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.

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