Sofia Delgado is a 16 year old American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) competitor on the national scene. She is an expert in her chosen sport and dedicated to ceaseless improvement. She is a hero of mine because at such a young age she has put so much time and effort into her passion. Her heroism does not come from large acts in the news or media, but from the enormous waves she is making in the women’s BJJ community and women’s sports in general. Each and every woman that enters their chosen field and commits to becoming the best they can be further paves the way for strong female leadership in our communities. As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Badger Ginsberg once said, “Whatever you choose to do, leave tracks. That means don’t do it just for yourself. You will want to leave the world a little better for your having lived,” I think Sofia and her life experiences embody those words exceptionally well for her young age and her tremendous accomplishments thus far.
Elizabeth Warren is an American politician, who campaigned for president of the United States in 2020. She achieved her law degree in the 1970s, which was a feat for women in that time. After that heroic act, she became a professor of law in Texas. Elizabeth is known for her expansive legal knowledge and the ability to make plans for just about everything. What I note of her experience that I find especially heroic is her never ending dedication to service of others. Elizabeth has worked in congress as a senator for the state of Massachusetts since 2012. She is relentless in her endeavor to better the United States; specifically, for women and women of color. She has authored numerous pieces of legislation that have change how the financial sector interacts with people of color in order to create a more equitable economy for all. Elizabeth is truly a servant of the people and for that she is one of my heroes.
Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is an American jurist that was recently appointed to the highest court of law in the United States. She is a woman of color and the first black woman appointed to the Supreme Court. Justice Jackson is a hero of mine because of her determination and sheer amount of will it has taken her to achieve the lifetime appointment to the Court. She was underestimated in high school by some of the adults around her; she chose to attend Harvard Law School despite them. Justice Jackson is a revolution for our country in terms of gender equality and racial justice. Both of those issues, Justice Jackson has fought to protect over her incredibly impactful career. Her achievements carve a pathway for all young women across the country and for that, she is a hero of mine.
Abby Wambach is a retired women’s soccer player. Arguably one of the best if not the best women’s soccer player in the history of United States women’s soccer. She retired in 2015 and was subsequently lost in her life. She suffered from addiction and substance/alcohol abuse and it effected every aspect of her life. Many people asked the question, “How could someone with everything and someone so incredibly talented, fall so far in their retirement?” Unfortunately, the situation is not so simple. Abby’s relationship was suffering at the time of her retirement and upon her retirement that huge part of her life (professional soccer) disappeared. She needed to reacquaint herself with her new life after soccer. Abby entered treatment for her addictions and marriage counseling for her relationship. Unfortunately, she did get a divorce in 2016 after her substance abuse came to light. Abby is now in a wonderfully healthy marriage and she has been sober for 6 years now. She is one of my heroes because she had the courage to turn her life around. She had the courage to seek out the help, the support, and the care. Abby’s resilience is so admirable.
Joan Razink is from a very small town in rural Minnesota, more than 1200 miles from Mercer Island, WA. She is more than 80 years old and has lived in the same small town her entire life. She raised four successful daughters and has many grandchildren today. Joan was married to the man she loved for over 60 years. That man passed away unexpectedly in February of this year. Joan and her daughters were forced to make the hardest decisions anyone can make regarding her husband’s life and subsequently his death. Throughout the heartbreak and catastrophic upheaval of Joan’s life, she has persisted and persevered. She has done the work and felt the pain. She has appreciated her tribe of daughters supporting her during grieving (and their grieving). These 5 women have supported each other every day since their extreme loss. They have spent countless hours on the phone or driving to each others’ home just to make sure they are not alone, especially Joan. These women have woven their lives together over the years and instead of this devastating event punching a hole through the fabric, it has tighten each strand further and revitalized the tapestry of their relationship. It is an example of relentless support and love in a time of great sorrow. Joan is my grandmother and her daughters are my mother and aunts. I couldn’t respect these women more ever in my life. They are the heroes and matriarchs of my family.