Monday, January 23, 2017

Historic News

We live in historic times and the Women’s March has great historical significance. This is part of history. It was the first major international protest in America of 2017 of so many people in America and in the world. There were over 500,000 people protesting in Washington D.C. There were about 750,000 people in Los Angeles, 250,000 people in New York City, from 150,000-250,000 people in Chicago, about 150,000 people in Denver, about 130,000 human beings in Seattle. Over 130,000 people were in Boston. There were about 100,000 human beings in London and in Portland. About 60,000 human beings were protesting and rallying in Atlanta and in Oakland. Over 50,000 people were in Toronto, Canada. 50,000 were in Philadelphia. 100,000 human beings were in Madison, WI, 20,000 people were in Pittsburgh, 20,000 people were in Nashville, TN, and 60,000 human beings were in St. Paul, MN. There were about 40,000 people standing up in Austin, Texas. Over 10,000 people were in St. Louis. People were rallying in Mexico City, Prague, and Sydney, Australia. There were 7,000 people in Palm Beach, Florida. Protesters were in Rome, Antarctica, St. Paul, Minnesota, and in other places of the world too. Demonstrations have been found in Tokyo, Dublin, Capetown, Paris, Vienna, Yangon, etc. The protesters were more than disagreeing with a demagogic new President named Trump. It was about standing up for the rights of women, black people, other people of color, immigrants, and other minorities. This is real. Trump and his crew are overt in their xenophobic, bigoted extremism and we have the right to disagree with Trump. The women there and others made history to voice their views. They opposed injustice and girls were protesting too. There were as much as 3 times as many people in the rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday than the people at the Trump Inauguration. The rally showed that women’s rights are human rights. The Saturday Women’s March is the largest one day inaugural protest in American history as almost 3 million people protested throughout America. Women have been leaders of movements for social change since the beginning of human history. Many women of color wanted their voice heard since a majority of white women voted for Donald Trump. About 52% of white women voted for Trump and black women have every right to outraged about this. There is nothing wrong with intersectional womanism and true feminism. It is a fact that women of color’s voices have been omitted by the powers that be for a long time. That is why Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour have been leaders of this movement. Women deserve equality and justice period. Women give birth, take care of families, work hard, and do unsung things throughout human history. Days ago, we have witnessed an inauguration of an extremist who not only spews overtly fascist words, but is unashamed of his racism, sexism, and xenophobia. On this day, tons of women worldwide are protesting, speaking, and standing up for their human rights. We can't be free unless women are free. When a man makes more than a woman on average, when we see record misogyny and misogynoir, when we see oppression against women continuously today, then we must fight. We fight for women. We do this, because it is right and our views stand the test of time. Many people spoke in the rallies like Tamika Mallory, Janelle Monae, Scarlett Johansson, America Ferrera, Ashley Judd, Rep. Maxine Waters (she has been woke on many issues), and others. They are protesting discrimination, racism, xenophobia, white privilege, police brutality, imperialism, sexism, Islamophobia, and other evils. We want universal health care, we want women's rights to be protected and respected, we want black liberation. We want immigrants to have their rights honored, and we want humanity in general to have their voices heard. I'm opposed to imperialism and empire. We a'int backing down either. We believe in studying the functions of government, so society can change. So, we should vote, organize, join in great organizations, work in our communities, and express solidarity with women worldwide. We value education and environmental justice. The truth is clear and our ancestors sacrificed for us. We stand with women and men who desire equality, justice, tolerance, and courage. The Women’s March proves that the struggle isn’t over, there is hope in the world, and love always trumps hate. When we honor women, we honor ourselves as human beings. Don't get it twisted: Black Lives will always Matter.
Still, we rise.

We live in a new era. The movie Fences has been praised by the world over not just in America. Fences is a 2016 American drama film. It was directed by one of the greatest actors in human history, who is Denzel Washington. The movie was written by August Wilson. The story of Fences was based on Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same. Wilson created the play in 1983. Wilson passed away in 2005 (he was born in 1945), but he had a completed screenplay before his passing. Rest in Power to Brother August Wilson. Fences could win Best Picture of this year’s Academy Awards. The film has a cast of great actors and actresses. The film stars Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, and Saniyya Sidney. It was released in America nationwide by December 16, 2016. It has been greatly praised by critics. For example, Fences has been chosen by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest films of 2016. It has been nominated for many awards like a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for Denzel Washington and a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Viola Davis. The film is based in 1957 Pittsburgh (filled with a strong steel industry). During that time, there is the existence of the African American Great Migration (from the early 1910’s) where black people migrated from the South to the North (in places like Pittsburgh) in order to get economic or job opportunities, so their families can benefit. 1919 was the year of the great steel strike in Pittsburgh too. Denzel plays Troy Maxson, who is a man with a wife (played by Viola Davis as Rose). Troy Maxson is a 53 year old sanitation worker. The couple has a son named Cory (played by Jovan Adepo). The movie is very emotional and filled with controversies, arguments, debates, and family crisis. What sticks the glue in the family ultimately and ironically is struggle for self-improvement and struggle in general. Tory’s friend and co-worker is Jim Bono (played by Stephen McKinley Henderson). Gabe Maxon (who is played by Mykelti Williamson) has a head injury from World War II. So, he’s mentally impaired and has a $3000 government payout that Troy used to purchase a home for his family. Gabe is Troy's brother. Gabe has since moved out, but still lives in the neighborhood, where he is often tormented by the local children. In his adolescence, Troy left home and became a robber to sustain himself. After killing a man during a robbery led him to prison, he met Bono and revealed himself to be a talented baseball player. He then played in the professional Negro Leagues, but never made it to Major League Baseball. Although it is likely that he was rejected due to his advanced age, Troy firmly believes he was passed over due to the color of his skin. Having survived a near-fatal bout of pneumonia in his youth, Troy claims to have done so by defeating the Grim Reaper in a fistfight, upon which the Reaper vowed to return for a rematch. Troy has issues. He has an estranged son a previous relationship, Lyons Maxson (Russell Hornsby), infrequently visits him to borrow money, upsetting Troy, whose belief in responsibility rejects Lyons' pursuing his dream of becoming a jazz musician instead of finding another job.

Cory is being scouted by a football team, but Troy is skeptical that he will reach the NFL. Troy carries past hart from him being rejected from the MLB. Troy says that racial discrimination is abundant, which is true back then and today. Troy may be subconsciously jealous that Cory may achieve more success than him. Belittling Jackie Robinson, the first black player in the big leagues, Troy maintains that little has changed. His resentment is so strong that he sabotages his son’s dreams. Cory doesn’t work at his part time job in order of him to play football practice. Troy wants him to work instead. Troy has a promotion in his garbage struck job as the first African American to do so in Pittsburgh, but he can’t read. He doesn’t have a driver’s license and he committed adultery against his wife Rose with Alberta (or a woman when met at a local bar). Troy forces Gabe to be institutionalized. Troy forces Cory’s coach to kick him off the football team. Troy is forced to reveal his affair to Rose when his mistress becomes pregnant, leading to an argument in which Troy aggressively grabs Rose, causing Cory to intervene and knock Troy into a fence, which Troy marks as Cory's second offense. In the following months, Troy and Rose become estranged, although they keep living in the same house, and Troy continues to visit his mistress, who ultimately dies in childbirth after going into early labor. This caused an embittered Troy to angrily challenge the Reaper to another fight. The film isn’t a peaches and cream film. Troy brings his baby daughter Raynell home, and Rose decides to raise her as her own, but refuses to accept Troy back into her life.  Cory goes into the US Marine Corps instead of going into college. He comes back and Troy blocks his path. A fight happens between Cory and Troy. Troy has the upper hand. Later, Troy died of a heart attack 7 years later. Cory comes home to finally reconcile with his family and father after his father’s death.  Gabe is released from the hospital to attend the funeral and reunites with his family as they all bid farewells to Troy. Gabe prays for St. Peter to open the gates of heaven for Troy, and a shimmering sunlight glistens over them symbolizing intergenerational forgiveness and peace. The film shows the hurt found in many families. It also shows hope that reconciliation can occur in families too. Also, another point is to be made. The movie ends in 1964. In real life, 1964 was a time of the growth of the civil rights movement. This film is not representative of every black family. Families of every race or background (like immigrant workers from Eastern Europe) have similar stories like the story shown in Fences. The deal is that Fences is a story that has strong emotion, powerful action, and stirring performances from the actors and actresses involved. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis displayed powerful performances. There are many black families who are strong, powerful, and diverse too. Fences is a great movie.

Hidden Figures has inspired more research into the contributions of African American women in STEM fields. It’s an inspirational film that is loved by many worldwide. This is an American biographical film. It was directed by Theodore Melfi. It was written by Melfi and Allison Schoreder. The film was based on the great nonfiction book of Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shettely. The book described the great contributions of African American women mathematicians at NASA. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson. Katherine Johnson is the mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions. It features Octavia Spencer as  Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monae Monae as Mary Jackson. Supporting roles are played by Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parson, Glen Powell, and Mahershala Ali. Hidden Figures was released in December 25, 2016. It has been praised by critics and movie goers alike. It has grossed over $72 million. It has been nominated for many awards like for Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer and Best Original Score. The movie is based in early 1960’s America where racial segregation was all over the South. Activism was growing for civil rights too. The movie starts in 1961 when all 3 women (Katherine Goble, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson) are in their car. It breaks down. A cop pulls up to them and accompanies them to their destination of NASA after being shocked that NASA hires black women. The Soviet Union put the first human named cosmonaut Yuir Gagarin into a single orbit aboard Vostok 1 on April 12, 1961. Al Harrison (played by Kevin Costner) wants to beat the Russians in the space race. Al Harrison desires the best people to be in the space race regardless of color. This film takes place in the midst of the Cold War. We know that massive anti-Communist paranoia existed back then. Significantly, Shetterly notes that Mary Jackson began working at NASA on April 5, 1951, the same day a New York federal court handed down a death sentence against Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, the couple accused of spying for the Soviet Union at the height of the anticommunist hysteria. Also, it is no secret that the American government has a large governmental, military, and intelligence apparatus that has committed war crimes, corruptions, and other evils back then and today. So, there can be no sanitation of Western imperialism. Of course, this is not the fault of those who worked at NASA. By 1962, mathematician Katherine Johnson is working at West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. She works with her great colleague Mary Jackson (an aspiring engineer) and Dorothy Vaughan (or the acting supervisor of the group of African American women researchers). The Soviet Union launched Sputnik into space. So, the Space Task Group via its director Al Harrison goes immediately to try to get American astronauts into space. Katherine Johnson  is assigned to assist the team as a computer scientist, becoming the first African-American woman in the group of white male engineers. She reports to head engineer Paul Stafford, who resents Katherine Johnson being assigned to double-check his and other engineers' computations. Harrison challenges the entire engineering group to solve a complex mathematical equation. When Katherine steps forward to solve it successfully, she gains his notice. The team of astronauts, including John Glenn, visits Langley. Glenn makes a point of thanking the West Area Computers employees. Over time, Katherine gains the respect of Harrison and some of her colleagues. Despite Stafford's objections, Harrison includes Katherine in their high-security meetings, as she needs to hear firsthand how the data is changing rapidly in the months before the space launch. She created a sophisticated equation to solve the problem of slowing the space capsule to enable a safe re-entry and landing at a particular point. Dorothy wants a promotion, but is stopped by her white manager Vivian. Mary Jackson has a new assignment, so Mary Jackson goes into engineering classes in order for her to qualify for an engineering job at NASA. Mary Jackson goes into night classes held in an all-white high school in order for her to earn an engineering degree. Although the US Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional, in 1963, Virginia has not integrated its schools. Mary’s husband Levi (played by Aldis Hodge) supports her. Levi is a staunch civil rights activist too. Dorothy learns that the impending installation of an IBM 7090 computer could replace her and her co-workers. She teaches herself FORTRAN and trains her co-workers to use this programming language too. She is assigned to the IBM team after successfully getting the IBM computer to work, when the IBM engineers couldn't. She only accepts the assignment if all the women from the "computer" group can join her. The whole group helps program the computer. Friendship 7 space mission has discrepancies in the electronic calculations for the capsule’s coordinates. John Glenn wants Katherine (who was born in 1918. Katherine Goble Johnson is a physicist too. She was involved in early plans for a mission to Mars too) by name to check the calculations. Harrison brings her into the control room. They relay the results together to Glenn. The space capsule later has some heat shield problems, and the team decides to return the capsule after three orbits. Mary worked with NASA engineers, so that Glenn can manually operate the controls to protect the shield. Friendship 7 successfully survived re-entry and landed in the ocean. Later, the women are replaced by electronic computers. Dorothy is promoted to supervisor of the programming department for all her co-workers and other white women. Johnson is assigned to Analysis and Computation Division. Mary obtains an engineering degree and position at NASA. The film exposes the evil of misogynoir as it existed back then and today. It shows the oppression that black women had to experience like running to the bathroom labeled "colored" because of Jim Crow apartheid. An epilogue reveals that Katherine Gobles Johnson (who has a love interest and marries that love interest during the film) calculated the trajectories for the Apollo 11 and Apollo 13 space missions. In 2015, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. Dorothy Johnson Vaughn passed away in 2008. She was born in 1910. Mary Winston Johnson lived from 1921 to 2005. Hidden Figures is assisted by Pharrell Williams’ lively score, particularly his track “Runnin.” The film shows romance, overcoming obstacles, and inspiration. Today, space research is very important. We want to respect the contributions of 3 great black women who changed the world in space research and STEM fields. We honor Katherine Johnson, Mary Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughn forever. Black women played a very crucial, important role in establishing successful space missions and engineering in the world. Therefore, I do recommend people to watch Hidden Figures.

Brother Hakeem Olajuwon is now 54 years old.  He is one of the greatest players in NBA. From 1984 to 2002, he played in the NBA. Hakeem Olajuwon was very creative in his ability, he shot the ball well, and he always is a people person. Houston loved him and he loved the Houston Rockets and its fans. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria and his family is part of the Yoruba ethnic group. Nigeria has dozens of ethnic groups. He is the third of eight children. He played soccer and played basketball by the age of 17 years old. He came into the University of Houston to play in college. Houston is home to many immigrants and it is a very diverse city. In the NBA, he played with Ralph Sampson, Clyde Drexler, and other legends in the Houston Rockets. He won 2 NBA Championships in 1994 and 1995. He ended his career in the Toronto Raptors. He has trained young basketball players for years. He has worked in charities and he's a man who is a legend.

By Timothy

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