Women in history Tag

Who is She? 16-Hazel Ying Lee

Hazel Ying Lee was born in 1912 in Portland Oregon. Her parents were immigrants from China. She was a pioneering woman in aviation, being one of the very first women to fly fighter planes for the US military’s WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) and one of the first women to offer her flight services to the government of China during World War 2 at a time when the Japanese were invading China. Hazel started her flight training at a young age and received her pilots license at 19 being one of the first Chinese American women to obtain such a license. After she was rejected as a fighter pilot (because she was a woman) she flew commercial planes in China, and then returned to the US after the attack at Pearl Harbor to enlist in the newly formed women’s airforce. She flew planes that accompanied newly built bombers and fighters and faced some challenges as women were not given the full benefits of male pilots and were not treated as air force officers, but as civilians. It wasnt until the late 70s after much fighting that the women were recognized as military personnel. Hazel died as her plane collided with another during a routine trip, but she inspired many of her fellow pilots and a generation of young Asian American women and women of all races. The first time I heard of Hazel and any Chinese American women who were pilots was at the NYC Museum of Chinese Americans.

Sources: hazelyinglee.com/main.html (Site), Wikipedia (site), www.mocanyc.org

Who is She? 13 – Antonia Hernandez

Antonia Hernandez is an attorney based in Los Angeles who now runs the California Community Foundation. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants from Coahuila, Mexico. She graduate from Garfield high school in East LA, and went on to get her law degree from UCLA in 1971. She quickly began using her degree to fight for the rights of Latinxs in East Los. I found out about her through the ground breaking documentary “No Mas Bebes” about Mexican mothers who were sterilized against their will or without their knowledge. Antonia with several of the women who were victims of this practice sued in a landmark case that would make it illegal to perform such activites without a bilingual representative and the documents in the mothers native language. Later Antonia would become a part of MALDEF-the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. There she would work over 20 years fighting for immigration, language, voting, and healthcare rights for Latinxs nationally. From an early age she was involved in boycotts for the UFW and attended many protests. She is a fighter and has been awarded many times for her work.

Sources: CalFund.org (site), Prof.chicanas.com/ (site)

Who is She?11- Emily Pilloton

Emily Pilloton is a designer from the Bay Area who founded a non profit organization that teaches design, engineering, construction, and problem solving called “Project H“. As her bio reads, she was inspired by the fictional TV maverick/problem solver with a toothbrush and a wire; MacGyver! She studied architecture and building, and went on to work on design projects that were not only beautiful, but served a purpose. Some of her projects include building water drums with folks in Africa-BUT, I don’t get the vibe from her that she’s going in and solving people’s problems or viewing anyone as less than or poor. Rather, she is going in and working with people, combining their knowledge and hers to collaborate on a design solution to a problem. Take for instance, the classes her organization currently teaches in Berkeley to empower young girls and their mothers to build!! By putting a drill in their hands she is shifting minds and breaking expectations. I found out about her through the documentary “If you build it” which followed her and designer Matthew Miller as they revolutionized what a high school class could be, by building things with their hands, engaging students, and inspiring new ideas about who they could be.

Sources: If you build it (documentary), Ted Talk (video), Lecture CIDIM (video)

Who is She? 9- Gulabi Gang

The Gulabi Gang is a group of women in Uttar Pradesh India who are activists for women’s and human rights. The group was started by a woman named Sampat Pal Devi who was fed up with being mistreated by her family after being married off as a teen. The gang started with her seeing a man beat his wife. When she tried to stop him, he hit her as well so she came back with a heavy wooden stick and many other women to hit back. News spread that she was willing to fight back and women around her way began to ask her for help. Slowly, case by case other women started to join her and they began to wear pink (Gulabi) sari’s to signify their unity together. Sampat began helping women dealing with abuse, fights, and family disputes. Many things would go unchecked by local police but she has been proven to challenge her local police as well. And now because she fights back and teaches other women to fight the men give her more respect. Now the work of the Gulabi Gang extends to helping people get employment, fixing roads, and fighting for women’s empowerment and education. The crew has earned several awards in India and internationally and continues to inspire, now through video stories done by International media. They walk through the streets chanting and are now thousands strong!

Sources: http://www.gulabigangofficial.in/ (site) , “The Unstopabble Indians (video)

Who is She? 8-Rue Mapp

3 or 4 years ago this lady with big hair handed me a sticker that said “Outdoor Afro”( now on my sketchbook). I didn’t realize how cool the concept was until I embarked on my first backpacking trip with my wife and our homie Tiffany. I didn’t see any Black folks out there while I hiked or backpacked, but I thought to myself that there must be some Black folks who do it (just not often in my family). But I knew there must also be some historical reasons for why Black folks didn’t or do not feel comfortable going to the “outdoors”. Founder of “Outdoor Afro” Rue Mapp, was frustrated with the lack of visuals/media/ representation showing Black folk out in nature launched an organization. The organization started small in Oakland with a small group of folks, and has since flourished to include thousands of members and a national membership that meets regularly in over 15 states! Sim ply put, they are here to connect Black folks who love nature or are curious. Putting a name to it, and providing a vehicle to mobilize the many folks who’ve never been hiking, rafting, or backpacking and people who’ve been doing it for years it is a truly inspiring organization. Go head Rue! 
Sources: Outdoor Afro (Website), Ted Talk (video)

Who is She? 7 -Trung Sisters

My wife told me about the Trung Sisters the other day and I had to draw them. The Trung Sisters were from Vietnam and are folk heroes there still to this day for fighting back against China. From what I’ve read they were alive around the time of 40 AD and not much is known understandably about their birth. What is known is that the Chinese were invading what was part of Vietnam back then and controlling the people of the area. These two sisters, fed up with this organized their own army which the Chinese Government underestimated. Thinking two women could not organize an army formidable enough to fight back, they were surprised when the sisters were able to organize thousands with many female generals leading them to kick the Chinese out of their area. The twins would and the Vietnamese would lose control three years later, but they fought back and are a part of a larger legacy in Vietnam of fighting against oppression and rule.

sources: Wikipedia (website), and “Trung Sisters History” by Tiffany Dang (youtube)

Who is She? 6-Marley Dias

Two things come to mind when I think of Marley. 1. Each one teach one-an old saying. By doing what she’s doing, she is using lessons she was taught i’m sure and she is teaching the next generation. 2. Do the work. There are a lot of people out here talking about solutions and problems, far less people actually doing the work to solve the problem.
Marley Dias, if you’re off social media is an 11 year old young lady from New Jersey. Marley loves to read, and was tired of seeing the lack of books in her circle that reflected her face and her life. So rather than just complain about the lack of diversity in the books she was seeing, she did something. It was for her, but more importantly it is for other young people so they too can see themselves or see someone they don’t know yet. Her campaign to get 1000 books featuring young black girls was started and quickly caught the attention of local and national media. The hashtag for it is #1000BlackGirlBooks. If you have written or illustrated a book that features a young black girl as a protagonist, send it to Marley, and her homies Briana, and Amina at welovebam.com/1000-black-girl-books/

Who is She? 5 – Debby Tewa

Debby Tewa is a solar electrician from a Hopi reservation in Arizona. She grew up without electricity or running water until the age of 10, and when she was in high school decided to enroll in an electrician’s program; even though they geared it towards boys. She started with a Hopi company called Native Sun and has worked with many Indian families in reservations of Arizona and New Mexico. She is also a college professor that teaches at Central Arizona College. There she teaches students how to measure their use of electricity at home, how to reduce it, and how to install solar panels for their homes. I love the idea of folks being able to have some independence from a larger grid of electricity, and to be able to use a renewable source of energy.
Source: “Heroes of the Environment” (book), Sandia.org (website)
Dig this? Check out this drawing supporting No DaPL or this one celebrating Dolores Huerta

Who is She?4 – Pura Belpre

Pura Belpre was NYC’s first Puerto Rican librarian. She was a storyteller, educator, and a pioneer in library programming and learning for children. She was born in 1899 in Puerto Rico and came to the US in 1920. In 1921 she began working in the New York City public library system. She has been called a pioneer because of her outreach to the Latino community offering programming in spanish. She founded a mobile puppet company that went around the neighborhood performing her stories. She looked for and purchased books in spanish for the library when multicultural literature was not a thing. As a storyteller she brought stories from her country like “Perez y Martina” and shared them with the children uptown, while also translating them and publishing them in books for the first time. Because of the amazing work she did as an advocate for literacy and education in the community an award has been named in her honor by the American Library Association. I did not hear a single thing about Ms Belpre until I was in my 30’s. But, her dedication to engaging children and getting them to read inspires me. And I hope that more about her life is uncovered and that we as kids and adults learn about stories like hers. Check out the book “The Storyteller’s candle” and the documentary by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College called “Pura Belpre” https://vimeo.com/30837106

Sources: Wikipedia (website) and “Colorin Colorado” (blog)

Did you see the image of Arturo Schomburg?

Who is She? 3 – Keiko Fukuda

Mrs Judo as they called her lived from 1913 to 2013. She was born and raised in Japan and came to the US in 1966 establishing her own dojo in San Francisco. She began her study in martial arts at the age of 21 and had over 70 years experience as a practitioner and then teacher of Judo. She was the highest ranking woman in Judo history (10th degree blackbelt). She was the last living student of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. As a martial artist, and as an unmarried woman she faced much struggle, sexism, and strife from traditionalists. But through it all she lead the life that she wanted to live and taught many many people. She started Keiko Fukuda Joshi Judo Camp the first Judo camp dedicated to women.

Source: http://keikofukudajudofoundation.org/

Dig this? Check out Sara Khoshjamal Fekri (Taekwondo)