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A photographer captured a track star's powerful MMIW statement. We all need to know what it means.

A red hand over her mouth. The letters MMIW painted down her leg. What message was this high school track star sending?

When photographer Alex Flett attended the WIAA 1B State Track and Field Championships at Eastern Washington University, he didn't expect that to capture an iconic image of a high schooler with a powerful message.

Rosalie Fish, from Muckleshoot Tribal School in Auburn, WA, showed up on the track with a statement painted on her body—a red hand covering her mouth and the letters MMIW down her right leg.


Flett, a Spokane tribal member, recognized the meaning immediately. MMIW stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women—a movement to raise awareness about the epidemic of native women going missing or being killed. The red hand symbolizes the voices of these women being silenced.

Flett told Upworthy that he knew he had to capture the image as soon as he saw Fish at the meet. "When I first saw her walking down the track to compete for her first event, I was taken aback," he said. "Then all I could say was 'WOW!' I wasn't there to shoot images of her, but I knew I needed to. To capture this moment and the statement she was making, and the possible risk she was taking."

He used Photoshop to edit the coloring of the photo, creating a stark black-and-white image with the red paint highlighted.

When I went to photograph the 2019 WIAA State Track and Field event at EWU this week, I never knew I would be so...

Posted by Alex Flett Photography on Saturday, May 25, 2019

Why MMIW? Because native women in the U.S. face murder rates far higher than the national average.

People in native communities have been talking about the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women for years. According to the National Congress of American Indians, native women in some communities face murder rates 10 times the national average, but a lack of official data has made it difficult to seek justice.

For example, according to a study by the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI), 5712 indigenous women went missing in 2016, but only 116 were logged by the Department of Justice's missing persons database.  

The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence explained some of the findings of the UIHI report:

The report, authored by Annita Lucchesi (Southern Cheyenne), and UIHI director Abigail Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), highlights tremendous gaps in the information about these cases documented in law enforcement records and news reports. Of 72 law enforcement agencies surveyed, only 56% provided any data in response to public information requests. Of those, 25% provided incomplete information. Media coverage was sparse. One-quarter of the total cases received any media coverage.
The study found that “reasons for the lack of quality data include underreporting, racial misclassification, poor relationships between law enforcement and American Indian and Alaska Native communities, poor record-keeping protocols, institutional racism in the media, and a lack of substantive relationships between journalists and American Indian and Alaska Native communities.”

There are multiple initiatives attempting to address the issue. The Red Ribbon Alert Project amplifies reports of missing or murdered indigenous women on social media. Savanna's Act is congressional legislation which would require updated data collection and protocols for investigating native missing person cases.

But individual awareness acts like Rosalie Fish's can help get awareness of the MMIW into the mainstream.

Fish's statement made a big impact at the meet, but an even greater influence after Flett's photo of her went viral.

Rosalie Fish won three state titles at the meet, in the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter races. But her MMIW statement was what got people's attention.

"The impact Rosalie Fish had on everyone was huge to say the least," Flett said. "Everyone was talking about it, asking questions, many saying they never knew this was an issue."

After Flett posted the image of Fish to his Alex Flett Photography Facebook page, it took off. In just a few days, it's been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, which he hopes means more people will become aware of the issue.

"The main reason I think more people aren't aware of this issue is because there isn't as much talk about it out in mainstream America and definitely not enough light brought to the topic," he said. "I wanted to do anything I could to help bring awareness."

Flett hopes that his image "opens doors to conversations that need to be had about Murdered Missing Indigenous Women out in 'mainstream America' and not just among people in Indian country."

Kudos to Rosalie Fish for her courageous act to raise awareness for MMIW, and to Alex Flett for representing it so beautifully.

For more information about MMIW, see mmiwusa.org and follow MMIWUSA and Red Ribbon Alert Project on Facebook.  

Pop Culture

Guy makes a tweet about what you should have 'by age 30.' People's responses were hilarious.

"By the age of 30 you should have anxiety, and an emotional support pet that also has anxiety."

Photo by NIPYATA! on Unsplash

This is 30.

When Steve Adcock, an entrepreneur and “fitness buff” posted this to his Twitter:

“By age 30, you should have a group of friends that talk business, money, and fitness, not politics and pop culture.”

… people had thoughts.



His post might have been intended as more of an encouragement to surround yourself with people who challenge your current mindset, considering the tweet continued with “one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made was making friends with like-minded folks who talked about the same [stuff] over and over. I agreed with 99% of it. Your comfort zone will kill your progress.”

But still, overall the tweet left an unsavory taste in people’s mouths—primarily because it implied that money was somehow a better conversation topic than what people are usually genuinely passionate about. Why not talk about your favorite television show with friends if it lights you up inside?


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1989 video brings back strong memories for Gen Xers who came of age in the '80s.

It was the year we saw violence in Tiananmen Square and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. The year we got Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" and Michael Keaton in Tim Burton's "Batman." The year "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" debuted on TV, with no clue as to how successful they would become. The year that gave us New Kids on the Block and Paula Abdul while Madonna and Janet Jackson were enjoying their heyday.

The jeans were pegged, the shoulders were padded and the hair was feathered and huge. It was 1989—the peak of Gen X youth coming of age.

A viral video of a group of high school students sitting at their desks in 1989—undoubtedly filmed by some geeky kid in the AV club who probably went on to found an internet startup—has gone viral across social media, tapping straight into Gen X's memory banks. For those of us who were in high school at the time, it's like hopping into a time machine.

The show "Stranger Things" has given young folks of today a pretty good glimpse of that era, but if you want to see exactly what the late '80s looked like for real, here it is:

Oh so many mullets. And the Skid Row soundtrack is just the icing on this nostalgia cake. (Hair band power ballads were ubiquitous, kids.)

I swear I went to high school with every person in this video. Like, I couldn't have scripted a more perfect representation of my classmates (which is funny considering that this video came from Paramus High School in New Jersey and I went to high school on the opposite side of the country).

Comments have poured in on Reddit from both Gen Xers who lived through this era and those who have questions.

First, the confirmations:

"Can confirm. I was a freshman that year, and not only did everyone look exactly like this (Metallica shirt included), I also looked like this. 😱😅"

"I graduated in ‘89, and while I didn’t go to this school, I know every person in this room."

"It's like I can virtually smell the AquaNet and WhiteRain hairspray from here...."

"I remember every time you went to the bathroom you were hit with a wall of hairspray and when the wind blew you looked like you had wings."

Then the observations about how differently we responded to cameras back then.

"Also look how uncomfortable our generation was in front of the camera! I mean I still am! To see kids now immediately pose as soon as a phone is pointed at them is insanity to me 🤣"

"Born in 84 and growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, it’s hard to explain to younger people that video cameras weren’t everywhere and you didn’t count on seeing yourself in what was being filmed. You just smiled and went on with your life."

Which, of course, led to some inevitable "ah the good old days" laments:

"Life was better before the Internet. There, I said it."

"Not a single cell phone to be seen. Oh the freedom."

"It's so nice to be reminded what life was like before cell phones absorbed and isolated social gatherings."

But perhaps the most common response was how old those teens looked.

"Why do they all look like they're in their 30's?"

"Everyone in this video is simultaneously 17 and 49 years old."

"Now we know why they always use 30 y/o actors in high school movies."

As some people pointed out, there is an explanation for why they look old to us. It has more to do with how we interpret the fashion than how old they actually look.

Ah, what a fun little trip down memory lane for those of us who lived it. (Let's just all agree to never bring back those hairstyles, though, k?)

A viral video from a Little League game has people celebrating good sportsmanship.

Youth sports have gotten more intensely competitive, to the point where overeager parents and coaches have to regularly be reminded to take it down a notch. So when humanity takes precedence over team rivalries, it's extra heartwarming.

And considering how many "kids these days" laments we see coming from older generations, it's also heartening to see kids showing excellent character qualities when no one directly asked them to.

A viral video from a Little League baseball game is giving us a nice dose of both—good sportsmanship and basic human kindness from two players from opposing teams.

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