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Open Letter to Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) Jill Stein (G) and Gary Johnson (L)

By Higher Heights

Dear 2016 Presidential Candidates:

In an effort to hear what issues Black women are most concerned with this election cycle, Higher Heights asked Black women across the country (at events and online), what is the most important issue facing Black women and their families. 49 percent stated that economic security was the most pressing issue.  

No wonder this was the top response, considering Black women are paid just 60 cents to every dollar paid to a White man.  In addition to economic security, the other top issues included Education Equity (19%), Police Violence (16%) and High Quality Affordable Housing (14%).

According to 2013 U.S. Census data, 71 percent of Black women are in the labor force (69 percent for women overall).  Black women are more likely than women nationally to work in the lowest-paying occupations (like service, health care support, and education) and less likely to work in the higher-paying engineering and tech fields or managerial positions.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the percentage of Black women who are full-time minimum-wage workers is higher than that of any other racial group.  

The late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan once said, “What the people want is very simple – they want an America as good as its promise.”  Higher Heights is asking you, as a candidate for the highest executive job in the country, to pledge to make good on this promise by putting forward a comprehensive economic security strategy and plan at the top of your list of priority issues on which you will focus in the first 100 days of your administration, should you be elected.

Higher Heights is also asking Black women across the country to raise their voices on this issue at the ballot box this November.  We know that when you fire up a Black woman she does not go to the polls alone, she brings her house, her block, her church, her sorority, and her water cooler. For us, this election is about harnessing the power of Black women’s votes to ensure that you, as candidates feel compelled to address and support building economically stable communities and the other issues of the greatest importance to Black women.

It really isn’t that complicated.  Black women are voting this November and economic security is the No. 1 issue they care about. The next President of the United States will take office at a time of great opportunity for our nation. In the final weeks of the election, we encourage you to listen and devise a course of action to address the concerns of this very important constituency.  

Push the Broom, Cut the Water

Water is essential to our everyday lives so it’s important to conserve our water supplies. Cutting water use outside is really important. If each of us changed our water-use habits even a little, we could save billions of gallons of water. Here’s a few ways you can help:

  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks and save up to 150 gallons each time.
  • Check and repair promptly your sprinkler system for leaks, oversprays and broken sprinkler heads to save up to 500 gallons per month.
  • Water your plants in the evening or early in the morning to reduce evaporation and to save up to 25 gallons each time.
  • Install a smart sprinkler controller that adjusts watering based on weather, soil type, amount of shade and plant type to save up to 40 gallons per day.

Be a team player. Follow your local water agency’s suggested watering days to save up to 840 gallons per week.

Metropolitan Water District’s conservation website, bewaterwise.com, offers additional tips on how to reduce indoor and outdoor water use. Love Water. Save Water.

SMC Grad and Veteran Awarded “Smart” Scholarship by U.S. Department Of Defense

Jon Eady

Jon Eady

SANTA MONICA, CA- Santa Monica College (SMC) is pleased to announce that SMC grad and Santa Monica native Jonathan Eady has been awarded a Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The scholarship supports students who are pursuing a degree in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields.

Upon graduation, all SMART scholars are placed in civilian jobs in a DoD lab or facility. The DoD developed its SMART program to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at DoD laboratories. In addition to covering tuition and other educational expenses, SMART recipients receive a generous cash award and health insurance allowance, as well as a monthly stipend. Summer internships are also included.

Eady is an Army National Guard veteran who completed six years of service at the end of July. He was a fire finding radar operator, “which is basically using a radar to track artillery firing around the area,” said Eady. He also served as a liaison with the National Guard’s efforts to help the homeless in the Santa Monica and Los Angelesarea. During his time in the National Guard, Eady said he often struggled to juggle his studies with his military duties, and even had to drop classes at times to meet his military obligations.

Despite the delays in his educational pursuits, Eady earned an Associate degree at SMC in General Science-Mechanical Engineering preparation this June. He transferred to California State University-Northridge (CSUN), where he is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Mechatronics and Robotics, and minoring in Automation and Computer Design. Eady says he chose CSUN because it has a “more robust robotics program than they have at UC,” adding that he is “proud to be CSUN’s first SMART scholarship participant.”

For Eady, who grew up with the struggles and wants of poverty, one of the many benefits of the SMART scholarship is that it includes a paid internship, with a direct path to a career. He called the scholarship “liberating, just knowing that I can take care of my mom now.” Eady recently learned that his mother had been diagnosed with bipolar schizophrenia.

The internship also gives him the opportunity to become familiar with working at a DoD facility. “It’s basically like a trial period to see how things feel,” he said. For his internship site, Eady selected the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme. He will be working with the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program. The LCS is a fairly new type of small, but very agile, high-tech surface vessels designed to operate in coastal waters close to shore.

Eady is a former President’s Ambassador of Santa Monica College and participant in the college’s STEM Science Research Initiative. He is also the founder of the STEM Club at SMC, and was elected by the student body to serve as student trustee on the SMC board for 2015-16.

Eady credits several of his SMC instructors for his success, especially Professor Muriel Walker-Waugh, who “got me into the STEM program and got me started on this path of success that I didn’t know was there.” SMC Academic Computing Instructional Specialist Lee Peterson, who runs the student computer lab in Cayton Center, has been “instrumental in everything,” said Eady. “His mentorship is a huge reason why I was successful.” Eady added that SMC’s trustees were all very supportive and he benefited especially from being “actively mentored” by board member Dr. Susan Aminoff.

Gaining the engineering knowledge to go into robotics is one of Eady’s dreams. “I want to understand how all this technology works, so I can have that little bit of information and the scientific literacy that’s necessary for the future,” he said. “I want to use technology to help people in some way. I’m going to try to be that person who says, ‘Let’s make our priorities our people, education, and making sure we advance ourselves technologically.’” In the end, added Eady, “It’s all public service. That’s where I’ve been my entire life.”

For more information on the SMART scholarship, visit smart.asee.org.