She throws like a girl — which is to say, she throws better than most of her peers, nearly all of whom are men.

Davis, a 13-year-old Little League pitcher, threw a complete shutout Sunday to advance her team, the Taney Dragons of Philadelphia, to the Little League World Series. To get there, Davis allowed just three hits in six innings, hurling 70 mph fastballs and curveballs you have to see to believe:

Only 16 girls have played in the Little League World Series in the past 67 years, league spokesman Brian McClintock told the Associated Press. Davis said there wasn’t much of a difference between playing boys and girls: “We’re playing the same game,” she told the AP last week.

Earlier this month, Philadelphia Magazine called Davis “the heart and soul of the team” complete with “long, flowing braids that cover the surname and numbers on the back of her uniform.”

"She has incredible leadership, and you can’t shake her; she’s unflappable," Davis’ coach, Alex Rice, told ESPN. "Hit a home run off her and she’ll just give a little smile and get back to work. She doesn’t get rattled."

Davis, whose walk-up song is Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” — the chorus of which asks, “Who run the world?” then answers, “Girls!” — isn’t a fan of all the extra attention, but that isn’t stopping her from pursuing her dreams.

"No matter who you are, you should be able to do what you like to do and what you’ve always dreamed of doing," she told ESPN.

The Little League World Series starts Thursday with a game in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

S. Epatha Merkerson
Actress, Activist, Cancer advocate

S. Epatha Merkerson (born Sharon Epatha Merkerson; November 28, 1952) is an American film, stage, and television actress. She has won a Golden Globe, an Emmy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, an Obie Award and four NAACP Image Awards. She has also received two Tony Award nominations. She is best known for her role as NYPD Lieutenant Anita Van Buren from 1993 to 2010 on the long-running NBC police procedural drama series, Law & Order. She appeared in 391 episodes of the series—more than any other cast member.

In 2012, Merkerson became the host of Find Our Missing, a reality-reenactment series on TV One which profiles missing people of color.

Merkerson, the youngest of five children, was born in Saginaw, Michigan. Her mother, Ann, was, at the time, the only female in the vehicles operation unit at the Detroit Post Office. Her father worked in a factory. Merkerson’s parents separated in 1957.

Merkerson has often been reticent about revealing what her first name really was (Sharon). On the June 11, 2005 episode of NPR’s Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, she jokingly claimed that the initial “S,” “stands for ‘Sweet’ [because] so many people have difficulty with Epatha, which is what I prefer to be called”. She has legally changed her first name to S. During a segment on the January 31, 2012 episode of The Wendy Williams Show, when questioned about the origin of her name, Merkerson shared that “Epatha” was the name of “a grade-school teacher who was influential in keeping [her father] in school.” She further went on to clarify that she prefers to be addressed as “Epatha” as opposed to “S. Epatha.”

Merkerson graduated from Cooley High School in 1970. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Wayne State University and began her New York theater career in 1978. She was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Wayne State University in May 2009.

Merkerson made her television debut as Reba the Mail Lady on Pee-wee’s Playhouse. “It was one of those wild things where I went to audition. And I thought I was funny and the person I auditioned for didn’t, and so I had blown the job and I guess weeks later they got new casting people,” Merkerson said on the NPR program, Tell Me More. “I didn’t know who Pee-wee Herman was, so if, you know, for fans of the show, if they watch like the first episode that I ever did, I think it was a big party and he just kept making me laugh because I had never seen the character before. And the director was angry and he was like how can we get through this scene? And I said I have to look at the plate. So the entire [time] he’s serving hors d’oeuvres, I’m looking at the plate, and we’re still good buddies. He still, to this day, knows how to make me laugh like no one else, Paul Reubens”. Merkerson has also appeared on The Cosby Show, among other series.

She appeared in the first-season Law & Order episode “Mushrooms,” in which she portrayed the grief-stricken mother of an 11-month-old boy who is shot accidentally. Her performance impressed the producers enough to select Merkerson to replace Dann Florek as detective squad chief in the series’ fourth season.

Merkerson was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance as Berniece in August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play, The Piano Lesson and won an Obie Award in 1992 for her work in I’m Not Stupid. Her screen credits include Jacob’s Ladder, Loose Cannons, She’s Gotta Have It and in James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, in which she played the terrified wife of Joe Morton. In 2006, she won Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild awards for her performance in the television movie Lackawanna Blues, her first starring role. In 2007, she starred on stage in Los Angeles in William Inge’s Come Back, Little Sheba at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in the role made famous by Shirley Booth, and in January 2008 opened on Broadway in the production. For the revival of Come Back, Little Sheba, Merkerson earned her second Tony nomination.

In November 2007, Merkerson appeared in a television commercial for Coricidin HBP. Merkerson also appears in a series of commercials for Uni-Ball pens, directed by Emmy nominee Brent Roske, and in an American Express/NBC Universal ad for the Shine the Light program, in which she speaks highly of a restaurant not far from her then home in Harlem.

On April 1, 2010, it was confirmed that after 17 seasons, Merkerson would leave Law & Order at the end of the show’s twentieth season. Her departure from Law & Order, which aired on May 24, 2010, was also the show’s final episode. In total, Merkerson had appeared on the series for 16 consecutive seasons (391 episodes)—longer than any other actor associated with the program. Merkerson’s character is also the longest-running, African-American character in the history of television.

In 2012, Merkerson became the host of the show Find Our Missing which highlights the search for missing people of color. It is designed to put names and faces to people of color who have disappeared without a trace. Each episode tells the story of the missing person or persons, beginning with the day they vanished and the frantic searches by loved ones and investigators to find them. Find Our Missing provides insight into these victims’ lives–their hopes and dreams, what makes them tick, and how they have touched those around them—from the people who know them best. The episodes chronicle the investigations into their disappearances, and why the search for them so far has only turned up dead ends.

Merkerson also appeared in Steven Spielberg’s 2012 film Lincoln as Lydia Hamilton Smith, housekeeper to Congressman Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones).

Merkerson was formerly married to Toussaint L. Jones. She lives in the Washington Heights section of New York City. Her brother, Barrie Merkerson, currently works as an attorney for the city of Detroit.

Merkerson is an outspoken advocate against smoking and for lung cancer research and awareness. When she guest-hosted on The View on March 2, 2007, she discussed her 23-year addiction to cigarettes, which ended in the early ’90s after she woke up one morning unable to breathe. Until May 2007, she sat on the Board of Directors of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

She teaches acting at City College of New York.

For her role as Van Buren on Law & Order, she wore a wig. Her real hair is made up in short locks. Merkerson decided to wear a wig for the role to look more “professional”.

In December 2008, Merkerson was sued for $222,908.40 by the Gersh Agency, a talent agency which claimed that they had an oral agreement with Merkerson to represent her at a rate of 10% commission.

“There is a feeling a lot of black students share, which is that even though you got a letter of acceptance, you’re never fully accepted on this campus,” Matsuda-Lawrence said.

She added that throughout her 40 interviews, she hardly ever mentioned the affirmative action article, yet almost every person brought it up. “That’s the effect it had on our campus,” she said.

“The administration was silent on the issue,” Matsuda-Lawrence said. “They did not come to the aid of students of color on campus, and the voices of black students were not heard in the affirmative action debate.”

Dr. Rev. Phil Valentine
Doctor, Thinker, Historian

Phillip Valentine HsD, ND, MpD
Hygienic Scientist; Naturopath; Metaphysician; Clinical Hypnotherapist; Polymath, Lecturer; Free-Thinker…

Dr Valentine is the founder, director and pastor of the Temple of the Healing Spirit; Self-Healing Education Center, The Institute for Self‑Master; and just recently, The University of Kemetian Sciences. A certified member of the International Association of Counselors and Therapists (I.A.C.T.), he received his doctorate in Hygienic Health Science and Classical Naturopathy from The Life Science Institute of Texas, now merged to the Fit for Life Sciences Institute-College of Natural Health in Canada. A former member of the American Natural Hygienic Society, Valentine is currently a hygienic science and metaphysical health consultant to doctors and lay practitioners as far away as Azania (South Africa), Canada, Trinidad, Jamaica, England, Ghana, Japan and the Philippines.

For five (5) years, Dr. Valentine served as co‑director of the Heal Thyself Natural Living Education Center in Brooklyn and helped create, format, refine and teach the 21-Day Therapeutic Fasting/Juice Feasting Program — the first of its kind to become widely popular with New York’s African American community. He also inspired, co-created and helped develop the now popular “Sacred Woman” philosophy—protocols of life, health and metaphysical well-being for women, which led to the publishing of a wonderful book by the same name.

Dr. Valentine established the former School of Arcane Sciences for advanced studies in metaphysics and the occult, and is best known for his ability to decipher and teach the subtlest principles of metaphysics and its application to health, healing, and everyday life, in ways that may be understood by both the advanced student and the beginner-apprentice.

Brother/Reverend/Doctor Phillip Valentine (aka Senu Djhuti Akhu Ra M·Htp El and ‘Baba Senu’), has been an honorary guest speaker to the United Nations by invitation of the then Pan-African Congress of Azania (South Africa), where he spoke on the future of health for Africans at home and in the Diaspora. He was a committee member and advisor to the Pan‑African Review for Scientific Research and Political Studies, where he served as an honorary health consultant to its membership.

The Williams Sisters
Professional Tennis Players

Venus Williams and Serena Williams are two professional American tennis players: Venus Williams (b. 1980), a seven-time Grand Slam title winner (singles), and Serena Williams (b. 1981), seventeen-time Grand Slam title winner (singles), both of whom were coached from an early age by their parents Richard Williams and Oracene Price. There is a noted professional rivalry between them – between the 2001 US Open and the 2009 Wimbledon tournaments, they have met in eight Grand Slam singles finals. They remain very close, often watching each other’s matches in support, even after one of them has been knocked out of a tournament.

Both sisters have had the honor of being ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association at the World No. 1 position. In 2002, after the French Open, Venus Williams and Serena Williams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. During the 2010 French Open, they became the co-world no.1 players in women’s doubles, in addition to holding the top two positions in singles tennis as well.

Both players have won four gold medals at the Summer Olympics Games, one each in singles and three in doubles – which all they won together, the most of any tennis players. As a duo, they have also completed the Career Golden Slam in doubles.

The play is part of the school’s 16th Annual Dr. Walter J. Leonard Black Arts Festival, sponsored by the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College, as well as a number of other institutional organizations.

The “I, Too, Am Harvard” team has invited a number of professors and administrators to the performance, and hopes they will help work to affect change on campus.

Misty Copeland
Ballerina

Misty Copeland (born September 10, 1982) is an American ballet dancer, described by many accounts as the first African-American female soloist for the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States (along with New York City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet). However, Anne Benna Sims and Nora Kimball, who were with the ABT in the early and mid-1980s respectively, preceded her. In this role as the third African-American soloist and first in two decades with ABT, she has endured the cultural pressure associated with it.

Copeland is considered a prodigy who rose to stardom despite not starting ballet until the age of 13. By the time she was aged 15, a battle over custody of her was being fought between her mother and her ballet teachers, who were serving as Copeland’s custodial guardians. Meanwhile, Copeland, who was already an award-winning dancer, was fielding professional offers. The 1998 legal proceedings involved filings for emancipation by Copeland and restraining orders by her mother. Both sides dropped legal proceedings, and Copeland moved home to begin studying under a new teacher who was a former ABT member.

Copeland was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and raised in the San Pedro community of Los Angeles, California. She is of African-American. Copeland is the youngest of four children.

The media first noticed Copeland when she drew 2,000 patrons per show as she performed as Clara in the The Nutcracker after only eight months of study. A larger role in Don Quixote and a featured role in The Chocolate Nutcracker, an African-American version of the tale that was narrated by Debbie Allen, soon followed.

Copeland studied at the San Francisco Ballet School after winning the Spotlight award. While training with Bradley she selected the workshop with the San Francisco Ballet over offers from the Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem and three other companies.

As a student, Copeland had a 3.8/4.0 GPA through her junior year of high school.

Matsuda-Lawrence said the goal of the “I, Too, Am Harvard” campaign is for the Harvard administrators to take note of the movement and address it directly.

“Our biggest demand would be for the president and administration to issue a public statement in response to the affirmation action article to support students of color, and say why they value diversity on campus.”

Tia Norfleet
Nascar Driver

Shauntia Latrice “Tia” Norfleet (born May 1, 1986 in Suffolk, Virginia) is an African-American drag racing and stock car racing driver. The daughter of NASCAR driver Bobby Norfleet, she has competed on a limited basis in late model racing.

Born in Suffolk, Virginia in 1986, Norfleet’s interest in racing began at the age of 7, when her father, NASCAR driver Bobby Norfleet, doubled the battery power of a Hot Wheels Barbie car to increase its speed.

Norfleet’s racing career began at age 14, when she began competing in kart racing events; she went on to a successful career in drag racing at the local and regional level, where she won 37 of 52 events she competed in.

In 2000 Norfleet switched to entry level spec racing competing in Bandolero cars, then moving to late model stock car racing on short tracks starting with the 2004 racing season; she became the first female African-American driver to acquire a NASCAR Late Model Series racing license.

Norfleet competed in local late model events at tracks near her Augusta, Georgia home, starting her Late Model career in 2004. She planned to compete in NASCAR national touring series competition starting in the summer of 2012 and is operating a grassroots funding initiative to finance her racing career; however she did not make it to the track in a major series in 2012.

Tony West
Associate Attorney General

Derek Anthony “Tony” West (born August 12, 1965) is an American lawyer who currently serves as the Associate Attorney General of the United States, the third highest-ranking official in the United States Department of Justice. He was previously the Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice Civil Division.

Tony West was born in San Francisco, California, to parents Franklin and Peggy West. His father, the first person in his family to attend college, was born and raised in Georgia and worked for IBM; while his mother, who was a teacher, was born and raised in Alabama. West was raised in San Jose, California, where he lived with his two younger sisters; Pamela and Patricia. He attended Bellarmine College Preparatory, a Catholic, all-male, private secondary school, where he served as freshman class president, before graduating in 1983.

West received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in 1987, where he served as the Publisher of the Harvard Political Review. He received his Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School in 1992, where he served as the President of the Stanford Law Review.

West is married to Maya Harris, the current Vice President of the Ford Foundation in New York City. His sister-in-law is current Attorney General of California Kamala Harris.

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