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Armed with a mind filled with determination, courageous spirit that flowed through her veins and a shotgun strapped across her shoulder, Harriet Tubman represents the disposition of a woman of wonder.
She refused to bow down to any man, standing up for women’s rights. Freedom was achieved from not only escaping from chains of bondage but a freeing of one’s mind to dream of unlimited opportunities and reaching beyond the stars.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer,” Tubman said.
Tubman may soon be honored by having her image placed on the twenty dollar bill, serving as a visual reminder of her value in history.
Today, women are following in Tubman’s footsteps, breaking down racial and gender barriers and venturing into territories once dominated by man.
Although women have given birth to entrepreneurs, doctors, scientists, and world leaders, their labor pains did not stop with each delivery; for, it was just beginning.
Women have labored for equal rights, social and economic justice and to break glass ceilings in the workplace.
Today, we have the first black female vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, first black female NFL referee Maia Chaka and have stood on the shoulders of past leaders such as Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, Dr. C. DeLores Tucker, Dr. Lezli Baskerville, Madam C.J. Walker, Dr. Mary Frances Berry, Dr. Dorothy I. Height, Coretta Scott King, and the Honorable Alexis Herman.
The contributions of women can be seen every day. But, this month, we seek to honor some individually as Women of Wonder or those who will make one say, “Wow!”
Dr. Portia Lockett is an award-winning speaker, best selling author, corporate trainer, educational consultant, facilitator and chaplain.
She has been featured on CNN, in The Michigan Chronicle, The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press on Radio One and in many online magazines and podcasts. Lockett also co-produced Anointed Moments a meditational CD and book. She is a gifted songwriter.
Dr. Lockett is a living testimony to the survival and comeback spirit from the traumatic episodes in her life. From the loss of her father while in college, the death of her 28-year old son, surviving a divorce after almost twenty years of marriage, being diagnosed with several life-threatening diseases, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and unemployment, she overcame. These life-changing events made Lockett the powerhouse speaker and sought-after leader that she is today.
“I am on a mission to help as many people to reach their true calling by motivating them into their greatness,” Lockett said.
Those who have experienced Dr. Lockett say she is an awesome, amazing speaker and powerful presenters that catapults people to their next level of greatness.
Corporations and nonprofits have been impacted by her interactive and uplifting message of attacking life’s issues and reaching towards their highest plateau.
She trains organizations to step beyond their predetermined limitations, fears, and phobias by giving them the tools that are tangible to help them ultimately maneuver through to their full potential.
For additional information, visit her online at DrPortiaLockett.com, Facebook: Portia Lockett, Twitter: @portialockett,
By Stacy M. Brown,
NNPA Senior National Correspondent
Maia Chaka knows well that Women’s History Month is all about commemorating, observing, and celebrating the vital role of the fairer sex in American folklore.
She just didn’t know she would become a part of that history.
After years of officiating games in the Pac-12, Conference USA, and the NFL’s Officiating Development Program, Chaka will head to the NFL in the Fall.
When she takes the field in September, the Norfolk State University graduate and health and physical education teacher will do so as the first Black woman to work as a referee in the NFL.
She’ll also be just the second woman to wear the zebra stripes. Sarah Thomas, who worked last month’s Super Bowl, is the other.
“This is a funny thing. I was actually at home, and I was playing NBA2K with my nephew online because that’s what I like to do at night,” Chaka told NNPA Newswire just hours after an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.
“Then, I received a phone call at around 9:15 p.m. [March 4], and I just dropped everything I was doing. The next thing I know, I’m getting told ‘welcome to the National Football League,’” Chaka exclaimed.
Did she think it was for real?
“I just jumped up and threw everything off my lap. I thought I was being punked because I didn’t believe it at the time. But it was true,” she remarked.
Troy Vincent, an African American and the NFL’s second-in-command behind Commissioner Roger Goodell, celebrated Chaka’s appointment.
“Maia’s years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance – including as par to the NFL Officiating Development Program – have earned her a position as an NFL official,” Vincent declared.
“As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Maia is a trailblazer as the first Black female official and inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field,” Vincent concluded.
Chaka told NNPA Newswire that she expects coaches and players to treat her the same as any other official.
“I think the coaches just want a good official who is going to get the play right,” Chaka stated. “And I think they just want consistency. I hope they do not hold us to a different standard [than men] because we are all officials at the end of the day. It does not matter what gender we are. We are all wearing the same uniform.”
The importance of her historic promotion isn’t lost on Chaka.
“It’s an honor to join the National Football League, commented Chaka, who works with at-risk girls in Virginia.
“I just want young girls of color – young women – to know that if you have a drive for something, don’t let anything hold you back just because you think something may give you some limitations. Work hard and follow your dreams.”
Her promotion to the big league also demonstrates to women of color that they can work and succeed in a male-dominated field, Chaka said.
“As long as you put in the work and you are fundamentally sound in anything that you do, you know you will reach your goal,” Chaka offered.
“I think it’s important that they see the representation in these fields.”
Asked if she would switch from playing NBA2K with her nephew and challenge him to Madden Football, Chaka demurred.
“No, he couldn’t handle me on Madden,” she retorted.
Ramelle T. Lee is a poet, author, speaker, businessman, and staff writer for the Lamp Newsletter International. Since 2006, she founded Touching Your HeartMinistries, to reach people who feel hopeless, deeply hurt, wounded and brokenhearted.
Ramelle’s, Step into His Greatness book is featured in e-book and paperback edition. These thirty-five refreshing meditations will encourage, rejuvenate, refresh, renew and transform your life.
Since 2004, Author Lee has distributed 14,000 copies of her poems and inspired writings across the globe. Ramelle’s Keepsake Bouquet ministry and her eleven gift basket ministries has delighted women, men, teens and children.
In 2015, Author Lee joined the staff of writers from the USA, Australia and the UK in THE LAMP NEWSLETTER INTERNATIONAL. Her poetry, inspired articles and messages are featured monthly.
Since 2018-2019, Author Lee has published “For You…A Prayer for Your Family”, and “Rescued By God’s Almighty Power”, available as e-books.
In 2020, her winning story, “Put That Bottle Down!” was published by Guidepost International: Divine Interventions. Author Lee’s story about her mother is featured in Whatever Happened to Mamas? anthology. Her latest book is “New Hope.”
Since 2010, Ramelle faithfully and generously gives ministry products to various community and outreach ministries and agencies working with the homeless, women’s jail and prison ministries, homes for troubled boys and girls, abused women, shelters for children, teenage girls’ and others.
In 2016, Author Lee served as the co-host and news anchor of “Restore! Restore!” Hosted by Mrs. Wanda J. Burnside, Founder and President of Write the Vision Ministries and Medial Productions International. Since December 2020, this radio outreach ministry is called, Restoration NOW!
Ramelle has launched in 2021, another ministry outreach of God’s prayers for your healing.
Author Lee was employed at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit for 31 years, in the Health Information Management Department.
She is dedicated member Greater Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Southwest Detroit, Michigan, pastored by the Reverend Dr. Randolph Thomas.
Mrs. Michele Gardner Barnes is an inspirational writer, motivational speaker, storyteller, and poet. She is the founder and president of EL ROI MINISTRIES in Detroit. Her ministry is writing handwritten encouraging messages of hope for hurting and distressed people especially to women and the youth. In 2015, Michele became a staff writer for THE LAMP NEWSLETTER INTERNATIONAL. Since 2020, Michele serves as the Prayer Minister for RESTORE! RESTORE! Radio Outreach which is recently titled, Restoration NOW!
Michele organized and founded a group of twelve singers called “The Metropolitan Christmas Choral.” It consists of Detroit and surrounding suburban women and children united to sing Christmas carols and gospel hymns during the Christmas holiday. They sing at various Nursing Homes.
In earlier years, Michele worked with her mother, Missionary Lorraine Palm Gardner, sister Lola, brother Daniel and relatives with The Palm Family Bible Study Group. In 2016, Michele reached out to family and friends who are handicapped or unable to attend church. Pastor Doris Mosley joined the ministry to help teach a weekly Phone Bible Study.
Michele participates in civic duties. She is involved in touching the lives of children, the youth, senior citizens, and people in need of help. Michele is committed to aiding and caring for the sick in her family and community.
Michele was married to the late Michael Barnes for 36 years. They have four adult children: Michael, Helena, Shuan and Shalonda and nine grandchildren. She attended Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan and Henry Ford College, Dearborn, Michigan.
Michele retired as a Hoilcuture Tech for TrueGreen Chemlawn, Inc. At that time, she was the only black employee specializing in the care of flowers and plants for clients within the Detroit Renaissance Center. Michele was known as “The Plant Lady” throughout the Downtown Detroit Corporate offices.
Michele honors her grandfather, the late Elder Minor Palm, Sr., and mother, the late Missionary Lorraine Gardner, for their spiritual guidance and her Christian upbringing. Her empowering scripture is, “I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13 KJV). She worships at Reverend Solomon Kinloch’s Triumph Church with her daughters and their families.
Linda Lee Stafford is a wise, productive, and caring woman of integrity and kindness. She willingly extends her time and many services to help others in their endeavors in life. Linda is committed to work with outreach ministries that help the homeless, needy, and people who are devastated because of various situations.
Since 2010, Linda has worked with Treasures from Heaven Ministries in Detroit, MI. founded by Author Ramelle T. Lee and Mrs. Wanda J. Burnside. Linda is in charge of making hundreds of friendship candy bags for them to give away to people at Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other holidays. These special bags of treats are also given to those in nursing homes, youth homes, senior citizens, outreach ministries, schools, ministries, summer camps, Vacation Bible School, and various organizations.
When there are major floods and other disasters locally and around the United States, Linda generously offers her services and Avon products to help in these rough and difficult times. She goes out of her way to package and deliver necessary products to Treasures from Heaven Ministries to give or mail away for their outreach.
In 1990, Linda graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a Bachelor in Accounting and General Studies. She presently works for the Autokiniton Global Group/Tower International. For 25 years, as of January 2021, she is a committed Supervisor of the Account Payable Department. Linda has been an Avon Representative for over 15 years; specializing in Christian products.
Linda faithfully attends and serves Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit. She is a member of the praise dance ministry, usher ministry and Pulse Committee. Her pastor is Reverend Curtis R. Grant, Jr.
She was born and raised in Detroit MI. Linda was educated in the Detroit Public School system. God blessed her with a loving family: Father, Mr. Johnnie Stafford (deceased), Mother, Mrs. Essie Stafford, two sisters: Reverend Marva Stafford and Ms. Janice Stafford. She dearly loves her uncle: Mr. Marvin Covington.
By Kim J. Clark Aka Expanding Love
In the United States, March is recognized as National Women’s History Month. We, at The DeMarco Project invite our readers to join us in celebrating and honoring women in all branches of the military; Airforce, Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Army Reserves, and National Guard. We are honored to celebrate all SHEROES, active duty female military personnel as well as veterans.
Over the past three years, we have featured many female veterans in our column. As an organization that is committed to saving veterans lives, we believe it is important for our readers to understand the unique issues many female veterans have. Unfortunately, many people do not understand the damaging effects of some of the military related issues females struggle with and quite often misinterpret their behavior.
In an article published February 2018 in the Detroit Native Sun, we interviewed Sgt. Stephanie J. Shannon retired (ret). She is a veteran of the United States Army, and author of an Amazon #1 best-selling book, “Battling the Storm Within.” In that article Sgt. Shannon (ret) shared some common myths and truths about active duty female military service personnel and veteran women. This writer believes these myths and truths are worthy of being reprinted for the benefit of those who may not have read the original interview. Reprint below.
Myth - Females who join the military are either, gay/lesbian or promiscuous.
Truth - The fact of the matter is, just like men, women join the military for many reasons. It is a way to fund college. They have the desire to serve their country. It is a way to see the world, just to name a few.
Myth - Because of the military training, the women are “rugged” and therefore, not feminine. Their sexuality is always in question.
Truth – Many women in the military are mothers. Wartime veterans understand family is not first. The reality is, the mission is first. If one thinks about it, service people are required to put their emotions on the “back burner” and stay focused on the task at hand. Men who are able to do this are seen as heroes. Women…unstable damaged goods. The elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about is, 1 in 3 women suffer from military sexual trauma (MST) in addition to post traumatic stress disorder (PTST).
Myth - Women are not capable of leading. The assumption is, female veterans are full of emotions and are not able to lead or walk in authority.
Truth – Female veterans make very powerful leaders. Military training teaches; discipline and self-control; strategic thinking; solution driven thought processes, among other skills necessary to be success in business.
As civilians, we are not capable of comprehending the challenges these brave women face. Think about it… They are willing to sacrifice their life so that you and I continue to live free. They endure abuse (by those they are willing to die for and next to…) Then they come home, are ignored, as though their contribution meant nothing. More often than not, they end up homeless, not just them, but their children as well. They suffer in silence. Their voice… unheard… labeled as unstable… Yes, there are services in place. However, the way the criterion to qualify for the services is written, in many cases, only male veterans are eligible. Please note, this article is written with the intent to educate, not to find fault with veteran services currently available.
• There are over 43, 000 women veterans in Michigan.
• There are nearly 2 million living women veterans in the United States and Puerto Rico.
• 1 in 3 women veterans suffer from military sexual trauma (MST). This is the reported number of cases of MST.
• Female veterans account for one third of veteran suicide.
• Female veterans are the most underserved population in America.
As citizens who benefit from their brave service, we have the obligation to support these brave women any way we can. Express compassion instead of judgement. Volunteer to serve a local veteran service organization. Choose one that is sensitive to issues female veterans are struggling with.
We invite you to help us in our efforts to prevent military service related suicide.Please share the veteran crisis contact information below with a veteran you may be concerned about, as well as with their family members.
Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text 838255. Veterans Crisis Line responders are trained to listen and offer support to Veterans in crisis and their loved ones.” U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
Kim is the mother of a veteran who loved his country and was willing to lay his life down for the freedoms he believed in. She is the Founder and CEO of The DeMarco Project, a Non-profit organization. Her life’s mission it to save veteran lives and improve the quality of life for traumatized military service persons. If you would like to support her in the work, donations are welcome. Visit the website: www.TheDeMarcoProject.org.