October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

breast cancer quotes - Courage doesn't always roar

Each October, Federally Employed Women (FEW) take time to acknowledge the men and women whose lives are affected by breast cancer and brings awareness to our community to to defeat breast cancer in so many lives. We know that 2.4% of women in the United States will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. This makes breast cancer the most common cancer among women, besides skin cancer. In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.  And, men in 2018, there were about 2,550 new cases of breast cancer.

But what is most important to FEW is that we make sure you are aware of what breast cancer is and that you know your body and check often for changes. Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. There are different kinds of breast cancer. The kind of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn into cancer. Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. A breast is made up of three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. The lobules are the glands that produce milk. The ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple. The connective tissue (which consists of fibrous and fatty tissue) surrounds and holds everything together. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules.

We know that early detection can be the difference in saving lives.  Many of the most important risk factors for breast cancer are beyond our control, such as age, family history, and medical history. However, there are some risk factors you can control, such as weight, physical activity, and alcohol consumption.  Your health is a major factor in the well-being of your entire family.  Thus, FEW want to acknowledge Breast Cancer Awareness Month by reminding everyone to use self-examination to fight against breast cancer and we support a healthy schedule of mammograms with your doctor based on your family history and risk factors. 

FEW mourns the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A known champion for gender equality, Federally Employed Women (FEW) mourns the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or RBG.  Justice Ginsburg spent a lifetime flourishing in the face of adversity before being appointed a Supreme Court justice, where she successfully fought against gender discrimination. She was born Joan Ruth Bader on March 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. Her father was a furrier in the height of the Great Depression, and her mother worked in a garment factory. Ginsburg’s mother instilled a love of education in Ginsburg through her dedication to her brother; foregoing her own education to finance her brother’s college expenses. Her mother heavily influenced her early life and watched Ginsburg excel at James Madison High School, but was diagnosed with cancer and died the day before Ginsburg’s high school graduation. Ginsburg’s success in academia continued throughout her years at Cornell University, where she graduated at the top of her class in 1954. That same year, Ruth Bader became Ruth Bader Ginsburg after marrying her husband Martin, who was a first-year law student at Cornell when they met. After graduation, she put her education on hold to start a family. She had her first child in 1955, shortly after her husband was drafted for two years of military service. Upon her husband’s return from his service, Ginsburg enrolled at Harvard Law.

Ginsburg’s personal struggles neither decreased in intensity nor deterred her in any way from reaching and exceeding her academic goals, even when her husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1956, during her first year of law school. Ginsburg took on the challenge of keeping her sick husband up-to-date with his studies while maintaining her own position at the top of the class. At Harvard, Ginsburg tackled the challenges of motherhood and of a male-dominated school where she was one of nine females in a 500-person class. She faced gender-based discrimination from even the highest authorities there, who chastised her for taking a man’s spot at Harvard Law. She served as the first female member of the Harvard Law Review. Her husband recovered from cancer, graduated from Harvard, and moved to New York City to accept a position at a law firm there. Ruth Bader Ginsburg had one more year of law school left, so she transferred to Columbia Law School and served on their law review as well. She graduated first in her class at Columbia Law in 1959.

Even her exceptional academic record was not enough to shield her from the gender-based discrimination women faced in the workplace in the 1960s. She had difficulties finding a job until a favorite Columbia professor explicitly refused to recommend any other graduates before U.S. District Judge Edmund L. Palmieri hired Ginsburg as a clerk. Ginsburg clerked under Judge Palmieri for two years. After this, she was offered some jobs at law firms, but always at a much lower salary than her male counterparts. She instead took some time to pursue her other legal passion, civil procedure, choosing to join the Columbia Project on International Civil Procedure. This project fully immersed her in Swedish culture, where she lived abroad to do research for her book on Swedish Civil Procedure practices. Upon her return to the States, she accepted a job as a professor at Rutgers University Law School in 1963, a position she held until accepting an offer to teach at Columbia in 1972. There, she became the first female professor at Columbia to earn tenure. Ginsburg also directed the influential Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union during the 1970s. In this position, she led the fight against gender discrimination and successfully argued six landmark cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ginsburg took a broad look at gender discrimination, fighting not just for the women left behind, but for the men who were discriminated against as well. Ginsburg experienced her share of gender discrimination, even going so far as to hide her pregnancy from her Rutgers colleagues. Ginsburg accepted Jimmy Carter’s appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1980. She served on the court for thirteen years until 1993, when Bill Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg began her career as a justice where she left off as an advocate, fighting for women’s rights. In 1996, Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion in United States v. Virginia, holding that qualified women could not be denied admission to Virginia Military Institute. Her style in advocating from the bench matches her style from her time at the ACLU: slow but steady, and calculated. Instead of creating sweeping limitations on gender discrimination, she attacked specific areas of discrimination and violations of women’s rights one at a time, so as to send a message to the legislatures on what they can and cannot do. Her attitude is that major social change should not come from the courts, but from Congress and other legislatures. This method allows for social change to remain in Congress’ power while also receiving guidance from the court. Ginsburg does not shy away from giving pointed guidance when she feels the need. She dissented in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. where the plaintiff, a female worker being paid significantly less than males with her same qualifications, sued under Title VII but was denied relief under a statute of limitations issue. The facts of this case mixed her passion of federal procedure and gender discrimination. She broke with tradition and wrote a highly colloquial version of her dissent to read from the bench. She also called for Congress to undo this improper interpretation of the law in her dissent, and then worked with President Obama to pass the very first piece of legislation he signed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a copy of which hangs proudly in her office.

While many people speculate as to when the justice will retire, any assumption of frailty would be utterly misplaced. Ginsburg works with a personal trainer in the Supreme Court’s exercise room, and notably, can lift more than both Justices Breyer and Kagan. Until the 2018 term, Ginsburg had not missed a day of oral arguments, not even when she was undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, after surgery for colon cancer, or the day after her husband passed away in 2010. Justice Ginsburg has proven time and again that she is a force to be reckoned with, and those who doubt her capacity to effectively complete her judicial duties need only to look at her record in oral arguments, where she is still among the most avid questioners on the bench today.

https://www.oyez.org/justices/ruth_bader_ginsburg

Federally Employed Women Observe 2020 National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month, an annual celebration of the culture and proud history of Hispanic Americans, is observed from September 15 – October 15.  This year’s National theme is “Hispanics:  Be Proud of Your Past and Embrace the Future.”  September 15 signifies the day Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua achieved independence from Spain. Mexico and Chile also commemorate their independence days this month (September 16 and September 18).

Hispanics are the largest minority group in the United States with an estimated 16.7 percent (52 million) of Americans claiming Hispanic descent in 2020.  This time last year, Hispanic Heritage Month was celebrated with in-person festivals, programs, and activities.  Today, in the midst of a global pandemic, we must look beyond the festivities to find meaningful ways to honor Hispanic traditions and especially those that bolster cultural understanding and embrace our country’s diversity.  As the world adjusts to change, embracing and safeguarding the history behind rich tradition is important, now more than ever, for future generations.

In spite of our current restrictions, Latinos continue to advance communities across the country as small business owners, veterans, teachers, athletes, and public servants, among many other professions. National Hispanic Heritage Month allows us to recognize their contributions and influence in the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

Please discover ways to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month through virtual programs and cultural activities throughout the month, as much work goes into creating content that is informative, educational, and engaging.  

Vivo Hispanic Heritage Month!

Ground Zero – We shall never forget!

United In Memory Coin

On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaida hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and changed this nations tolerance of extremist activities.

Today, as we recall the tragic events of 911 and reminisce of the day when the United States was under attack, we also remember our heroes of that moment.  Those who demonstrated love of country by sacrifice, and those with unyielding purpose to rescue as many people as they could on 911 and after.  Their actions displayed to all of us that love of country is real and their people who still believe in our civility and brotherhood as a nation.  On that day we were left at ground zero, but out of the ashes we elevated Tower One.  For me, 911 will always be a day of patriotism and a real demonstration of what is best about our resolve as humans and Americans.  As an organization full of first responders, full of public servants within the government, our careers give us the privilege to leap into action and help our fellow citizens.    As FEW ascends by “Soaring to New Heights,” we acknowledged the solemn moments of 911.  That day we loss some of our bravest heroes and they literally went into burning building and fought on planes to save other people lives, but FEW also recollect the acts of service upon which we stand, whether voluntary or involuntary, to form a more perfect union.  FEW shall never forget their sacrifice. 

Happy Labor Day!

As the Labor Day weekend approaches, I want to thank you for the dedication you demonstrate each day in service to the American people. Each day we work cohesively toward our common goal as a nation. This has been a difficult year for us all due to the COVID-19 virus, yet we have shown our strength through being adaptable and strong.   We are the workforce that keeps things running despite the many challenges we will face. Today, FEW wants you to know how much we appreciate your service to our communities and most importantly your diligent dedication to helping us excel past all barriers and “Soar to New Heights.”  

I hope that everyone takes some time to disconnect and relax this weekend with family and friends as we mark the unofficial end of summer.

Have a Happy Labor Day!

19th Amendment and the Right to Vote

We fought too hard for you not to vote now. Join in as FEW commemorates the 19th Amendment.

FEW declared at the beginning of the year 2020 that this would be a year of focus and relevance for women.  As we achieve great feats, conquered new milestones; we also pay tribute to the vision and bravery of American women everywhere who fought for equal rights and the right to vote in the face of oppression and terror. FEW now joins the commemorative efforts of a momentous occasion in our history as a nation – the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote.  As we approach the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment; we are reminded of the hard-fought battle and privilege for women to cast a ballot. The 19th Amendment was first introduced in 1878 and passed in August 19,1920. We are also reminded that in 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day. 

This historic centennial anniversary offers an unparalleled opportunity to commemorate a milestone of democracy and the seriousness of this responsibility we have today as we approach the upcoming election and the passage of the Equal Right Amendment.  Equal will never be equal until we all have the opportunity to take part in the process. I invite you to join us this month as FEW remembers the purpose of the Women’s Suffrage Movement being the first signs of equality and full citizenship for every woman. On Election Day in 1920, millions of American women exercised their right for the first time after a century-long fight for the privilege to vote. Now, as we celebrate 100 years later and approach the next election, we uplift the leaders of this campaign. Women like Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and Ida B. Wells did not always agree with one another, but each was committed to the enfranchisement of all American women, and so is FEW.

FEW commemorates the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and Women’s Equality Day in the month of August.   It is up to all of us to ensure that greater justice throughout the nation extends to all communities and all people. 

Announcing Virtual Leadership Summit

Virtual Leadership Summit Banner

Greetings FEW Members and Friends of FEW,

It is in times of darkness when we show ourselves as adaptable and strong.  The National Board of Directors (NBOD) and I are pleased to announce the first Virtual Leadership Summit for government employees scheduled for July 20 – 24, 2020.  This training is just for you; no per diem, no travel, just TRAINING at a low registration rate!

Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, FEW remains resolved that your safety is our priority and the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation was to cancel an on-site event. As the world continues to change, we will continue to adapt.  FEW will always rise to the challenge and continue to help federal workers achieve excellence in their careers and create new opportunities.

That is why we adjusted our plans to host a Virtual Leadership Summit.  This is an example of leadership at its best – a full week of training with specialized tracks for EEO, HR, Project Management, Management and Leadership professionals. This training is about you and our purpose is to connect you to the right resources for development and career advancement.  The Summit consists of over 24 specialized courses a day to motivate you to take that next bold step. All courses align with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Executive Core Competencies (Leading People, Leading Change, Business Acumen, Result Driven and Building Coalitions).

We will be continually updating information regarding course selections, and special events, just to name a few, so keep checking in for updates.

So, make sure you join us and take advantage of all that we have to offer! I promise it will be your best personal and professional investment of the year!

A Tribute to the Graduating Classes of 2020

Graduate

Congratulations!  The entire Federally Employed Women’s (FEW’s) organization is so elated to celebrate the Class of 2020 graduates.  You have completed a tremendous milestone and we know this journey of education has been a labour of love and sacrifice in hopes for a better future.  We join a grateful nation in the many accolades given in celebration of your success.

It saddens us that our nation is going through the Coronavirus pandemic and you will miss many traditional ceremonial moments.  The pomp and circumstance will truly be missed.  But we are also proud to witness your flexibility and steadfast determination to create new and alternative ceremonies that showcase your creativity and hard work.  We have seen virtual drive-in parking lots filled with individual graduation photos, Zoom virtual graduations and acceptance of your diploma while social distancing.

The Graduating Classes of 2020 are remarkable people because of what we are experiencing right now.  We know that the vast majority of pupils graduating made every effort to excel to their fullest potential.  They aimed high, set their goals and, for the most part, they not only achieved them, but in fact far surpassed them.  FEW is proud of you!

FEW would like to pay tribute to each and every one of you. You have left an indelible legacy of excellence, achievement and a fine ethos for generations to come.

So, as you tackle the inevitable changes, hold true to yourself.  Remember to hold onto your values, your work ethic and most importantly, your humanity.  It is these qualities that will guide you further on your journey.  Your life is a remarkable occasion – FEW has no doubt that you will rise to it!

It has been an honour and a privilege for FEW to celebrate our very own extended family.

Karen Rainey, FEW National President

 

The Class of 2020 Graduates

Qasim Anjarwala, Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences, University of Houston, began Biomedical Sciences Pre-Dental Post-Baccalaureate Program at Marquette University, son of Zabi Anjarwala, Houston Chapter.

Michael Joseph Caldarola, Master of Social Work, Magna Cum Laude, Fordham University, nephew of Carmen Chavez-Ghimenti.

Olivia Carter, Little Flower Catholic High School, Philadelphia, will be attending Bloomsburg University.

Denisha Darrough, Central Arkansas Chapter, Masters of Social Work with an emphasis in Management and Community practices.

Caleb Jeremiah Davis, Beech High School, Hendersonville, TN, will be attending Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA, and grandson of Connie Coleman-Lacadie.

Janae S. Davis, Rutgers University, Cum Laude, Major Biology, Minor Childhood Studies.

Ivy Donaldson, Rosemont College, B.S. in Business Management.

Emma Foster, Pennridge High School, Perkasie, PA, Class President & Magna Cum Laude, niece of Margaret A. Kenyon, Philadelphia Chapter.

Nina S. Goodson, Magna Cum Laude, American University, Bachelor of Science.

Taylor Hartsfield-Jarmon, Rutgers University, Masters of Science – Clinical Trial Sciences.

Alexander Harvey, Penn State University, B.S. in Business Management/Marketing.

Tyree’ Kennedy, Welding Specialist Certificate, Tulsa Welding School & Technology Center, Houston, Texas, son of Tamekca D Holmes, Houston Chapter.

Malia LaBran, Ragsdale High School, will be attending North Carolina A & T, daughter of Angel LaBran, FEW Houston Chapter.

Stephanie G. Knepper, Philadelphia Chapter, Bachelor of Science Information Technology-Organizational Leadership, Magna Cum Laude, Dean’s List, Peirce College.

BriGette McCoy, Atlanta Chapter, Master’s of Science in Instructional Design, Georgia State University.

Janelle D. McKelvey, Master’s in Public Health (MPH), LaSalle University.

Olivia Olverson, Reynoldsburg High School, Reynoldsburg, OH, daughter of Shelly Olverson, Equalitarian Chapter.

Yazmin L. O’Neal-Sloane, Carlisle High School, will be attending Susquehanna University, Environmental Science, and granddaughter of Diana S. Davis, Almech Chapter, and Blacks In Government President.

Brianna Patterson, Manor Senior High School, will be attending Texas State University, Nursing Program.

Dominique Pearsall, The City School Poplar Campus, Philadelphia.

Joy Robertson, Canal Winchester High School, Canal Winchester, OH, daughter of Tonya Robertson, Equalitarian Chapter.

Talia Shanai Scott, Middletown Area High School, will be attending West Chester University- College of Health Sciences, Nurse Practitioner, granddaughter of Beatrice Gallatin, Almech Chapter.

Tameka Seals, Central Arkansas Chapter, Masters In Social Work with a Concentration in Advanced Direct Practice.

Jacqueline Shack, Central Arkansas Chapter, RN Degree.

Kaitlyn Sara Marie Sherman, Nebraska Heartland Chapter, Bachelor’s Applied Arts and Science, Child Development and Family Studies, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX.

Monjahnique Sherrod, Freite Creative Arts High School, Wilmington, Delaware, will be attending University of the Arts.

Amber Small, Mechanicsburg High School, will be attending Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia, photography and entrepreneurship or business, niece of Lucinda C. Wilson.

Mitchell Avery Stengel, Mount Spokane High School, only student to play in the Washington State Basketball tournament three years in a row, earned Wild Cat Award for his achievements in basketball, attending University of Washington, finance, great nephew of Judy Rush.

Lilleana Maureen Watson, Oxon Hill High (Science and Technology Program), will be attending Morgan State University, architecture and environmental design, daughter of Tonya Prior Watson, Widening Opportunities for Women Chapter.

Casandra Jannell Williams, Aberdeen High School, Aberdeen, MD, will be attending Bowie State University, elementary education, daughter of Stacey Williams, Maryland Tri-County Chapter.

Passing the Torch; Leading the Way

“People often ask me at this age, “Who am I passing the torch to?” First of all, I’m not giving up my torch, thank you!  I’m using my torch to light other people’s torches … If we each have a torch, there’s a lot more light.”   – Gloria Steinem

passing_torch

As we reach this historic milestone in our nation’s history, I am excited to offer you this personal invitation to register for the Virtual Leadership Summit (VLS).  Federally Employed Women (FEW) is the organization of choice in leadership, equity and diversity for government employees.  While the COVID-19 pandemic has hit an alarming milestone, FEW is still here working to connect, inform and inspire you through training and growth for advancement in your career.   We offer this unique opportunity to invest in yourself.  Take time to view our catalog and register for our premier training as we begin “Passing the Torch and Leading the Way.”

As safety is our priority, so is training!

That is why FEW has made this training program about “Passing the Torch and Leading the Way.”  We are preparing a 100% online training event.  The VLS is a full-week of over 100 professional development training courses with no per diem cost and no travel dollars to you.  It is all about training in the safety of your personal location.   No other program can compare to this highly skill-based content and instructor-led training to meet the purpose of our mission.

The National Board of Directors and I are enthused and excited to share several after-hour internal programs that you will have an opportunity to witness.  First, join us for our annual Membership Meeting and hear from the Board of Directors as they present their closing 2018 – 2020 term of office report and share the variety of activities and events to sustain the mission of FEW.   Second, we will present our sensational 2020 Annual Awards Program celebrating the achievements of our FEW Chapters, Regions and Military awards and scholarship winners.  Third, FEW will officially commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote with our keynote speaker, Ms. Anna Laymon, Executive Director of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission (WSCC).  She will discuss the great milestone of the suffrage movement 100 years ago and their work to pass the torch by winning the right for women to vote, so we can lead the way through our voice.  Finally, join us for the Installation Program of the 2020–2022 National Board of Directors as they share their goals towards the mission and advancement of women in the government.

The VLS will be transformational for attendees who participate.   We can only benefit from successful leaders when they take the time to light your torch to add greater contributions in diversity, equity and inclusion.  Training is never an option; it’s mandatory to stay on top of the ever changing demands of the workforce.  Join us for the VLS and establish new skills within yourself.  Visit www.few.org to register.

You won’t want to miss this opportunity.

Memorial Day – Remember and Honor

Remember and Honor

Dignity, Respect, Honor

Each Memorial holiday, we take time to remember those who have served our nation and sacrificed it all for the love of country. Join me as FEW honors those who served us with dignity, respect and honor. Heroism is defined as great bravery. These men and women have shown by example that our vision to soar to even greater heights can only be achieved by the sacrifice of others to propel us forward into the future. As a nation, we remain focused on the health and safety of every American due to COVID-19. FEW remains resolute that we are more than conquerors because of the lives of those who served in our military and made the greatest sacrifice. Their courage is in our dignity, respect and honor.

On Monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern standard time, please take a moment of silence to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice!