Most Shared

An American girl in Paris, remembered. This is what her mom wants the world to know.

Nohemi Gonzalez was "a Latina girl that strived to get ahead ... and who achieved many of her dreams."

An American girl in Paris, remembered. This is what her mom wants the world to know.

Any loss of life is a tragedy. But it hurts all the more to see a young person cut down with such a promising future ahead of her.

Students and mourners attend a vigil for Nohemi Gonzalez on Nov. 15 in Long Beach, California. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images.


On the evening of Nov. 13, Nohemi Gonzalez was out with three friends at La Belle Equipe, a bistro and wine bar in north-central Paris.

The 23-year-old was studying abroad in Paris as part of her bachelor's degree in industrial design at California State University, Long Beach. She was enjoying her time in the city — her first time out of the United States — and had visited historic sites like the Eiffel Tower and the Cathedral of Notre Dame, according to her mother.

"She had a lot of dreams," Jose Hernandez, a man identified as her stepfather, told the Los Angeles Times. He said that studying in Paris "was one of them."

Her life was cut short at the bistro that night.

Gunmen in a black vehicle opened fire on people sitting on the bistro's terrace, killing 19 people — including Nohemi — and critically wounding nine others, part of a horrific terrorist attack that has jarred France and people around the globe.

Her mother remembers her as someone striving for success.

Although Nohemi's mother, Beatriz Gonzalez, looked emotionally exhausted in an interview published by the Spanish-language news outlet Univision on Nov. 15, she found inspiring words to describe her daughter.

Stepfather Jose Hernandez and mother Beatriz weep during a vigil for Nohemi. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images.

When asked how she wanted her Nohemi to be remembered, Beatriz answered, "as a Latina girl that strived to get ahead ... and who achieved many of her dreams."

Nohemi was born in the U.S., according to her mother, but her family came to California from Guanajuato, a state in central Mexico.

"I think the people who did this don't have any conscience," she told Univision. "Because of how many families they hurt."

Nohemi was proud of her immigrant heritage.

A class assignment obtained by the Los Angeles Times gives us a window into how Nohemi envisioned herself.

"I am Mexican American and I also happen to be first generation born in the United States. I grew up in Whittier and had a very hard working mother that raised me to be extremely independent. If I had to describe myself in a few words I would say I am very high spirited, clean, orderly and self driven."

Professors in the design department at Cal State Long Beach lauded her academic performance. She was "a very gifted student," Martin Herman, the department's chairman, told the Los Angeles Times.

Photo by David McNew/AFP/Getty Images.

Beyond her academic performance, she just seemed like a great person.

"Nohemi was an absolute delight," said David Teubner, a professor of design at Cal State Long Beach. "She was funny and warm and such a kind person.... She was involved in everything."

Her friends and family won't let her memory fade away.

Nohemi's fellow students and community members gathered on Nov. 15 at Cal State Long Beach for a vigil to commemorate her life.

Students and mourners hold candles at the vigil. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said she was an "exceptional young woman who worked hard and contributed greatly to [the] community."


Nohemi's cousin, Ellie Gonzalez, captured the raw emotion — and confusion — that many who knew her must be feeling now.

"This is still a really big shock. I don't believe it's real, that this happened," she said. "I'm going to miss her and I love her so much."
True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

Keep Reading Show less

The English language is constantly evolving, and the faster the world changes, the faster our vocabulary changes. Some of us grew up in an age when a "wireless router" would have been assumed to be a power tool, not a way to get your laptop (which wasn't a thing when I was a kid) connected to the internet (which also wasn't a thing when I was a kid, at least not in people's homes).

It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

For my birth year, the words "adult-onset diabetes," "playdate," and "ATM" showed up in print for the first time, and yes, that makes me feel ridiculously old.

It's also fun to plug in the years of different people's births to see how their generational differences might impact their perspectives. For example, let's take the birth years of the oldest and youngest members of Congress:

Keep Reading Show less