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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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9 people died because of racism, and my heart ached. Then I found this video and found hope.

"Show us your glory, speak to us now."

What happened in South Carolina felt way too personal.

When I heard that a racist gunman entered Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston during a small group Bible study on June 17 and killed nine people, my body went cold.



Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

I have spent countless Wednesday nights in the chairs of a small black church, surrounded by 15 or so people — just like them.

Usually that bunch includes a handful of the church's older women, or "church mothers" as we call them. There will be one, maybe two people in their 20s who are holding down the fort for "the next generation."

Then there's the pastor, the associate pastors and deacons, and a few children fidgeting somewhat quietly on a chair next to their mother, grandmother, or auntie who brought them out after a hurried dinner, the only reason for them to ever be out on a school night.

I can imagine how a visitor could come in and sit down and be included in the group without question.

We would offer him a Bible and a seat of his choosing, as there would undoubtedly be many empty to pick from. I could imagine how, despite him not fitting in and potentially being a bit distracting, people would try to engage him in the prayer and discussion because that is what we do: welcome the stranger with love.

Congregants hold hands during a prayer vigil for the nine victims killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

So when I heard about what happened in South Carolina, I felt in my gut the terror and horror that must have ensued when said stranger turned out to be a gunman on a mission to eradicate people who share my skin color.

It all felt so familiar.

I didn't think my heart could feel any more deeply for Mother Emanuel, for the lives lost, for the loved ones left behind, for my people, and for our country...

Then I was forwarded this video from the church service at Mother Emanuel that took place just three days before the shooting.

It isn't the greatest quality (though the audio does get a bit better at 0:18), but for some reason, I couldn't stop watching it:

You see, last Sunday, Mother Emanuel celebrated Children's Sunday.

Children's Sunday in many churches is a day where the church honors its young people by both speaking directly to them and handing over the reigns and allowing them to showcase their gifts and talents during the service.

Here, the girls were dancing to a song by gospel artist Tamela Mann called "Lord We Are Waiting." The lyrics to the chorus are:

"Here in this place, we humbly bow
Our hearts are waiting, speak to us now
There is no time here, only Your presence
Show us Your Glory, speak to us now.
Speak to us now."



Why have I watched this short clip over and over again?

Because I can't get over the fact that before the week was out, just three days after these girls were recorded dancing in a service meant to show the church's support and love for them, one of Mother Emanuel's children, a 5-year-old, would play dead to avoid being murdered in the very same sanctuary.

Photographs of the nine victims killed are held up by congregants during a prayer vigil at the Mother Emanuel AMC Church in Charleston. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

This is what racism does: It infiltrates even the most sacred of spaces and terrorizes even the most vulnerable among us.

Many have highlighted the irony of such a heinous act of hate and white supremacy happening in a place of worship during a religious gathering.

But I can speak only for myself, as a black woman who claims the historic African-American legacy of being progressive, activist, and religious. The message is clear.

Racism has no boundaries, and hatred has no shame. We can use all the help we can get — divine and otherwise — as we do the work and fight to end racism forever.

These beautiful children were dancing in a place that was founded by the organizer of a slave rebellion and that served as a hub of abolitionist and civil rights activity for hundreds of years.

The steeple of Mother Emanuel AME Church. Image by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.


They were dancing in a church led by a pastor who only a few months ago stood on the floor of the state Senate to condemn police brutality and who regularly spoke about political participation like this:

A pastor who is no longer with us. Because of hate.

The people of Mother Emanuel have been fighting hatred and racism for generations. Will we join them?

I believe that their cry for God to be with them and to speak to them was not one of religious passivity or weakness but of a recognition of the need for divine strength and wisdom to support them in the massive work that they are called to do on this earth.

That is the work that all of us who believe in freedom and equality are called to do.

More than anything, this dance from a few days before the tragic hate crime was carried out within the church's walls reminds me that hope and beauty always remain.

Each generation will continue dancing even as the fight continues.

Thank you, children of Mother Emanuel. We're all dancing — and fighting — right by your side.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Our home, from space.



Sixty-one years ago, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to make it into space and probably the first to experience what scientists now call the "overview effect." This change occurs when people see the world from far above and notice that it’s a place where “borders are invisible, where racial, religious and economic strife are nowhere to be seen.”

The overview effect makes man’s squabbles with one another seem incredibly petty and presents the planet as it truly is, one interconnected organism.


In a compelling interview with Big Think, astronaut, author and humanitarian Ron Garan explains how if more of us developed this planetary perspective we could fix much of what ails humanity and the planet.

Garan has spent 178 days in space and traveled more than 71 million miles in 2,842 orbits. From high above, he realized that the planet is a lot more fragile than he thought.

“When I looked out the window of the International Space Station, I saw the paparazzi-like flashes of lightning storms, I saw dancing curtains of auroras that seemed so close it was as if we could reach out and touch them. And I saw the unbelievable thinness of our planet's atmosphere. In that moment, I was hit with the sobering realization that that paper-thin layer keeps every living thing on our planet alive,” Garan said in the video.

“I saw an iridescent biosphere teeming with life,” he continues. “I didn't see the economy. But since our human-made systems treat everything, including the very life-support systems of our planet, as the wholly owned subsidiary of the global economy, it's obvious from the vantage point of space that we're living a lie.”

It was at that moment he realized that humanity needs to reevaluate its priorities.

“We need to move from thinking economy, society, planet to planet, society, economy. That's when we're going to continue our evolutionary process,” he added.

Garan says that we are paying a very “high price” as a civilization for our inability to develop a more planetary perspective and that it’s a big reason why we’re failing to solve many of our problems. Even though our economic activity may improve quality of life on one end, it’s also disasterous for the planet that sustains our lives.

It’s like cutting off our nose to spite our face.

Actor William Shatner had a similar experience to Garan's when he traveled into space.

"It was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered," Shatner wrote. "The contrast between the vicious coldness of space and the warm nurturing of Earth below filled me with overwhelming sadness. Every day, we are confronted with the knowledge of further destruction of Earth at our hands: the extinction of animal species, of flora and fauna … things that took five billion years to evolve, and suddenly we will never see them again because of the interference of mankind."

“We're not going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality,” Garan said.

However dire the situation looks from the surface of Earth, the astronaut has hope that we can collectively evolve in consciousness and wake up and embrace a larger reality. “And when we can evolve beyond a two-dimensional us versus them mindset, and embrace the true multi-dimensional reality of the universe that we live in, that's when we're going to no longer be floating in darkness … and it's a future that we would all want to be a part of. That's our true calling.”


This article originally appeared on 12.16.22

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Identity

LeVar Burton reveals why his chains from 'Roots' hang above his Emmys in his living room

"I want my guests to know, while I am unquestionably their friend, I am also absolutely filled with rage."

Tweigel59/Wikimedia Commons

LeVar Burton plays himself on the FX mini-series "Clipped."

LeVar Burton is probably best known—and loved—for his role as the host of the children's television series "Reading Rainbow." But his career as an actor has spanned a full 47 years, from his debut role as enslaved African Kunta Kinte in the mini-series "Roots" to his ongoing role of Geordi La Forge in the Star Trek spin-offs.

Now, he's playing another iconic role—a fictional version of himself.


In the FX mini-series "Clipped," Burton plays himself as a friend and confidant of former LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers, played by Laurence Fishburne. In a scene in the series finale, Burton and Rivers have a one-on-one conversation in which Burton shares that he has the chains he wore in "Roots" hanging above his 12 Emmys over the hearth in his living room—a real-life fact that he confirmed on social media after the episode aired.

"America first met me as Kunta Kinte, a young African kid who was kidnapped, tortured, refused his slave name," he told Rivers in the scene. "Then I read to their children and maintained the integrity of their favorite spaceship. Pretty soon, people began to think of me as…safe."

"Oh, the safest," agreed Rivers.

Burton then explained how he read the famous children's book, "Go the F**k to Sleep" for charity and lost one of his brand partners over it—a consequence of stepping out of line with expectations of him.

"If I showed how angry I really am?" Burton pondered. "But I'm not going to hide it. So I keep my chains on the wall in my living room. I want my guests to know, while I am unquestionably their friend, I am also absolutely filled with rage."

Watch:

According to an interview with "Clipped" creator Gina Welch in Vulture, Burton and Doc Rivers are not actually friends in real life, but Burton and Fishburne are, and this conversation is reflective of their real-life conversations about race they've had in the sauna.

At first, Fishburne didn't think Burton would be on board with playing the role. "Clipped" deals with the downfall of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was caught on tape making racist remarks. "The kinds of things we’re talking about in the show are really not part of his [Burton's] public persona," said Fishburne, according to Welch. Burton agreed to be part of the production on one condition.

"The conversations really changed once LeVar agreed to do the show," Welch explained. "He was great. He read the scripts very quickly and called me, and then we met and his caveat was, 'I’ll do the show as long as I can talk about my rage.' I was like, 'Welcome to the party.'"

When most people think of LeVar Burton, "rage" isn't usually the first word that comes to mind, which is part of what makes this clip so powerful. As writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin famously said in 1961, "To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost, almost all of the time."

Baldwin's full quote offers even more context:

"To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost, almost all of the time — and in one's work. And part of the rage is this: It isn't only what is happening to you. But it's what's happening all around you and all of the time in the face of the most extraordinary and criminal indifference, indifference of most white people in this country, and their ignorance. Now, since this is so, it's a great temptation to simplify the issues under the illusion that if you simplify them enough, people will recognize them. I think this illusion is very dangerous because, in fact, it isn't the way it works. A complex thing can't be made simple. You simply have to try to deal with it in all its complexity and hope to get that complexity across."

Hopefully, hearing that one America's "safest," most wholesome and most beloved Black celebrities experience the inner rage that racism engenders will help get that complexity across to more people who can benefit from hearing it.

Woman stole someone's window seat on plane, how to respond

Most everyone has been in a situation once or twice where you look down at your ticket while boarding your flight to double check your seat number only to find someone already sitting in your seat.

Typically the person responds respectfully and with a slight twinge of embarrassment as their error is pointed out to them. It happens to just about everyone at least once. There's no shame in accidentally sitting in the wrong seat.

But what happens when you notice someone sitting in your seat but instead of them excusing themselves from your space, they direct you to sit in their seat? Their middle seat. Unless your original seat was in the lavatory, there is likely zero world where being told to sit in the middle seat feels like an upgrade. There's nothing wrong with the middle seat per se, but unless your seat mate is your partner, friend or family member, you're squished between two strangers fighting for armrest space.


There are all sorts of qualms people have about the middle seat. Having to step over someone to get to the bathroom, having other people step over you to get to the bathroom, someone inevitably falling asleep on your shoulder. The list could go on but it just comes down to comfort, which is why many people pay for a window or aisle seat. But it can feel like you've hit the jackpot when the airline seats you in a window seat without you having to pay an upgrade fee. That's exactly what happened to this Reddit user.

The airline gods shone down on them that day and gifted them with a window seat that they were thoroughly looking forward to only to discover it occupied.

"It was an 8 hour flight, and I wanted to sleep with the wall support the window seat offers. However, when I get on the plane, a lady is in my seat. She says 'oh, I didn’t realize. You can just sit here' and points to the middle seat. I have a hard time with confrontation so I just accepted it. If this were to happen again, how do I respond," u/Hairy_Visual9339 asks.

Commenters were quick to give the timid flyer advice for future encounters with audacity filled seat mates.

Photo of airplane seats with overlay of Reddit screenshot

Photo credit: Canva/Reddit Screenshot

"No, that doesn't really work for me. I'd like my seat," one person quipped.

Another offered their own anecdote as a cautionary tale, "Made the mistake of not doing this on a train. Only one other person in whole carriage, of course it's my seat. They have a laptop set up act like I'm being very unreasonable and so I sit somewhere else. Fine whatever. Four hours into 8 hour journey and the train is now complete full. I've been forced to move seats twice already, everything is booked and I'm some desperate, seat-less vagabond with nowhere to store my suitcases, wandering the aisles in vain, despite having a perfectly good reservation."

When all else fails, tattle, "just say, "I'd rather have my window seat thanks." and if that doesn't work tell a flight attendant."

"My response is always “oh, no thank you” and I just stare at them until they move," someone shares.

Just because you're an adult doesn't mean you can't tell another adult so they can fix the situation when your discontent is being ignored, in one person's case, let the help come to you.

"Some guy tried to take my seat and stick me in his middle seat across the aisle so he could sit with his wife and teenager and I said “oh, no thank you. I picked this seat intentionally when I checked in”. He starts throwing a hissy fit, trying to get me to take his shitty middle seat and the flight attendant swooped in like a freaking goddess, and told him to move. He goes to the other side, still bitching, and banged his head on the luggage compartment so hard that three rows worth of people audibly gasped," says a commenter.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Cats for sale.


These mustached Canadians decided to treat older shelter cats like used cars.

Why?


Because in a world where around 8 million pets enter shelters and only around 4 million get out, that's a lot of sad math.

used car salesman, comedy, Canada

You name it; we got it.

assets.rebelmouse.io

funny, pets, community

All makes and models of cats.

assets.rebelmouse.io

animal adoption, older pets, Calgary Humane Society

An escape attempt?

assets.rebelmouse.io

In an attempt to stop that sad math, the kind folks from the Calgary Humane Society got creative.

Humane Society, cat performers, adorable cats

The top speed of cats...

assets.rebelmouse.io

The fastest domestic cat running speed appears to be 29.8 mph. This salesman knows his product!

They got weird.

felines, kittens, social responsibility

Felines at the Human Society ready to go.

assets.rebelmouse.io

They discovered some very adept cat performers.

Hollywood, cat owners, funny cat tricks

Get yourself a pre-owned kitty.

assets.rebelmouse.io

Call Hollywood!

They pulled out all the stops to help future cat owners realize that pre-owned cats are the way to go!

And in addition to the commercial, the cats were priced to go on a very special Saturday.

kittenhood, sad math, abandoned pets

Reducing the price.

assets.rebelmouse.io

Kittens are popular. There's no way around it. They're kittens! I used to be kitten-crazy (I was a child!), but I've adopted older cats and so have my friends. They're special. They're cute. They're soulful. And instead of adorably biting your fingers until they grow up past kittenhood, older cats chill out on your couch and teach you about relaxing.

pre-owned cats, adorable pets, enjoyable commercials

The simple pleasures of cat ownership.

assets.rebelmouse.io

I'm sharing this because it might save a pre-owned cat.

We missed the Big Sale Saturday (but let's be real, pre-owned cats are always priced to go), but the love for pre-owned cats continues. And this commercial, well ... it's timeless.

And worth a watch below:

This article originally appeared on 08.29.15

Chris Hemsworth and daughter.

In addition to being the star of Marvel franchise "Thor," actor Chris Hemsworth is also a father-of-three? And it turns out, he's pretty much the coolest dad ever.

In a clip from a 2015 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Hemsworth shared an interesting conversation he had with his 4-year-old daughter India.


"My daughter's kind of envious of my boys," Hemsworth told Ellen. "She came to me the other day, and she's like 'You know, Papa, I want one of those things that Sasha and Tristan have.' And I'm like, 'What do you mean?' She said, 'You know the things in between their legs that you have.'"

Hemsworth said he tried to explain the differences between male and female bodies, but his daughter wasn't having it.

"She goes, 'I really want one!' Hemsworth said. "I'm like, 'A penis?' And she's like, 'I want a penis!'

And then, Hemsworth had the best possible response. He recalls:

She's four and I'm like, 'You know what, you can be whatever you want to be.' And she goes, 'Thanks, Dad.' Runs off into the playground and that was it.

And then, I cannot confirm, but I'm pretty sure the Ellen audience did this:

Major kudos to Hemsworth for taking a potentially awkward parenting situation and turning it into a lesson about love and acceptance.

You can watch the full clip here:

This article originally appeared on 08.27.18