Heroes

An astronaut's touching tribute to Carrie Fisher shows why she inspired so many.

Fisher inspired a generation of girls and women to push the limits and explore the unknown.

An astronaut's touching tribute to Carrie Fisher shows why she inspired so many.

On Dec. 28, 2016, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet tweeted a tribute to the late Carrie Fisher.

The message, coming just a day after Fisher's death, was simple: "Princesses shouldn't be passive, girls have character & ability to lead. The world needs them to fulfill their potential — thanks, Carrie Fisher."

When "Star Wars: A New Hope" was released in 1977, NASA had already landed men on the moon, but a woman had yet to travel to outer space.

Sally Ride wouldn't make history as the first woman in space until June 1983 (coincidentally, one month after the release of the final installment in the "Star Wars" original trilogy). Princess Leia, while fictional, gave girls everywhere something to aspire to and helped fill the void left behind when "Star Trek" and Nichelle Nichols' iconic portrayal of Lt. Uhura had gone off the air almost a decade earlier.


Photo by Disney Parks via Getty Images.

Fisher's portrayal of the strong-willed "Star Wars" heroine has inspired women around — and sometimes out of — this world.

Pesquet's tribute to Fisher included a photo of U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson, one of nearly 60 women to have traveled in space. At 56, Whitson recently made history as the oldest woman in space. On Jan. 5, Whitson, who is on the International Space Station, made her first space walk of 2017, meaning just like Luke and Leia, Whitson is a true "Skywalker."

It's women like Peggy Whitson and Carrie Fisher who help inspire generations of young women to reach for the stars.

Remarking on Fisher's return as Gen. Leia Organa in 2015's "The Force Awakens," writer Anne Theriault explained how even today, 40 years after taking on that iconic role, she inspires us.

"She was given the title of princess because of who her parents were, but she earned the rank of general through hard and often miserable work," wrote Theriault. "We love the mythos that heroes get where they are because they are special or chosen, and the people we hold up as icons reflect that."

By breaking the mold of a damsel in distress, Fisher's Leia Organa came to represent something ambitious and unexpected. Maybe she wasn't "chosen" and maybe she wasn't "special," but through hard work, she achieved her goals.

Wherever we look for our heroes, ranging from fictional characters to real-life astronauts, the world is filled with inspiration all around us.

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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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via Seresto

A disturbing joint report by USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that tens of thousands of pets have been harmed by Seresto flea and tick collars. Seresto was developed by Bayer and is now sold by Elanco.

Since Seresto flea collars were introduced in 2012, the EPA has received incident reports of at least 1,698 pet deaths linked to the product. Through June 2020, the EPA has received over 75,000 incident reports relating to the collars with over 1,000 involving human harm.

The EPA has known the collars are harming humans and their pets but failed to tell the public about the dangers.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

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The 30-second for-TV version is great and can be seen in this clip from ET Canada. The commentary that accompanies it is refreshing as well. We do need to normalize breastfeeding. We do need to see breasts in a context other than a sexualized one that caters to the male gaze. We do need to let new moms know they are not the only ones feeling the way they feel.


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