A member of the U.S. military has just joined Colin Kaepernick's protest.

On Aug. 26, 2016, San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick declined to stand for the national anthem. Whether he wanted to or not, he started a movement.  

Kaepernick (right) and fellow protestor Eric Reid. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."


In the very next game, other players joined Kaepernick's protest. Some from the opposing team. By week three, there was a long list of NFL players from franchises across the country who had demonstrated or voiced their support.

Then college teams, the WNBA, and high school teams joined in, and before long, the movement had spread far and wide enough to be lampooned on "South Park."

Members of the Miami Dolphins kneeling in protest in September. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.

Recently, another individual decided to join the cause: U.S. Navy Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Janaye Ervin.

Ervin explained her actions in a Facebook post that is now going viral.

"On Sept. 19, 2016, while in uniform, I made the conscious decision to not stand for the Star Spangled Banner because I feel like a hypocrite, singing about "land of the free" when, I know that only applies to some Americans," Ervin wrote.

My fellow Americans, I have been proudly serving in the US Navy Reserve Force since November 2008. I have pledged to...

Posted by Janaye Ervin on Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ervin is the second member of the U.S. military to publicly participate in the national anthem protest. And the act has already become extremely controversial.  

The first was Lt. Commander Kate Meadows, also a Navy sailor, who posted a video on Facebook of her sitting on a bench through the morning colors ceremony.

Considering the fact that people were up in arms over a football player protesting the national anthem, members of the military joining in are bound to push some buttons.

Photo by James G. Pinsky/U.S. Navy via Getty Images.

In fact, Kate Meadows has reportedly faced disciplinary action and the Navy published guidelines warning their members not to join in. Ervin says she's lost security clearance and has been threatened with jail time.

A quick look at a comments section online also reveals the expected level of outrage over a member of the military refusing to stand for the anthem of the country they serve.

On the surface, it's understandable. Not paying tribute to your country's flag or anthem does seem unpatriotic.

And we do kind of expect our military to be dripping with the most unwavering patriotism. After all, they're the ones who go out and fight every day for our freedom to protest in the first place.

But there's something much bigger going on here.  

One of the Navy's mottos is "Non sibi sed patriae," meaning "not for self, but country."

Refusing to stand for the national anthem isn't about Colin Kaepernick, and it's not about Kate Meadows or Janaye Ervin or anyone else. It's about the country. It's about giving a voice to the millions who feel that theirs has been silenced or ignored.

Protestors facing off with police in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images.

It's about recognizing a systemic injustice in a country that claims to be the land of the free and acknowledging that we can do a better job at living up to that promise.

In a way, it's the most brave and patriotic thing you can do.

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Amazon

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.