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5 reasons to close Guantanamo Bay and a 4-step plan to get there.

President Obama addressed the nation about closing Guantanamo Bay.

5 reasons to close Guantanamo Bay and a 4-step plan to get there.

It's been seven years, one month, and one day since President Barack Obama ordered the closing of Guantanamo Bay.

The executive order was one of the very first things he did upon arrival in office, signing it on Jan. 22, 2009. All these years later, though, and the detention center in Cuba remains very much open. Why? Congress has repeatedly voted to keep the facility open, not transfer its inmates elsewhere, and other moves designed to stall.

For years, the facility has remained home to suspected terrorists, though many were never so much as charged with a crime. It's an end-around in our judicial system — which, as the president has noted on multiple occasions, has a pretty solid track record when it comes to convicting terrorists — and a recruiting tool for our country's enemies.


Still, it remains open.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

Nearing the end of his second term, the president isn't ready to give up on his goal of closing the facility. And so today, he addressed the American people, outlining a clear plan to shut it down.

The four-part plan involves everything from working with other countries to working with Congress. The whole thing — in all its details — can be found on the Department of Defense website.

GIFs from The White House/YouTube.

There's simply no reason to keep it open, and closing it should be a bipartisan goal.

And the president outlined five reasons we need to close it now.

1. It's not effective.

2. Its existence has been used as a terrorist recruiting tool.

3. It's expensive.

4. In the past, Republicans have supported its closure.

5. We pride ourselves on being a free and just society. This doesn't reflect that.

"This is about closing a chapter in our history. It reflects the lessons we've learned since 9/11," Obama said.

Keeping people held without charges at Guantanamo Bay does not keep us any safer than trying them in federal court. What it does, however, is stain our country's legacy.

It's time to move past that.

You can watch the president's complete remarks below.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.