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79 years in the making, Disney introduces its first Latina princess.

She's adventurous. She's independent. She's a new type of princess.

Meet Elena of Avalor. She's the newest Disney princess, but that's not what makes her special. She's also making history as their first-ever Latina princess, and audiences couldn't be happier.

It's been almost 80 years since Walt Disney released his first full-length animated film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," in 1937, but not a single princess of Latin descent has taken center stage until now.

Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. with 55 million people, and that number is growing. Elena is already making a difference by highlighting just some of the things Latino culture has to offer.


Princess Elena of Avalor. ©Disney Channel.

Elena is no damsel in distress or the type to sit around waiting for Prince Charming, either. In fact, her storyline does not include a love interest.

The story follows 16-year-old Elena, who's been trapped in an amulet but has returned to rule her kingdom of Avalor and restore it to greatness. Because she's still so young, she needs advice from the Grand Council: grandfather Francisco, grandmother Luisa, and adviser Chancellor Esteban.

©Disney Channel.

We're so used to seeing princesses like Aurora lying lifeless on a bed waiting for her prince to bring her back to life with a kiss. Or Cinderella being whisked away to the ball with a beautiful gown on loan to impress the man who will ultimately save her from a life of servitude.

Don't get me wrong. We all love a good Disney movie, and their past films are truly classics — there's no denying that. But it's a new era.

Aimee Carrero, who voices the character of Elena, told ABC News, "I think that as women, whatever ethnicity, we want a balance of everything. But I think this message when it goes out to a young audience, it’s like, find yourself first, before trying to find a partner. Find your passion. Find out where your place in the world is.”

Here are some tweets celebrating the arrival of Elena of Avalor in her new Disney TV series.




Actress Roselyn Sánchez is also a fan.


Another voice actor in the series, Christian Lanz, also weighed in on the new and exciting angle of "Elena de Avalor":


And he has a little fun with the character he voices:


Even the show's creator and executive producer, Craig Gerber, is getting in on all the social media hype by tweeting out teasers for what's to come.


And have I mentioned the music? It plays a huge role in the series, as well. Each episode introduces a new original song, and audiences are loving them.


This tweet really sums it all up.


"Elena de Avalor" premiered on the Disney Channel on July 22, and 2.2 million viewers tuned it to watch.

It's not just kids excited about this new animated series, either. Adults are digging it, too. They're excited to see Latino culture celebrated, and Latino parents are overjoyed to see their children finally represented on such a massive platform like Disney.

©Disney Channel.

"It is important for children to see empowered, positive role models on television, and that's why we wanted to introduce Elena," show creator Gerber told Upworthy.

He said it's been amazing to see how Elena and her adventures are inspiring young girls and boys of all backgrounds.

Gerber also created "Sofia the First," who was initially thought to be the first Latina princess, but she wasn't. The backlash from that confusion gave Gerber the idea to create Elena's story because he saw the demand for a Latina princess.

It's a cause for celebration that Disney finally took note that Latino children also want and need to see themselves represented in movies and television — and did something about it.

Kudos to Disney for green-lighting this series and giving kids who didn't see themselves represented in their movies and shows in the past — like yours truly — a reason to keep tuning in.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

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Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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