A new PSA on Down syndrome is being both praised and criticized by advocates.

AnnaRose Rubright is a 19-year-old college student in New Jersey. She works part-time, has five younger sisters...

...and is the star of a new viral PSA in honor of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, 2016.


GIF via CoorDown/YouTube.

The PSA is tugging at the Internet's heartstrings with a simple yet powerful message.

Produced by Italian advocacy group CoorDown and ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, Rubright narrates as the video follows a woman living out her everyday life — laughing with friends, working as a chef in a restaurant, watching TV, singing karaoke.

You might recognize this woman (the other star in the message) as actor Olivia Wilde.




GIF via CoorDown/YouTube.

Rubright narrates the PSA as viewers watch Wilde's character experience happiness, sadness, laughter, and heartache — the emotions that make us human.

“This is how I see myself," Rubright, who has Down syndrome, says in the voice over. "I see myself as a daughter, a sister, and a best friend. As a person you can rely on."

"I see myself meeting someone that I can share my life with. I see myself singing, dancing, and laughing until I cannot breathe, and also crying sometimes. I see myself following my dreams, even if they are impossible — especially because they’re impossible. I see myself as an ordinary person with an important, meaningful, beautiful life. This is how I see myself. How do you see me?"

At the end of the video, it's revealed that Wilde's character is living out Rubright's actual life, with all the ups, downs, and meaningful moments that come with it.

"This metaphor is aimed to ignite a conversation around how those living with Down syndrome see themselves and how they are sometimes disadvantaged when people pre-judge them based on their condition," Saatchi & Saatchi explains on its website, noting the video aims to promote inclusion. "Even more than what is said about them, the way other people look at them is a common indicator of this type of prejudice."

While much of the reaction to the video has been positive, some have pointed out problems in the way the video addresses the issue.

Writer David Perry pointed out in a post for The Establishment that while "the people involved with the film are clearly well-intentioned in their desire to fight anti-disability stigma," the PSA implies that disability is something that should be invisible — an argument many activists would say is problematic.

"The broader disability rights movement has worked long and hard to promote disability as an identity and an aspect of diversity to celebrate," Perry wrote — not as something about a person we should be fighting to erase.

He spoke with advocates that supported this idea and took to Twitter to point out their perspectives:


While advocates may disagree on the PSA's approach, it's great that the video has directed attention to an important day and utilized the talents of a remarkable person to do it.

Beyond her other accomplishments, Rubright is a Special Olympics athlete and a leader of the grassroots group the Anna Foundation for Inclusive Education, which her family launched while she was entering kindergarten. The nonprofit focuses on helping those with Down syndrome find success — whether it be academically, socially, or as leaders in their communities.

To learn more about the Anna Foundation for Inclusive Education, check out the group's website.

Watch the PSA by CoorDown below:

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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