After-Action Report: RVM #15 with Janie Mines

This week’s speaker was Janie Mines (USNA ’80). Janie’s was the first Naval Academy class to admit women, and Janie was the only African American woman in her class: a double first, at a time when “retention” had not yet entered the Naval Academy vocabulary and “harassment” was the traditional method of attrition.

Janie had about as difficult an experience at the Naval Academy as one might imagine, and certainly graduates have expressed bitterness over less. But across a lifetime of faith and service, Janie Mines has chosen a different path. We who had the good fortune to share some time with Janie last week came away uplifted, inspired, and more than a little bit schooled by her message of patient tenacity and her ability to put a positive frame around even the most abusive treatment.

This video is a great example of Janie’s teaching. In it, Janie describes a difficult conversation that began with racism learned at a mother’s knee and ended in friendship. More importantly, she explains WHY such conversations are important: because grace, like hatred, is contagious.

Grace, just like hatred, is contagious.

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