Sat Mar 25 14:20:40 EDT 2017
Lynette Williamson, a high school English teacher from Monte Rio, California, died March 18 after a year-and-a-half-long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). She was 55.
The beloved instructor left behind a 30-plus-year career in English tutelage at Analy High School in Sebastapol, where she also led the debate team, reports The Press Democrat.
And before her death, Williamson used her only remaining functioning finger — the thumb on her non-dominant hand, typing three words per minute — to craft a beautiful essay for Salon.com about her how she felt inspired by some of her favorite written works during her experience with the nerve disease.
“I strove to focus on the moments of the day when I was warmed by a kind word or an image of natural beauty. When I did pause to appreciate these instances, I’d hear the words ‘This one is warmed . . .’ ” she wrote, explaining that the line was from the Nobel Prize acceptance speech delivered by Toni Morrison in 1993.
“With my mobility limited and my voice diminished, I would often lie in bed and find myself bothered by ridiculous things: a shriveled leaf on a house plant or a crooked lampshade. When someone entered the room to visit, I would seek a way to ask them to correct the irritant. But if they plucked the wrong leaf or didn’t understand me at all, I would usually realize the foolishness of wasting energy on getting my way and somewhere from the recesses of my memory be reminded, ‘Do not seek to be master of all . . . ‘ ”
“I do hear one of Hamlet’s less-famous lines spoken after most of the chaos in the play subsidies: ‘Let be,’ ” she shared. “Resonating in those two words is Hamlet’s acceptance: ‘There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow.’ I pray that I may soon die accepting this lesson that’s taken a lifetime to learn.”
During the end of her life, The Press Democrat notes that Williamson carried a card that identified herself as having ALS, with a message on the back reading, “I’m smarter than I sound. If you can’t understand me, give me pen and paper.”
Aside from her husband, two children, sister and mother, The Press Democrat reports that Williamson requested having both Morrison and Don DeLillo, her two favorite authors, listed as survivors in her obituary.
“She was close to almost everyone who met her. Some of us were lucky enough to know her beyond the classroom,” Williamson’s fellow English teacher Patty Ernsberger Pifer told The Press Democrat.
“Even in the most crowded, sweaty room with hundreds of annoying teenagers and parents, she’d be standing there and would look like she was in a bubble of comfort, totally Zen,” 21-year-old Marie “Mimi” Pinna, a 2014 graduate of Analy High, told The Press Democrat.
Added 2010 graduate Nate Rosen to the outlet, “The way she handled kids like myself, she used a beautiful blend of sarcasm and humor to connect with us.”
A YouCaring fundraiser has been set up in Williamson’s name to help with the family’s expenses.
Sat Mar 25 13:33:58 EDT 2017
This week, Washington, D.C., made headlines as the city’s Metropolitan Police Department recently began tweeting out missing-person reports — with an alarming number of them for young black women and Latinas.
Though officials have insisted that the numbers reflect only the fact that the department recently started using social media to help close cases, many have voiced concern that the numbers reflect a much larger problem in how commonly people of color go missing, both in the nation’s capital and around the country, as well as over serious gaps in media coverage of these cases as opposed to those about white people.
As a result, many individuals have taken to social media to express their disdain about what they consider a continued oversight of related awareness — including celebrities like Taraji P. Henson, Kris Jenner and Viola Davis.
“We must make some noise !! Why are we just hearing about this . Why is this not the number one topic in America right now?” Beyoncé‘s mother Tina Lawson captioned a Friday photo, which highlights the case of Katherine Hunter as an example (she has been found).
“There are conflicting stories but all of these girls are not runaways!!! Dont fall for that !” continued Lawson, 63. “It is a well known fact that a missing person of color Black , Latin or other. does not get the media coverage to a missing white person.”
Added Jenner, 61, in her re-post of Lawson’s, “Call to Action for the media to report on these missing women of color!!!! Let’s help find these girls!!! ”
“These are missing CHILDREN. See these faces, see them as your own. You would want the world to care enough to bring these CHILDREN back to their families,” Being Mary Jane star Gabrielle Union, 44, captioned an Instagram video pointing out that over the past month, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department has reported more than two dozen missing Black young women from the ages of 11 to 17.
“Please help! Please post this. Demand equal coverage of ALL missing children from the media,” she added. “Each of our children is loved and cherished and EACH child deserves all of our collective effort to bring them home.”
The Flash‘s Candice Patton, 28, also wrote on Twitter, “If you participated in/advocated for the woman’s march, I encourage you to participate in this. These issues are aligned.”
“It is deeply disturbing that the disappearance of dozens of young girls is ‘business as usual’ in our nation’s capital, my childhood home,” Olivia Wilde wrote on Instagram Saturday. “The response that these numbers aren’t any higher than normal should only make us more horrified.
“Kids of color have been unrecognized and uncared for by law enforcement, the education system (as a whole, not the heroic teachers working hard every day for far too little pay), and government in general, for far too long,” continued the actress, 33. “It’s a deeply rooted issue, ingrained in our sadly flawed social fabric, but it is within our power to CHANGE IT.”
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Hotline: 1-800-The-Lost
If you believe you are the victim of a trafficking situation or may have information about a potential trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888.
Sat Mar 25 13:26:35 EDT 2017
Shailene Woodley has reportedly copped a plea deal after getting arrested while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline last year.
According to court documents obtained by TMZ and Entertainment Tonight, she will plead guilty to one count of disorderly conduct in return for one year of unsupervised probation. Woodley’s rep did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
The Big Little Lies actress was arrested in October while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline along with over a hundred other activists in North Dakota. Twenty-seven other protests were also arrested that day.
On a recent appearance on The Late Show, Woodley talked about her work protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, North Dakota — and admitted she wished her mug shot turned out better, after it went viral.
“I wish I’d known that this was going to be as public as it was,” she told host Stephen Colbert as he held the picture up for the audience to see. “I would have made, like, a face. I’m just looking at the person, like, ‘Are you kidding me right now?’ ”
Woodley has been one of the most vocal celebrities protesting the construction of the pipeline. During her October arrest, when she was charged with trespassing and engaging in a riot, Woodley livestreamed the incident on Facebook. In the widely circulated video, she is seen handing the phone to her mom, who continued to stream her daughter’s arrest — a move Woodley later realized was probably hard for her mother.
Shailene Woodley Released From Jail After Being Arrested For Criminal Trespassing
“I handed her my phone and I was like, ‘Keep recording,’ ” she recalled, adding that her mom looked completely shocked. “I can’t imagine what it would be like to watch your daughter be handcuffed and taken away.”
And although President Donald Trump has signed an executive order allowing for construction on the pipeline to move forward, the actress still urged people to continue protesting.
“The front lines don’t necessarily have to be in North Dakota,” she said. “The front lines can be wherever you are. You can create a protest in New York City, because protests are about awareness and about people coming together.”
After the show, the actress surprised fans waiting outside in freezing New York temperatures with donuts and other baked goods, passing them out to those standing patiently behind barricades.
Big Little Lies — also starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman — is on HBO now.