Elena Kagan

 

Elena_Kagan_Official_SCOTUS_Portrait_(2013)

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was the first female dean of Harvard Law School (2003) and was nominated by President Obama to serve in the highest court in the land and was confirmed by the Senate in August of 2010.  She grew up in New York City and while her brothers became teachers like their mom she followed her father into law. She seemed destined to be a judge and was photographed in a robe and gavel before graduation. A girl who at 13 battled with her rabbi about her bat mitzvah, she negotiated her way into having a ceremony similar to that of her brothers. Elena seems at home with battling against tradition. She is only the 4th woman elected to the court of an all told number of 112 justices. Elena was nicknamed “Shorty” by Thurgood Marshall for whom she clerked and her 5 foot 3 inch stature surely didn’t slow her down. She advised President Clinton and was elected the 45th Solicitor General of the United States by the Obama Administration. Elena was never married and has no children. SCOTUS is dealing with some pretty flammable issues and will continue to do so. I believe we have a wonderful (s)hero and look forward to hearing more of her opinions.

 

 

 

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Day July 12

Today is Malala’s 16th birthday. Today she is also addressing the UN on the problem of education and her mission, A World at School. Malala was shot last October by the Pakistani Taliban for wanting an education.  She wants simple things. She is asking world leaders today help by funding teachers and schools and to end child labour, child marriage and child trafficking so that by December 2015 every boy and girl can be at school.  Here is a link to a petition to STAND WITH MALALA.

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Marion Bartoli

Bartoli

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi said. Marion Bartoli’s role model off the court is Mahatma Gandhi and they share the same birthday, October 2nd.  Today she won her first Wimbledon. This French young lady began competing at 16 and was coached by her father, Walter, until recently they decided that she should find another coach. She is 28 and lives in Geneva, Switzerland. She’s won over $8M in prize money while competing but I’m sure this win is the most important to her. She’s known for using a two-handed style like Monica Seles. Her parents were both in medicine and her brother is serving in the French Military. She loves animals, especially her cat Calinette.

Georgia O’Keefe

Georgia O'Keefe photographed by Steiglitz

My senior thesis in college was based on this photo of O’Keefe photographed by her lover, Alfred Steiglitz. I was always captivated by her paintings and I believe her depiction of clouds hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago (where she studied painting briefly) and took my breath away when I last visited. You probably know her paintings. You may even know them well. Lilies, White Lilies, Orange and very vaginal flowers.

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Her hands are what captivated me. I choreographed a dance with lovely dancers throwing their hands against a wall to try and depict this scene. Her hands held so much emotion, grace, knowledge, trust.

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It was not a successful piece, but I graduated and I don’t believe there is video of it but I bet the dancers remembering rehearsals when I made them silently laugh and cry simultaneously. (?)

Georgia O’Keefe lived to be 98 years old. She was the daughter of dairy farmers and married Alfred Stieglitz, suffered from depression and anxiety.  President Gerald Ford awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Not that this is anything to cry home about, but the 2009 lifetime movie about her is pretty great and also stars Kathy Bates.

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel is the first woman Chancellor of Germany. For the last 8 years she has been negotiating German politics, heading the EU (and through a near bankruptcy) and today is also known as the woman who indoctrinated the word “shitstorm” into the German dictionary.  She’s also responsible of being the most powerful woman on the planet. The first to reach #2 on the Forbes list.  She’s the real deal, from West Germany with Polish and German parents who lived through WWII. She got her degree in Physics and Chemistry and pursued a political career. She is the step-mom of two kids with her second husband’s children and loves soccer (er – football).

Habiba Sarobi

Sarabi

Sarabi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Habiba_Sarabi_in_April_2011

Habiba Sarobi is the mother of 3, the first female governor in Afghanistan and a doctor. When the Taliban came into power in the late 1990’s her eldest daughter was 12. They fled the country to insure her children could achieve an education but returned to become a politician and advocate against Taliban rule. She is a leader for women’s rights and environmental conservation in a foraged country.

Janelle Brown did an article on salon.com in December 2001 about Habiba and her wish to improve the life of women and improve the environment in Afghanistan.  Brown quotes Sarobi about her husband wanting her to ride a donkey through the mountains instead of by foot. “‘I am an Afghan woman; I have to walk because of all the other women who have climbed through these mountains,’”  She was trekking between Kabul and Peshawar to be with her husband and try to improve conditions in rural Afghanistan.

“The majority of Afghan women are rural. Women in rural areas are not considered even capable of opinion: Not only is she deprived of the basic right of expressing her feelings, but she can’t marry the person she wants, and is forced to marry at an early age. Basically,” concludes Sarabi, “they are being treated like animals; they are referred to in a derogatory way as if they have no rights.”

I’m reading “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini of The Kite Runner fame on my kindle. Do you remember reading The Kite Runner and feeling ashamed for not knowing enough about the Afghani culture, or even, the difference between Afghanistan and Iraqi wars with America?  I love Mr. Hosseini’s ability to bring the daily life of Afghani families to American homes in a relatable way.

Wendy Davis

Wendy Davis

Photo credit: Eric Gay/AP

Wendy Davis is a Democratic State Senator from Ft. Worth, Texas who famously and courageously filibustered an anti-abortion bill last night.

Wendy celebrated her 50th birthday last month, has two children, Amber and Dru. A single-mother at 19, she went from a paralegal program to graduating first in her class at Texas Christian University and then attended Harvard Law School.  She talked for 13 hours last night which ended in roaring applause in the gallery, and from social media around the world.

Coverage is here.

“The actions intended by our state’s leaders hurt Texas; they hurt Texas women and their families.  Their actions undermine the hard work and commitment of fair-minded, mainstream Texas families who want nothing more than to work hard, raise their children, stay healthy and be a productive part of the greatest state in our country.  These mainstream families embrace the challenge to create the greatest possible Texas, yet are pushed back and held down by the narrow and divisive interests driving our state’s leaders. ” From the Office of Senator Wendy Davis, June 25th, 2013