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When you're a refugee in a new place, you're facing a lot of unfamiliar things. New foods. New languages. New schools. New neighbors.

That's where organizations like World Relief come in. Among other services, the Baltimore-based nonprofit helps resettle refugees, partnering with local churches across the U.S. to help refugee families feel more at home in their new communities. With President Trump's travel ban targeting Muslims, however, the nonprofit's facing a new, discouraging obstacle.


Photo by Ron Sachs - Pool/Getty Images.

World Relief announced it's closing five offices across the country — laying off over 140 of its workers in the process — due to President Trump's travel ban barring refugees.

"Our staff at each of these locations have served diligently and sacrificially — some of them for many years — and we are deeply saddened to have to make this difficult decision," World Relief President Scott Arbeiter said in a statement, noting the tragic move will hinder the group's ability "to serve the world's most vulnerable people."

Even in the relatively short amount of time that the travel ban was signed and enforced before courts blocked key provisions, its ramifications are still causing refugees — and the groups aiding them — to suffer. What's more, the travel ban — announced by a president elected largely for his commitment to put American workers first — is now causing job losses: World Relief's woes will result in over 140 employees losing their jobs.

Despite its struggles, however, the nonprofit is devoted to doing whatever it can to make a difference.

“The unfortunate truth is that given the unprecedented nature of the global refugee crisis, there are simply more people than ever that need our support and our compassion," CEO Tim Breene said in a statement.

If the news out of World Relief is frustrating to you, here are six ways you can keep fighting for refugees in the wake of the group's setbacks:

1. Keep calling Washington. It works.

The Senate has been overwhelmed with phone calls from constituents across the country. Sen. Chuck Schumer's office told CNN that roughly 1.5 million calls were pouring into the Senate every day the first week of February, with the vast majority focused on Trump's controversial cabinet picks and executive orders.

John McCain probably won't personally call you back. But you should still call. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Outraged callers won't guarantee success all the time (take Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' razor-thin confirmation, for instance). But it works better than most voters realize (case in point: Congress' attempt to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics). Call your senators and members of Congress and tell them you're against Trump's travel ban.

2. Pledge to register as a Muslim if Trump attempts to start a Muslim registry.

Trump has suggested a national Muslim registry would help keep us safer from terrorism, yet again dangerously blurring the lines between religious extremists and the vast majority of Muslims. This sort of fearmongering is used to justify his travel ban. Regardless of your personal faith, you can stand with all Muslims by pledging to register yourself.

3. Support the vital organizations aiding refugees in the U.S. and around the world.

Conflict in Syria has caused a refugee crisis unlike anything we've seen since World War II, with millions of families torn away from their communities and forced to rely on the goodness of others for food, shelter, and protection.

Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images.

There are many groups of all sizes doing vital work helping refugees this very moment, and they could use our support: Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, White Helmets, Karam House, Syrian American Medical Society, Islamic Relief USA, UNHCR, Oxfam, Save the Children, and, yes, World Relief.

4. Post the news about World Relief on Facebook along with this video explaining why refugees are not the problem.

Over 700k refugees have resettled in the United States since 9/11. During that time, not a single one has carried out an act of terror. Video by Valerie Bischoff.

Posted by Upworthy on Thursday, October 13, 2016

Your friends and family should see how anti-refugee rhetoric and policies affect far more people than refugees themselves — like the 140 World Relief employees who lost their jobs due to unfounded fear.

5. Sign a petition against the ban, then spread the word.

A MoveOn.org petition against Trump's travel ban — which states "targeting people based on their religion is wrong and unconstitutional" — has reached nearly 400,000 signatures. Help it reach 1 million.

6. Support the refugees in your own community, who — now more than ever — need to know they're welcome here.

As TED Ideas notes, there are plenty of practical ways you can help folks integrate into your city, especially if you live in a region with a high population of refugees. Start a soccer team — even if you can barely kick a ball — and make sure to include refugee kids. Volunteer to help a refugee student learn English. If you're a business owner, hire them (or if you know a business owner, nudge them in the direction to do so).

1951 Coffee Company in Berkeley, California, hires refugees to help give them a leg-up after resettling in the U.S. Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images.

Trump's travel ban targeting Muslims is immoral, ineffective in keeping us safe, and bad for U.S. workers.

In the U.S., there have been more than enough terrorist attacks since 9/11 carried out by right-wing extremists — and none from refugees. The vetting process to enter the U.S. as a refugee is long and arduous and certainly not one that leaves us vulnerable to terrorism, experts have argued.

Don't let the ban — and the misguided views of Islam that's helped buoy it — become normalized. Stay outraged.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

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Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

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Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

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No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

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The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

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Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

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Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

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Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.