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WMC News: Dorothy Height, Syria Report, Mother-Daughter Relationship, WMC Live & More

February 23, 2017

Dorothy Height: A Woman Who Wore Many Hats

Alexis Herman speaks at this month's Dorothy Height stamp unveiling ceremony at Howard University. Photo by Lateef Mangum.

By Yanick Rice Lamb | February 22, 2017

Dorothy Irene Height blended substance with style as she tackled gender and racial issues. You never saw Height without a hat. She had lots of them: Blue hats. Green hats. A high-topped cranberry hat with roses. A white-sequined halo. Fuchsia spirals trimmed in black. Some of her nearly 300 hats are now at the Smithsonian.

Little kids knew Height as the hat lady. Grown folks knew not to let the hats fool them. For under those hats was a woman of intellect with a mind that stayed sharp until the day she died at age 98 in 2010. The world celebrated her life with three days of tribute—a ceremony by Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. at Howard University, where her sorority was founded; a public viewing at the headquarters of her beloved National Council of Negro Women, where she had served as president for four decades; and a funeral at Washington National Cathedral, filled with mourners wearing all sorts of hats in her honor.

The U.S. Postal Service is now celebrating the civil rights leader on a Forever stamp with an acrylic and gouache portrait by Thomas Blackshear II. The stamp is the 40th in the Black Heritage series, and it depicts Height in one of her many hats in purple, her favorite color. More >>

Image description: Alexis Herman speaks at this month's Dorothy Height stamp unveiling ceremony at Howard University. Photo by Lateef Mangum.

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How Amnesty Uncovered ‘A Universe of Degradation’ at Saydnaya Prison

Residents of the Syrian city of Azaz walk among bombed out buildings. The destruction in Syria involves more than just bombs--it also includes what Amnesty says is systematic hanging of prisoners by the government. (Voice of America News/Scott Bob)

By Alessandria Masi/Guest Blogger | February 22, 2017

Beirut—Earlier this month, Amnesty released a report detailing allegations of government-sanctioned abuses in the two buildings of Saydnaya military prison outside of Damascus, between 2011 and 2015. The findings show a systematic policy of mass executions, torture and deprivation of food, water, medicine and medical care, which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The centerpiece of the report detailed the prison’s policy of mass executions, sanctioned by the highest level of government officials. Between 20 to 50 people were hanged once or twice a week, after being sentenced to death in a “trial” at the Military Field Court, for a total of between 5,000 and 13,000 executions during the first five years of the conflict. “We have no reason to believe that these mass hangings have stopped,” Nicolette Boehland, a Syria researcher at Amnesty International, said.

Amnesty spent a year investigating the allegations, which is longer than the human rights organization typically spends on reports, Boehland said. Between December 2015 and December 2016, Amnesty spoke with 84 people, including former detainees, former Syrian judges, doctors and former prison officials or guards. More >>

Image description: Residents of the Syrian city of Azaz walk among bombed out buildings. The destruction in Syria involves more than just bombs—it also includes what Amnesty says is systematic hanging of prisoners by the government. (Voice of America News/Scott Bob)

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A Mother-Daughter Outing

Credit: Libby Segal

By Libby Segal | February 22, 2017

I came out to my family at 25 years old. It was 2014, and while the country had made great progress in acceptance in terms of recognizing civil unions, putting more LGBTQ figures on television, and passing pro-gay laws, coming out was still a weighty experience. I was fortunate enough to have recently moved to New York, where there was less stigma and more acceptance for LGBTQ folks than there was on my college campus in Rhode Island or in my hometown of Bethlehem, PA. But even so, I struggled with the coming out process, mostly because I had struggled so hard to come out to myself.

I had never really been worried about what my parents would say or think when I eventually came out, but I waited a while nonetheless. I had always just wanted to be “sure” before I told them. So I carefully planned how I would tell my family – well, at least how I would tell my mom. I had planned to go to the mall with my mother over Easter weekend, and decided I would tell her on the drive back to my childhood home.

But the morning of “the plan,” I woke up and felt a sharp pain in my gut. I was worried. A whirlwind of new questions began to cross my mind: What if coming out to my family did change our relationship; what if my family did care? What if they even disowned me? I hadn’t actually asked myself any of these questions before that moment, and the fear of losing my family became a truly imminent one. I didn’t want my family to hate me and began to second-guess if coming out was what I truly wanted to do. More >>

Image description: Libby Segal sitting on the grass with her mother as they hold a birdhouse together.

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WMC Live #197: Farai Chideya. (Original Airdate 2/19/2017)

Robin on Puzder's defeat, Flynn's fall, the Goldman Sachs boys, and the FBI vs. Trump's Russian Roulette. Guest: political reporter and cultural analyst Farai Chideya discusses her online essay "The Call-to-Whiteness." Plus, an extended Surrealism Corner. Listen here >>

Congratulations to Robin Morgan and the WMC Live team for winning the TMT News Magazine Excellence in Media Award and the Acquisition International Excellence Award for Most Outstanding International Women's Empowerment Podcast!

    

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This week WMC SheSource features experts on President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security, the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony, President Trump condemning anti-semitic threats against Jewish community centers, conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos’ comments on paedophilia and the repercussions, and Uber’s attempt to investigate sexual harassment claims.

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