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At the Miss America pageant, one contestant said what we all needed to hear about nurses.

It's an important message about not being defined by what you do.

At the Miss America pageant, one contestant said what we all needed to hear about nurses.

In this year's Miss America pageant, Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson brought her unique talent center stage.

No, she didn't sing, dance, spin plates, solve long division problems, or do magic tricks. Instead, she spent some time talking about what she does when she's not repping her state on national television: nursing.


She told a story about how one Alzheimer's patient changed everything about the way she looked at her job.

In her mind, she was "just a nurse." Not a doctor — "just a nurse." But her patient Joe helped remind her that "just a nurse" or not, she helped change his life for the better.


Not able to change his treatments, Kelley connected with Joe on a more personal, emotional level.

The two spent quality time talking to one another. When he was hurt, she was there for him. When things were tough, she was his lifeline. When he lost hope, she helped restore it.

One night, Kelley came to Joe's room and he was crying. "Joe, I know that this is really hard," she said to him. "But you are not defined by this disease. You are not just Alzheimer's."

That's when he made her confront her own limiting self-definition. "Nurse Kelley, then the same goes for you. ... you are not just a nurse."

Kelley had forgotten how special it is to be a nurse. There is no "just" about it. Nurses are lifesavers.

Nurses change lives. Nurses save lives. Whether it's Kelley Johnson with her patient Joe or the nurse at your local clinic, these men and women have a real impact on society. It's a field that doesn't get nearly the appreciation it deserves.

That's what makes it so heartbreaking that many people inside and out of the field view nursing as an insignificant component of the medical system. In reality, nurses are the ones who spend the most time with patients. Their job defines how patients connect to medicine.

It's widely expected that within the next decade, the U.S. will experience a shortage of nurses.

We need nurses, and if things don't change, they'll soon be in short supply. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing outlines a number of factors contributing to an oncoming shortage, including an insufficient number of training facilities, an increasing number of nurses nearing retirement, and a stressful environment that leads some nurses to ditch the field.

Nurses are awesome, and they're far more than "just" anything.

Is there a nurse in your life? Let them know that you appreciate what they do.

Take a bow, Kelley!

You can watch Kelley Johnson's monologue from the 2016 Miss America competition below:

President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

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via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

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