Gender Inequality

Meet these 5 badass Nicaraguan women who are at the forefront of change

In the high conflict areas of Central America, women are leading protests, confronting authorities, and demanding freedom – all while changing perceptions along the way. In Nicaragua, young women are on the front lines fighting against the country’s authoritative president of Daniel Ortega.

On April 18, 2018 protests broke out in the country after cuts on social-security benefits and a nationwide discontent which had been simmering for years. 

Amid the uprising, countless Nicaraguan women were aiding the injured. They organized, protested, were incarcerated, and were inside the barricades.

Between the months of April and September, Nicaraguans took to the streets to demand change. However, protesters were violently attacked by police and paramilitary groups. As a result of the brutality 300 people have died and 100,000 Nicaraguans are living in exile. Meanwhile, the government continues to illegally arrest civilians and commit crimes against humanity.

Amid the uprising, countless Nicaraguan women were aiding the injured. They organized, protested, were incarcerated, and were inside the barricades.

They were everywhere, doing everything.

Two years later, women are still playing an active role in anti-government movements in Central America. To give recognition to the resilience of Nicaraguan women, The Tempest is highlighting the plight of five young Nicaraguan women.

1. Emilia Yang Rappaccioli

Emilia speaking at AMA event
Attribution: Madres de Abril [Image description: Emilia speaking on the microphone at one of museums events. ]
Emilia is an activist, artist, and researcher who focuses her work on the role of memory. When the protest broke out in 2018 Emilia was in Los Angeles working on her PHD at the University of Southern California (USC). She returned to Nicaragua weeks later. When she arrived she immediately joined and made her mark on the anti-government demonstrations.

On June 26, 2018 paramilitaries killed Emilia’s uncle. After this tragedy, Emilia joined the Association of Mothers of April (AMA). This is an association which was created with the mission of uniting, and representing, the mothers and relatives of the people murdered from state repression in Nicaragua.

Today, Emilia is the director of the Museum of Memory against Impunity. This museum was built in conjunction with the AMA in order to dignify the victims of the state and honor their memory.

Emilia along with Nicaragua Mother of April
Attribution: Madres of Abril [Image description: Emilia is third one on the left, joined by members of AMA.]
Emilia recalls that setting up the museum’s first exhibition was emotionally draining. She interviews around 200 victims about who they were, what happened to them, and how they remember the events.

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When the museum opened its first exhibition in Nicaragua, at the University of Central America (UCA), people were able to reach out to the victims in AMA. She says this has helped Nicaraguans come  to terms with much of the pain that was caused. Most importantly, she sees how the museum has really helped people to mourn as a collective. 

Regarding the country, Emilia says there needs to be work done which is centered on understanding women rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and the rights of black folk.

2. Karen Guido

Karen dancing
Attribution: Karen Guido [Image description: Karen dancing for last day of exhibition for the Museum of Memory against Impunity.]
Karen joined the uprising from her native home of Monimbo, Nicaragua’s most rebellious town.

Traditionally, the people of Monimbo have used dance as a form of resistance and for Karen this is especially true.

In the time since the demonstrations, Karen is part of two youth led groups and gives yoga classes in the name of resistance. She describes how the on-going crisis is detrimental for one’s mental health. Yet through yoga youth will be able to cope.

She emphasizes the need for one to take care of their mental health in order to keep resisting.

One needs to take care of their mental health in order to keep resisting.

For Karen, as an avid lover of all arts, it saddens her to see how the practice of art is controlled and appropriated by the government. She dreams to live in a Nicaragua in which art is no longer politicized. She feels that individuals in Nicaragua should be allowed to express their art freely, spontaneously, and that art should be accessible for all.

Karen continues to dance for events commemorating Nicaragua’s popular uprising, as this is her way to keep the resistance alive. 

3. Nathalie Román

3. Nathalie Roman young with a megaphone
Attribution: Nathalie Roman [Image description: Picture of Nathalie Roman holding a megaphone in a manifestation.]
Nathalie is a political science student and prominent member of the Student Movement to Support Democracy (MEAD). When conflict broke out, she primarily focused on aiding the university students who were barricaded inside of the universities. At the time, she also helped construct one of the first youth movements that emerged from the protests.

Nathalie focuses her activism work on organizing student movements and advocating for the demands on university autonomy.

Her most recent project is Chacuatol Universitario, an initiative seeking to inform and involve more students in the discussion around recovering, and strengthening university autonomy. 

Nathalie understands that there needs to be change within Nicaragua’s traditional cultural political framework.

In a country in which there are mostly men making political decisions, and women’s voices are set aside, Nathalie believes that it is crucial for women to be appointed to political positions.

4. Rosi Ariana

4. Rosi Ariana
Attribution: Rosi Ariana [Image description: Picture of Rosi Ariana.]
Rosi is from Bullocks Wharf, a municipality in Nicaragua’s South Caribbean coast. She joined the protests while studying political science at Nicaragua Polytechnic University in the capital of Managua.

Due to a law that the government passed which criminalizes any form of protest, Rosi integrated herself into the April 19 Student Movement (ME19A) in order to continue organizing against the government.

Now she is the coordinator and administrator of the ongoing projects of ME19A.

Rosi is concerned with the little to no attention toward the violence Nicaraguan women face. Especially women who live in rural areas of the country, like her hometown. Rosi says that women in these kinds of areas suffer from patriarchal violence. For instance, there are cases where women are killed by their husbands, for not having food ready when they arrive home from work.

There are cases where women are killed by their husbands, for not having food ready when they arrive home from work.

Rosi values the different factors within the feminist movement, but feels there needs to be more organization towards the demands of Nicaragua’s rural women. She hopes that one day she is able to help these women by making sure they receive justice and that their cases are not left in impunity.

5. Liza Henriquez

Liza Henriquez Nicaraguan indigenous woman

Liza is from the Mosquitia region of Nicaragua, living in the municipality of Puerto Cabezas (Bilwi) in Nicaragua’s North Caribbean Coast. She’s an indigenous Miskito woman, one of the many ethnic groups in Nicaragua.

Map of Nicaragua
Attribution: Lonely Planet [Image description: Map of Nicaragua.]
Nicaragua’s indigenous and communities of Afro descendant are among the populations which have suffered the most. Liza explains that her community, predominately those of Afro-descendant, has been involved in anti-government demonstrations way before the protests of April ’18.

Liza joined the protest of April ’18 while she was living in the country’s capital of Managua. After receiving threats from government sympathizers she went back home to Bilwi in order to continue protesting.

Once she arrived there, Liza summoned herself to help organize marches, hunger strikes, and participated in putting up “tranques” or barricades. She recalls seeing a 15 year girl shot in the head by a militant during one of the demonstrations.

Liza explains that there are more cases of young indigenous and Afro descendants who have been assassinated by armed groups – yet most of these cases are left in impunity.

Now Liza continues to organize through meetings with other young indigenous from different territories. It is during these meetings that she listens to the testimonies about how colonists or invaders are exploiting the land which belong to the indigenous communities living in these territories.

As for Liza she is always going to advocate for the end of exploitation of indigenous land, justice for the fallen, the inclusion of indigenous, and Afro-descendant women in politics. Lastly, also for a real implementation of Autonomy for Nicaragua Caribbean Coast. 

Liza is always going to advocate for the end of exploitation of indigenous land, justice for the fallen, the inclusion of indigenous, and Afro-descendant women in politics. Lastly, also for a real implementation of Autonomy for Nicaragua Caribbean Coast. 

Liza says that Nicaragua is not free until the country meets those demands.

Two years since massive protests, Nicaragua continues to be an area of high conflict. Despite the risks, these 5 young Nicaraguan women continue to organize, changing the panorama of the country’s traditional political framework.


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Real World Word Celebrities Race Pop Culture

Check out these 17 artists who are highlighting injustice in America

Throughout history, art has been used to challenge hierarchies and protest the status quo. This is still true today. Following the murder of George Floyd, there has been an uprising in support of Black lives led by the Black Lives Matter movement in America and around the world. As millions use their voices to protest injustice, artists are following suit, using their brushes and other tools to create powerful art exposing police violence and systemic racism in America.

Using murals, portraits, and sculptures, artists are delivering political messages through powerful imagery within their art. Below are 17 of these artists.

1.Errin Donahue

Based in New York, Errin Donahue is an artist and photographer. In her work, she recreates famous works of art with Black women. Inspired by “Janelle Monae and her racially imaginative Afrofuturism”, the portrait above is titled ‘The Monae Lisa’.

2.Nikkolas Smith

Freelance artist Nikkolas Smith has recently been working on pieces that relate to police brutality. He began sketching as a hobby but his artwork soon went viral and he quit his job as a Disney Imagineer to focus on art. During the Black Lives Matter protests, Smith posted a sketch of Ahmaud Abery on his Instagram, with the caption “…Today I sketch injustice. Today I paint a prayer… “If I shall die before my run, I pray the Lord my case is won.”

3.Ariel Sinha

Based in Chicago, Ariel Sinha is an artist, designer, and improviser. After hearing about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Sinha decided to challenge the anger and sadness she felt into her artwork. Using her iPad, she drew portraits of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. In the image above, Sinha drew Riah Milton and Rem’mie Fell, Black trans women who were murdered with the caption, “…Yesterday, in the middle of pride month, on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub attack, the President took away protections for trans people. It’s not enough to say their names. We must keep standing up and fighting for trans lives and rights.”


4.Molly Crabapple

Award-winning journalist illustrator and author of Drawing Blood and Brothers of the Gun, Molly Crabapple’s work has been published in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker. She began her journalistic career by sketching illustrations of Occupy Wall Street, and then eventually covered Guantanamo Bay, the US border, refugee camps, Lebanese snipers, and more. Molly’s coverage of police brutality and the ongoing protests is available on the NY Review of Books (the images above). She has also helped to launch the “Drawing as Resistance” program as “a way for volunteers to not only observe [what is going on], but to participate–by drawing as an act of resistance.”


An anonymous England-based street artist, Banksy has used his art for political activism since the ‘90s. He produces pieces of art that pop up in public places, such as the walls of buildings. Banksy has shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Instagram, posting his work along with a message, saying “people of color are being failed by the system…This is a white problem. And if white people don’t fix it, someone will have to come upstairs and kick the door in.”

6.Simi Stone

A musical and visual artist and a founding member of the Afro-punk movement, Simi Stone, created a portrait of George Floyd, using her artistry to protest on the canvas. Stone chose bright tints that make Floyd look luminous. Haunted by what had happened to him, Stone wanted to draw him in bright colors.

7.AJ Alper

AJ Alper, a portrait painter, started the social media movement titled #GeorgeFloydPortraitProject to use his voice and Instagram audience to spread awareness about racism. In his project, he did a call out on Instagram, looking for as many portraits as possible to make a video in memory of George Floyd. In the finished piece, attached above, Alper created a compilation video including the nearly 700 artists worldwide who participated and submitted portraits of the project.

8.Adrian Brandon

Adrian Brandon is a Brooklyn based artist. On his Instagram, he has started a ‘stolen series’, which is dedicated to “the many black people that were robbed of their lives in the hands of the police.” Brandon uses graphite and ink to draw each portrait but also uses time as a medium to determine how long each portrait is colored in: 1 year of life = 1 minute of color. Brandon says, “I played with the harsh relationship between time and death. I want the viewer to see how much empty space is left in these lives, stories that will never be told, space that can never be filled.”

9.Shane Grammer

Shane Grammer is a muralist located in Los Angeles. In June, Grammer created a mural of George Floyd. His mural is “dedicated to all of my precious brothers and sisters who have found themselves the victims of racism. You are precious, loved, needed, and vital for our future. We see your pain. We hear your voice.”

10.Lola Lovenotes

[Image Description: colorful mural depicting Breonna Taylor that reads "Justice for Breonna".] Via @lovenotes
[Image Description: colorful mural depicting Breonna Taylor that reads “Justice for Breonna”.] Via @lovenotes
Lola Lovenotes (@lovenotes) is a mural artist and creator in New York City. On Juneteenth, Lovenotes shared a mural she created commemorating Breonna Taylor on Instagram, saying she’s “going to keep to keep painting until she and countless others get the justice they deserve”, following a previous message on Instagram saying, “there have been countless racial injustices against Black women, girls, [transwomen + girls], and yet their names are forgotten. Their murders don’t seem to get the same attention as Black men and boys. When we say Black Lives Matter, we need to make sure Black women are included in our demands for justice too!”.

11.Otha “Vakseen” Davis III

Based in Los Angeles, Otha “Vakseen” Davis III is a visual artist, curator, and musician. He has done a group of portraits in commemoration of Black lives who have been killed by police brutality, titled “Remember Me:” In the portrait above, titled “Remember Me: Elijah McClain”, celebrates the life of Elijah McClain, an innocent young man who was murdered by police in Colorado. Vakseen writes, “A YEAR later and we’re just hearing about this, while the family has been demanding an investigation all this time…A painting isn’t going to end racism. Racism won’t end until we’re ready to have REAL conversations, self-reflection, and make REAL change.”

12.Sarah Dahir

Sarah Dahir is an artist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her Black Lives Matter art, which features faceless women to represent everyone, has been inspired by photographs from the civil rights movement. Below the illustrations, she writes, “the power of the people is stronger than the people in power.”


13.Rosanna Morris

Co-founder of Cato Press print studio, Rosanna Morris is located in Bristol U.K. She has created downloadable PDF’s of her Black Lives Matter prints that the public can use, “Put them in your window, take them to your local protest, post them through letterboxes. Do as you like, just please do something more than posting on here. Reach out to your community, your MP, your Granny, and help to do the hard work of change.”

14.Boyd Samuels

Boyd Samuels is a New York-based artist with a focus on oil painting. He “brings the beauty of the African American form onto his canvas and hopes that his art will inspire his viewers to see it as well.”

15.Niamah Thomas

Niamah Thomas is an artist and art therapist located in Chicago. Thomas, when creating her portrait of Breonna Taylor (pictured above) wanted Taylor to be illustrated as soft but strong, using softer colors and floral imagery. Thomas writes, “Breonna was shot 8 times by police issuing a ‘no-knock’ warrant on her home. Then they called it a ‘clerical error’. NO. WE DEMAND JUSTICE”.

16.Teddy Phillips

Teddy Phillips is an artist based in Seattle. He has started a “Justice Series”, which are portraits featured Black men and women who were murdered. One of these portraits, titled “Manny is the Culture/Justice in his name” portrays Manuel Ellis who died while in the custody of four Tacoma police officers.

17.Ryan Adams

Ryan Adam is an artist located in Maine. His mural of George Floyd in Portland, Maine, is shown in the picture above. He writes, “However you choose to act, whether it be self-care, education, marching in the streets or expressing yourself through your work, please, please do something.”

Similarly to these artists, there are many ways to protest and challenge the structures that allow racism and police brutality to continue. Your responsibility isn’t absolved by reposts on Instagram. Educate yourself and actively challenge these injustices in whatever way you can.

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History Poetry Forgotten History Lost in History

You probably don’t know about Hettie Jones, a crusading Beat poet

You’ve heard of a Jack Kerouac, but have you ever heard of a Hettie Jones?

The Beat Literary Movement of the 1950s is coined for its explicit subject matter and bohemian lifestyle. Americans in the 1950’s lived in largely suburban towns and felt threatened by things like communism. Men went to work in suits and women stayed home to cook, clean, and tend to the children.

The rebel, beatnik, group of authors that made up the Beat Generation were iconoclastic. Much of their work explored and influenced American culture and politics in the post-war era. They experimented with form and structure while writing about sex, drugs, and religion. Traditional literary houses rejected them and looked down on them as a group as being defiant, untalented, and unprofessional. 

I think that their being unconventional was the whole point, though.

They were the antithesis of mainstream American life.

They wanted to publish anything that was deemed inappropriate by society. These people were tired of the routine, and frankly, felt beaten down by the conservative lifestyle that they were stuck in. They were highly controversial in that they were the antithesis of mainstream American life and writing. Many of their works of poetry and prose focused on shifts of consciousness and escaping “squareness.” The stereotype around the Beats is that they were not in favor of what they considered to be straight jobs. Instead, they lived together, packed into small and dirty apartments, sold drugs, had sex with each other, and committed crimes. They are also known for exploring homosexuality, which was a highly taboo topic in 1950’s America.

Though they set many precedents together, the Beats still succumbed to the blatant sexism of the time. Most, if not all, of the women involved in the Beat literary movement were overshadowed by their male counterparts for no particular reason other than gender. These women were just as intelligent and qualified to question society as the beatnik men who have become well-known poets and activists.

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One of the most iconic, and downplayed, female poets of that time who deserves righted acknowledgment is Hettie Jones. 

Hettie Jones published 23 books- and yet, we forgot her

Hettie Jones is most known for her marriage to the famous Beat Poet Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones). Few people know that Hettie helped run Totem Press, one of the more important beat publishers, along with her husband. She went on to publish about 23 books, one being a memoir of her time spent with Amiri and the rest of the Beats titled, How I Became Hettie Jones (1990). She has also written for many prestigious journals, lectured writing across America, and began the literary magazine “Yugen.”

Hettie is one of my favorite poets, so I think that her writing deserved to be at the forefront of the Beat movement, right there with the boys who got so much praise for their work. 

Hettie’s writing is rooted in practical idealism. She left her family home in Long Island to go to college and to fully discover herself. When she graduated in 1955, she never turned back, and moved to New York City. She met Amiri while working at The Record Changer, a jazz magazine. He was a young, black poet with just as much intelligence and intensity as Hettie. They quickly fell in love and moved in together. They would go to poetry readings at cafes and bohemian bars, where they met many of the other Beat poets.

Hettie deserved to be at the forefront of the Beat movement.

When the pair founded their own magazine, they published the writings of many of the iconic beat players who could not find a home for their writing in the traditional sphere. Hettie was in charge of editing the works that were to be published in the magazine. It was here that she honed her craft and found power in the refined writing that makes her work stand out from the rest. 

By 1960, Hettie and Amiri had two children, were married, and lived in New York City. Being a biracial family, though, countless bigoted remarks were directed towards them regardless of the Beat scene. Hettie was on the receiving end of most of these cold stares and was able to see the world through the eyes of her husband and children. This affected her incredibly and eventually became a recurring theme in her writing.  

When Amiri became tightly involved with the Black Power movement, he was criticized for having a white wife. They divorced in 1968. Hettie thrived on her own though and made a living with her children while teaching and editing. Her separation from her husband also gave Hettie an outlet to speak up and finally publish works of her own. She has been quoted to say, “Without a him in the house, there was more space/time for her, and I tried to redefine the way a woman might use it.” 

To this day, Hettie’s writing is compassionate. She writes about her own experiences in a compelling manner while weaving in the issues that she cares about. Currently, Hettie lives in New York City, and is a writer and lecturer. In addition, she runs a writing workshop at the New York State Correctional Facility for Women where she recently published a volume of writing by incarcerated women.

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Gender Race Inequality

White supremacy in America is the difference between Louis Farrakhan and Milo Yiannopoulos

There’s been much uproar over Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory’s connection to Louis Farrakhan.  The discourse and backlash to the Women’s March in many ways has been similar to that around the Me Too Movement.  Tamika Mallory has been used as an excuse to discredit the Women’s March movement, even by women who participated.  Louis Farrakhan, without a doubt, holds many abhorrent views. He’s homophobic, anti-Semitic, and not afraid to say it.  He’s also been a powerful organizer for the rights of African Americans in this country.

Let’s do an experiment though. Let’s take a look at Milo Yiannopoulos, a known racist or was it…provocateur?  Milo Yiannopoulos and his brand had an enormous audience and power. He has no background in working towards any greater good or social justice organizing.  He is racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and Anti-Semitic.

In some ways, the two men have many similarities.  Both are members of disenfranchised groups. Louis Farrakhan is African American and Milo Yiannopoulos is gay.  Both men excel at attracting attention, even if it’s for inflammatory, hate-filled remarks. Both have been widely and rightfully criticized.

However, many of those who are listening to Louis Farrakhan are listening because he cares about the future of African Americans in this country, and many of the people who appreciate that are not an audience for his other views.  In other words, his power is limited. He has been largely denounced and he is not given a stage on major news outlets.

In contrast, Milo Yiannopoulos was for a time widely defended in the name of free speech and by those who just felt they should hear him out.  There were many who didn’t agree with what he had to say, but liked his pluck, his style, his brand. Hell, people just thought he was fun. He appeared on HBO to debate with Bill Maher and was even given a book deal with Simon and Schuster.  It took a support of pedophilia for him to lose this incredible platform he was given.

This is America today and this is white supremacy.  It’s easy to tweet about intersectional feminism on International Women’s Day and it’s easy to support perfect leaders.  The real test is how we respond to those with whom we disagree. I am not by any means defending Louis Farrakhan’s views, they’re despicable, it’s easy to condemn them.  I’m just saying to look at how our country dragged its feet when it came to the white man and those willing to engage with him.

We are so ready to tear down black women and women’s movements in this country.  We construct platforms and movements as though they’re chains, and one imperfect link will bring the whole thing down.  I’ve seen so many female leaders come out with statements condemning Tamika Mallory in the name of intersectional feminism, saying no excuses, period, full stop.  But when intersectional feminism means cutting out a Black woman at the forefront of the largest demonstration in US history, you have to ask yourself, who are intersectional feminists even fighting for?

USA Politics Race The World Policy

If the “Blue Lives Matter” bills pass, it’ll be easier for cops to end Black lives

Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the “Protect and Serve Act of 2018.”

The euphemistically named bill offers protections modeled on hate crimes laws to police officers. Harming a police officer is already a federal crime, and laws enhancing penalties for violence against police are already on the books in all 50 states. So if all these protections already exist, what purpose does the “Protect and Serve Act” really serve? 

Well, according to the ACLU, “It serves no purpose other than to further dangerous and divisive narratives that there is a ‘war on police’.” The ACLU also points out that hate crimes laws were specifically designed to provide justice to people who were often denied it, people from marginalized groups in society. They were meant to protect people based on immutable characteristics, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

The US first began to enact hate crimes bills in the wake of the Civil Rights movement, when violence against people of color often went unpunished, as white jurors voted to acquit white defendants accused of crimes against Black Americans in particular. It was a way to take judgment out of the hands of the accused’s white sympathetic friends and neighbors and achieve some measure of justice by putting it in the hands of a federal jury. It was a way to finally start taking violence based on prejudice seriously in a country that has so often enabled or ignored that violence.  

In contrast, violence against police is already being taken seriously.

It leads to manhunts and lengthy prison sentences or the death penalty, not to jury nullifications and impunity. On the contrary, the real impunity is often enjoyed by police officers who have assaulted and/or killed civilians and rarely face charges. While the people currently protected by hate crime legislation are the victims of targeted violence, police are often its perpetrators, harassing, brutalizing, and killing disproportionate numbers of people of color.

The federal “Protect and Serve Act” is similar to a number of bills that have been circulating the country in state legislatures. These “Blue Lives Matter” bills, as they are often called, are a reaction to the calls for police accountability by Black Lives matter and other activist groups. They’re meant to cast the police as a targeted minority, despite the fact that actual violence against police is near record lows. And they are meant to implicitly link that Black activism against police brutality to an invented surge in violence against police when the reality is that the majority of people who do attack and kill cops are white and often associated with far-right groups.

Some critics have said the “Protect and Serve Act” is a “solution in search of a problem,” given the relatively low levels of violence against police officers in recent years. The truth is, it’s worse than that. The false narrative of the war on cops reinforces a mentality that leads them to view the communities they should be serving as enemies. It makes them feel more justified in enacting precisely the violence that Black Lives Matter and other anti-brutality activists are trying to stop. And Republicans and Democrats alike in the House of Representatives just lined up to vote for it.

The next step is for the Senate to consider their version of the bill, which civil rights groups believe is even worse.

If it gets past that stage, there’s little doubt Trump would sign it into law.  So let’s not let it get that far. Call your Senators and tell them not to pass any version of this bill. For help on talking points, check out the first part of Human Rights Watch’s letter about the Protect and Serve Act of 2018.

Editor's Picks Reproductive Rights World News Gender Inequality

She defended herself when her husband attacked her. Now Sudan has sentenced Noura to death.

All over the world, women and young girls fall victim to heinous laws that fail to protect them.

The number of women who face gender-based violence is appalling. Standing at one in three,  it is very likely that each one of us knows at least one woman who has or will be a survivor. Women’s rights activists have taken it upon themselves to share harrowing accounts of women being raped, beaten, subjected to humiliation and abuse in order to raise awareness on just how prominent these issues are through the #MeToo movement.

Recently, one account of a 19-year-old Sudanese girl fighting for her life has taken Twitter, and the world, by storm. As I scrolled through my feed one afternoon, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Hundreds of people were tweeting out #JusticeForNoura and retelling the disturbing account of a young girl who has fallen victim to the patriarchal laws of her country.

At 16, Noura’s father tried to force her to marry a man she didn’t love. She ran away from home and ended up living in her aunt’s house for two years. Although she was only 250 km away, Noura was able to continue her education. That all changed when she received word that her family no longer wanted to marry her off and that they were waiting to welcome her home.

Under the pretense that her family wanted to reconcile with her, Noura made her way back home.

As soon as she arrived it was apparent that her father had no intention of keeping his promise. The wedding ceremony was underway and she was forcefully handed over to her “husband.” Days later, after she had refused to sleep with him numerous times, her husband forced himself upon her as his male relatives held her down. When he tried to rape her again the next day, Noura fought back harder and stabbed him in self-defense.

Her parents turned her into the police and completely disowned her. Since the courts do not criminalize marital rape, they tried Noura for pre-meditated murder. On May 10, she was sentenced to death. Her legal team has 15 days since the sentencing to appeal the decision.

Unfortunately, Noura’s story is not the first of its kind. And while activists have been trying to do everything they can to ensure that she is not criminalized for defending herself, they are also trying to bring attention to gender-discriminatory laws in Sudan in general in hopes of abolishing them and introducing laws that protect the country’s women.

Noura’s story garnered wide-spread attention from Muslim activists on Twitter and Instagram when Sarah ElHassan began sharing the details on her social media accounts.

According to ElHassan, she knows many women who have been “married off against their will, who suffered in silence at the hands of their husbands, whose families had all but abandoned them and/or who tacitly or actively supported their husbands’ (and their families’) abuse.”

The only difference here is that they could not silence Noura anymore. Since no one else was going to protect her from this man, she had to defend herself.

While most of the messages on social media were positive, it was unsurprising that others condemned Noura and even defended her husband. According to them, she had no right to refuse her husband’s advances. It is a woman’s duty to obey her man, and if she refuses, then she must face the consequences. However, they always fail to consider the fact that she did not consent to be married, a right that women have in Islam.

It baffles me that we live in a world where some people are quick to defend a rapist who enlisted the help of other men so that he could force himself upon her.

It angers me that we live in a world where a woman’s right to her own body is meager compared to her husband’s right to her’s. But what enrages me the most is the fact that we don’t allow women to consent to their own marriages and to their own sexual encounters.

We strip them of their right to their own bodies. The right to not be humiliated and abused.

We continue to pick out pieces of the narrative from religious scripts or cultural traditions that suit us best without thinking of the ramifications of our actions or understanding what they really mean.

It’s time we stop treating women’s bodies like objects. Our bodies are not theirs for the taking. Standing in solidarity is no longer enough.

We have to fight for all the Noura’s in the world who could not stand up for themselves the way she did.

We have to fight for the women who continue to suffer because no one fought hard enough for them. It is our responsibility to make sure that we do everything we possibly can, whether it’s by spreading the word or actively promoting a cause, to protect women and girls everywhere.

Tech The World Now + Beyond

8 times livestreaming was indispensable to activists

Let’s take a second to remember the 2015 Black Lives Matter protests, and the gross misreporting conducted by the mainstream media. For those who tuned into CNN, the coverage consisted of money shots of looting, violence, and Wolf Blitzer’s condescending denouncement of protestors.

The TV news cycle has the ability to shape the opinions of the entire nation. How can activists combat the spread of misrepresentation in the mainstream media, with so few resources in comparison?

With the new outlets social media exposes us to, many have turned to livestreaming to document truths that the mainstream cannot, or will not see. Here are a few of the most remarkable examples.

 1. The Arab Spring

“The Arab Spring Project” blog

During the Arab Spring protests of 2010 and 2011, we witnessed one of the first times social media became a revolutionary tool for activists. When several Middle Eastern and north African governments responded with violent repression coupled with internet blackouts, livestreaming played a central role in documenting injustice outside of traditional media formats.

A representative from Witness, a group focused on training activists in livestreaming, claimed that live video during the Arab Spring prevented the world from ignoring the important struggles that were taking place.

2. Occupy Wall Street

AP/Seth Wenig via Current

Soon after social media activism exploded internationally during the Arab Spring, we saw a strategic use of livestreaming here in the US.

For many activists, mainstream media coverage was a source of extreme frustration. Livestreamer James Woods claimed to have seen CNN deliberately avoid covering the arrests of protestors. As a response, Occupy protestors had to take truth-telling into their own hands.

We can thank Occupy Wall Street livestreamers for really making this form of media what it is today. One of Occupy’s channels,, apparently became so threatening to the established powers that they were arrested in their Brooklyn studio.

3. Ferguson Protests

Getty Images via The Wrap

Protests against police brutality, for obvious reasons, are especially dangerous hotbeds for police versus activist conflict. Nonetheless, livestreaming “citizen journalists” entered the fray and filmed alternative views of the Eric Garner demonstrations in New York, as well as protests in Ferguson.

During a Ferguson protest, livestreamer John Ziegler recorded a cop pointing a rifle at a protester and shouted “I will fucking kill you!” The ensuing footage got the officer fired.

During these protests, faster LTE networks facilitated livestreaming, compared to the slow 3G networks of the Occupy days.

4. Police Brutality


We all remember the chilling death of Philando Castile. That alone is a testament to the power of the more modern tools of livestreaming, which go beyond sites like Ustream to permeate everyday social media such as Facebook and Instagram.

Zuckerberg may not have predicted that his latest feature would be used to document incidents of racial violence, yet with both the deaths of Castile and Alfred Olango, Facebook live has been cemented as an activist tool.

5. Standing Rock

Avery Leigh White via Rolling Stone

Livestreamers at Standing Rock had two battles to fight. While the #noDAPL activism was underreported by mainstream media, it became the responsibility of individual protestors to document the events.

At the same time, livestreamers had an obligation to film incidents of extreme police violence against protestors.

6. Anti-Trump protests

AP/Ted S. Warren via Komo News

The aftermath of the election and the inauguration led to mass protests, as well as the usual citizen journalism and livestreaming seen in previous protests.

What was unique was the use of livestream by celebrities such as Michael Moore to promote protests on an even larger platform, as well as Shia Labeouf’s use of livestreaming as an artistic medium in his anti-Trump stream titled “He Will Not Divide Us.”

7. Women’s March

The Huffington Post

The Women’s March was likely the largest protest in US history. Instead of being primarily used to document alternative media, livestreaming technology adapted to this massive scale. Video streaming professionals amplified the march even further by recording the entire event for all those who could not make it.

This new approach allowed everyone with access to the internet to be part of the movement.

8. And onwards

Stephanie Keith/Getty via Rolling Stone

As the Times reported, airport protests erupted “out of nowhere” after Trump’s executive order banned refugees from certain countries. While it is unclear the exact role of streamers in mobilizing protestors, small gatherings quickly turned into massive crowds in airports across the nation as word spread quickly through social media livestreams.

Livestreams are still indispensable for activism today. But what exactly is their future?

They are increasingly being co-opted by more powerful outlets, such as celebrities and the media. Yet the technology is at the same time becoming more and more accessible at the grassroots level, through networks such as Facebook.

Livestream technology is still a powerful presence in politics, and most likely will continue to grow.

Tech The World Now + Beyond

Should we trust Wikileaks?

During the election, Wikileaks contributed to Trump’s ammunition against Hillary Clinton by leaking those emails. Respected members of the US government have denounced the website. European authorities once arrested Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief, for sexual assault.

There is a lot to not like about Wikileaks. Especially if you supported Clinton in the election. Indeed, in the wake of the CIA leaks, some have even resorted to defending CIA espionage in order to denounce the website.

Yet Wikileaks is pushed into the limelight with every new data dump. Almost every outlet has covered the most recent leaks. Many media companies have teamed up with the website, as shown by the website’s extensive partners list. Wikileaks is the primary source for journalists writing about government overreach. And perhaps more importantly, it is an essential tool for anyone who wants to engage in activism or dissent. Here is why:

The recent CIA leaks provide a rare glimpse into reality.

Shortly after the leaks, there was a frightening attempt to downplay their contents by the media. The Washington Post wrote that the CIA is not conducting “mass surveillance,” rather, it is spying on individual devices (which are, in fact, mass produced & distributed).

In reality, what the leaks reveal is nothing short of terrifying. We have known about government surveillance for a while. But it is easy to forget, in our day to day lives, that the government has this enormous, undemocratic ability to access our private information. This leak has reminded us.

This is really bad. The CIA, tasked by Obama to reveal software vulnerabilities so that they can be fixed, has instead exploited these weaknesses for its own advantages. Your phone, laptop, or television can be accessed through security flaws, effectively bypassing message encryption apps. The government can access your microphones and cameras. And, if these software loopholes exist, any rogue hacker, even outside of the CIA, can exploit them.

Do not be worried about a partisan allegiance.

It’s true, election night was a disaster, and Wikileaks may or may not have contributed to Donald Trump’s win. But that does not mean the website has stayed loyal to any particular candidate. In addition to targeting the Clinton campaign, Wikileaks has expressed interest in publishing Trump’s tax returns.

During his campaign, Trump claimed to “love” Wikileaks for its supposed damage to the Clinton campaign. After the most recent CIA debacle, his opinions are changing.

Wikileaks is more anti-secrecy than anti-Democrat. And what was revealed in the Clinton, DNC, and Podesta emails is also extremely important. We learned of the DNC’s effort to undermine Bernie Sanders. We learned of attempts to legitimize Trump in order to bolster Clinton. The emails may have spawned a weird internet child porn conspiracy, but keeping both sides accountable is worth it.

Good journalism is whistleblowing.

In 1971, the New York Times published the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret history of the US’s role in Vietnam from the Department of Defense. The papers contained information unknown by the mainstream media as well as part of the government itself. The leak was exemplary journalism, demonstrating the true power-checking purpose of the press. It was also very illegal.

Lately, with a few exceptions, large media companies such as the New York Times have been less willing to take these risks. Wikileaks is picking up their legacy. There will always be a need to keep our government responsible, whether or not our favorite party is in power.

A treasure trove for activists.

Government mass surveillance and US military expansion are important issues, but they do not receive the attention they deserve in the mainstream news cycle. Thanks to Wikileaks, activists have a rallying point to begin to tap into ordinary people’s outrage over government wrongdoing.

Leaks are a key tool for the resistance; they reveal problems that could never have been covered otherwise, because the information did not exist. In the ongoing fight for justice, we can use this evidence to our advantage.

Science Now + Beyond

Here’s why we can’t stop standing with Standing Rock now

The United States’ racist legacy of exploiting Native Americans is only broadening.

After the Dakota Access Pipeline was rerouted through sacred indigenous land to protect the white citizens of Bismarck from contaminated drinking water, #NODAPL protesters had to fight through pepper spray and rubber bullets to make the rest of the country care. Even after a summer and fall of protests, major news outlets persisted with mediocre coverage until Obama directed the Army Corps of Engineers to temporarily delay the pipeline.

The corporation in charge of DAPL, Energy Transfer Partners, declared that the Obama administration was merely “currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency,” forgetting the profound injustice that allowed the original inhabitants of this land to be a “narrow constituency”.

And then Trump became president.

Among the whirlwind of executive orders and protests, some of us may wonder why Trump had to be the one politician to follow through on his campaign promises. One action that may have gotten lost is his decision to cancel the Army Corps’ environmental impact review, ending their temporary delay. On February 8th, the Army Corps granted their final easement, allowing ETP to begin construction.

Theres a lot of despair to go around with this decision. Why didn’t Obama do more? Why don’t people see how obviously entangled Trump and his cabinet are with the interests of ETP: Trump used to own shares in the company, and Energy Secretary pick Rick Perry sits on ETP’s board of directors. Most recently, in an eery COINTELPRO flashback, sources discovered that the FBI is investigating Standing Rock protesters.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has resumed construction. What can be done?

There is still hope.

Donald Trump recently claimed that the pipeline wasn’t “controversial”. This is a false statement, going from the first Standing Rock protests up until now. There are still a variety of actions being taken against the pipeline that you too can get involved in.

Protesters have pressured cities across the nation, most notably Seattle, to follow the money and divest from companies such as Wells Fargo that finance the pipeline. Seattle’s decision came after Trump’s DAPL and Keystone executive order, showing that many local governments are willing to defy the administration on this issue.

As police attempt to forcibly remove protesters from the Standing Rock reservation, army veterans are returning to North Dakota to form a human shield. Veterans showed up at Standing Rock back in December, but now are especially needed under the new administration and Trump’s executive order.

After a full winter of protests, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is planning a march on Washington on March 10th. The tribe is calling on indigenous and non-indigenous alike to show opposition to the pipeline and ongoing support for the empowerment of native people.

There are so many ways that we can help these efforts as individuals. Donate to the legal funds of water protectors who have been arrested. Stay away from companies that are invested in DAPL. Attend a protest.

Standing Rock is a fight too crucial to abandon. There is no reason for us to be pessimistic and ignorant about something so easily avoidable. Remember: the Dakota Access Pipeline was preventable when it was set to run through Bismarck. We can’t allow them to build it through Standing Rock.

Politics The World

This organization is working to change the face of our government

On Sunday, after over 500,000 marched in Washington, D.C., 500 women interested in running for public office gathered in the nation’s capital. They turned their protest into further action by attending an all-day training hosted by EMILY’s list. On the agenda were topics that ranged from how to pick the best race for you to overcoming imposter syndrome and intimidation.

EMILY’s List is a PAC (political action committee) with the mission to elect more pro-choice female Democrats to public office. The name comes from a common fundraising phrase, “early money is like yeast”: E.M.I.L.Y. It implies that success is more likely with early investment, as money early on attracts more money later for both individuals and movements. This PAC is considered the “largest national resource for women in politics,” and funds the campaigns of progressive females in an effort to bring more equal representation to the halls of power in this country.

Since 1985, EMILY’s List has been raising money to support pro-choice women who are dedicated to making real change to benefit families from all backgrounds in the U.S.. In the past 32 years, EMILY’s List has expanded from fundraising to training and now have a community of over five million. They have supported over 900 victories for Democratic female candidates, all focused on progressive platforms.

Part of their expanded mission includes targeting female voters as a part of the WOMEN VOTE! movement. They also now focus on women of color and LGBTQ candidates, championing diversity as a cornerstone of their organizational priorities. This intersectional approach is described as acknowledging that “progress will not be fast enough, or reach its potential, unless we include the voices of everyone who shares our common values.”

Women who attended the training after the Women’s March on Washington described the experience as both refreshing and deeply inspiring. Leaders and speakers shared advice based on their own experiences as politicians and candidates, from small things like the importance of a lint roller to strategies for building their own websites and engaging neighborhoods.

This gathering of women after the widespread marching on Saturday is inspiring. By helping direct women who are interested in confronting the ever-growing list of concerns after the 2016 election, EMILY’s List is providing a strong training and network to ensure future success. From local school boards to runs for Congress, multi-generational women are stepping up to lead.

In an editorial yesterday, New York Times’s David Brooks wrote, “Marching is a seductive substitute for action in an antipolitical era, and leaves the field open for a rogue like Trump.” The women who are signing up for EMILY’s List trainings and others like it are entering into the fray, not avoiding it and certainly not self-congratulating for showing up for one day. They are committing themselves to the work it will take to combat threats to Americans’ rights across the country.

I can sympathize with the feeling that in order to run for office, one must have a slew of relevant experiences and years of special training. What many realized after the election is that it doesn’t take experience to get elected – it takes the right message. EMILY’s List is helping to hone the messages of women with progressive, pro-choice motivations who are interested in being public servants.

Many women wait to run for office until they feel more qualified, whereas most male candidates have little to no reservations. We need more diversity in office, more representation of our true make-up as a country. It’s about time women had some support and examples to guide them to office.

EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said that after the March on Washington, “The most important thing we saw yesterday, the big takeaway, was the numbers of women in rural America, in the middle of America, who came together and realized, ‘I’m not alone,’ ” she said. “That’s so empowering, and those are going to be our future candidates.” They are dedicated to lifting up diverse women and for me, that is hopeful.

Race The World Inequality

At this point in the elections, we have nothing to lose but our chains

“Women responding to racism means women responding to anger; Anger of exclusion, of unquestioned privilege, of racial distortions, of silence, ill-use, stereotyping, defensiveness, misnaming, betrayal, and co-optation. – Audre Lorde

One Year Ago

It’s been one year since Marissa Johnson, several other black activists, and I interrupted Bernie Sanders as he spoke in front of thousands at the end of a public event in Seattle, a day before the one-year anniversary of the death of Mike Brown.

A month before, Sanders had been interrupted by black activists at Netroots after the death of Sandra Bland. The movement for black lives is often said to be in the tradition of call and response. In our minds, folks at the Netroots action had put out the call to confront politicians along the campaign trail, and we followed up with a response.

Countless pieces have been written about the action, each with their own spin and bits of revisionist history thrown in.

But here’s what actually happened. This is what I actually experienced that day:

After we forced our way onto the stage, Marissa spoke for several minutes, and then called for a four-and-a-half-minute moment of silence for Brown. Throughout her speech and the moment of silence, thousands of people in the nearly all-white crowed shouted, screamed, cried, swore at us and called for us to be tased and arrested.

Sanders supporters quickly began physically attacking — hitting, spitting, biting, tearing up signs, trying to push past — a wall of dozens of white allies who had come to support our action, and continued throwing water bottles at us on the stage.

I closed my eyes and listened to the screaming continue and the sounds of cameras flashing as the media surrounded us. I lifted a black power fist in the air with one hand and asked Marissa to hold my other hand, and I cried through the entire four and a half minutes.

That small, singular action changed the presidential campaign. It sparked ongoing conversations about respectability, electoral politics, representational democracy, and race in the United States.

And it forced the candidates, particularly the Democrats, to finally respond to what black activists had been saying for months.

Hours after our action, Sanders announced that he’d hired Symone Sanders, a black woman, as his new press secretary. The next day, he added a “racial justice” component to his platform. Hillary Clinton did the same shortly later. From there, Sanders’s language changed from a “colorblind”, class-reductionist, non-intersectional approach; to finally uttering “Black Lives Matter,” and mentioning Sandra Bland at nearly every campaign appearance.

Though the policy changes added to Sanders’ platform were an improvement, they were still far from the type of changes people were demanding. Meanwhile, despite having catalyzed these conversations, we continued to see murdered black bodies spread across the internet like lynching porn.

Many people felt like things were getting worse. But, in reality, these injustices were simply being revealed.


Fast forward to the present and leaked DNC emails confirming what was already obvious to many: the Democratic party had colluded with Clinton’s campaign in order to sabotage Sanders and keep him from being the democratic nominee. After the emails were released, Sanders supporters were outraged that he had been treated unjustly.

However, for many, the emails were even more broadly significant, in that they confirmed feelings of the Democratic Party’s corporatization, corruption and oligarchical tendencies. People soon began questioning if the Democratic Party could be as much of a threat to true representational democracy as the Republicans.

Additionally, these emails confirmed that the Democratic Party had tried to control and manipulate the movement for black lives by vetting high profile career activist as potential surrogates. Meanwhile, on-the-ground, working class activists and community organizers are still deliberately left out of Democratic events, since they don’t fit the most convenient narrative, and therefore can’t be used as pawns.

Two examples of this are Erica Garner (daughter of Eric Garner) who endorsed Bernie Sanders, and Samaria Rice (mother of Tamir Rice), who does not endorse any of the presidential candidates. Notably – though both are prominent movement leaders who have also personally been impacted by police brutality – their voices are repeatedly ignored and silenced.

They were both absent from the DNC’s “Mother’s of the Movement,” (a phrase first used by Erica Garner – though she has repeatedly been left out of the narrative that she helped create) feature, as neither of them had endorsed Hillary Clinton. These omissions help highlight the exploitation and co-optation present in these types of features. It serves as one small example of the many ways that the establishment uses black bodies as tokens – advertising them on stage in order to serve their own agenda, rather than actually engaging in material ways.

Parading these mothers on stage, while continuing to fuel mass-incarceration and the militarization of the police, is a farce and a slap in the face of black communities. It screams loud and clear Clinton is not concerned with all black lives, just those that serve her, sadly; and even then, only when the cameras are rolling.

Despite Clinton’s well documented history of classism, racism, and anti-blackness – in 1996, for example, she referred to black youth as “super predators” who have “no conscience” and “no empathy” – many still see her as the “lesser evil” in this presidential election season. Personally, I don’t think of her as a lesser evil, but rather an evil that has undergone some rebranding, like an energy-efficient drone.

Then, of course, there’s Donald Trump. Who has literally no qualifications or experience in office. Who has repeatedly compared Marissa and I to ISIS. Who has successfully invigorated a voter base of fascist and white supremacists. If Clinton is a solar-powered drone, Trump is a full-on nuclear bomb.

And yet, fascism and white supremacy in this country existed long before Trump’s campaign and will continue on with or without him. What worries me most about the way people talk about Trump is how people resort to exceptionalize him by labeling him “crazy” and “insane”, when his views are actually quite common and widespread. The solution to ending fascism is not nearly as simple as “vote Hillary, defeat Trump”.

American culture has this tendency to focus on individuals (or in terms of elections, individual politicians), but the issues facing our country are systemic. They can’t be solved by one person alone. The issues that face this country are larger than these candidates, and small institutional changes alone will not bring peace or justice.

Folks commonly look at Black Lives Matter’s tactics from within a framework that is contained to electoral politics, but it’s become clear that we must go beyond that framework to dismantle a system that was founded off of enslavement and genocide.

When there are no adequate options, disruption is a way to reveal the issues, so that they can begin to be addressed. Our action one year ago was not about Bernie Sanders. The event itself was not even a Bernie Sanders rally. Rather, it was a usurping of power and an indictment of the system in its entirety.

Moving Forward

To the dismay of many – especially in Seattle – Bernie didn’t win the Democratic nomination. It looks like Clinton will win against Trump this November, and it will be business as usual in America.

Folks continue to fetishize and idolize various celebrity politicians, and yet all politicians hold office within an imperialist political party and within an unjust system. Though Bernie was responsive after our action, none of his policy proposals would have gone far enough to bring about revolution.

For those who are feeling completely disenfranchised by this election, let this serve as a call to action. Within our dysfunctional political system, regardless of who is president, folks need to ask themselves what, beyond voting, they, personally, and materially, are doing to disrupt and destroy racism, fascism, sexism, and other forms of oppression.

The movement will continue disruptions and escalations as long as the system continues a daily crusade of global violence and destruction. It is our duty.

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

― Assata Shakur

Gender Inequality

8 times learning multiple languages gave women power in the world

Women from all over the world take interest in the affairs of their nation and of the rest of the world. Female journalists, politicians and political figures are all women who are stepping into global politics, and interacting with multiple nations on a regular basis. One often-ignored part of international discussion and negotiation is translation: how are people bridging the language gap to make sure that we understand each other?

In the case of these women, who have already made global conversation their calling in a variety of ways, they are doing it themselves, by knowing multiple languages. And despite the fact that millions of women around the world are multilingual, if you look up any list of polyglots you’ll find that most of them are male. So in honor of changing that, here’s a roundup of some of the most well-known female polyglots.

1. Christiane Amanpour

CNN Pressroom

CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, was raised in Tehran, but moved with her family to England to escape political instability. She speaks English, French and Farsi, and is known for much of her work in dangerous areas. Currently she has her own show with CNN.

2. Chancellor Angela Merkel


Germany’s first female chancellor, Merkel has been serving since 2005 and is quite influential in European Union Politics. Before entering politics she earned a doctorate in physics. She speaks German, Russian and English She was named TIME’s Person of the Year in 2015.

3. Crown Princess Masako

Japan Times

The crown princess of Japan was not born into the royal family, but instead married the prince. Her father taught at Harvard, where she also attended school. She later worked for the foreign ministry and studied at Oxford. She speaks a total of six languages: Japanese, English, Russian, French, Spanish and German.

4. Former Madame Secretary Madeleine Albright

Huffington Post

A Czech-born US politician with the distinction of being the first female secretary of state, Madeleine Albright speaks Czech, Serbo-Croat, French and English. After getting a doctorate and becoming a professor of international affairs at Georgetown, Albright slowly got into political counseling, which lead to her most famous position.

5. State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi


Currently serving as the State Counselor of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi left her country to study at Oxford and returned years later. Shocked at the state of her country, she started a peaceful protest movement, which led to her house arrest for many years. She has earned a Nobel Peace Prize for her political advocacy, and also speaks Burmese, English, French, and Japanese.

6. Queen Silva of Sweden


The longest serving queen of Sweden, Queen Silva married into the royal family after meeting the prince at the summer Olympics, of all places. Since she has been named queen she has championed a number of worthy causes, including children’s rights against and raising awareness of dementia and dyslexia. She reportedly knows Swedish, German, Portuguese, French, Spanish, English, Swedish Sign Language.

7. Malala Yousafzai


Malala Youzafzai is a woman who needs almost no introduction. She is most famous for championing the cause of women’s education despite intimidation from the Taliban and an assasaination attempt. This earned her the title of youngest Nobel Laureate. But did you know that she is also multilingual? She speaks English, Urdu and Pashto.

8. Helen Reynolds-Brown


Fame and multilingual talents don’t always go hand in hand. London-born Reynolds-Brown has studied French, and Russian, eventually using her language abilities to work as a translator for the UN, like hundreds of other multi-lingual men and women.