100 years after a vicious hate crime, she's telling her great-grandmother's story.
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Mary Ellen Noone can't look at a bottle of nail polish without seeing red.

Her great-grandmother, Pinky Powell, was born just before the turn of the 20th century. Petite but strong, she often told her great-grandkids about picking 100 pounds of cotton before lunchtime.  

And years after her days in the fields, Powell saw Mary Ellen painting her nails and said:


"You know, there was a time we couldn't wear no fingernail polish."

As a child around 1910, Powell lived on plantation in Alabama and did domestic chores for the white woman of the house. The woman tossed away some of her old perfume and nail polish, so Powell took it home. On Sunday, she sprayed the perfume, painted her nails, and got dressed up for church.

But on Monday, the owner of the general store spotted her nails at the check out.

"What are you doing with your nails painted up like a white woman?" he asked.

Without hesitation, he reached for a pair of pliers and pulled Powell's nails from their beds one by one.

She was a child. A child who wanted a sliver of humanity in a black body. But for this white man, even that was too much. It was an act of violence that left Powell forever scarred in every sense of the word.

Even now, just seeing a jar of red nail polish takes Mary Ellen back to that moment.

It's an inherited trauma she just can't shake.

"I still have that anger inside of me that someone would have that control over one person, just because they wanted to feel like a woman."

Hear the full story of Pinky Powell and the lasting impact her story had on her great-grandaughter, Mary Ellen Noone:

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Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.

"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.

While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."

In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.

"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."

In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved a measure last month that could pave the way for the Catholic Church to deny President Joe Biden communion. The conservative bishops hope to prevent Biden from participating in the sacred ritual because of his support for abortion rights.

Biden is a devout Catholic who considered becoming a priest in his youth. He rarely misses mass, holds a rosary while making critical decisions, and often quotes scriptures. When asked about the bishops' decision Biden said it is "a private matter and I don't think that's going to happen."

The bishops hope the new guidance would push "Catholics who are cultural, political, or parochial leaders to witness the faith."

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