A girl quit chess for a very sad reason, and America Ferrera is not having it.

Let's get real: Actor America Ferrera is a badass.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for The Critics' Choice Award.


When she's not batting down sexist, racist interview questions and inspiring students to let their voices be heard at the ballot box...

Ferrera chats with students in Nevada about voting. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

...she's nailing acceptance speeches at fancy award shows.

Like, for instance, at the Eleanor Roosevelt Global Women’s Rights Awards, put on by the Feminist Majority Foundation on May 9, 2016, in West Hollywood.


Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Ferrera was one of four women honored at the event for having "contributed greatly to advancing the human rights of women and girls" across the U.S. and world.

And rightly so.

Her acceptance speech touched on several points — most notably, the importance of role models, particularly for women and people of color:

"It’s not easy out there for most of us who don’t look like the one thing you are supposed to look like in [the entertainment] industry — to find roles that honor our intelligence and our humanity and our passion, and our real-life roles," she said, according to BuzzFeed.

Ferrera shared a personal story about a young girl whose telling experience is a tough one to forget (emphasis added):

"I was moderating a conversation once among young women, and there was something that a young girl said that has really stayed with me. She stood up and she asked one of our panelists ... 'I was on the chess team. I was really good. But I was the only girl on the chess team, and it felt hard to be there, so I quit.' And I haven’t been able to shake that. Because if we can’t get our young girls to stay in the room for the chess team, how are we gonna get them to stay in the room to be leaders in business, leaders in politics, leaders in medicine, leaders in science?"

Ferrera gets it. Because we have to do a better job at showing girls they can be whatever they want to be — not just talking the talk.

Glass ceilings still exist in far too many places (even if most have a few cracks in them). And for women of color, sometimes that glass can feel more like concrete.

Women are underrepresented in most science and math fields. They're far outnumbered in business leadership positions. The entertainment industry Ferrera touched upon? Yeah, it's overwhelmingly controlled by powerful, old white guys. And although there's a record number of women in the U.S. Senate, that figure is still inexcusably low, at just 20 out of 100 available seats.

Elizabeth Warren is one of the 20 women in the U.S. Senate. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

Sure, progress is happening across many of these fields but way too slowly. One recent study, for instance, found it will take another century for women to have equal representation in top positions of corporate America. (The big culprit? Gender bias.)

We have to get better at fighting back against sexism in the workplace and on our TV screens and make sure every girl knows there's a seat for her at whatever table she wants to sit at.

It shouldn't matter if it's the chess club or the White House — women should have more role models showing them that yes, they can. And it's on all of us to make it happen.

Let's take a hint from Ferrera — who'd been "a tiny Latina in California with an outsize dream that nobody really saw as possible for [her]" — and make sure every kid can see a glimpse of their best future selves in the world around them.


Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for AOL.


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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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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.