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Author: Melissa Castellanos

World’s Tallest Woman Flies for the First Time Ever on Turkish Airlines

Meet Rumeysa Gelgi, the tallest woman in the world who towers at about 7 feet (2.15-meters) and holds the Guinness Book of World Records for her massive height.  She was born with Weaver syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes rapid growth. The 25-year-old software developer from Karabük, Turkey, has an incredible outlook, drive to succeed, and a desire to raise awareness about her condition.

While she is often wheelchair-bound, she is able to walk short distances. She also has scoliosis (a spine curvature disorder) and cannot sit for long periods of time. With that said, Rumeysa has never had the opportunity to fly on an airplane – until now!

Thanks to Turkish Airlines who turned six seats on the plane into a stretcher, she was able to make one of her dreams come true! Accompanied by her mother, Rumeysa took a 13-hour flight overseas to San Francisco to team up with Guinness for an event and further develop her career. Thrilled to experience her first flight, she acknowledged this was a huge step for her and others like her who may need a stretcher to fly.

Beloved N.C. Mom and Grandma Sees the Ocean for the First Time Before Her 108th Birthday

It’s never too late to cross things off of your bucket list! A North Carolina woman who is celebrating her upcoming 108th birthday is a perfect example of this. The 107-year-old beloved mother and grandmother named Cassie Smith has never taken a trip to see the ocean. Her family is changing that by taking her to visit Virginia Beach where she can feel the sea breeze, see the waves crash, and take it all in.

“We are proud,” said her son, Frank Smith who was beaming with gratitude. “All her family came to celebrate with her. This is a joyous occasion.” He spoke about his mom’s radiance: “That’s what good living will do, hard work, will do that…will make you look like that.”

According to Smith, the next thing to cross off of his mom’s bucket list is a helicopter ride. She has never flown before. “We’re going to make that happen,” he added. Also, the family has a boat ride planned for her. Who knew turning 108 could be such a thrill!

Ukrainian First Lady Addresses the American People with a Poignant Message

Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska is on a mission to provide humanitarian aid to her people. She recently visited New York City where she attended the United Nations Assembly and launched her foundation, the Olena Zelenska Foundation at an event attended by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as actors Matt Damon, Jimmy Fallon, and Brooke Shields. The goal of her foundation is to bring education, medicine, and humanitarian aid to Ukrainians. Her husband, President Volodymyr Zelensky also delivered a video address at the event remotely from Kyiv.

During an interview on “Good Morning America,” Zelenska told ABC News’ Amy Robach: “Our main goal is to help as many people as possible to return home.” However, in order for them to be able to return, she stressed that hospitals and schools have to be restored and homes need to be rebuilt.

Zelenska also directly addressed the American people in English. “It’s not war between Ukraine and Russia. It’s war for values of all the world. A war for freedom, for human rights, for all that we love, all of the people of the world,” she said. “And that’s exactly what Ukrainians are fighting for now. So, don’t stop your support. It’s very important for us.”

Female Sailor Becomes the First Woman to Serve as ‘Chief of the Boat’ on Navy Submarine

For two decades, Master Chief Information Systems Technician (Submarine) Angela Koogler has been making huge strides for women in her field. Now, she’s shaking up the U.S. Navy’s submarine community by making history as the first woman to join the Gold crew of ballistic missile submarine USS Louisiana as their Chief of the Boat.

This monumental moment, which occurred on Aug. 22, 2022, is a huge step for female enlisted sailors. “We need to keep breaking down the barriers so that it just becomes all Sailors,” Koogler points out. “It’s important to integrate everybody and it shouldn’t matter as long as they get the job done.”

Women aboard U.S. Navy submarines is a fairly “new” concept. Female officers were only allowed to serve on submarines starting in 2011. Then enlisted sailors followed in 2016. This gradual integration wasn’t free of controversy, however. There were incidents of sailors secretly videotaping female submariners undressing and showering as well as an alleged “rape” list of female sailors stationed aboard the submarine. Investigations and punishments followed.

Mary Peltola Becomes The First Alaska Native in Congress and Defeats Sarah Palin

Meet Mary Sattler Peltola, the first Alaska Native in Congress completing the remainder of her late congressman of nearly 50 years, Don Young’s term, while running for a full one. Her election is a major score for Democrats, Indigenous Americans, many Alaskans, and some Republicans. She’s the first woman to represent Alaska in the House and the first Alaska Native to represent the state in either chamber of Congress. She’s also the first Democrat in the seat since the Nixon administration.

After Young’s death, a special election was held with 48 candidates, including Peltola and Sarah Palin. Peltola campaigned on the issues of “pro-jobs, pro-fish, pro-family and pro-choice,” but she did it without bashing her opponents. She also makes a point to work across the aisle.

With under four months in office, the mother of four, stepmom to three, and a grandma to two has a lot to get done. Within the hour of her swearing-in, she cast her first three votes as a congresswoman! On November 8th, Peltola will face off with Republicans Palin and Nick Begich III again in the general election.

Megan Piphus Peace Makes History as the First Black Female Puppeteer on ‘Sesame Street’

“Sesame Street” has welcomed Megan Piphus Peace as the first black female puppeteer! The Vanderbilt University graduate is making history by playing the 6-year-old Black Muppet, Gabrielle. The highly-praised Muppet show was working on “The Power of We,” a racial justice workshop that featured the Gabrielle character.

In 2017 and 2018, Peace submitted an audition tape for the show before she connected with Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, who plays Abby Cadabby. Then, in March 2020, Matt Vogel, “Sesame Street‘s” puppet captain reached out to Peace, asking if she’d be interested in “Muppet-style puppetry.” After a rigorous hiring process, which included a workshop that showcases one’s skills as a puppeteer and actor in person, Peace was onboard!

Viewers may recognize Peace from her appearances on “America’s Got Talent” and the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” back in 2013. During both shows, Peace won over the judges and audiences not only for her ventriloquism but with her powerful vocal chops! It’s not surprising as Peace started puppetry and ventriloquism at ten – with the help of old-school VHS tapes!

Little Black Girls React to Halle Bailey As Ariel, The First Black Woman to Portray the Disney Princess

On Sept. 9, the teaser trailer of Disney’s live-action version of “The Little Mermaid” was released starring the beautiful and talented Halle Bailey, who is also the first black woman to portray the Disney princess. The captivating trailer has made a huge splash on social media with so many little black girls completely astonished and filled with glee and emotion as they see someone who looks like them.

Parents have shared their daughters’ reactions to the trailer on TikTok and Twitter and the videos are so heartwarming and touching that they will bring you to tears! One little girl was so mesmerized, that she said with excitement, “Mommy! She’s brown like me!”

The line, “Out of the sea, wish I could be, part of that world…” now takes on a whole new meaning. No more wishing to be seen as part of this world! Instead, this inspiring new version of Ariel has become a beautiful reality for so many little black girls globally. “The Little Mermaid” hits theaters in 2023.

Lisa LaFlamme Returns to Report the News in the Aftermath of the CTV Controversy

Beloved Canadian journalist Lisa LaFlamme is back in business! Recently, she landed a new gig at CityNews as a special correspondent and covered the death of Queen Elizabeth II in the UK. After her 35-year tenure as a former chief news anchor and senior editor for CTV News, she was “blindsided” and let go from the station, which sparked major controversy. There have been a lot of allegations of ageism and sexism swirling around her unexpected departure.

The 58-year-old, who was also previously a national affairs correspondent, is known for proudly sporting her beautiful gray locks. She decided to ditch coloring her hair during the pandemic and went all-natural. This allegedly didn’t settle well with the head of CTV News, Michael Melling, who allegedly raised questions about LaFlamme’s hair.

At a meeting, Melling allegedly asked who approved the decision to “let Lisa’s hair go grey,” which was allegedly reported from a senior CTV official who was in the room. Social media has been ablaze with support for LaFlamme.

First Female Palestinian Beer Brewer Thrives in a Male-Dominated, Occupied, Arab Country

Meet the first female Palestinian brewer, Madees Khoury, who heads the internationally-acclaimed Taybeh brewery in the small Christian village of Taybeh in the West Bank. Beer-making has been a legacy in her family. Since she was 9 years old, Khoury has been surrounded by giant vats and the smell of fermentation. Her father and uncle built the business as she went to college in Boston.

Upon her return in 2007, the craft of beer-making seeped into her soul and now she’s at the helm. Running this type of business in a male-dominated, Arab country that’s also occupied and under Israel’s military rule hasn’t been easy. Plus, there are ‘water shortages, no borders, and transportation is difficult,’ she adds.

With only nine Christian towns and villages on the West Bank, the Khourys have to sell their beer overseas, given that alcohol consumption is prohibited in Islam. Yet, the brand has been embraced globally – from Japan to the US with a production of around 1.8 million bottles annually and a successful authentic Palestinian Octoberfest that draws 16,000 attendees!

Scotland Becomes the First Country in the World to Offer Free Period Products

Scotland has become the first country in the world to make period products free for everyone. With the passing of the Period Products Act, local authorities now have a legal obligation to provide free items, such as tampons and sanitary pads to “anyone who needs them.” Councils and education providers will distribute free tampons and sanitary pads.

Period dignity campaigners,” grassroots movements, and politicians came together to set this game-changing precedent. With the ongoing cost of living crisis, “period poverty” is on the rise. This is when low-income women can’t afford or access suitable period products. According to Georgie Nicholson, of social enterprise Hey Girls, a lot of mothers have to sacrifice period protection so they can feed their children. Some even have to resort to “newspaper stuffed into socks or bread…because they’re cheaper than period products.”

With the spotlight on the US, given the US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade and concerns surrounding the distribution of contraception, this new law supporting women in Scotland is a breath of fresh air!