After my daughter Elizabeth and I went to see Hidden Figures, the movie about three African-American women who played vital roles at NASA in the early 60’s and beyond, she asked me if I learned about these women in school—I would have been in my early teens at the time.
I told her no. And suddenly I was angry. Why didn’t I know these women? Throughout my life, I sought out books and stories about women who never reached the history books. I was in the fifth grade when I read The First Woman Doctor, the biography of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell. When I returned the book to our local library, I looked for other books about women—and found none.
So here it is 2017 and I am still discovering women who made great contributions to society—and women are still fighting for equal rights — not just for themselves for everyone.
Advances in technology and science have shattered many old beliefs we thought were true. The most obvious one from centuries ago is egocentricity — the belief that Earth is the center of the Universe and all objects move around it. A less dramatic truth yet crucial for the human race is that all human beings are equal. Women are not inferior to men and people of color are not inferior to those — for lack of a better term—I will call white.
It is human nature to fear change. As the world shrinks and people of different religions and race and ethnicity become part of our American landscape, some people react with fear instead of joy. These people are “different”. Not really. They bleed, they get hungry, they need shelter. They are human beings who love, who have families and are seeking happiness the way we all do.
Technology scares us because we fear losing our jobs—but the truth is technology is bringing us jobs faster than ever. The key is providing education for people.
And Ancestry.com and 23 and Me (see back cover) prove we are truly a melting pot of cultures. No matter how advanced technology takes us, humanity will never go out of style or become obsolete. We humans contain the capacity to love, to have empathy, to be creative, to make music and art and write poetry. Someday we will be noticed first by being human, not by our gender, our race, our religion or how much power we have.
This month, in addition to being Women’s History Month, marks a year we have been covering the Flint water crisis. Not a lot has changed for Flint people. All I ask is to educate yourself on Flint and when you can, donate to the many wonderful organizations fueled by volunteers, who, on a daily basis, try to improve the lives of those who live without clean water.
I hope you enjoy the features on women—these are just a tiny sampling of women who make a difference.
A big THANK YOU to the following people and organizations that sponsored and/or donated to Editor Naffie in Dancing with the Local Stars. Because of their generosity, area food banks will be able to help more people.
Art Cats | Bluewater Wellness | Diversified Physical Therapy
Down to Earth | Evolve Salon | Family Financial Credit Union
Flannery’s Auto | LulaRoe with Erin France | Sherman Bowling Center
Orthopaedic Associates / Dr. Martin Pallante / Dr. Adelita Saenz
David Shafer of Nolan & Nolan | Shoreline Vision | Women’s Lifestyle Grand Rapids
From my heart to yours,