Just a few on a very long list…
Malala Yousafzai~ A young girl, really; a Pakistani activist for women’s rights. She lives, or lived, in an area controlled by the Taliban, yet she believes girls and women should be educated. She was shot in the head for speaking out about her beliefs. She survived. She lives with constant death threats. The bravest of the brave.
Madeleine Albright~ The first female Secretary of State. Born in Czechoslovakia, her parents converted from Judaism to Catholicism in order to save their children and themselves from the Nazis. The family relocated to England and then to America. Dr. Albright, PhD in hand, began her political career fundraising for her daughter’s school. She went on to serve as our ambassador to the United Nations and then as Secretary of State.
Condoleeza Rice~ The second female Secretary of State and the first African American to hold that office. Among her many roles, she’s served as both a professor and a provost at Standford University. I am a big fan.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali~ A Somali born Dutch-American citizen, a feminist/atheist activist who fights a never-ending battle against female genital mutilation. She too lives with constant death threats. Another brave woman.
Maya Angelou~ An author, poet, civil rights activist and all around wonderful human being. I was privileged to host her back in the day for the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop. I loved her dearly. I spent three days with her and I felt as if she’d adopted me. Her arms could hold the entire world.
Dianne Feinstein~ A politician with integrity. After the assassination of Harvey Milk she became the first female mayor of San Francisco. She is now a senator. She’s been reelected to the Senate four times. The only Democrat for whom I will continue to vote. She puts the American people first.
Golda Meir~ The grandmother of the Jewish people, the first woman and only woman to become the Prime Minister of Israel. She was a brave and compassionate soul. Her words are worth repeating:
A leader who doesn’t hesitate before he sends his nation into battle is not fit to be a leader.
One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don’t be.We do not rejoice in victories. We rejoice when a new kind of cotton is grown and when strawberries bloom in Israel.Don’t be so humble – you are not that great.Pessimism is a luxury that a Jew can never allow himself.
We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon – no alternative.We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.