Eight Influential Women of the 2020s

By: Sarah Govert

Ever since 1987, March has been observed as Women’s History Month in the United States. This month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to remember all of the contributions of women to United States history, from Susan B. Anthony to Rosa Parks. During this month, we have the opportunity to recognize women and their significant contributions to the history of the United States and the world, including some incredibly important, yet virtually unknown, figures.

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams was born on December 9, 1973 in Madison, Wisconsin and gained country and world-wide recognition during 2020 for her efforts in Georgia to register voters for the 2020 election and destroy voter suppression. Abrams served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007-2017 and served as the minority leader from 2011-2017. She was also the first African-American woman to give the rebuttal to the State of the Union on February 5, 2018. Abrams founded Fair Fight 2020 on August 17, 2019, an organization which assists Democrats in 20 states to build voter protection teams. Abrams also served as an elector for the state of Georgia in the 2020 election and was credited with a large increase in Democratic votes in Georgia, as well as around 800,000 voter registrations. At the 2021 NAACP Awards, Abrams was awarded the Social Justice Impact award, and she has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. To learn more about Stacey Abrams and the Fair Fight Foundation, see this link.

Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern was born on July 26, 1980 in Hamilton, New Zealand, where she now serves as the 40th Prime Minister. Ardern has served as Prime Minister and head of the Labour Party since 2017. Elected at the age of 37, she is the youngest New Zealand Prime Minister in over 150 years. Ardern has set new norms as the PM, starting with the fact that she took six weeks of maternity leave while in office following the birth of her daughter and announced that her partner will be a stay-at-home father. Some of her goals as PM include halving child poverty in New Zealand, increasing paid parental leave, and implementing minimum wage increases. In addition, Ardern received global praise for her handling of the pandemic, as New Zealand successfully eradicated both waves of COVID-19. To learn more about Jacinda Ardern and some of her actions as Prime Minister, see this link.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift was born on December 13, 1989 and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time with sales of over 200 million records worldwide. Over the course of her career, Swift has released nine studio albums, ranging from the country album of “Taylor Swift” in 2006 to the folk/indie/alternative rock album of “evermore” in 2020. She has won 11 Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, 28 Guinness World Records, 32 American Music Awards, and 23 Billboard Music Awards. Swift has the most American Music Awards and Billboard Music Award wins for a woman in her field. In addition, she was named Woman of the Decade by Billboard and Artist of the Decade by the American Music Awards. She has also been active in several feminist, gun control reform, and equality movements, including the March for Our Lives movement, Every Woman Counts campaign, Time’s Up movement, and can even be credited with an increase of 65,000 voter registrations within 24 hours of a social media post. To learn more about Taylor Swift and her music, see this link.

Ozlem Tureci

Ozlem Tureci was born on March 6, 1967 in Lastrup, Germany and is mainly known for founding BioNTech in 2008, which developed the first approved COVID-19 vaccine in 2020. Tureci is the current chief medical officer at BioNTech, and she was also the founder and CEO of Ganymed Pharmaceuticals from 2008-2016. BioNTech is a company focused on developing and manufacturing immunotherapies as a treatment for cancer and other diseases. In March of 2020, BioNTech began work on a COVID-19 vaccine with Pfizer, and the vaccine was approved in 11 months. Tureci decided to apply the mRNA vaccine technology she had been researching for years to the pandemic and now plans to create an mRNA-based cancer vaccine. To learn more about Tureci and her research, see this link.

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka was born on October 16, 1997 in Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan and is known for being the first woman to win successive Grand Slam singles titles since Serena Williams, and for beating Serena Williams in the US Open in 2018. By defeating Serena Williams in the Open, she became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. She achieved this feat at the age of 21. Osaka also became the first Asian tennis player to hold the rank of No. 1 in the world. In 2020, she was also the highest-earning female athlete of all time. Osaka is also an activist, and she has used her platform as an athlete to further her causes and show her support for movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-Asian hate movement. She withdrew from The Cincinnati Open in 2020 to raise awareness for the shooting of Jacob Blake and wore masks that displayed the names of African-Americans that mainly died as a result of the police, including Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Trayvon Martin. She also attended protests in Minnesota for the killing of George Floyd. Osaka was named a Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 2020 for her activism, alongside athletes such as Patrick Mahomes and LeBron James. To learn more about Naomi Osaka, see this link.

Lizzo

Lizzo was born Melissa Viviane Jefferson on April 27, 1988 in Detroit, Michigan and is known as a singer, rapper, flautist, and proponent of body positivity and self-love. Lizzo rose to fame in 2017 following the success of hits such as “Juice,” “Truth Hurts,” and “Tempo.” She is the recipient of three Grammy Awards, two Soul Train Music Awards, a Billboard Music Award, and a BET Award. Lizzo is a major advocate for self-love, and her group of back-up dancers consists of all plus-size dancers. She believes that body positivity has become commercialized, and she wants to be “body-normative.” She also called for continued change in the movement and expressed her desire to make people uncomfortable because “Change is always uncomfortable, right?” To learn more about Lizzo and her stance on body positivity, see this link.

Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde was born on January 1, 1956 in Paris, France and currently serves as the President of the European Central Bank. She is the first woman to hold this position. Previously, Lagarde served as the Chair and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund from 2011-1019, and she was also the first woman to hold that position. The European Central Bank is responsible for the monetary policy of European Union member countries that use the euro, a group of countries known as the eurozone. Right now, Lagarde is responsible for ensuring that the pandemic doesn’t continue to wreak havoc on the eurozone. Additionally, she served in various positions for the Government of France, such as Minister of Commerce, Minister of Agriculture and Fishing, and Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry. To learn more about Christine Lagarde, see this link.

Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen was born on October 8, 1958 in Ixelles, Belgium and is currently the President of the European Commission. von der Leyen is the first woman to serve in this position. The European Commission manages the European Union’s budget, proposes new laws and policies, and supports international development, among many other duties. Previously, she served as a member of Angela Merkel’s cabinet from 2005-2019. von der Leyen served in Merkel’s cabinet as the Minister of Family Affairs and Youth (2005-2009), Minister of Labor and Social Affairs (2009-2013), and Minister of Defense (2013-2019). She was the first woman to serve as the German defense minister. She has also advocated for an initiative that called for a mandatory blockage of child pornography, introduced a model for paid parental leave in Germany, and introduced the Child Advancement Act. To learn more about Ursula von der Leyen and her role as President of the European Commission, see this link.

Women hold incredibly important roles in diverse positions all across the globe. We have the ability to make significant change. Whether you are an athlete, an artist, or just a girl posting on social media, you too have the power to support the workings of government, maintain finances in the midst of a pandemic, and support your community, making others feel loved. I encourage you to continue learning more about the contributions and achievements of women across the globe in this month and take them as an example of everything you are also capable of.

Gina Carano Fired from Disney+ Series “The Mandalorian”

By: Lindsay Gorman

Giana Carano, who played Cara Dune on Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” was fired by LucasFilms in early February due to her controversial social media posts. 

Carano came under fire after she posted an image of Nazi Germany on her Instagram story with the caption: “Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors..even by children. Because history is edited, most people today didn’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the governement first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”

Carano is known for speaking her mind on social media, but this post was the last straw for the company. LucasFilms stated that “her social media posts [were] denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities,” which they called “abhorrent and unacceptable.” Fans have called for her firing since September of 2020, after she put the words “boop/bob/beep” in her twitter bio, which many found especially offensive towards the transgender community. She removed the words after her co-star, Pedro Pascal, informed her of why people have included their pronouns in their social media bios. However, there are still several controversial posts left on her social media that include being anti-mask sentiments and claims that “Jeffery Epstein didn’t kill himself.”

A LucasFilms spokesman reported, “Gina Carano is not currently employed by LucasFilms and there are no plans for her in the future.” Some fans have started a petition calling for a mea culpa from the company that has nearly 73,000 signatures. 

Carano has avoided an apology for her offensive posts and instead harped on “cancel culture”. She has announced a new project with Ben Shapiro from Daily Wire, a conservative media company. Details are still under wrap, but the Daily Wire plans to have Carano develop, produce and star in an upcoming film. “The Daily Wire is helping make one of my dreams – to develop and produce my own film – come true.” Carano told the Daily Wire “they can’t cancel us if we don’t let them.”

The Hidden Figures of Black History

By: Amarah Din and Sarah Govert

The month of February is dedicated to learning about and honoring Black history. Black History Month was first celebrated by Black professors and students at Kent State University in February of 1970. United States President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month in 1976. As Americans, it’s our responsibility to recognize the endurance of the Black community and what certain figures within have accomplished.

Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey was born on January 5, 1931, in Rogers, Texas and passed away from an AIDS related illness on December 1, 1989, in Manhattan, New York. Growing up, he was abandoned by his father when he was three months old and was forced to work in cotton fields with his mother, as it was the only employment that was available to them. He would go and watch people dance in order to escape, and he saw his first ballet in 1946 in Los Angeles when he was 15 years old. In 1949, one of his friends took him to the studio of dance teacher Lester Horton. Horton’s studio was one of the first that was racially integrated, and Ailey was able to study a large range of dance techniques while at his studio. He took over as artistic director and choreographer at Horton’s studio after he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1953, and he choreographed the Broadway show House of Flowers in 1954. In 1958, Ailey founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In the ballets that he choreographed, he employed a mixture of jazz, ballet, modern dance, and spirituals to celebrate and shed light on the Black experience in America, also drawing on his memories of growing up in Texas in the 1930s. He posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014. To learn more about Ailey and his company, see this link.

Cori Bush:

Born on July 21st, 1976 in St. Louis, Missouri, Cori Bush accomplished a lot of firsts for her state. In her early life, she quit her job when she had her son, Zion, who was born four months premature. She had another son, Angel, soon after and had to return to work. Unfortunately, she and her family were homeless and moved from place to place for months until her boss secured a new home for the family. After becoming a single mother, she earned her nursing degree in 2008 from the Lutheran School of Nursing. She was an RN at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and became a pastor after starting her own church called the Kingdom Embassy International Church. She later became a nursing supervisor. Bush was at the forefront of protests against the murder of Michael Brown Jr. in 2014. She spent 400 days protesting in Ferguson. Bush ran for U.S. Congressional seats in 2016 and 2018 but lost both times. She achieved a win in 2020, after being elected to Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, making her the district’s first female representative and the state’s first Black woman and nurse representative. Despite being a victim of police brutality and a survivor of rape, Cori Bush stands as an inspiration for Black women across America. To learn more about her efforts, check out this link.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960, in Brooklyn, New York and passed away from a heroin overdose on August 12, 1988, in Manhattan, New York. He was the second of four children. Basquiat was a talented artist from a young age, and he was sent to Saint Ann’s School, an exclusive arts-oriented private school in New York City. By the age of seven, he had created a children’s book with best friend Marc Prozzo. His mother was in and out of mental institutions since he was 10 years old, leading him to run away from home at the age of 15. He was arrested and returned home within the week, then going on to attend City-As-School. Basquiat and Al Diaz, a schoolmate of his, started spray painting graffiti on buildings in Lower Manhattan in May of 1978. They went by the pseudonym SAMO. This project ended, along with their friendship, in the early 1980s. After the SAMO project concluded, Basquiat worked as a solo artist, first gaining recognition in The Times Square Show in June of 1980. He then had his first solo show in May of 1981, and he became the youngest artist ever to participate in documenta, an exhibition of contemporary art that takes place in Kassel, Germany every five years, at age 21. He also became the youngest artist ever to participate in the Whitney Biennial exhibition of contemporary art. If you want to learn more about Basquiat and his artwork, see this link.

Shirley Chisholm:

Shirley Chisholm was born on November 30th, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York to immigrant parents. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1946 and later graduated from Columbia University with a master’s in elementary education. She was the director of the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center and the educational consultant for New York City’s Bureau of Child Welfare. She was the first ever Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress where she worked in committees such as the House Forestry Committee, Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and the Education and Labor Committee. In 1969, she co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus. She made history in 1972 when she became the first Black person and second woman to run for a major political party’s nomination for U.S. President. She expressed, “I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am Black and proud. I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman and I am equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people, and my presence before you now symbolizes a new era in American political history.” She unfortunately lost the Democratic nomination to Senator George McGovern. After serving seven terms in Congress, she left to teach at Mount Holyoke College. She was an active member of NOW and the NAACP, and she was later inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. After her passing in 2005, Chisholm was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by former President Barack Obama—the first African-American President. Before her passing, she wrote an autobiography entitled Unbought and Unbossed(1970) and another book about her experience running for President in The Good Fight(1973). Shirley Chisholm paved the way for women of color in politics. To learn more about her life, check out this link.

Dr. Charles Drew

Dr. Charles Drew was born on June 3, 1904, in Washington, DC and passed away from injuries due to a car accident on April 1, 1950, in Burlington, North Carolina. He was born to a middle-class family in Washington, DC, to a father who worked as a carpet layer and a mother who was trained as a teacher. Drew attended Amherst College on an athletic scholarship, and spent the two years after he graduated at Morgan College as a chemistry and biology professor, football coach, and athletic director in order to gain money to pay for medical school. He attended McGill University in Toronto for medical school and graduated second in his class. He worked as a faculty instructor at Howard University and later did graduate work at Columbia University, where he received a Doctor of Science in Surgery. In 1940, he received a Doctor of Science in Medicine, becoming the first African-American to do so. During his graduate work, he did exhaustive studies and research on blood preservation methods. Because of this, he was recruited by John Scudder just before the United States entered World War II to be the medical director for the Blood for Britain project. The goal of the Blood for Britain project was to give blood from Americans to British soldiers, and Drew’s job was to collect, test, and transport the blood. During this project, Dr. Drew started bloodmobiles, made sure all blood plasma was tested, and created a central location where all donors could give blood. In 1941, he was appointed director of the American Red Cross Blood Bank for his work during the Blood for Britain project, but he resigned in 1942 after the military ruled that African-American blood would be stored separately from the blood of whites. Drew became the first African-American surgeon to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery in 1941, and he was also awarded the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP in 1944. To learn more about Dr. Drew and his work on blood storage, see this link.

Alice Coachman

Alice Coachman was born on November 9th, 1923, in Albany, Georgia. She was a natural-born athlete, and was encouraged by her fifth grade teacher and her aunt to advance her talents, despite her parents lack of support. Tuskegee Institute took a liking to Coachman after reviewing her performance in track and field at Madison High School and offered her a scholarship at its high school program. She accepted and competed in the segregated South. She advanced to the college division in 1943 for both track and field and basketball. She won four national championships in track events. In 1949, Coachman graduated from Albany State College with a B.S. degree in Home Economics and a minor in science. At just 24-years-old, she competed in the 1948 Olympic games in London, where she won a gold medal for high jumping a record-setting 5ft 6.125in. With this earning, she became the first ever Black woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal. She won thirty-four national titles and was inducted into multiple halls of fame. She founded the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation which provided support for new and up-coming athletes, as well as retired athletes. She passed away in her hometown of Albany on July 14th, 2014. Alice Coachman defied the status quo and pushed through barriers set by the Jim Crow South. Get to know more about her impact on the world of athletics at this link.

William H. Hastie Jr.

William Hastie Jr. was born on November 17, 1904, in Knoxville, Tennessee and passed away on April 14, 1976, in East Norriton, Pennsylvania. Hastie attended Amherst College and graduated first in his class. He then received a Bachelor of Laws from Harvard Law School in 1930, followed by a Doctor of Judicial Science, also from Harvard Law School, in 1933. From 1930-1933, Hastie worked in private practice in Washington, DC, but served as the assistant solicitor for the Department of the Interior from 1933-1937. President Roosevelt appointed Hastie to the District Court of the Virgin Islands in 1937, and by doing so, made Hastie the first African-American federal judge. He served on the district court until 1939, when he stepped down to become the dean of the Howard University School of Law, with Thurgood Marshall studying under him. In the case of Smith v Allwright, which ruled against white primaries, Hastie served as a co-lead lawyer with Marshall. Hastie worked as a civilian aide to the Secretary of War during World War II, but he resigned from his position in 1943 in protest to the racially segregated training facilities, inadequate training, and uneven assignment distribution in the Air Force. He was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP for both his actions during the war and his lifetime achievements. In 1946, President Truman appointed Hastie as Territorial Governor of the Virgin Islands, becoming the first African-American to have this position. In 1949, he was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit by President Truman, and he was confirmed by the Senate in 1950. He also served as the Chief officer of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1968-1971. To learn more about Hastie and his achievements in the judicial branch, see this link.

Maj. Nancy Leftenant-Colon:

Nancy Leftenant-Colon was born on September 29th, 1920, growing up with 12 siblings. From an early age, she dreamed of becoming a nurse, though military service was taken up by many of her siblings. Due to the Army Nurse Corps being a whites-only service, she joined the Army Reserves in 1945. After the military was desegregated, Leftenant-Colon became the first Black woman to join the Army Air Corps in 1948. Being a traveling nurse, she feared racism on her journeys between bases in the South and tried to avoid contact with anyone in her travels. She became a flight nurse in the 1950s and traveled with a Tuskegee crew in Korea, Japan, and Germany. After 20 years, she retired from service and worked as a nurse at Amityville High School. To add onto her list of achievements, she was the first female president of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., which honors the history of aviation service along with providing financial support. Leftenant-Colon serves as an inspiration for young Black women joining the military. She recently celebrated her 100th birthday, in which she was awarded the title of “Living Legend” by the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation. Check out a video of her celebrating her birthday back in September at this link!

Dr. Huey P. Newton

Dr. Huey Newton was born on February 17, 1942, in Monroe, Louisiana and was assassinated on August 22, 1989, in Oakland, California. His family moved to Oakland during the second wave of the Great Migration in response to the extreme violence in Louisiana’s Ouachita Parish. Newton was arrested several times during his teenage years, including charges for gun possession and vandalism. He earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1966 from Merritt College, studied at San Francisco Law School, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and earned a PhD in social philosophy at the University of California at Santa Cruz as well. While he was studying at Merritt College, Newton joined the Afro-American Association and learned about Black history from the leader of the AAA, Donal Warden. He also met Bobby Seale while he studied at Merritt, and together, the two founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966. Seale was the Chairman, and Newton was the Minister of Defense. The Black Panther Party advocated for the right of self-defense for Black people in the United States and was greatly influenced by Malcolm X. The political goals of the Black Panther Party included better housing, jobs, and education. The party also had a Ten-Point Program, which was a set of guidelines for their ideals. Newton and the Black Panther Party were able to create social programs in Oakland, including the Oakland Community School and Free Breakfast for Children Program. In 1968, Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the killing of police officer John Frey and was sentenced to 2-15 years in prison. In 1970, the conviction was reversed and eventually dismissed by the Alameda County Superior Court. Newton was murdered in 1989 by Tyrone Robinson, who said that his motive was to advance in the Black Guerilla Family prison gang. The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation was founded by his widow, Fredrike Newton, in 1993. To learn more about Dr. Newton, see this link, and to learn more about this foundation, see this link.

Marsha P. Johnson:

Marsha P. Johnson was born on August 24, 1945, in Elizabeth, New Jersey and passed away from undetermined causes on July 6, 1992, in New York City, New York. Johnson was born Malcolm Michaels Jr to a deeply religious family. At the age of five, Johnson decided that she wanted to start wearing dresses, attracting the attention of boys that lived nearby that were determined to harass and sexually assault her. After graduating from Edison High School, Johnson left home and moved to Greenwich Village in New York City in 1966. Johnson identified as gay and as a queen, in reference to her work as a drag queen. It was then that Johnson decided on the moniker of Marsha P. Johnson as her drag queen name. From 1970-1990s, Johnson performed as a member of the Hot Peaches, an NYC-based drag performance troupe. On the day of the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969, she arrived at the Stonewall Inn after the riots had already begun. Johnson was identified as one of the individuals that led the way in pushing back the police during the riots. After the riots, Johnson marched in the first Gay Pride rally in 1970 and joined the Gay Liberation Front. She also staged a sit-in protest at Weinstein Hall at NYU when she found out that administrators had canceled a dance sponsored by gay organizations. Johnson also founded the STAR House, a shelter in New York City for gay and trans street kids, in 1972. To learn more about Marsha P. Johnson and her activism for gay rights, see this link.

Black History Month is a celebration of the achievements of Black people and their crucial role in American history, and all of these men and women are incredible examples of the kind of change and achievements that this month is able to recognize and celebrate. We encourage you to continue to learn more about the achievements and role of Black people in American history and world history in this month and beyond.

A Look Into The Past: The Cary Towne Center

By: Avery Phillips

At the end of January, the Cary Towne Center, once known as the Cary Village Mall, closed once and for all. The students of Cary High have a personal connection with the Cary Towne Center as it has been a hotspot for socializing since the 1980’s. Even when the mall was deemed “dead,” students would often meet after school and use the walkways and empty lots as a place to meet with friends. But, believe it or not, the Cary Towne Center was once full of stores and bustling with activity. Have you ever wondered what used to be in those empty lots? Let’s take a look back in time and see. 

Time-Out Arcade

Time-Out was a popular arcade chain that could be found in malls all around eastern America. The arcade’s name was originally Time-Out Tunnel, which was appropriate considering the design. The arcade’s entrance and pathways had a rainbow-like tunnel theme and the interior was colorful and fun. Time-Out’s peak in popularity was between 1979 and 1984. 


Rite-Aid

Though it may be difficult to imagine now, there once was a Rite-Aid pharmacy at the front of the Cary Towne Center. Though it offered a variety of everyday use items generally found in drugstores, it was set apart from its competitors with their sale of mixed nuts in a revolving heating rack. The pharmacy offered a place for students to grab a variety of necessities such as school supplies and snacks pre-Harris Teeter.

Cousin’s Pizza

Cousin’s Pizza was a big hit at the Cary Towne Center during the 80’s and 90’s. They had an open kitchen so the customers were able to watch as employees flipped and threw dough into the air. Students could often be found stopping by during their lunch break.

Aloha Restaurant 

According to @Laurenwins on City-Data.com, Aloha Restaurant was “Chinese with a vague Hawaiian theme.” They had open candle flames on the tables in which chicken or pork wrapped in aluminum could be cooked over.

Honorable Mentions:

K&K Toys

Not to be confused with KB Toys, who was also in the mall at the same time, he similar names are purely coincidental.

The Surf Report

This store was designated for beachwear and surf boards. 

Family Bookstores

This local bookstore was later replaced with B. Dalton Booksellers.

The Legendary Life of Sir Captain Thomas Moore

By: Kiera Kofkin-Hansen 

The pandemic has been raging for almost a year now, and many individuals along with countries have started to take their relief even further: vaccination distributions, stricter quarantines, fundraises, and simple “Thank You’s” to the front-line workers. One man spent the last few months of his life dedicating it to the people of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. 

Captain Sir Thomas Moore passed away on February 2nd of this year (only two months before his 101st birthday!!!) and lived an extraordinary life. Born in 1920, Thomas Moore grew up to serve in the British Army during WWII in India and Myanmar. After the war ended, he served another 15 years in the British Army, earning himself the title of Captain. 

Once he retired from the British Army as a heavily decorated soldier, Captain Thomas Moore went into business, heading not one, but two successful businesses in the roofing and concrete industries. He thoroughly enjoyed photography, and was a member of the Keighley and District Photographic Association. On top of running successful businesses and being an avid photographer, Moore also spent much of his life competitively racing motorcycles, purchasing his first bike at just 12 years old. 

The most astonishing achievement of Captain Thomas Moore however was the amount of money he raised for the National Health Service (NHS). Moore made a pledge on April 6th 2020 at age 99 that he would walk 100 laps around his backyard before he turned 100, with the hopes of raising £1,000 for the NHS. By the time his campaign ended on his 100th birthday however, Captain Thomas Moore had raised £39 million. So many people from within the UK and around the world were in awe of the dedication this veteran, who had lived for a century, had in order to help the people working hardest during these trying times, that they raised money that surpassed his wildest dreams. 

Captain Thomas Moore became a national inspiration: he received awards, honorary songs and bus stops made in his name, and most of all was knighted by the Queen of England herself. Making her first public engagement since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, on July 17th, 2020, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Captain Thomas Moore after he was nominated by the Prime Minister of England for the honor (which is where the “Sir” comes into his name). 

Sir Captain Thomas Moore sadly passed away early 2021; however, he will forever be known as an inspiration to the United Kingdom and the world as a whole.

The Need for Trees

By: Kiera Kofkin-Hansen

Trees are one of nature’s greatest gifts: they provide beautiful scenery, act as an incredibly accurate what’s-the-season-meter, regulate and supply oxygen for our very lungs to enjoy, as well as being vital members of ecosystems across the globe. 

If you’ve ever spoken to an adult who’s lived in Cary for at least twenty years, they’d probably tell you how this area used to be “all dirt roads and trees”… or something along those lines. Due to the booming population of Cary, it is no longer a string of dirt roads stretching for miles, but more like hundreds of neighborhoods strung between outdoor shopping malls and schools. Although the economy of Cary is surely grateful, how does the ecosystem of Cary feel about the constant development? 

On average, 15.3 billion trees are cut down worldwide, and Cary is no exception in regards to the slaughter of these large barky, leafy delights. Trees should be so much more important to us than building new infrastructure, and here’s why: 

-They produce oxygen… you know… the air we breathe… to survive.

-Trees are vital to the survival of various ecosystems: providing housing, food, nutrients, shade (which I’m sure you all enjoy on a hot, North Carolinian summers’ day), and improves and enriches the soil which it is planted in (which in turns allows us to plant crops/other aesthetically pleasing plants as well).  

-They single-handedly can fight off climate change. Well, maybe not single handedly per say, however they play huge roles in cooling down the planet to ensure it takes a couple hundred thousand more trips around the sun, healthily! 

-+100’s of more fan-tree-stic things! 

I’m not naive enough to think that development will ever halt worldwide in order to protect the trees. However, there are things you can do yourself that will do a lot more good than you probably realize. Saving paper, for example, is the simplest way to protect trees. Paper is made from the bark and wood of trees that have been chopped down for that purpose among others; therefore, if you used a little less paper in your daily life (which I’m sure will be such a struggle considering we now attend school on our computers), it could go a long way in the future of keeping more trees tied to their roots. Another simple tree-saving idea many probably don’t think about is to plant a tree! Depending on the species of course, growth rates will be drastically different, but if you go out and plant a tree seed in the ground today, I promise the world will be better off for it. 

Trees are very important, and collectively as a human race we should treat them as such. There are many other ways you can effectively help to protect the trees, so go and research everything YOU can do for the good of our beloved planet and make a difference within your personal ecosystem!

COVID-19 Vaccine: What’s In Store for 2021?

By: Celia Pope

As most of you have likely heard at this point, there is finally a vaccine- a light at the end of the tunnel! However, it can be easy to let this light blind us from the reality that still is the COVID-19 virus. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be hopeful for the future, but I do think that it is important to know the facts.   

According to CNN and the CDC, Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated that the distribution of the vaccines was slowed by the massive spike in holiday cases and travelling. However, he fully expects that around April we will approach “open season,” a time in which the vaccine should be available to everyone, meaning that we could begin to achieve some form of herd immunity by spring of 2021. If by the end of the summer 70%-85% of the population is vaccinated, we should be able to achieve good herd immunity and may even have some form of normalcy come fall. He also predicts that we could begin to achieve some form of herd immunity by spring of 2021.

In order to understand how we will achieve “open season,” it is also important to understand the order in which the population will be vaccinated. 

ORDER OF VACCINATION (according to the CDC):

-Healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents

-Frontline essential workers and people age 75 and older

-People age 65-74 and people age 16-64 years with underlying medical conditions and other essential workers

This vaccination is extremely important to the future of the United State’s fight against the COVID-19 vaccine. Not only will it make it substantially less likely that you will get the virus, but if you do get the virus, it will keep you from getting seriously ill. Though scientists aren’t completely sure if the vaccine will stop you from being a spreader, they are hopeful that the vaccine will have this benefit as well.

Again, it is important to learn more about this vaccine, especially if you or a family member are going to be receiving it in the near future. Inform yourself; after all, you are experiencing scientific history right before your eyes!

Joe Biden: The 46th President of the United States

By: Alexis Cope

This afternoon, Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. 

With his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, at his side, the new president took the oath of office on a Bible that has been in his family since the 19th century. 

Those in attendance included several members of the Senate and Supreme Court Justices, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, the Obamas, the Clintons, the Bushes, and former Vice President Mike Pence. 

Trump, as he announced, did not attend; the last time a sitting president failed to be present at his successor’s inauguration was in 1869, when Andrew Johnson refused to see Ulysses S. Grant take office. 

In his first speech addressing the nation as president, Biden spoke emphatically about unity and about restoring America to “an America that never gives up, never gives in.” He promised, “I will be a President who seeks not to divide, but to unify. Who doesn’t see Red or Blue states, but a United States….if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate.”

Perhaps to drive home this point, VP Harris, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and former Secretary of State Clinton all wore outfits in varying shades of purple, a color which is a mix of both red and blue.

Due to COVID-19 and enhanced security, there was a very small crowd presence at the Capitol. Instead, the inauguration proceedings were streamed across several viewing platforms, with hundreds of thousands watching. A live art installation, the “Field of Flags,” covered the National Mall; the flag of every state and territory was present, representing all those who could not be there in person.

This afternoon, Biden and Harris, accompanied by family and with military escort, exited their respective vehicles and, walking, led the inauguration parade to the White House, where the final proceedings of the day will take place.
To read the full transcript of Biden’s inaugural remarks, visit his website here.

Trump Impeached for the Second Time After Inciting Capitol Riot

By: Alexis Cope

President Donald Trump has been impeached for a second time, creating a first in United States history.

The House of Representatives voted yesterday to charge Trump with “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” for “inciting violence against the Government of the United States”. The House declared his actions–and specifically speech–preceding the attack on the Capitol last week “in violation of his Constitutional oath”. 

Before the vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump “a clear and present danger to the nation” and, even with only a week left in office, “he must go”.

The final count was 232 in favor of impeachment with 197 against. 

While all 222 Democrats voted in favor of the resolution, the Republican representatives were divided. In the end, 10 decided to join the Democrats. Those 10 were as followed: Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Tom Rice of South Carolina, David Valado of California, Peter Meijer of Michigan, Fred Upton of Michigan, John Katko of New York, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Dan Newhouse of Washington, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

With only a week left in office, it is very unlikely the Senate trial for removal from office will be completed in time for Trump to actually leave office early. However, this trial will determine whether or not Trump will be allowed to run for office in the future. Due to the rush of work that comes with the entrance of any new administration, it is possible that completion of this trial could take weeks, possibly months. 

Trump released a video message after the House’s vote condemning violence saying, “violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country…mob violence goes against everything I believe in.” He did not mention his impeachment once during this message. 

To read the Articles of Impeachment voted on yesterday visit: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/01/11/us/articles-impeachment-trump.html

How the World Responded to the Breach of the Capitol

By: Alexis Cope

After rioters charged on the US Capitol this previous Wednesday, all the living former presidents responded to the events, condemning the violence and calling it “sickening” and “unprecedented,” and they urged Trump to accept the results of the election as they asked for a peaceful transition of power. International leaders quickly followed suit as the news and images travelled across the world. 

Almost all those abroad who have spoken up about the event have condemned the actions of Trump’s supporters. Both allies and enemies of the United States raised their voices or took actions to show their disapproval at the contention and vehemence observed on that day. From tweets to recorded messages to press conferences, messages from the leaders of nations across the world quickly flooded in. 

Distress and disgust at the events of Wednesday was expressed by several heads of state. 

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, said “lawlessness and violence are the opposite of the values we know Americans and Israelis cherish.” He called the riots “the rampage at the Capitol” and “vigorously” condemned the events. 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denounced the events, blaming Trump: “When a sick person takes office, we see how he disgraces his country and creates troubles for the world.”

“The riots and protests that we’ve seen…have been terribly distressing,” remarked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He also released an updated travel advisory for Australian citizens wishing to visit the US. 

Brazilian Chief Supreme Court Justice Luis Roberto Bassero called those involved in the attack “supporters of facism”.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel singled out Trump, stating that “words of provocation are completely wrong” and that “every aspect” of scenes in D.C. should be “condemned”. 

“These pictures made me angry and sad,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “But for me, it is a sign of hope that the Congress continued their work that night.” 

Many stressed the important symbolic significance of American democracy, urging Trump and his followers to accept the results of the election and cease with the violence. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom Trump has had a close relationship with in the past, tweeted that the attacks were “terribly distressing” and that it is “vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.” Patel reinforced this, saying that “America is a beacon of democracy and freedom and, quite frankly…they [need to] move on and get on with an orderly transition.” The PM also said that “all my life America has stood for…an idea of freedom and an idea of democracy.”

Merkel spoke for “the millions of people who admire America’s democratic tradition” as she stood behind the results of the 2020 election, saying that the country “must [begin] a new chapter in its democracy in less than two weeks.” 

Tweeting after receiving the news, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote: “Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and will be.”

“We hope that the democracy of America will overcome this turmoil and regain peace and cooperation of society,” commented Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato. “We hope that the transition of power will proceed peacefully and democratically.”

Netanyahu declared, “American democracy has always inspired me….I have no doubt that American democracy will prevail. It always has.”

French President Emmanuel Macron passionately spoke in his recorded message saying, “France stands strongly…and resolutely with the American people…who want to choose their leaders…through the democratic and free choice that are elections. We will not yield one iota to the violence of the few who would challenge that.”

Other countries also responded, though less explicitly. 

Joanne Ou, spokesperson for the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke in a press conference about the riots, saying: “We have learned about the conflict…Taiwan’s Foriegn Ministry expresses regret….We will continue to pay close attention to relevant developments.”

While Russian President Vladamir Putin made no statement about the disturbance, chairman of the Russian upper house foreign affairs committee Konstantin Kosachev boldly spoke out saying, “I say this without a hint of gloating,” Kosachev wrote on Facebook Thursday. “America no longer defines the course, and therefore has lost all right to set it. And even more so to impose it on others.”

Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke in her own press conference on Thursday, comparing the protests on the Capitol to those in Hong Kong. Questioning why the protesters in Hong Kong were called “a beautiful sight” while Trump’s supporters were labeled as “thugs, extremists, villains, and disgraces.” “I think,” she concluded, “we should think deeply about the reason behind the sharp contrast of such different attitudes.”

As calls for Trump’s removal grow louder, more White House staff resign, more prominent Republican figures leave Trump behind, and Inauguration Day grows closer, it is clear that now, more than ever, the eyes of the world are fixed on the United States.