Black birdwatcher harassed by woman in Central Park is asking people to stop threatening her
via Christian Cooper and @DecodynLyfe / Twitter

Christian Cooper, the black birdwatcher who had the police called on him by a white woman after asking her to put her dog on a leash, has spoken out about the incident.

On Tuesday night he gave a thoughtful interview to CNN's Don Lemon where he responded to Amy Cooper's (no relation) apology.

"I think her apology is sincere," Cooper told Lemon. "I'm not sure that in that apology she recognizes that while she may not be or consider herself a racist, that particular act was definitely racist."

Christian Cooper is a Harvard University grad, former Marvel Comics editor and a current member of the board of directors for the New York City chapter of the Audubon Society.


In the video taken by Christian, Amy frantically tells the police "I'm taking a picture and calling the cops," she says. "I'm going to tell them there's an African American man threatening my life."

The video is disturbing because Amy pretends as though her life is in danger, putting Christian in a dangerous situation. Who knows how the police will react to a black man they believe is threatening the life of a white woman.

Christian was completely aware that she was putting his life in danger during the incident.

"You know, the simple fact of my skin color means that I run the risk of being perceived as a menace or a threat despite the fact that I'm doing the exact same thing as anybody else in that park," he told NPR.

Amy issued a statement to CNN apologizing her behavior saying "I'm not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way," she said, adding that she also didn't mean any harm to the African American community.

She called police on him in Central Park. Hear his response www.youtube.com

Even though Amy threatened his life, Christian is still willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

"Is she a racist? I can't answer that," he told Lemon. "Only she can answer that. And I would submit probably the only way she's going to answer that is going forward. How she conducts herself and, you know, how she chooses to reflect on this situation and examine it."

Amy was fired from her job at Franklin Templeton after a video of the incident went viral.

"Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton," the company said on Twitter Tuesday.


Amy Cooper's actions were clearly racially motivated and she intentionally put Christian's life in danger. But he still hesitates to say her life should be forever ruined by the incident.

"Now, should she be defined by that, you know, couple-of-seconds moment? I can't answer that," he told NPR.

The video has prompted people to make death threats against Amy which Christian has condemned.

"I am told there has been death threats and that is wholly inappropriate and abhorrent and should stop immediately," Christian said.

"I find it strange that people who were upset that ... that she tried to bring death by cop down on my head, would then turn around and try to put death threats on her head. Where is the logic in that?" he said. "Where does that make any kind of sense?"

After having his life threatened by Amy, Christian has all right to demonize her in public. But, instead, he has chosen to provide a thoughtful response to her racist act, put it in context and condemned those who wish violence upon her. His calm reaction to her racist tirade should be praised as loudly as her actions should be criticized.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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