Clutch 5

It’s been a tumultuous week for women of color in the media, but we’ve survived the third week of May Clutchettes! It may have been a rough working week for some of us, but these accomplishments from phenomenal Black women (and colleges dedicated to the empowerment of women of color) should chase away the possible weekend blues.

Janet Mock and Wanda Sykes Make the “Out List”

Trans*-activist Janet Mock and comedian Wanda Sykes are superwomen. Both have used their platforms to promote the importance of recognizing intersectional identities and are now being rewarded for it. Mock and Sykes will be featured in Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ HBO documentary, “The Out List.” Similar to his “The Black List” documentary, this new effort will explore Mock and Sykes’ life stories and how their decision to live their truths publicly has impacted their lives. “The Out List” premieres June 27. [Racialicious]

Janet Jackson Earns “Billionaire” Status

Janet Jackson has finally achieved something her older brother Michael never did. She’s officially an exclusive member of the billionaire club. The 47-year-old pop diva has made over $1 billion in her career, including more than $458 million from touring and $304 million from various movie roles. Jackson is the second African-American woman billionaire in the United States. [The Daily Mail]

Baltimore Fire Department Names First Black Woman Battalion Chief

Charline B. Stokes is settling into her new position as the first African-American female battalion chief in the Baltimore Fire Department. She was promoted on May 8 and assumed the position this week. Stokes was a high-school dropout and teenage mother, but she overcame those odds to achieve this magnificent feat.

“I am so thankful for this opportunity,” Stokes told Baltimore’s Afro News. “I am so thankful to God and my kids. I’ve always had a passion for compassion and taking care of people.

Stokes will serve as battalion chief for community outreach. [Afro News]

Maryville College Grants Tenure to First Black Woman

Dr. Frances Henderson had no idea when she moved to Maryville, Tenn. to teach political science at Maryville College that she would make history at the school. This week, Dr. Henderson was granted tenure, making her the first African-American woman to earn this distinction. She is taking the promotion in stride, hoping it will destroy other barriers.

“I think nationwide within academia, there is something to be said about the systematic absence, I think, of faculty of color,” she said to Knoxville’s WATE 6. “I think it speaks volumes to the work that we still have to do.” [WATE 6]

First Black Woman Promoted to EMS District Chief in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, Penn. has made a positive stride toward achieving parity in its Emergency Medical Service. Amera Gilchrist was promoted to EMS District Chief this week, making her the first black woman to ever hold the position. Gilchrist has been an EMT for 14 years and continues to serve in an attempt to help people.

“This is a job you have to want to do, to help people, and to be in situations that a normal person wouldn’t even imagine,” she told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “It’s physically and emotionally taxing. Patients aren’t getting any lighter. You find yourself with an obese patient in distress, up three flights, in July with no AC.” [New Pittsburgh Courier]

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