President Biden tells transgender Americans: "We have your back."

President Biden's first address to Congress on Wednesday night covered a number of topics: COVID-19, the war in Afghanistan, climate change, healthcare, taxes and more. But it was a personal comment to America's transgender community that might have been the most powerful moment of the night.

Transgender Americans continue to be one of the most openly discriminated against communities in America. Since Biden's election, a number of states have proposed bills that would restrict the rights of transgender citizens, including children.

Some leaders have bravely stood up for the rights of our most vulnerable citizens. For example, North Dakota's Republican Gov. Doug Burgum recently vetoed a bill that would have banned trans girls from competing in sports.

"To all the transgender Americans watching at home, especially the young people who are so brave, I want you to know that your president has your back," Biden told Congress in his call for passage of the Equality Act.



Biden's calm and caring words to the trans community were immediately celebrated online.




Biden has promised to make passage of the Equality Act a priority during his first 100 days in office, something he failed to achieved and which has generated criticism from trans activists. However, tonight's address may restore some hope that action is imminent. Along with Biden's call for action, First Lady Jill Biden used her VIP guest list to include Stella Keating, a 16-year-old that President Biden had speak before Congress in support of the Equality Act's passage.


Anyone who has gone through the process of disentangling themselves from an addiction knows it's an ongoing, daily battle. It may get easier, and the payoffs may become more apparent, but it's still a decision someone makes each day to stay detached from their substance of choice.

Seeing someone who has a long record of sobriety—especially after a very public struggle—can be motivating and inspiring for others in different stages of their recovery journey. That's part of why actor Rob Lowe's announcement that he's reached 31 years sober is definitely something to celebrate.

"Today I have 31 years drug and alcohol free," Lowe wrote on Twitter. "I want to give thanks to everyone walking this path with me, and welcome anyone thinking about joining us; the free and the happy. And a big hug to my family for putting up with me!! Xoxo"

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

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The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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