Fearless Portraits

This is the Fearless Portraits Podcast, a collection of women who are leaders, innovators, and trailblazers. Some of them are well-known, some of them are obscure. All of them worked to make a difference in the world. In each episode, we’ll learn the stories of amazing changemakers in the time it takes to drink your morning coffee. The Fearless Portraits Podcast is hosted by Dan Landau, a New Jersey-based visual artist who repurposes maps and other items with ink drawings and intricate papercutting to create portraits of people and things.

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Episodes

Tuesday Feb 22, 2022

“There was no choice but to be a pioneer.” Margaret Hamilton Mother of software engineering   Artwork: Hamilton’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project is based on an iconic photograph of her standing next to a stack of binders about as tall as she is. These binders contained the computer code she and her team wrote for the Apollo Mission. I’ve drawn her with black ink on a 1966 US Air Force map of the moon.   The Story: On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were three minutes away from making their historic landing on the moon when the lunar lander’s onboard computer began spitting out emergency alarms.  Faced with the critical choice of aborting the mission or not, flight controllers in Houston chose to trust the computer’s software that Margaret Hamilton, director of Apollo flight computer programming and her team at MIT’s Draper Laboratory developed.  “It quickly became clear the software was not only informing everyone that there was a hardware-related problem but was compensating for it,” said Hamilton.  It turned out that the astronaut’s checklist was at fault, telling them to set the rendezvous radar switch in the wrong position. The radar began bombarding the onboard computer with irrelevant information and overloading the computer. In a situation like this, Hamilton’s code dictated the computer should reboot. The restarting process allowed the computer to reprioritize tasks—ignoring the incoming radar information and focusing on the critical landing calculations.  “If the computer hadn't recognized this problem and taken recovery action, I doubt if Apollo 11 would have been the successful Moon landing it was,” Hamilton would later write.  In an era before screens, Hamilton and her team manually typed 11,000 pages of code writing the Apollo Project software. Stacked up, the software was the same height as Hamilton. The monumental achievement of putting a man on the moon was all the more impressive as the astronauts had access to a mere 72 kilobytes of memory. A standard smartphone today has more than million times more storage space.  Six and half hours after the fraught landing, Armstrong made his historic first step on the moon, saying, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”   Background on Hamilton: Hamilton was born on August 17, 1936 in Paoli, Indiana. After graduating in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, she took a job at MIT. It was supposed to be a temporary step, supporting her husband while he was in law school. It was here that she first learned what a computer was and how to write software. Her early experiences at MIT paved the way for her passion for building ultra-reliable software.  Initially planning to leave her job and pursue a master’s in abstract mathematics, she caught the programming bug and continued working at MIT when the university was asked to work on the Apollo space program.  “I was the first programmer to join and the first woman they hired,” she said. “Male engineers were already working on the project, but they were hardware engineers and it wasn’t their thing.” Within a few years, she was leading a whole team of programmers at MIT in what would later be known as Draper Laboratory.  Her work as a computer scientist and a mother often collided and Hamilton would bring her daughter, Lauren, to the lab at night and on weekends. One day, Hamilton was running a simulation of a moon mission and Lauren began punching buttons like her mom. Lauren began running a pre-launch program while the system was already “on the way” to the moon and the system crashed and erased the navigational data taking her to the moon.  “This could inadvertently happen in a real mission,” thought Hamilton and she pushed for software changes to address the issue. The higher-ups at NASA said the astronauts were too well trained to make such a mistake. On the very next mission—Apollo 8—astronaut Jim Lovell made the exact same error. NASA let Hamilton make the software fix after that.   Still in their infancy when Hamilton began her career, computer science and software engineering were not yet disciplines. Programmers often came from math backgrounds and learned on the job. As Hamilton put it, “there was no choice but to be pioneers.”  Ever the innovator, Hamilton coined the term “software engineering” while working on the Apollo project.  “I fought to bring the software legitimacy so that it—and those building it—would be given due respect. I began to use the term ‘software engineering’ to distinguish it from hardware and other kinds of engineering, yet treat each type of engineering as part of the overall systems engineering process. Software eventually and necessarily gained the same respect as any other discipline,” she explained.  Building on her Apollo work, Hamilton founded two companies—Higher Order Software (HOS) in 1976 and Hamilton Technologies in 1986.  Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, saying, “Her example speaks of the American spirit of discovery that exists in every little girl and little boy who know that somehow, to look beyond the heavens is to look deep within ourselves—and to figure out just what is possible.”   Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno, Toma Mutiu, and Alex Chernykh.   Sources: American Experience. (2019, June 3). The Women Who Brought Us the Moon. American Experience | PBS. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/chasing-moon-women-who-brought-us-moon/ Cameron, L. (2020, August 11). First Software Engineer. IEEE Computer Society. https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/events/what-to-know-about-the-scientist-who-invented-the-term-software-engineering/ Corbyn, Z. (2019, July 16). Margaret Hamilton: ‘They worried that the men might rebel. They didn’t.’ The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jul/13/margaret-hamilton-computer-scientist-interview-software-apollo-missions-1969-moon-landing-nasa-women George, A. (2019, March 14). Margaret Hamilton Led the NASA Software Team That Landed Astronauts on the Moon. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/margaret-hamilton-led-nasa-software-team-landed-astronauts-moon-180971575/ Hamilton, M. H. (n.d.). Margaret H. Hamilton Quotes. Citatis.Com. https://citatis.com/a7438/ Matthews, D. (2019, July 17). Margaret Hamilton: the Apollo software engineer who saved the moon landing. Vox. https://www.vox.com/2015/5/30/8689481/margaret-hamilton-apollo-software McMillan, R. (2015, October 13). Her Code Got Humans on the Moon—And Invented Software Itself. Wired. https://www.wired.com/2015/10/margaret-hamilton-nasa-apollo/ NASA. (2003, September 3). Margaret Hamilton. https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/a11Hamilton.html Obama, B. (2016, November 23). Remarks by the President at Presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Whitehouse.Gov. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/11/22/remarks-president-presentation-presidential-medal-freedom Senkal, M. (2020, May 20). History of Computer Girls, Part 2: Margaret! Metal Toad. https://www.metaltoad.com/blog/history-computer-girls-part-2-margaret Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 23). Margaret Hamilton (software engineer). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Hamilton_(software_engineer)  

Tuesday Feb 15, 2022

“Lozen is as my right hand, strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people.”    Victorio, Apache chief and brother of Lozen, warrior and medicine woman   The Artwork: Lozen’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her based on one of the rare existing photographs of her. I’ve drawn her on an 1887 map of Arizona. The San Carlos reservation appears on the map as a red blotch on her shoulder near her heart.   The Story: In 1877, Lozen and a band of Chiricahua Apaches led by her older brother, Victorio, escaped from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Fleeing terrible living conditions so bad that US soldiers referred to the place as “Hell’s Forty Acres,” Victorio’s band rampaged against Americans who had commandeered their New Mexico homeland and cheated them out of land promised them.  The Apaches were pursued relentlessly by US and Mexican forces for the next three years. At one point, when fleeing the US Army, Lozen was leading the women and children and they came to the surging Rio Grande. Terrified of drowning in the raging river, the people began to bunch up on the riverbank, until Lozen leapt into the river. James Kaywaykla, a child at the time, riding behind his grandmother, described the scene later, saying, “I saw a magnificent woman on a beautiful horse—Lozen, sister of Victorio. Lozen the woman warrior! High above her head she held her rifle. There was a glitter as her right foot lifted and struck the shoulder of her horse. He reared, then plunged into the torrent. She turned his head upstream, and he began swimming.”  The other women and children followed her into the river like Moses into the Red Sea. They all made it across the river, cold and wet, but alive. According to Kaywaykla, Lozen came to his mother and said, “You take charge now. I must return to the warriors.” And with that, Lozen drove her horse back into the thundering river and returned to the men holding off the advancing cavalry from reaching their women and children.  At another point near the end of their campaign, Lozen left the band to escort a new mother to a reservation in New Mexico, away from the perils and hardships of the trail. (Some accounts say the woman was pregnant and others that she had a newborn baby.) Lozen and her charge left on the dangerous journey across Mexico’s harsh Chihuahua Desert with only a rifle, cartridge belt, knife and a little bit of food.  In a few days, they needed more food. Afraid to use her rifle and betray their presence to the US and Mexican cavalry forces in the area, Lozen killed a stray longhorn cow with her knife and butchered it. (All the more impressive given that the horns of a longhorn can spread up to six to eight feet, tip-to-tip). She stole horses for herself and the new mother, escaping through a hail of gunfire and finally delivered the woman and her baby to the reservation.   Background on Lozen Lozen was born circa 1840 in what is now New Mexico. As a child, she was different. She had special gifts and talents, including supernatural powers that let her know when enemies were near. She also had a great connection with horses and was recognized as a master horsewoman with the nickname Lozen, which means “expert horse thief.” Her real name is unknown today.  Born into a time of strife, her gifts were valuable in protecting her people from the incursions of the US Army, Mexican Army, and settler militias on both sides of the Rio Grande.  Lozen eschewed marriage and the typical domestic duties of the other women in her tribe in favor of the arts of war. She became a medicine woman and warrior—an uncommon, but not completely unheard of role for a woman among her people. She often fought alongside Victorio and despite being 15 years his junior, was a trusted advisor on matters of war and religion.  Kaywaykla described Lozen’s talents thusly: “She could ride, shoot, and fight like a man, and I think she had more ability in planning military strategy than did Victorio.”  After Victorio’s death, Lozen fought beside the famed chief Geronimo in the last campaign of the Apache Wars. Lozen died of tuberculosis on June 17, 1889, in US military custody in Alabama following Geronimo’s surrender.    Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Daniel Carlton.   Sources:  Ball, E., & Kaywaykla, J. (1970). In the Days of Victorio. Amsterdam University Press. Bovee, K. (2019a, October 26). Empowered Women of the Southwest - Lozen, Apache Warrior Woman (Part 2). Kari Bovée | Historical Mystery Author. https://karibovee.com/lozenpartii/  Bovee, K. (2019b, October 26). Empowered Women of the Southwest - Lozen, Apache Warrior Woman (Part One). Kari Bovée | Historical Mystery Author. https://karibovee.com/empowered-women-southwest-lozen-apache-warrior-woman-2/  Docevski, B. (2018, February 3). The “Apache Joan of Arc” and the other courageous Native American women of the 19th century. The Vintage News. https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/11/30/native-american-women/amp/  Gregorczyk, A. (n.d.). Longhorns: Characteristics. Longhorns. http://longhornfacts.weebly.com/characteristics.html#:%7E:text=Horns%20can%20extend%20to%20%26%20feet,of%2055%20to%2065%20inches  Kettler, S. (2020, October 30). 5 Powerful and Influential Native American Women. Biography. https://www.biography.com/.amp/news/famous-native-american-women-native-american-heritage-month  Kumeyaay.com. (n.d.). Lozen: The Fearless Apache Warrior Woman You’ve Probably Never Heard Of. https://www.kumeyaay.com/news/133-lozen-the-fearless-apache-warrior-woman-you-ve-probably-never-heard-of.html  Lozen. (2021, February 2). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lozen Mingren, W. (2019, June 5). Lozen: An Intelligent and Brave Apache Warrior Woman. Ancient Origins. https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/lozen-intelligent-and-brave-apache-warrior-women-005889  New Mexico Nomad. (2019, December 29). Apache Warrior Women | Gouyen, Lozen, Dahteste. https://newmexiconomad.com/apache-warrior-women-gouyen-lozen-dahteste/  Rodriguez, A. (2019, October 31). Lozen. Herdacity. https://herdacity.org/lozen/  Romano, A. (2016, January 13). Lozen: The badass warrior woman you’ve probably never heard of. Mashable. https://mashable.com/archive/wtf-history-lozen  Southern Arizona Guide. (2020, October 18). Powerful Apache Warrior Women: Lozen & Dahteste. SouthernArizonaGuide.Com. https://southernarizonaguide.com/chiricahua-apache-warrior-women-lozen-dahteste/ 

Tuesday Feb 08, 2022

“In this day and age, I’m shocked that someone still doesn’t know the difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your.’”   Kate McCue Cruise ship captain   Artwork: Ink drawing on a NOAA nautical chart of the waters around the eastern tip of Puerto Rico, an area that cruise ships often travel around.   The story: For Kate McCue, captain of Celebrity Edge, a 1,004-foot-long mega cruise ship that can accommodate nearly 3,000 passengers, the day’s work never stops. On a typical day onboard the ship, she’ll get up at 4 a.m. to begin her work.  Aside from being responsible for up to 3,000 passengers and a crew of more than 1,000, she’s also active on social media. McCue shares a behind-the-scenes view of what cruise life is like from the ship’s bridge on her popular social media channels.  On one particular day in October 2020 began like the others, but this day was a little different. An internet troll commented on one of her social media posts, asking, “how can you be a captain? Your only a woman.” [sic] Sexist comments like this and worse towards McCue and other women online are unfortunately all too common. But on this day, McCue was having none of it. She shut the man down with a withering response in a video that quickly went viral around the world: “I think it's about high time that I address this, because it's 2020, and in this day and age I'm shocked that someone still doesn't know the difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your.’ Just a quick reference: ‘you’re,’ as in ‘you are,’ as in ‘you are sexist.’ ‘Your’ is something possessive, it belongs to you. Like ‘your ignorance.’” The video concluded with McCue sitting down in her chair, saying “If you need any more clarification, you can find me here—in my captain's chair.”   Background on Captain McCue Born January 6, 1978 in San Francisco, CA, McCue began her maritime career with a dream at the age of 12 when she went on a cruise with her family. She told her father she wanted to be a cruise director when she grew up and he told her she could do anything, including captain the ship. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Cal Maritime and worked her way up the ranks in the shipping world.  She began as an apprentice officer on cargo boats transporting banana from South America and California. Eager to switch from cargo to cruises, she joined Disney Cruise Lines as a third mate and later moved to Royal Caribbean International. She worked her way up to staff captain (second in command), when in 2015, the CEO of Celebrity Cruise Line invited her to apply to captain the Celebrity Summit.  This promotion made McCue the first American female captain of a mega cruise ship and only the fifth woman overall. A mega cruise ship has a gross tonnage of least 80,000. Her current ship, Celebrity Edge, is nearly 131,000.  Now when passengers begin a voyage on a ship helmed by McCue, she greets them over the loudspeakers, “This is Captain Kate, but you can call me Captain because it took me 19 years to earn this title.”    Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Zakhar Valaha.    Sources:  Coffey, H. (2020, October 6). A cruise captain’s “fantastic” TikTok video responding to a sexist troll has gone viral. Insider. https://www.insider.com/video-female-cruise-captain-tiktok-response-to-sexist-troll-viral-2020-10 Donnelly, E. (2019, November 21). ‘Ocean’s 27’: Celebrity Cruises will set sail with first-ever all-female officer crew on Women’s International Day. Yahoo! https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/celebrity-cruises-first-all-female-bridge-officers-200600164.html gCaptain. (2019, June 25). IMO’s ‘Day of the Seafarer’ Highlights Gender Equality in Maritime – #IAmOnBoard. https://gcaptain.com/imos-day-of-the-seafarer-highlights-gender-equality-in-maritime-iamonboard/ Glamour. (2017, August 29). Careers: How to be a cruise ship captain. Glamour UK. https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/cruise-jobs Hoeller, S. (2019, December 20). Meet America’s first female captain of a mega cruise ship, who brings her cat and mermaid tail on every voyage. Insider. https://www.insider.com/mega-cruise-captain-kate-mccue-celebrity-edge-photos-2019-12 McCue, K. [@captainkatemccue]. (2020, October 4). Reply to @seamus272 #yourewelcome #fyp #foryou #captain [TikTok post]. TikTok. https://www.tiktok.com/@captainkatemccue/video/6879772226510523653 Rizzo, C. (2020, October 9). First American Woman to Captain a Cruise Ship Delivers Master Class on How to Shut Down Sexist Trolls. Travel + Leisure. https://www.travelandleisure.com/cruises/first-american-female-cruise-ship-captain-provides-inspirational-lesson-in-grammar-and-shutting-down-trolls Romano, A. (2019, February 21). America’s First Female Cruise Captain Travels the World With Her Adorable Sphynx Cat (Video). Travel + Leisure. https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/female-cruise-captain-cat Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 1). Kate McCue. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_McCue  

Tuesday Feb 01, 2022

“You are not lesser just because you're a girl.”   Megan Rapinoe American professional soccer player Olympic gold medalist (2012) Two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner (2015, 2019)   Artwork: Ink and colored pencil drawing on a map of Paris, France, where she won her second FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019.    The Story:  Gender-based pay inequality is a chronic issue across the world and is especially present in sports. The US Women’s team is ranked No. 1 in the world for women’s soccer and they’ve won four World Cups, including the last two in a row. The Men’s team in comparison has struggled to even qualify for the World Cup for much of its history and has never played in a final match. Despite the massive success mismatch and the women’s team contributing higher revenues to US Soccer, the men’s team is paid and supported much better than the women’s team.  Fully sick of this, Rapinoe led her teammates to sue US Soccer for gender discrimination in the spring of 2019, before they made their fourth Cup run. Former team captain, Julie Foudy, praised Rapinoe’s efforts, especially for not waiting until after winning their fourth Cup, saying, “We had been socialized not to stir the pot and we probably would have said, ‘let’s plant that flag after we’ve won.’” US Soccer responded to the suit with a variety of ugly claims, including one that being a male soccer player requires more skill and responsibility.  Rapinoe was having none of that, saying in a post-game interview, “To every girl out there, to every boy out there, who watches this team, who wants to be on this team or just wants to live their dream out, you are not lesser just because you're a girl. You are not better just because you're a boy.”   Background on Rapinoe: Born: July 5, 1985, Redding, California.  Rapinoe and her team dominated the field at the 2019 World Cup, hosted by France. Facing off against host country France in the quarter-finals, Rapinoe scored both of the US’ goals in the 2-1 game. She smiled at the audience with her arms outstretched for her goal celebration and the moment was quickly hailed as an “iconic” moment in sports. The game took place in Le Parc des Princes stadium in Paris.  Mirroring the 2019 Cup run, Rapinoe’s soccer career has been a story of relentless success on the field paired with high-profile advocacy for equality. Her advocacy work includes activism and philanthropic ventures around gender, race, and LGBT issues.    Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Zakhar Valaha.    Sources: Andrew, S., & Muaddi, N. (2019, June 29). Megan Rapinoe struck an epic pose after scoring against France in the Women’s World Cup. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/29/football/megan-rapinoe-soccer-france-trnd/index.html  Carroll, C. (2019, November 1). USWNT Uses Its Equal Pay Lawsuit as Confetti for World Cup Victory Parade. Sports Illustrated. https://www.si.com/soccer/2019/07/10/uswnt-womens-world-cup-victory-parade-lawsuit-confetti  ESPN. (2020, June 3). USWNT lawsuit versus U.S. Soccer explained - Defining the pay gaps, what’s at stake for both sides. ESPN.Com. https://www.espn.com/soccer/united-states-usaw/story/4071258/uswnt-lawsuit-versus-us-soccer-explained-defining-the-pay-gapswhats-at-stake-for-both-sides  Guzman, F., & Ahmed, S. (2020, March 12). Megan Rapinoe tears into US Soccer with a powerful message: “To every girl out there . . . you are not lesser.” CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/12/us/us-womens-soccer-protest-spt-trnd/index.html  Johnson, L. M. (2020, March 12). US Soccer claims it won’t pay women equally because being a male player requires more skill. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/11/us/us-soccer-federation-court-document-trnd/index.html  Kelly, M. (2019, August 7). Are U.S. women’s soccer players really earning less than men? Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/08/are-us-womens-soccer-players-really-earning-less-than-men/  Megan Rapinoe. (2020, February 2). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megan_Rapinoe  Vrentas, J. (2021, May 27). 2019 Sportsperson of the Year: Megan Rapinoe. Sports Illustrated. https://www.si.com/sportsperson/2019/12/09/megan-rapinoe-2019-sportsperson-of-the-year  Wamsley, L. (2019, March 8). U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Sues U.S. Soccer For Gender Discrimination. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2019/03/08/701522635/u-s-womens-soccer-team-sues-u-s-soccer-for-gender-discrimination   

Tuesday Jan 25, 2022

“I may be the first woman in this office. But I won’t be the last.” Kamala Harris First female vice president of the US   Artwork: Harris’ portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her giving her victory speech, on a map of the United States.    The story: Following days of election drama, on Saturday, November 7, all the major news outlets called the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden. That evening, in front of a socially distant crowd in Wilmington, DE, and the millions more watching at home around the country, Biden and Harris gave their victory speeches as president- and vice president-elect.   Wearing an all-white pantsuit—a tribute to the suffragists who fought for women’s right to vote—Harris confidently strode onto the outdoor stage. She celebrated Biden’s “audacity” for selecting a woman as his vice president. “While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last,” she vowed. “Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.  “And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message, dream with ambition. Lead with conviction,” she continued.  As the first female, black person, and Asian-American to be elected VP, Harris closed her speech with a brief vision of the next four years, saying,  “No matter who you voted for, I will strive to be a vice president like Joe was to President Obama—loyal, honest, and prepared. Waking up every day thinking of you and your family. Because now is when the real work begins...  “The essential work to save lives and beat this epidemic. To rebuild our economy so it works for working people. To root out systemic racism in our social justice system and society. To combat the climate crisis. To unite our country and heal the soul of our nation.”   Background on Kamala Harris Harris was born on October 20, 1964 in Oakland, CA. A child of immigrants—her mother from India and her father from Jamaica—Harris is well familiar with the struggles of minorities in the US. While campaigning for president, Harris often spoke of her childhood attending civil rights marches with her parents.  As a child, she was bused across town to public school in a more prosperous neighborhood as part of Berkeley, CA’s desegregation program. She told of how children in her father’s Palo Alto neighborhood were not allowed to play with her because she was black.  She spent most of her career as a prosecutor, working up to District Attorney of San Francisco in 2004 and then California Attorney General in 2011. She entered the US Senate as California’s junior senator in 2017. She ran for president, but withdrew before the 2020 primaries and endorsing Biden. In August, Biden announced Harris would be his running mate.  Aside from the first black person, and first Indian American, she was only the third woman to be picked as the VP candidate for a major party ticket. She’s the second ever person of color to hold the office, after Charles Curtis, a Native American, served under Herbert Hoover in 1929. During the presidential campaign, she acknowledged the historic nature of her candidacy, saying in one interview:  “It really does help to have examples of what can be done and role models, things you can point to, to make it clear that it’s not impossible—and that, in fact, it’s quite probable that you can do these things and will do those things.”    Music: Music comes from Geovane Bruno, Philip Phile’s “Hail Columbia” performed by the US Coast Guard Band, and John Philip Sousa’s “Starts and Stripes Forever,” performed by the US Navy Band.   Sources: Gambino, L. (2021, January 21). “I won’t be the last”: Kamala Harris, first woman elected US vice-president, accepts place in history. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/07/kamala-harris-victory-speech-first-woman-vice-president  Grady, C. (2020, November 8). Kamala Harris speech: “I may be the first woman to hold this office. But I won’t be the last.” Vox. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/21554699/kamala-harris-victory-acceptance-speech  Kamala Harris and Padma Lakshmi on Representation. (2020, October 28). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHG-8YNM-8s  News18. (2020, November 8). 10 Things to Know About America’s Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris - In Pics. https://www.news18.com/photogallery/world/10-things-to-know-about-americas-vice-president-elect-kamal-harris-in-pics-3055745-6.html  Paul, K. (2020, December 15). “We are so proud”: San Francisco Bay Area celebrates Kamala Harris, hometown hero. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/07/kamala-harris-oakland-berkeley-bay-area-california  Snyder, T. (2020, November 8). Biden and Harris address the nation, basking in victory and pledging to work for unity. POLITICO. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/07/biden-harris-victory-speech-2020-435000  Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 28). Kamala Harris. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamala_Harris#Early_career_(1990%E2%80%932004) Zhou, L. (2020, November 7). Election results: Kamala Harris is elected the first woman vice president. Vox. https://www.vox.com/21547999/kamala-harris-first-woman-vice-president-black    

Tuesday Jan 18, 2022

“People say, ‘Why doesn’t someone do something about that?’ And then they realize they are someone.” Pat “Action Nan” Smith  Grandmother who cleaned beaches every week for one year The artwork: Ink drawing of Pat Smith picking up trash, drawn on a map of Cornwall, UK.   The story:  Pat Smith was living an ordinary life in 2017 as a business owner and grandmother in the UK’s oceanfront peninsula region of Cornwall, when she watched a documentary on endemic plastic pollution in the oceans.  “I was very disturbed by what I saw and I think it was the first inkling I had that there was a problem in the oceans regarding plastic pollution,” she says. “I couldn't sleep that night and when I woke up in the morning, I thought I've got to do something about this.” Eventually, that “something” crystallized around the idea of cleaning garbage off Cornwall’s beaches. She’d acquired the handle “Action Nan” for completing a 300-mile charity walk a couple years before and on January 1, 2018, the 70-year-old Smith sprang into action again. She committed to cleaning beaches every week for the whole year.  Armed with garbage bags, gloves, and a trash grabber, she travelled from one end of Cornwall to the other, picking up trash each week. Sometimes volunteers would join in the work with her, including her grandchildren. Other times, onlookers mistook her work for community service.  By the end of 2018, she’d collected 13,000 pieces of litter during 104 hours of beach cleaning.  “The vast majority is broken up pieces of everyday used items, like bottle tops, toothpaste caps, and water bottles,” she says. “You might get down to the beach and it looks perfectly clean. But then you walk along and look down at the seaweed and you find tangled up little pieces of net, bits of rope, and other things washed in by the tide.” While her year of beach cleaning is completed, Smith hasn’t slowed down. “I won’t stop as our beaches need me,” she says. “I’m driven to try and protect our living planet for my children and grandchildren and I will continue to do everything in my power to achieve that,” she says. To that end, she founded Final Straw Cornwall, a campaign to eliminate plastic straws and other single-use plastic from Cornwall. As a result of her efforts, Cornwall’s plastic use has dramatically decreased.  “I don’t know how much longer I’ve got left on the planet,” she says. “But in the time I have left I have to do something.”   Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno.    Sources: BBC Three. (March 2, 2019). Amazing Humans: Action Nan. BBC Three. https://www.facebook.com/bbcthree/videos/560660841082418/   Bett, J. (2019, January 16). Woman spends an entire year cleaning plastic off 52 beaches in Cornwall. SWNS. https://stories.swns.com/news/woman-spends-an-entire-year-cleaning-plastic-off-52-beaches-in-cornwall-103279/ Boucher, P. (2019, April 2). Meet the 70-Year-Old Grandmother Who Spent an Entire Year Cleaning up Beach Garbage. PEOPLE.Com. https://people.com/human-interest/70-year-old-grandmother-spent-an-entire-year-cleaning-up-beach-garbage/ Loopsider. (n.d.). Meet the grandmother who’s saving the planet! Loopsider.Com. https://www.loopsider.com/en/video/meet-the-grandmother-whos-saving-the-planet Smith, P. (2020, November 6). Meet Action Nan. Bosinver. https://bosinver.co.uk/meet-action-nan Tapia, S. (2019, June 4). 70-Year-Old Grandma Cleans 52 Beaches In One Year After Watching A Documentary About Plastic Pollution. Bored Panda. https://www.boredpanda.com/grandma-cleans-52-beaches-in-one-year/ Trewhela, L. (2020, March 17). Cornwall’s Action Nan is now a global star thanks to her selfless work for the environment. CornwallLive. https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/cornwalls-action-nan-now-global-3956049   

Tuesday Jan 11, 2022

“I’m someone’s daughter too.” Alexandria “AOC” Ocasio-Cortez US Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district   Artwork: AOC’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her giving her floor speech calling out the misogyny in Congress. She’s wearing a bright red blazer with matching red lipstick— something she describes as her “war paint.” I’ve drawn her over a map of New York City’s Bronx and Queens boroughs, where her district is located.   The Story: On July 20, 2020, a male legislator crassly accosted Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, calling her “disgusting” and worse insults. She said he was being “rude” and walked away. In response to news reports of the verbal abuse, the instigator addressed the matter on the floor of the House of Representatives. Giving a weak, non-apology, he glossed over his gross disrespect and sought cover behind the excuse of about being married with two daughters. The following day, AOC gave a powerful rejoinder, calling out the deflection for what it was: another instance of men mistreating women while hiding behind the women in their lives to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.  “I will not stay up late at night waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling women and using abusive language towards women,” she said in her floor speech. “But what I do have issue with is using women—wives and daughters—as shields and excuses for poor behavior.” “I am someone’s daughter too,” she reminded him, Congress, and the rest of the nation. “My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter. My mother got to see Mr. Yoho's disrespect on the floor of this House towards me on television. And I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.”   Background on AOC: Born: October 13, 1989, New York City.  Entering Congress at 29, she is the youngest female representative ever. Born into a work-class family in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez did not have a typical background for a congresswoman. Her father was an architect and her mother cleaned houses and drove a school bus to make ends meet. “We were poor, so I was used to eating rice and beans every day,” she says, describing her childhood. After college, she supplemented nonprofit and political cause work with jobs as a bartender and waitress. In 2018, she decided to run for Congress and waged an unlikely campaign to defeat a 10-term incumbent in the primary election. This win was one of the largest political upsets of the time and was made all the more impressive given that Ocasio-Cortez operated her campaign from a paper grocery bag behind the bar she worked. Between shifts at the restaurant, she’d reach into the bag for campaign material and a change of clothes and set out to canvas.  She has advocated strongly in Congress for the environment, more affordable healthcare and higher education, and immigrant-friendly policies, among other things.    Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and RYYZN.    Sources:  C-Span, (July 23, 2020), “Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks about exchange with Representative Ted Yoho,” retrieved from https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4894496/representative-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-speaks-exchange-representative-ted-yoho&cliptool  Cadigan, Hilary., (November 7, 2018), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez learned her most important lessons from restaurants, bon appetit, retrieved from https://www.bonappetit.com/story/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-lessons-from-restaurants  Wikipedia, (2020), “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez  Wu, Nicholas., (2020, July 24), ‘I am someone’s daughter too.” Read Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s full speech responding to Rep. Ted Yoho, USA Today, retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/07/24/aoc-response-ted-yoho-read-text-rep-ocasio-cortezs-speech/5500633002/  Zhou, Li, (2020, July 25), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s powerful speech against misogyny in Congress was long overdue, Vox, retrieved from https://www.vox.com/2020/7/25/21337375/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-speech-misogyny-sexism-congress 

Tuesday Jan 11, 2022

“That's the history of the world. His story is told. Hers isn't.”  - Dolores Huerta American labor leader and civil rights activist   I want my daughters to pursue lives where anything is possible and they can be whatever they want to be. But if they never see someone like them do it first,  how will they know it’s an option for them?   After all, if they can see it, they can be it.  I realized one day that I could only think of one female scientist—the chemist and physicist Marie Curie. Likewise, for other fields, I knew of one or two famous women and that was it. Or sometimes I had never heard of women in the field at all.  I grew up reading history and later got a degree in it. I did notice the texts I read centered on the life and exploits of white men, but I didn't think much of it at the time. History was that. His story. And I didn't really question it. But why should it be that way?  For example, in the United States’ origin story, there are the Founding Fathers (no mothers) and the stories of the nation forged in revolution include great armies of great men facing off against each other—Generals George Washington and Nathaniel Greene against Lords Howe and Cornwallis. There was the Swamp Fox Francis Marion, Nathan “Give me liberty or give me death” Hale, Light Horse Harry Lee, the Marquis de Lafayette, John Paul “I have not yet begun to fight” Jone, and so many more.  In the popular narrative of the American Revolution, there were apparently only two women involved in the whole of the war—Abigail Adams and Betsy Ross. Ross sewed a flag and Adams was noted for how much she did in a time when women often didn't. Even the side-switching Benedict Arnold gets more recognition than the many women who contributed in ways large and small.  The women whose stories I'm telling in this podcast are not perfect. These women worked to change the world in some way and that’s what this podcast celebrates. I had three criteria for inclusion in this project:  A photograph of the woman. I wanted to show images of what these people actually looked like. It helps make the story real to see their actual face, instead of an artist's guess of what some ancient person may have looked like. From these photographs, I then drew their portraits onto maps that give context to their stories. Unfortunately, this means women who did great things before photography was invented aren't represented here. Doesn't mean they weren't amazing also. A few known facts about their life to weave together into an interesting story. Even better, a story that isn’t well known. A lot of people learn about Marie Curie in school. She is the token female scientist. But what about other women in science? I wanted to showcase stories of women in many fields who haven't had as much (or any) recognition for their accomplishments.   A quote from them or about them. I really wanted to include at least a few words from the subject in their story. Seeing a person’s face and hearing their words makes a long-dead historical figure come alive.  So many great women couldn't meet even these simple criteria because no one had deemed their stories worth recording. Their photos were not taken, while their male contemporaries were. Their words were not recorded, while men's were. Their stories were not passed down, eclipsed and sometimes actively replaced by men’s stories. These problems were most acute among women of color,  as they faced the double prejudice of misogyny and racism, so only a sliver of their full story could squeeze into the historical record.  It frustrated me when I couldn't tell someone's story in their own words. That not even one sentence of their voice was recorded and I had to resort to the words of men around them to describe who they were and what they felt.  This collection of stories is my small effort in recognizing the accomplishments of women throughout history and the present day. Researching these women has been an education for me and the result is a demonstration to my daughters and girls everywhere of what is possible for them to achieve.   Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno.

Saturday Jan 01, 2022

Coming soon, the Fearless Portrait Podcast, a collection of stories about women who worked to change the world.  

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Contact

Know of an amazing woman who should be profiled in this podcast and art project? Please share their story! I’m always looking for more people to include. Any other questions, comments, or concerns? 

Email: artwork (at) danlandau.net

Instagram: @danlandauart

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About Dan

I am a self-taught artist specializing in figurative works drawn on maps. My work has been published in a variety of outlets, including The New York Times, Huff Post, and The Nation, and is held in private collections around the world. I live in New Jersey with my favorite muses: my wife and two daughters.

Why maps?

I’ve always liked maps. As a kid, I pored over the map inserts that came with my National Geographic magazines. Now, I use maps as my canvas for creating art.

My work typically consists of subjects drawn in ink on paper maps. Sometimes I cut away portions of the map, leaving the drawing and the roads behind. I like to work with maps because maps have quite a bit of meaning baked into them. They represent places with special associations for us. They help us get to know new places. I use maps as a metaphor for connection and exploration in my work.

Map selection is a crucial part of my process. Sometimes my subjects are deeply and obviously entwined with the maps I draw them on—for example, women profiled in the Fearless Portraits series are drawn on maps of locations connected to their stories. Sometimes the connection is more abstract—evoking ideas of a journey and philosophical travel. Or, perhaps I just liked how the curve of a road matched the subject’s nose.

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