosophers, politicians — until her male co-host had finished asking his questions, and she was not actually billed as co-host of The Today Show until 1974.

In 1976 she left NBC to co-anchor The ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner, becoming the first female to anchor a network newscast. The media coverage of this “women’s liberation newscaster” was intense, and Reasoner was chilly on camera and ice cold backstage. The ratings were disastrous, and soon she was gone. ABC, though, had Walters under contract, and to get their money’s worth they offered a series of prime timeBarbara Walters Specials, with Walters interviewing celebrities and newsmakers. And this became Walters’ legacy — her uncanny knack for extracting sometimes chatty, often revealing, occasionally embarrassing comments from the rich and powerful.

Over three decades, Walters’ specials ranged from the sublime — she had the first joint interview with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin — to the absurd — she leaned forward to askKatharine Hepburn what kind of tree she would choose to be, and asked Monica Lewinsky how she would tell her as-yet un-conceived children about her services to Bill Clinton. Walters was also co-host of 20/20, again opposite Downs, from 1984-99, and after his retirement she hosted the program either solo or with other sidekicks from 1999-2004. She created the girls’ gabfest The View in 1997, and has been among the program’s hosts ever since.

Her father, Lou Walters, was a vaudeville booking agent who produced Broadway’s Ziegfeld Follies of 1943starring Milton Berle. He owned the Latin Quarter, a small chain of prestigious night clubs in Boston, New York, and Miami Beach. In its 1940s and ’50s heyday, entertainment at the Latin Quarter included high-kicking chorus girls and big-ticket acts from Jack Benny to Tony Bennett. New York’s Latin Quarter is now an Olive Garden restaurant.

Women In The News

FILE - In this April 18, 2012 file photo, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. House Republicans determined to show women voters that they have their interests at heart on Wednesday announced plans to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the federal government's main domestic violence program. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Deal on Senate vote on violence against women bill

By LAURIE KELLMAN | Associated Press – Thu, Apr 26, 2012

Washington (AP) — Senate leaders on Thursday overcame the gender politics that had roiled debate over the government’s main domestic violence program and agreed to a vote on renewing it before heading home for a week’s vacation.

The Violence Against Women Act, approved and renewed unanimously in the past, had for weeks been the subject of haggling between the parties. Democrats accused Republicans of standing in the way engaging in a “war against women.” That phrase is part of the Democrats’ effort to protect their edge among women voters in this presidential and congressional election year.

Republicans denied they tried to block the renewal. They said they wanted to lower the cap for visas of abused immigrants, remove mentions of protecting gays, lesbians and transgender people, and change provisions protecting Native American women.

GOP lawmakers complained the changes were designed to distract voters from issues Democrats would rather not discuss, such as rising gas prices and the struggling economy.

“We face an abundance of hard choices,” said Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee and a leading supporter of Republican hopeful Mitt Romney this year. “Divisive slogans and declaring of phony wars are intended to avoid those hard choices and to escape paying a political price for doing so.”

The law, enacted in 1994, has a history of bipartisan backing and generally has escaped controversy until now.

President Barack Obama and his Democrats, eager to protect their wide lead among female voters, have tried to portray Republican stands on social policies from Medicaid to contraception as evidence of a GOP “war against women.” Women have accounted for the majority of voters inpresidential election years and they provided Obama’s margin of victory in 2008.

Romney and other Republicans are betting that men as well as women will have the economy on their mind in November and say the Democratic changes pushed for the law’s renewal are unnecessary.

Under the deal announced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate planned votes on two Republican alternatives and one Democratic proposal; each was expected to fail.

The Democratic bill was then expected to pass by unanimous consent.

The Senate is out of session next week.

The main Republican alternative, sponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, would alter several Democratic provisions by:

—capping visas available to legal and illegal immigrants who suffer abuse at 10,000 a year, compared with 15,000 in the Democratic bill.

—striking specific references to protecting gays, lesbians and transgender people.

—permitting tribal authorities to go to federal court for protective orders on behalf of abused American Indian women. The Democratic bill would expand the power of tribal officials to handle cases of abuse of Indian women by non-Indians.

House Republicans are drafting a bill would be close to the Grassley-Hutchison approach.

Local Inspiration

Michelle Asha Cooper


Michelle Asha Cooper

by The Diverse Staff , March 31, 2012

As president of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for HigherEducation Policy (IHEP), one of the nation’s premier education research and policy centers, Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper has a vision. Since taking the helm of IHEP in 2008, Cooper’s been out front influencing national education policy. The dynamic education leader, who also madeDiverse’s “25 To Watch” list in 2009, has Washington insiders tuned into the issues that impact college access, minority students, and success in postsecondary education. Cooper earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Charleston, a master’s in professional studies from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park

A Message From The Creator

“There are many aspects to success; material wealth is only one component. …But success also includes good health, energy and enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well-being, and peace of mind.” 

Deepak Chopra

Inspirational Woman Of The Day

Emma Thompson

Emine Saner

The Guardian March 7, 2011

Article History

Emma Thompson

Oscar-winning actor and human rights campaigner, recently working to raise awareness of sex trafficking

An activist since the beginning of her career, Emma Thompson, 51, is a longstanding supporter of the anti-poverty agency ActionAid, chair of the human rights organisation The Helen Bamber Foundation, and has been raising awareness of sex trafficking.

Refusing to be grand, she has rejected cosmetic surgery and talked about her IVF and post-natal depression – and is the first person to win an Oscar for both acting and screenwriting.

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