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In President Donald Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress, he doubled down on many of his hard-line promises on immigration.

In the hourlong address, the president discussed the creation of a southern border wall and boasted about his administration's revved-up approach to deporting undocumented immigrants. He unveiled plans for a new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office and brought with him as guests people who lost family members to violence committed by undocumented immigrants.

Though many have praised Trump's more presidential tone of voice, the policies laid out in his speech are the same ones he's touted since the start of his campaign. As Bloomberg's Joshua Green reported, a senior White House official described Trump's speech as "nationalism with an indoor voice."


Trump delivering his first address to a joint session of Congress. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/AFP/Getty Images.

It's Trump's harsh and demonizing stance on immigration that made Astrid Silva's Spanish-language response to Trump's address — delivered on behalf of the Democratic party — so important.

Silva was brought to the United States at age 4. A beneficiary of President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age to stay as long as they meet certain criteria, Silva's own immigration status remains up in the air under Trump. She, like more than 750,000 other DACA recipients, faces an uncertain future that includes the possibility of being deported back to a country she's never known.

Silva speaking at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

On Tuesday night, Silva pushed back on Trump's rhetoric, making the case for immigrants like herself:

1. We can't let Trump divide us with incendiary language.

"The United States is not a country guided by hatred, fear and division as [Trump] makes it look like," Silva argued in a version of her speech translated to English by the The Washington Post. "Our country is guided by respect, hard work, sacrifice, opportunities and hope. In this country, there is no place for discrimination, racial prejudice or persecution."

Silva speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Silva called Trump's speech "divisive," saying, "its goal is to cause fear and terror in communities across the country," and she argues that those goals are at odds with American values.

2. Nor should we be spending billions of dollars building walls and funding deportation forces.

"He is spending resources to transform working families into targets for deportation," said Silva. "He wants to spend thousands of millions of dollars to build an unnecessary wall. And he is seeking ways to deny entry to our Muslim brothers and sisters."

Silva introduces Obama during a November 2014 speech on immigration. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

In February, Reuters reported that Trump's border wall will cost an estimated $21.6 billion. Trump also promised to hire 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and 5,000 Border Patrol agents. The fact remains, however, that the number of people trying to cross the U.S. border illegally is at a near-40-year low. Putting resources into ICE, Border Patrol, and an expensive wall seems unwarranted.

3. The answer to undocumented immigration — which is an issue that needs to be addressed — is comprehensive immigration reform, not mass deportations.

"Instead of separating families, President Trump should pass a sweeping reform that would honor this country’s tradition of welcoming immigrants," said Silva. "Instead of closing the door on Muslims and insulting countries around the world, President Trump should work with our allies to fight and defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups and seek peace."

Silva speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

4. We need to take action on climate change for the sake of the world.

"We Latinos suffer from asthma more than other groups. The condition of the environment is key for our well-being. Instead of repealing the health care law, which gave health insurance to millions of Latinos, Trump and the Republicans should improve it so that the program can cover more people and be less expensive."

Obama hugs Silva after mentioning her by name in a November 2014 speech. Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

Whether you're in the U.S. or anywhere else on Earth, climate change will affect us all. That's why no matter Trump's action on immigration, it's important that he does something about climate change, something he's previously called a "hoax."

5. And finally, Silva reiterated, we need to stand up for each other, even when issues don't directly affect us.

"We are living in times of uncertainty, completely outside of the ordinary, in which the administration is constantly questioning the news media and actively tries to destroy its credibility," said Silva. "We can’t allow those actions to become normal. It demands that those of us who understand the risk for women, for the LGBT community, for our environment, for the workers, immigrants, young people and refugees, work together to protect our communities from deportations, violence and discrimination."

Silva speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images.

It's on all of us to side with undocumented immigrants to push for a path to citizenship, to support LGBTQ rights, to combat racism, to fight Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, to ensure access to health care, and to protect our social safety nets. We need to show up for one another.

Immigrants make America great. Silva is living proof of that.

"We immigrants and refugees are the soul and the promise of this country and we are not alone," she said.

You can watch her response below in Spanish or read the English translation here.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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