CELEBRATING WOMEN OF COLOR WHO IMPACTED EDUCATION, EQUITY, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society. Equal Opportunity Schools celebrates all women of color who have helped close education gaps for Black, Latino, Asian, Indigenous, and low-income students.
Malala Yousafzai became an activist for the education of girls in Pakistan at the age of 12 when her school was closed by the Taliban. At age 17, she became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Felicitas Mendez led an educational civil rights battle that set an important legal precedent for ending legally recognized segregation in the U.S.
Dorothy Height the godmother of the women’s movement led the National Council of Negro Women for four decades and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom In 1994.
Wilma Mankiller led the Cherokee Nation as the first female Principal Chief. Under her leadership, tribal enrollment tripled, employment doubled, infant mortality declined, and educational achievement rose. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.
Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese America civil rights activist who spent her life advocating for Black, Latinx, Native American and Asian American communities. In 2014, the White House honored Kochiyama for her life’s pursuit of social justice.
Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and Latina Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and one of five women who have served on the court. She was nominated by President Barack Obama and has served since 2009.
Charlotte Ray, taught at Howard University before becoming the first Black women lawyer in the United States, the first woman to graduate from Howard University School of Law, and the first woman admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.
Zitkala-Sa, a writer, musician, and one of the most influential Native American activists of the 20th century. Zitkala-Sa founded the National Council of American Indians, which advocated for Indigenous citizenship rights, educational opportunities, improved health care, and cultural recognition and preservation.
Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean poet-diplomat and educator. In 1945 she became the first Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature. Her portrait also appears on the 5,000 Chilean peso bank note.
Marva Collins, an American educator, Legendary Women of the World, and founder of Westside Preparatory School that taught using her own rigorous system that emphasized history, literature, and language studies through asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking.
Mary Golda Ross, a teacher of math and science, the first Native American female engineer, and a founding member of Skunk Works. Ross was also known for her encouragement of Native Americans to pursue careers in STEM, delivering lectures around the country.
Michelle Obama, the first African-American First Lady of the United States, an attorney, author, and education advocate for adolescent girls also championed causes such as: Let’s Move, Reach Higher Initiative, and Joining Forces. Obama is set to be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
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