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A judge ordered the cancellation of the Washington Redskins' trademark. A loss for this losing team.

The Washington Redskins just lost a major legal battle in their ongoing fight to keep their name and logo.

A judge ordered the cancellation of the Washington Redskins' trademark. A loss for this losing team.

There's a bit (a lot) of controversy surrounding the name and logo of a certain professional football team.

That team is the Washington Redskins, and in case you don't know, here's what their logo looks like.


Photo by Al Bello/Allsport.

A lot of people — especially Native American folks — have understandably been less than thrilled with the team's name and imagery. After years of trying to gently nudge the team to change the name, Native American groups took the team to court.

On July 8, 2015, a federal judge did something huge: He cancelled the Washington Redskins' trademark.

Why? Because "redskin" is an anti-Native American slur. As such, it can't be trademarked.

If you've been paying attention to the world of National Football League goings ons over the past few years, you'll have noticed that Washington's football team seems to have become better known for its fight to keep its name than for actually winning football games.

D.C. delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton speaks about the Change the Mascot campaign in September 2014. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

Why is this a huge deal? Well, here's how Ian Shapira of The Washington Post explains it:

"The team has argued, however, that a cancellation of its trademarks could taint its brand and remove legal benefits that would protect it against copycat entrepreneurs."

In other words, without a trademark, anyone could could start selling gear emblazoned with the team's name and logo. In fact, this exact thing was the plot of an episode of South Park just last year.

Will it be enough to convince the owner to change the team name? Well, first the team is going to appeal the ruling. Little else has been effective, so maybe hitting the owner's bottom line might do the trick. He's been, to put it generously, very stubborn about this issue.

One man has been leading the charge to justify the name — very, very poorly.

This is team owner Dan Snyder. Last year, my co-worker, Adam Mordecai, referred to him as the "dude who might just have the poorest judgment in America" with a "dead-inside heart." That about sums him up, so I'll move on.

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

Snyder has been bending over backwards trying to justify keeping the team name as is, and remarkably, he manages to sound more out of touch with each new statement.

In 2013, Snyder was asked whether he'd consider renaming the team if he lost the trademark ruling. His response:

"We'll never change the name. It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."

Later that year, he decided to try to argue that the name was actually a "badge of honor."

"The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor. … It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride, and respect — the same values we know guide Native Americans and which are embedded throughout their rich history as the original Americans."

And then last year, he tried playing dumb. Oh, "Redskin?" That's not about Native Americans; that's just a name for the football players and fans!

"A Redskin is a football player. A Redskin is our fans. The Washington Redskins fan base represents honor, represents respect, represents pride. Hopefully winning. And, and, it, it's a positive. Taken out of context, you can take things out of context all over the place."

One of the arguments in favor of keeping the name is that the team has a rich history and heritage — and that's true!

In the '80s and '90s, the team was actually pretty awesome! They won the Super Bowl three times — in the 1982, 1987, and 1991 seasons. That's not too shabby (and it's three times as many Super Bowl wins as my beloved Chicago Bears have under their belt).

Glory days! Here's Washington quarterback Doug Williams during Super Bowl XXII in 1988. They beat the Denver Broncos 42-10. Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images.

Even if the team changes its name, its heritage remains in tact.

It's not even as though "Washington Redskins" is the team's original name — they were called the Boston Braves. They've changed it before, so why not again?

And it's not as though they'd be only Washington team to change their name. The city's NBA franchise changed its name from the Washington Bullets (really, who ever thought this was a good idea?) to the Washington Wizards in 1997.

Believe it or not, this exists. Photo by J.D. Cuban /Allsport/Getty Images.

There's just one thing to do: Change the name. Now.

How can this be worth it? How can clinging to the name be worth the time, energy, or money they're putting into this fight? Maybe instead of focusing on the fight to keep their name, they should focus on winning a few games (the team won just four games and lost 12 last season).

If the team really wants to demonstrate the values Snyder listed above (strength, courage, pride, and respect) it can show the strength and courage it takes to set one's pride aside in favor of showing respect to the group of people it's hurting by changing the team name and mascot.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."