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AOC reveals more personal details in new harrowing video account of Capitol attack

What happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was a violation. Even Americans observing from home felt it. The loss of security. The destruction in the seat of our democracy. The peaceful transfer of power tradition broken. The flag of the United States being replaced by the flag of Donald Trump.

The details of the storming of the Capitol have only gotten worse as more footage has come out. It's now clear how narrowly our lawmakers escaped a rabid mob who had built gallows and chanted "Hang Mike Pence!", who sent men dressed in tactical gear and carrying flex cuffs into Congress chambers, who dared to carry white supremacist symbols through the hallowed halls as they trespassed, leaving a trail of literal piss and shit behind them.

Few Congress members have given detailed accounts of what they personally experienced that day, but there's no question it was traumatic for everyone involved. Lawmakers had to flee for their lives. People were killed in their workplace as they hid from the insurrectionists. They survived a terrorist attack. That's a big deal.

But it would be wrong to pretend the threat was equal for all lawmakers. Republican members of Congress who peddled election lies were not the target of the attack (some, in fact, appeared to be on the side of the insurrectionists). Considering the nature of the mob and what they were there for, the worst position to be in that day was to be Democrat woman of color.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fits that bill. As an attractive, outspoken woman, she has also been a specific target of violent and often sexualized death threats online since she came to Congress. But it's one thing to deal with online trolls, even particularly troubling ones, and another to know that there is a mob who wants to kill you roaming the halls of your workplace looking for you.

Other women of color who serve in Congress spoke of their trauma and fears of the racist mob during the attack in a piece published on Slate yesterday. But AOC took to Instagram Live last night to share a much more detailed account of what she personally experienced.

The full video (shared below) is long, but it's worth watching. After making it clear that it's her personal story, not "the" story of the Capitol attack, she shared a detail that informed her experience and shouldn't be brushed aside. AOC is a sexual assault survivor—an admission she'd never made publicly before. It's an important detail because 1) It's not uncommon—approximately 1 in 5 American women have survived a rape or attempted rape, which means it's statistically likely that many other members of Congress are also survivors, and 2) That trauma colors other traumatic experiences—such as surviving a terrorist attack—since trauma tends to compound.

AOC's description of how she hid in the bathroom and thought she was going to die is harrowing, but details in the story require an understanding of her perspective as a survivor. For instance, as she was hiding in the bathroom, a man came into her office yelling "WHERE IS SHE? WHERE IS SHE?" In those few seconds, she literally thought she was going to die. It turned out the man was a Capitol Police officer, but he didn't announce himself as such. As she was hiding behind the bathroom door, all she could see was that he was a white man in a beanie cap. When her aide told her it was safe to come out, she did, but even then she said something didn't feel right, as the officer looked at her with anger and hostility.

She questioned if she was projecting. Maybe she was. That's the thing about having survived a sexual assault and knowing you're a target in an attack—you really don't know who you can trust. And considering how terribly prepared law enforcement was for the attack, she had reason to be fearful.

The officer told her and her aide to flee to another building but didn't tell them exactly where to go. She ended up banging on the door of Rep. Katie Porter's office and hiding out in there for hours. She changed out of her heels and into gym shoes that belonged to one of Porter's aides and borrowed a puffer jacket from Porter in case she needed to escape out a window and blend in with the mob. She worried about the aides who were willing to put themselves in between the mob and the lawmakers.

The simple telling of the story, with AOC talking straight into the camera, is powerful. It's a reminder that this is not just about politics, but about human beings, that what they experienced in that attack was real, and terrifying, and traumatic. And most importantly, it makes it clear that calls to "move on," as if the attack wasn't really a big deal or should just be forgotten, are wrong.

That point cannot be made any clearer. The lawmakers who don't want people held accountable for the Big Lie that led to American citizens attacking their own government in a violent coup attempt are wrong. The attack on the Capitol wasn't just a random blip—it was an enormously big deal. According to the Coup D'etat Project at the University of Illinois' Cline Center—an academic group dedicated to studying government overthrows around the world—Jan 6 was an "attempted coup d'état: an organized, illegal attempt to intervene in the presidential transition by displacing the power of the Congress to certify the election."

An attempted coup on behalf of an outgoing president who refused to accept the results of an election is unprecedented and unAmerican. And yet lawmakers are refusing to accept and acknowledge their role in supporting the basis for the coup. Even worse, some have called for AOC to apologize for being angry at the lawmakers who pushed the Big Lie—which she rightly called out as a manipulation tactic used by abusers to avoid accountability.

Unfortunately, one of the reasons people don't speak about traumatic experiences is that they fear they won't be believed. Not being believed just adds to the trauma, but it's a common scenario with sexual assault, as well as domestic violence and other forms of abuse. Considering the video footage we have of the Capitol attack, AOC's account of what she experienced is totally believable, but she's still being attacked for being "overly dramatic" or making it all up or using it as a way to manipulate people.

She literally just shared her experience and how she feels about it. Is she supposed to not do that? Is she supposed to remains silent so people don't have to be reminded of the trauma the whole nation has experienced? So that people culpable in the Big Lie can remain comfortable despite the trauma they contributed to? Eff that.

Telling her story is an act of courage and hopefully it will inspire other Congress members to share their own accounts. It shouldn't be necessary, and no one should feel pressured to relive their trauma for all the world to see, but since there's a whole lot of denial going on, we need to hear these stories to get the full picture of what the Capitol attack entailed and what it meant. There can be no "moving on" without fully investigating this attack on our country and holding those responsible for it accountable. To suggest otherwise is simply wrong.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

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.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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