A new kids' book featuring a gay couple is dedicated to Pulse nightclub victims.

Authors Chaz Harris and Adam Reynolds wrapped up their children's book  "Promised Land" — a fairytale featuring a gay couple — during the summer of 2016.

Illustration courtesy of Adam Reynolds.

The very next day, the Pulse nightclub massacre happened.

“We locked off our text, said, 'that’s done’, handed it to the illustrators, and then [the shooting] happened," Harris explained to BuzzFeed.


49 people were killed and dozens more were injured at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016 — the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Photo by Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images.

Pulse was an LGBTQ nightclub. "Promised Land" follows a gay couple.

And that connection, of course, wasn't lost on the authors from New Zealand.

Photo courtesy of Adam Reynolds.

"Promised Land" is about love, friendship, and acceptance.

Here's how the authors described the story:

"In 'Promised Land,' a young prince and a farm boy meet by chance in the forest and their newfound friendship soon blossoms into love. However, things get complicated when the queen's sinister new husband seeks control over the enchanted forest that the farm boy's family are responsible for protecting. In a Kingdom where all are considered equal, regardless of what they look like or who they love, Promised Land is a new fairytale about friendship, responsibility, adventure and love."

The book also includes a map of the Kingdom of Valeria, where the story takes place, which features locations named after LGBTQ civil rights leaders and iconic figures in the fight for equality.

There's "Shepard's Bay," in honor of Matthew Shepard — who was murdered in 1998 for being gay — as well as "Rivera Ranges," in honor of the late transgender activist Sylvia Rivera, among others.

Map courtesy of Adam Reynolds.

That's why Adam and Chaz decided to dedicate "Promised Land" to the 49 victims of the Pulse massacre.

“I was personally very affected by [the shooting],” Harris said. “There was a vigil here in Wellington that I went along to. I had people saying ‘Why were you so upset? Did you know anyone who died?' But an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

Illustration courtesy of Adam Reynolds.

"Promised Land" isn't just another kids' book — it's one that lets LGBTQ children around the world know they can find their own happily ever after.

“If you don’t see yourself in stories, you don’t see yourself in the world," Harris explained in a statement. "With everything happening in the world right now, we need to change the message of fear and intolerance towards anyone who is different.”

Learn more about Promised Land.

More

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture