12 Angry Men + Some

Hi, friends! Browneyedjude here, after a mini sabbatical, I’m back from my adventures to distant lands oceans away. I’ve missed you!

I am obsessed with true crime stories. 48 hours, Forensic Files, Cold Case, pretty much the entire Investigation Discovery network lineup. It’s a really good thing I don’t have cable because I would probably never get anything done. One of my best friends, Edna, is also obsessed with true crime stories, and sometimes we ask each other about specific episodes or crimes.

When Serial came out, I was all about it and would have debates with anyone who would listen about Adnan’s verdict and whether or not he did it. For the record, I don’t think he did it, and you can’t convince me otherwise. I mean he was seen in the library around the time of the murder. And what about those cell phone records? Sketch! But one thing that we should all agree on is Sarah Koenig’s awful hosting job of the podcast. The waffling back and forth. No true crime story addict would be so doubtful and unsure of who the murderer is. That’s the thing about me, I don’t have any legal or criminal justice background, but I can give my best opinion of a case because I have played Clue about 100 times.

giphy-downsized

Since I’m too lazy to go through law school or study for the bar, I have always dreamed of serving on a jury of a high-profile case. I’ve only been called once but it was an outdated address and I had already moved out of state. To think – I could have totally been 12 Angry Men!

Speaking of jurors and a baker’s dozen of angry men, I recently came across this interesting story about a woman named Gwendolyn Hoyt in the book My Own Words which is a collection of speeches, writings, and stories of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Let’s set the scene, shall we? It’s 1957 in northern Florida. Gwendolyn Hoyt is married to a man named Clarence Hoyt. One summer evening Gwendolyn confronts Clarence about his skirt chasin’ ways. I don’t know exactly what he said, but it’s pretty clear he offered a half-assed apology. Gwendolyn is madder than a wampus cat in a rainstorm because her husband just admitted his lyin’, cheatin’ ways and he also wasn’t groveling for forgiveness either. Gwendolyn grabbed a baseball bat to poor Clarence’s noggin’ and well in plain southern speak – Clarence was deader than a doornail.

Earl

When Gwendolyn’s case went to trial, as you might suspect in the late 50’s in the south, the defense, prosecutor, and judge were male. Shocker. Right? What is interesting about this case, however, is that according to Florida state law at that time, women were not required to be part of the jury pool. In fact, it was entirely up to women in the state of Florida, if they wanted to register to be on a jury pool at all, so a very small fraction of women were even able to be selected for the trial. As a result, Gwendolyn was tried by an all-male jury. It took them exactly 25 minutes to hand down their guilty verdict. Other key facts brought to this trial were the fact that Gwendolyn had been physically and emotionally abused by Clarence (to which the prosecution summarized as an “unsuccessful marriage” during the trial), that Gwendolyn had hired a baby-sitter previously (was she an unfit mother some juror members thought because she outsourced help?), and the inclusion of damaging testimony from a baby-sitter that claimed Gwendolyn was sleeping with another man. Gwendolyn was handed a 30-year sentence with hard labor by her “peers” and by her peers I mean 6 bros men.

giphy-downsized (1)

Gwendolyn argued that had she had a jury that included even some females, she would not have been convicted guilty. She pled temporary insanity. With the help of the ACLU and a motley crew of inexperienced lawyers – her new defense team took the case all the way up to the Supreme Court. The case was argued in 1961. Because women were primarily responsible for household duties and were given the option should they ever choose to register for a jury pool – the Supreme Court upheld the Florida decision and women were not required to have jury duty. At that time, the sentiment was not that women were being prevented from serving on a jury, but that women had the best of both worlds because they could work in the home or be a public servant. But of course, it was not possible or expected to be both.wife-13-600x824

In 1975, Taylor v Louisiana (which is another story for another time) overturned Hoyt v Florida and it was decided that women could not be excluded from a jury pool on the basis of having to register for a jury pool. Huzzah! Finally, juries would be filled with women and representative of the population. No more 12,000,000 Angry Men juries!

You might be wondering what happened to Gwendolyn. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to find any mention of her outside of her trial and the Supreme Court Case. I was only barely able to find a footnote of her life in a 1993 Washington Post article which stated Gwendolyn was eventually released and she returned to live a quiet life in her hometown.

So, ladies, the next time you get called for jury duty think of where it all began.

P.S. Despite what it may seem, I actually recommend watching 12 Angry Men if you haven’t seen it yet.

Advertisements

Ice, Ice Baby…too cold, too cold

If you’ve been wondering why you’ve only seen posts from QueenJules, it’s because BrowneyedJude has been on an adventure on another continent. She returns today, bleary-eyed and inspired. Before she takes a well-deserved nap and returns to our blog, let’s throw out all the blueberry kombucha (so gross) and learn a little more about some of my favorite lady adventurers. I have a soft spot for lady travelers. I posted about one of the most famous ones in an earlier post, Nelly Bly, and I follow a few current bloggers that focus on solo women traveling. My interest stems from my own wanderlust (which BrowneyedJude also shares). I can’t wait to see all of the big 7s: continents, seas, and wonders.*

Bancroft_Photo04-743x504

My interest in Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft comes from my deep desire to visit Antarctica. I know they would totally understand this desire since they were the first women to ski and sail across the entirety of Antarctica’s land mass in 2001. In case you aren’t up on your geography, that’s 1,717 miles. They completed it in 94 days. As many can tell you, I complain about a flight of stairs. 1700 miles is almost unfathomable to me especially when you consider that Antarctica isn’t an easy place to take a stroll. Individually, these ladies are pretty amazing already but together, they are just beyond words.

1200px-Liv_Arnesen_Portrait.jpgBorn in Norway, Liv Arnesen had been breaking records before she strolled across Antarctica with Ann Bancroft. In 1992, she was part of the first women’s only team to make an unsupported crossing of Greenland’s icecap. In 1994, she walked solo to the South Pole (half of her trek with Bancroft. For giggles, she hangs out in the Arctic Circle. On her website, Ms. Arnesen says she is a keen outdoor enthusiast but she isn’t fanatical. If she isn’t fanatical, who is?

246a0d015901306313dfb6c8b3fbeaa3_f244Ann Bancroft (I don’t have to tell you that this isn’t the actress, right?) also was super impressive before she started hanging out with Liv Arnesen. In 1986, as part of a 6 person team, she was the first woman to reach the North Pole with a dogsled, without being resupplied. She also crossed Greenland’s icecap and both polar icecaps to reach the North and South Pole. These days, Ms. Bancroft also advocates for same sex marriage in her home state of Minnesota.

After crossing the Antarctica, they started an exploration company together and can often be found leading expeditions to highlight the devastating effects of climate change on the polar icecaps. They work with schools around the world, teaching kids about the Poles, the environment, outdoor activities, and climate change.

ny_A58

It’s not hard to admire these ladies. They push themselves physically regularly and care deeply about the world they traverse. They get to put “Explorer” on any forms that require you to fill out your occupation. When I do that, people think I’m ridiculous. Someday it would be awesome to hang out with Liv and Ann although I imagine it will be somewhere pretty chilly. I better wear nine sweaters.

pv8c5

*Occasionally I run across someone that maintains that there are 5 continents. Weirdos.

**Grammar note: I have no idea whether “ice cap” or “icecap” is correct. Google is not helping resolve this issue.

Sending you a texty text

I love text messages. I love apps that have texts like WhatsApp, SnapChat, etc. I once had 2000 texts in one month between me and one another person. Do the math on that. Other math that is cool? Text messages are opened by people 99-100% of the time. In 2014, 561 billion texts were sent EVERY month. 4.2 billion+ people text every day. 97% of Americans text weekly (my mother is in the 3%). 50% of adults from 18-24 say texts are just as meaningful as a call. (If you need the sources, let me know) Texts are obviously pretty powerful and in my opinion, vastly underutilized as a tool for change. My public service crush, Nancy Lublin, totally agrees with me. She hasn’t told me that directly but based on her career, I think she is down.

I am not inspired by helping you find Chinese food at 2am in Dallas, or swipe right to get laid. I want to use tech and data to make the world a better place.”* Nancy Lublin

Ms. Lublin has dedicated her professional life to supporting people, starting with an organization called Dress for Success. She started D4S in the mid-90s with a 5k inheritance and a few nuns as partners and it continues to this day by providing professional attire and development skills around the world. The entire organization is founded on the dream that every woman can achieve her full potential and full financial independence. As anyone can tell you, when you look good, you feel good. You feel good – it’s amazing what you can accomplish.
tumblr_morqmcKh6p1qakh43o1_250tumblr_morqmcKh6p1qakh43o2_250

Once D4S was standing on its own, Ms. Lublin moved on to DoSomething.org. Started in the early 90s by one of my favorite Melrose Place actors (hello, Andrew Shue), DoSomething focuses on empowering young people to make positive change in their communities. Some of my favorite programs include Diversify my Emoji (to get Apple to create non-white emojis), Nude Awakening (to convince Merriam-Webster and other dictionaries to create a more inclusive definition of “nude”) and Teens for Jeans (a nationwide jeans drive to provide jeans to homeless youth). I enjoy the play on words for most of the programs and their commitment to try and reach young’uns where they are at.

302b5ddbb830b2be25cbb628216acdf89e72a195_2880x1620.jpg

During one of their programs, DoSomething used a text blast. One of the responses shook Ms. Lublin so badly, she started Crisis Text Line in her spare time. I can’t do justice to the story so you can check out her TedTalk. Designed to be an anonymous, free, text line to provide support when anyone is in a crisis. It’s not designed to be a long term solution but helps people talk through their problems, reach out for help, and brainstorm ideas for support.  It’s a great solution, using a method that has such an incredibly high response rate. It allows people to reach out by texting 741741 or through Facebook, no matter what their situation. I don’t have any jokes about this. This organization is awesome. I even volunteer for it as a crisis counselor. Ms. Lublin left DoSomething to focus on CTL because the organization grew so quickly. It really addressed a need that no one else had noticed.

That’s the common theme for Nancy Lublin. She sees a need that seems to have gone unnoticed and designs something to address it. As for her being my public service crush, she regularly gets on the platform and she once messaged me individually to thank me for helping out. I legit squealed IRL. I once met a friend of a friend of hers and was not articulate once he started talking about her. I almost fear what happens if I ever meet her in person. It won’t be pretty. Probably similar to how I would react when/if I ever meet any of the badass ladies we feature on this blog.

*Pretty sure this should be a t-shirt

 

 

 

 

 

Gimme More

If you don’t watch the news, I’m not sure why you read this blog. If you haven’t been paying close attention, you might have missed some of the fierceness that a couple of our previously featured ladies have unleashed on the world in the past week or so.

Representative Maxine Waters

Sometimes the only positive thing about the past few months is the increase of coverage of Marvelous Maxine. Last week, Bill O’Reilly decided to comment on Rep. Waters’ hair rather than the truth-to-power statements she has been making on the House floor. Just like every bully, O’Reilly tried to take away from the power of what she was saying by focusing on her appearance. This kind of ridiculousness even has a specific name – misogynoir – a form of misogny specifically focused on African American women. But in grand Maxine Waters fashion, she was not letting his obnoxious comments get to her.

I am a strong black woman. I cannot be intimidated, and I am not going anywhere. #BlackWomenAtWork – Representative Maxine Waters

56115768.jpg

Sally Yates

You’d think people should know better than trying to silence Sally Yates. I mean, even from our short profile on her, it’s abundantly clear that she does not take BS from anyone. The recent attempt to keep her from testifying about the possible links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials are almost laughable. SHE’S SMARTER THAN YOU, YA’LL!

Trying to say that anything she might know would be covered by privilege is ridiculous. Even I know that wasn’t going to work because I watched West Wing and I will never forget Oliver Platt telling Allison Janney that he wasn’t her lawyer and nothing she said was covered by client-attorney privilege. Granted, WW is fictional and Oliver Platt was technically White House Counsel but still. Unsurprisingly, Ms. Yates and her band of lawyers clapped back with actual law and informed them how dumb they were (actual lawyer speak). In response, they cancelled the hearing. They were so afraid of Sally Yates that they cancelled the meeting.

Come-at-me_o_128262