Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was invited to become the ninth honorary member in 2010 under the leadership of 14th National President Gwendolyn B. Lee and was inducted in 2013 under the leadership of 15th National President Margot James Copeland.
In 2005, Sirleaf became the first female elected head of state in Africa. While schooled in the United States, she returned home to her native Liberia to serve her government. Because of a military coup she was forced into exile, but returned to speak against the brutality and destruction of the military regime.
The majority of her adult life, Sirleaf has fought against injustice. She served as an assistant minister of Finance to Liberia’s President William Tolbert, who was overthrown and killed by Samuel Doe, a military leader. When speaking out against Doe, Sirleaf was sentenced to 10 years in prison. After serving a partial sentence, she eventually moved to Washington, D. C.
Although forced to leave her country again, she returned, winning the presidency and in 2011 a Nobel Peace Prize for the separate efforts she and two other African women did “for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.
Condoleezza Rice became the 10th honorary member of The Links, Incorporated in 2013, under the leadership of 15th National President Margot James Copeland. Rice was the first African American and woman to hold the position and become the 66th Secretary of State for the United States.
In 2001, Rice was appointed national security adviser by President George W. Bush, becoming the first black woman (and second woman) to hold the post, and went on to become the first Black woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State.
Rice became the first woman and first African American to serve as provost of Stanford University.
In her role as Secretary of State, Rice relocated American diplomats to such hardship locations as Iraq, Afghanistan and Angola, and required them to become fluent in two foreign languages. She also created a high-level position to de-fragment U.S. foreign aid, raising the bar for performance and perfection.
Not only has Rice served as a government official, she is also an educator and author. In September 2010, she became a faculty member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a director of its Global Center for Business. She is the author of several books to include, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995) with Philip Zelikow, The Gorbachev Era (1986) with Alexander Dallin, and Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army (1984).
Rice resides in Palo Alto, Cali.
In 2018, Kamala Harris became the 11th honorary member of The Links, Incorporated under the leadership of 16th National President Glenda Newell-Harris, M.D. Harris is the second African American woman and first South Asian American senator in history
Harris has spent her life fighting injustice. After earning an undergraduate degree from Howard University and a law degree from the University of California, Hastings, Harris began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
In 2003, Harris became the district attorney of the City and County of San Francisco. Among her achievements as District Attorney, Harris started a program that gives first-time drug offenders the chance to earn a high school diploma and find employment.
Having completed two terms as the district attorney of San Francisco, Kamala was elected as the first African American and first woman to serve as California’s attorney general.
In the United States Senate, Harris’ mission remains unchanged: fighting for the rights of all communities in California. Since taking office, she has introduced and cosponsored legislation to raise wages for working people, reform our broken criminal justice system, make healthcare a right for all Americans, address the epidemic of substance abuse, support veterans and military families, and expand access to childcare for working parents.
In 2022, Misty Copeland became the 12th honorary member of The Links, Incorporated under the leadership og 17th National President Kimberly Jefrries Leonard, Ph.D. Copeland made history becoming a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, the first African American woman to be promoted to the position in the company’s 75-year history. She is an author and a philanthropist.
She has performed some of the most iconic classical ballet roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake; Juliet in Romeo & Juliet; Giselle; Manon; Coppelia; Kitri in Don Quixote; and Firebird, to name a few.
Copeland is an avid philanthropist and is an ambassador of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, of which is also an alum, and MindLeaps, an arts education program based in Rwanda that helps young people get off the streets and into an academic setting to help enhance their lives. She leads The Misty Copeland Foundation Inc. – a program introducing children to ballet and all the life benefits that come from engaging in dance.
Copeland is the bestselling author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Life In Motion; an award-winning children’s picture book titled Firebird; a New York Times bestselling lifestyle book titled Ballerina Body; and the New York Times bestselling children’s picture book, Bunheads. Her newest book, Black Ballerinas: My Journey To Our Legacy, was published in fall 2021.