5 important things every young woman should remember in the wake of the election.

After this divisive election, I want to take a moment to speak directly to young women in this country. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry we failed you. I’m sorry you have woken up to a reality where you believe not only can a woman not be president, but in place of a competent professional woman, we’ve selected a man who treats women badly and speaks about women in such a degrading manner. We as a country have sent you a terrible message, and I want to apologize for that.

You are beautiful.

Despite what you’ve heard, you are not defined by a number on a 1–10 scale. Beauty is not defined only as a Barbie doll with a certain breast size, five-inch pumps, and perfect hair — although that’s what you will be led to believe by the comments he has made and the choices he has made in his personal life. I assure you that is not the case.


Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and colors. If the magazines you’re reading tell you any different, stop buying them. If the fashion brands you’re wearing tell you any different, stop buying them.

It is not OK for someone to grab you. Ever.

That hand that slips into the back of your cocktail dress at an event. That hand on your thigh at the bar. That boy who pulls your pants down in gym class as a joke. That boy who rips your shirt off in school as a joke. That guy on the street who puts his hand on your shoulder and tells you to smile. That guy on the train who pretends it’s just crowded. None of it is OK. And don’t let anyone tell you any different.

You are not defined by your relationship to a man.

It is disappointing that the only real woman presidential candidate our country could stomach was launched into the political sphere through her husband. For some reason, too many people in this country still feel “It’s OK, as long as he’ll be there with her calling the shots.” We need to redefine that. First lady cannot and should not be the only plausible path to the White House.

Be smart. Be a badass.

The questions should be: What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to do? Not what you want to look like, what size you want to be, what bag you want to own, who you want to marry.

What do you want to do?

If you’re smarter than the boys, be smarter than them. Don’t dumb yourself down to not intimidate them. If you can kick their ass in sports, do it. Don’t worry about being feminine or girly or worry about whether a boy will like you. Do what you love. Be who you are. And don’t apologize.

Make it rain glass.

We’ve done it wrong. We’ve walked it off too many times. We’ve awkwardly giggled when dealing with harassment in the workplace because we’ve thought that anything else would leave us out of the conversation.

We’ve been timid. We’ve tiptoed. We’ve played the game. No more.

I said during the third debate there was a moment I felt it and could see in Hillary’s eyes 30 years of biting her tongue, of being held to a different level of scrutiny, of that constant anxiety of not getting too loud or too emotional lest you be branded a bitch, or aggressive. I saw that feeling of being a woman in a man’s world.

My favorite post this week was from a woman who said she was catcalled on her way to vote. Her response: “Grab your umbrellas, boys. It’s about to rain glass.”

Just because Hillary did not win does not mean we need to lose that feeling, that bravado, that fearlessness.

Do not back down now. Make it rain glass. Mothers, tell your daughters. Be an example. Make it rain, little girls. We are deflated​ but not defeated. Instead, it’s time to make it rain.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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