Black women will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for the first time


The National Inventors Hall of Fame lineup is full of familiar faces: Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright brothers and Eli Whitney, along with many other mostly White men.

Joining them in the next class of inductees are two Black women inventors who changed the way we work and see.

Marian Croak and the late Dr. Patricia Bath will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, alongside the inventors of the sports bra, ibuprofen and the Super Soaker toy. They’re the first two Black women to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Croak, now a vice president at Google, developed Voice over Internet Protocol, the technology that’s made working from home possible for many. And Bath created the Laserphaco Probe, a device used during surgery to easily remove cataracts.

Their induction is “bittersweet,” said Erika Jefferson, the founder of the organization Black Women in Science and Engineering (BWISE). While both women made incredible strides in the male-dominated field of STEM, Bath isn’t alive to receive the honor. And that it took the National Inventors Hall of Fame nearly 50 years to induct a Black woman evinces a lingering problem when it comes to recruiting and promoting Black women in STEM, she said.

“There are thousands of Patricia Baths and Marian Croaks that have blazed trails but have not been ‘discovered’ yet,” Jefferson said. “It’s not enough to see these two phenomenal women get this award. There have to be advocacy systems in place to ensure they get the recognition and support that they deserve.”

Terence Blanchard Makes History At The Metropolitan Opera


History was made at New York’s Metropolitan Opera: For the first time in 138 years, the eminent company will present an opera by a Black composer. After 18 months of pandemic-canceled performances, the nation’s premier opera house will open its new season with Fire Shut Up in My Bones, composed by Terence Blanchard.

As a trumpeter, Blanchard has played with jazz legends like Lionel Hampton and Art Blakey. He’s been nominated for two Academy Awards for his film scores, and has won five Grammys for his jazz records. But at a recent Metropolitan Opera rehearsal for Fire Shut Up in My Bones, Blanchard was humbled by the scale of the production.

“I never thought I’d be in a situation like this, to walk in a room and there’s like 40 singers singing something that I’d written, and they’re rehearsing it,” he says. “And then in the next room, there’s 16 dancers choreographing to a piece of music that I’ve written. And then in the other room, the principal singers are blocking—I keep waiting to wake up.”

Blanchard is a jazz composer, but he says Fire Shut Up in My Bones is not a jazz opera. Rather, he calls it “an opera in Jazz.” What he means to do, he explains, is similar to what Stravinsky did in bringing folkloric music into the classical realm. “I’m trying to take American folklore that I know, that I’ve experienced, which is jazz,” he says, “and bring that into the operatic world, but not totally use the entire piece to make a statement about jazz.”

There’s a jazz quartet embedded into the Met Orchestra for the opera, but much of the music sounds more like Blanchard’s work in Hollywood, where he has written the music for more than 40 films.

BMO Harris Bank Appoints Anthony Hudson as Regional President, Retail Banking, Wisconsin


BMO Harris Bank announced the appointment of Anthony Hudson as regional president, retail banking, Wisconsin. Previous Regional President, Sang Kim, has been appointed head of BMO’s U.S. Customer Contact Center.

Throughout his eight years with BMO, Hudson has held roles in premier banking and private wealth, leading teams in Southwest and Northwest Wisconsin. Most recently, Anthony led a key pillar of BMO EMpower, BMO’s five-year, $5 billion commitment to address barriers faced by minority businesses, communities and families. Hudson will continue supporting diversity initiatives at the bank to help grow the business and acquire new talent. Based in Milwaukee, Hudson will report to Carolyn Booth, BMO Harris head of distribution, U.S. personal and business banking.

“Anthony’s strong leadership skills and financial acumen, coupled with his passion to support underserved communities, will help us drive an exceptional experience for our customers throughout Wisconsin,” said Booth. “I am thrilled to have him lead the retail team in this important BMO market.”

Hudson has worked closely with many non-profit organizations in Southern Wisconsin to help close the wealth gap that often exists in minority communities. He serves on the executive board for City Year Milwaukee, the Girls and Boys Club of Dane County and the Urban League of Greater Madison 

He was a 2017 recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award, a 2020 recipient of In Business (Madison) magazine’s 40 Under 40 award and a recipient of Who’s Who in Black Charlotte in both 2011 and 2012. 

Hudson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Xavier University. In 2016, he completed an executive banking program through the Consumer Bankers Association at Furman University. 

UW–Madison’s Jackson named to Rupple-Bascom Professorship

Dr. Jerlando F. L. Jackson was recently appointed to the Rupple-Bascom Professorship by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs John Karl Scholz.

Jackson chairs the School of Education’s highly regarded Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and is the director and chief research scientist of Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB).

“It is a distinct honor to assume the Rupple-Bascom Professorship,” Jackson said. “The resources and platform will be used to deepen my research commitment and advocacy to disrupting organizational disparities in and outside of the education enterprise.”

Jackson’s research centers on hiring practices, career mobility, workforce diversity, and workplace discrimination, and has evolved to focus on organizational disparities. With a career stretching over two decades, Jackson has earned more than $13 million in grant and research funds.

The Wei LAB focuses its efforts on designing, conducting, and disseminating research that informs policymakers, practitioners, and citizens on how to best promote equitable and inclusive learning and work environments in education in general — and higher education in particular.

Jackson notes now the Wei LAB’s research agenda and priorities seek to engage the most difficult and important equity and inclusion topics confronting the educational system, with the goal of becoming an international leader and champion for equitable and inclusive educational organizations.

The Rupple-Bascom Professorship will provide Jackson with discretionary funds over the next five years to be used for research- and scholarly-related activities.

Jackson has also authored or edited six books, including “Measuring Glass Ceiling Effects: Opportunities and Challenges” and “Ethnic and Racial Administrative Diversity: Understanding Work Life Realities and Experiences in Higher Education (2009).”

Dr. Milton Javier Bravo Is Edgewood College’s New V.P. for Mission, Values, and Inclusion 

Edgewood College appointed Dr. Milton Javier Bravo to the new post of vice president for Mission, Values, and Inclusion. The announcement is the culmination of an exhaustive national search lasting more than a year. The Cabinet-level position will oversee all institutional efforts that express the Dominican Catholic mission and values of Edgewood College, which includes ongoing work toward dismantling racism through diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Bravo is a Latino theologian who has served Catholic colleges and universities and faith-based non-profit organizations for more than a decade.  Bravo’s experience in higher education includes service in enrollment management, campus ministry, mission integration, academic advising, student life, academic research, and undergraduate instruction in Theological and Philosophical studies. His primary foci are on-campus efforts to better serve first-generation and underrepresented students along with the establishment of comprehensive networks of support for student retention and success.

“I’m honored and grateful to have the opportunity to serve the Edgewood College community,” Dr. Bravo said. “I have long admired Dominican education and look forward to continuing our work of diversity, equity and inclusion, while embracing and promoting our identity as a Dominican Catholic college.”

Bravo has also served as an academic officer establishing policy and practices that honor and advance Catholic mission.  He has served as an advocate for underrepresented populations and is active in religious, secular, and civic organizations. He is a member of the board of directors for the Academy of Hispanic Theologians in the United States, and Hope Border Institute, in El Paso, Texas.  He is the former associate publisher at Commonweal Magazine, a lay-edited independent journal of opinion based in New York City. 

Bravo earned his bachelor’s degree in Theology and Philosophy from St. Peter’s, a Catholic and Jesuit university in Jersey City, New Jersey.  He earned a master’s in theology (concentration in Biblical Studies) from the Immaculate Conception Seminary of Seton Hall University. Bravo earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Fordham University, New York City. 

Charlie Daniel & Harold Gates Receives Community Shares of Wisconsin’s Anniversary Backyard Heroes Awards

We are proud to recognize Charlie Daniel and Harold Gates as 50th Anniversary Backyard Heroes for their contributions to our work on equity and inclusion.

Charlie Daniel served as a long-time advisor to Community Shares of Wisconsin. Over the years, she has helped us understand the systemic barriers existing within our organization so we could improve collaborations with groups run by people of color.

Harold Gates, president and co-founder of the Midwest Center for Cultural Competence, played a key role early on in helping us transform into a more culturally competent organization through training and strategic planning. His support 20 years ago helped us form our first organizational goals around equity and inclusion, which steered us on our path to becoming a more deliberately anti-racist funder.

Thank you, Charlie and Harold!

Maia Chaka Is The 1st Black Woman To Officiate An NFL Game


Maia Chaka has made history as the first Black woman to officiate an NFL game.

She said ahead of the Sept. 12 game between the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers that it would be a proud moment.

“This historic moment to me is an honor and it’s a privilege that I’ve been chosen to represent women and women of color in the most popular sport in America, proving that I can defy the odds and overcome,” Chaka said in a video released by the NFL.

She said she hopes she can inspire and empower others “to step outside the box and to do something different.” Chaka is the second woman hired as a full-time NFL official. The first was Sarah Thomas, who refereed the Super Bowl this year.

The NFL hired its first Black official, Burl Toler, in 1965.

When the announcement came in March that she would be added to the NFL officiating roster, Chaka said she was personally honored.

“But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment,” she said. “It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”

Chaka has made a career officiating college football and is a health and physical education teacher in Virginia Beach public schools. She joined the NFL’s Officiating Development Program in 2014.