Ruby Bridges' mother passes at age 86. As a mom, I am in awe of her strength and courage.

Lucille Bridges has passed away at the age of 86.

Lucille Bridges was the mother of Ruby Bridges, the first Black child to go to school in the newly integrated school system in Louisiana in 1960. At six years old, little Ruby Bridges had to be accompanied by a team of U.S. marshals and walk through crowds of angry white adults screaming racist hate at her just to go to school. She learned in a classroom with a kind teacher, but with zero other students because none of the white parents of the white kids would allow them to go to class with her.

The more you read of Ruby Bridges' story, the more mind-blowingly awful it becomes. The viciousness of people's hatred was palpable. The videos of the rabid mobs of outright racists yelling at a first grader are heartbreaking. The fact Ruby Bridges says the only time she felt scared was when a woman showed her a black baby doll in a coffin is both disturbing and at testament to Ruby's innate courage.


I grew up hearing Ruby Bridges' story and looking at the experience through her eyes. It's hard to imagine how resilient she had to be. Seeing racist hatred through the eyes of a first grader is awful enough.


But seeing Ruby Bridges' experience through Lucille Bridges' eyes makes it so much worse.

Until you're a parent, you don't truly understand how much pain you experience on your children's behalf. As a parent, you feel what your children feel. Their joy is your joy. Their pain is your pain. When my own kids are suffering, I suffer right along with them. It just comes with the territory.

But you also have an instinct to protect your children from harm. You know they have to go through difficulties to grow, but you still try to protect the from genuine danger.

So to imagine what it must have been like for Lucille Bridges to walk her little girl through the screaming racists hoards is unfathomable. The fear and frustration she must have felt for her child, as well as for herself. The anger she must have swallowed. The pride and dignity she had to pull forth and put on display. The sheer, unrelenting exhaustion of it all.

Then add to that the wondering if she and her husband were doing right by Ruby. We all worry about the decisions we make for our children. In hindsight it's easy to see the Bridges' courage and conviction as vital threads in the now iconic civil rights movement, but in the moment it had to have been a grueling decision. Ruby's father had reservations about it—it was Lucille who insisted that Ruby get the opportunity for equal education—and not just for her, but for all Black children. She knew the importance of what they were doing. And not only was she willing to do it, but she was able to instill into Ruby the character qualities she needed to be able to withstand it all.

My Story: Mrs. Lucille Bridges (The Power of Children) www.youtube.com


Ruby Bridges shared a short tribute to her mother in her announcement of her passing on Instagram. She wrote, "Today our country lost a hero. Brave, progressive, a champion for change. She helped alter the course of so many lives by setting me out on my path as a six year old little girl. Our nation lost a Mother of the Civil Rights Movement today. And I lost my mom. I love you and am grateful for you. May you Rest In Peace."

Rest in peace and power, Mrs. Bridges. Thank you for your leonine heart that pushed us forward as a nation and served as an example of strength and bravery to us all.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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