"On January 11–12, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. Though some called it a publicity stunt for Earhart and Hawaiian sugar plantation promoters, it was a dangerous 2,408-mile flight that had already claimed several lives.
'I wanted the flight just to contribute. I could only hope one more passage across that part of the Pacific would mark a little more clearly the pathway over which an air service of the future will inevitably fly.'" (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)
Eighty-six years later today, this flight is indeed covered by air services. What is most profound to me, though, is the bravery she demonstrated. In light of the past year, and especially last week, the bravery of women is on my mind.
Since last year, we've seen numerous women on the frontlines of a health crisis that covers the globe. Masked nurses and doctors, women among them in force, risked their own lives every day to care for those sick with the COVID-19 virus. Behind the scenes, women scientists helped formulate the vaccine now starting to protect some of these frontline workers and others in our communities.
We saw the first woman elected to the Vice-Presidency of the United States of America. Kamala Harris was preceded by other brave women who ran for this executive office, but also by hundreds of women leaders who demonstrated the value of diverse representation in government positions.
Women educators at all levels explored new methods of teaching and learning to make sure our children and young people could continue to access education, all while braving exposure to the virus. Many of them also juggled their own children's education and personal crises, but put a brave face on Zoom or in a classroom each morning.
In 2020, brave women around the world fought for freedoms, pay, education and healthcare. They started new businesses, braving economic challenges with creativity and idealism. They cared for the oldest, youngest and weakest among us.
"No borders, just horizons – only freedom." -- Amelia Earhart (Goalcast.com)
This bravery continues to propel us all forward into 2021. Thank you to those who came before us and demonstrated what could be possible.