News from the Week of October 21st

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Raye Montague, a pioneering African American engineer, passed away this month at the age of 83. Raye began her career as a clerk-typist in the Navy and worked her way up to becoming a digital computer systems operator in a male-dominated field. In 1972, she received the Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award for designing the first Navy ship with a computer program in less than 19 hours.

“She was busy opening doors for people and inspiring them,” her son said. “Her message was always the same: ‘Don’t let people put obstacles in front of you, but understand you also have to put in the work.’ She didn’t have any patience for people who weren’t willing to go the extra mile.”


At the age of 13, Germain Dosseh fled 150 miles from his home in Ghana to escape violence from the government. After 14 years of living in a refugee camp, he was granted resettlement in the United States. In 2010, Germain met with a military recruiter and decided to enlist in the U.S. Army. Years later, his deployment to Afghanistan qualified Germain for a position within the Phoenix Police Department. When asked why he became a cop, Germain says he wanted to be in law enforcement “to say thank you for letting me be here.”


Ali Nayyef is the son of a late Gulf War interpreter killed for his service to the U.S. military. Born in Iraq, , Ali and his sister Ola resettled in the United States as refugees following their father's death. Today, Ali is a Pat Tillman Foundation Scholar, Christopher Newport University grad, Virginia Army National Guard member, and newly-minted U.S. citizen. Congrats, Ali! 


Harry Leslie Smith describes himself as “the world’s oldest rebel,” but at the age of 95 he might also be the world’s oldest advocate for refugees. As a young British soldier at the end of World War II, Harry experienced the refugee crisis first-hand. The memories of the refugees’ suffering stayed with him, and now Harry travels to refugee hotspots around the world to share the inspiring stories of those he met.


This week’s acts of attempted violence are abhorrent and cowardly. We weaken our democracy when we confuse patriotism with partisan rivalries. In a democracy, we debate, we serve our communities, and we vote. We don’t get violent. It’s not who we are. This type of violence seeks to intimidate, polarize, and drive us into further cycles of violence. And we won’t do that. No matter their party, patriots denounce hostile rhetoric in our political discourse and stand together against threats of violence.