'Born This Way' is the reality TV show we all need to see.
True
A&E Born This Way

"We have Down syndrome. Don't limit us."

Seven words that say it all.

The opening line for the Season 2 trailer of "Born This Way" is a perfect depiction of the reality TV show that's opening the eyes of millions.


Left to right: Cristina, Steven, Rachel, Sean, Elena, John, Megan. All images via A&E, used with permission.

The hit show from A&E features seven young men and women as they follow their passions and navigate life with Down syndrome.

Whether it's John pursuing his music career or Elena figuring out how to express her feelings, "Born This Way" is an important and refreshing take on reality TV — probably because it actually feels realistic. And it's about time.

1 in 5 Americans have a disability, but you wouldn't know that from the little amount of representation in the media. And when it's there, it's often wrong.

"Born This Way" is working to get it right.


"I don't want the whole society to limit me because I have this," says cast member Megan, who is all sorts of amazing as a motivational speaker, college student, and manager of her own clothing company.

In the show, you also meet Steven, who considers himself the Matt Damon of the crew; Rachel, who works at an insurance company and is out to find love; and Cristina, who hopes to take the next step with her long-term boyfriend by moving in with him.

The show is not only entertaining audiences through a reality TV lens, but it's educating them, too.

Studies show that people with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, can work successfully, live relatively independently, and be incredibly productive members of society.

With about 400,000 people in the United States living with Down syndrome, "Born This Way" is an intimate and supportive way to help bust some of the misconceptions many have about the syndrome.

Each cast member has their own persona with their own hobbies and obstacles they face during taping. Some focus on their jobs, some on romance, some on living more independently and working on their self-confidence. They are defined beyond their disability.

The show takes you through the good, the bad, and the just plain "whatever" moments. You know: the moments we all have.

"I'm here. I'm alive. I'm human. We have to stick together and be the person we are, because we're all humans," says cast member and music man John.

A show that's moving and helps us understand each other a little better? Yes, please.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

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.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

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."

Keep Reading Show less

Anyone who came of age during the late 80's and early 90s is at least somewhat familiar with The Oregon Trail game. As one of the most popular computer-based video games of all time, it's a well-loved classic for late Gen Xers and early Millennials.

The game was designed to be educational, to teach kids about the Lewis & Clark expedition and westward expansion of the United States in the mid-1800s. Players were part of a wagon train traveling out west, encountering various challenges and pitfalls along the way, including the dreaded dysentery that led to countless players' demise.

Kids loved it. But unfortunately, not all of its lessons were accurate. In fact, the representation of Native Americans in the game perpetuated common stereotypes and myths about the Indigenous people of the time. Even one of the co-creators of the original game has said in recent years that it should have included a Native perspective.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

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.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

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."

Keep Reading Show less