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Lisa Raymond-Tolan spent much of Election Night, and the week that followed, frozen.

Still reeling from her election-induced catatonia, Raymond-Tolan, an occupational therapist from Brooklyn, began noticing posts from friends on Facebook urging people to call their local elected officials. There were Trump's proposed appointments to oppose, the Electoral College to lobby, investigations into Russian election interference to demand. It was overwhelming at first, and scary, but she willed herself to pick up the phone.

"I was so nervous. My heart was pounding. I have real phone anxiety. But I had to call them and complain about X, Y, and Z. And so I started doing it," Raymond-Tolan says.


Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn — where Raymond-Tolan attended her first community meeting. Photo by David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons.

The next step was a meeting at a local synagogue, where she joined a working group. That working group eventually became Indivisible Brooklyn, a committee of about a dozen local activists, which Raymond-Tolan helps coordinate and whose Twitter feed she runs.

Like many Americans, Raymond-Tolan had engaged in precisely zero kinds of activism before Nov. 8, 2016.

Since then, she's been placing calls to elected officials around the clock, juggling a now-busy phone and organizing schedule with a full-time job and her role as a parent of two boys. As a first-time activist, she understands the fear — and inertia — of getting started.

Photo by Lisa Raymond-Tolan.

"I was deeply apathetic. I’m only one person, and all these other people are doing these things, so I don’t need to. I was that person just a few months ago, so I definitely understand it," she says.

For the many Americans wondering what to do next, Raymond-Tolan's advice — from a fellow novice who's taken the leap — is an invaluable guide.

Here's what she suggests for anyone looking to make their voice heard, but who isn't quite sure where to start.

1. Remember: You're not responsible for changing everything overnight immediately on your own, so just focus on what you can do.

Raymond-Tolan (L) at a tabling event in Brooklyn. Photo by Lisa Raymond-Tolan.

The key to surmounting the notion that there's just too much to do and overcome? She suggests picking one activity, even if it's small, and adding it to your daily routine.

"I want people to make a phone call every day," she says. "And I think that’s doable. Take one thing and just make that phone call. It’s your daily practice. If you meditate, you do yoga, you exercise, you make a phone call."

2. Start with the thing you care most about.

"Do you care about education? There’s plenty of phone calls to make about Betsy DeVos. Do you care about the Affordable Care Act?"

Photo by Lisa Raymond-Tolan.

Raymond-Tolan's group bases much of its strategy on the Indivisible Guide, a document on how to apply Tea Party tactics to anti-Trump resistance, compiled by four former congressional staffers. Among it's main conclusions? Resistance begins at home.

"You want to be focusing on your local representatives," she says. Out-of-state elected officials don't care much about people who won't affect their re-election.

3. When you get your elected representatives on the phone, remember that you are the one holding the cards.

"These people work for us, so if you think of yourself as the boss, you can call them up and tell them what you think and what you expect from them," she says.

For those who are still intimidated to dial a U.S. government office, realizing that you'll likely be speaking to a 22-year-old intern certainly doesn't hurt either.

4. Don't underestimate the stress-relieving power of bothering congressmen.

"You can call Paul Ryan! You can do that and tell him what you think. Does it matter because you’re not his constituent? Probably not. Does it feel good? Absolutely."

Photo by Lisa Raymond-Tolan.

Early on, Raymond-Tolan called the office of outgoing Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis — a Republican former member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform — to demand investigation into then-President-elect Trump's conflicts of interest. She expected to reach an intern, only to wind up on the phone with the congresswoman's chief of staff. They wound up speaking for 45 minutes — debating their political philosophies and getting to know one another personally.

"I still email with him from time to time," she says.

5. But, seriously, do the work — because it's not that hard.

"My grandfather, he was always really big on voting," Raymond-Tolan recalls. "He always said, 'If you don’t vote, you can’t bitch.' So if you want to complain about something, but you didn’t make any phone calls, you really shouldn’t complain."

Photo by Lisa Raymond-Tolan.

For three months now, she's been heeding his advice. With a little nudge, she thinks many more — including you — can too.

"If I can inspire one person to do one thing, that feels like a win to me," she says. "So let’s make some phone calls."

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

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.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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