BYU's valedictorian gave a powerful speech on being gay and religious. Mayor Pete just responded.

Recently, Matty Easton, a political science major at Brigham Young University, came out of the closet during his graduation speech.

BYU is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, informally known as Mormons, and has a strict honor code that has resulted in the punishment of LGBTQ students.

Historically, the church has forbid same-sex marriage and those who practice homosexual activity are denied access to the temple.


“It was in these quiet moments of pain and confusion that I felt another triumph, that of coming to terms, not with who I thought I should be, but who the Lord has made me," Easton told fellow graduates. “As such, I stand before my family, friends and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God."

His admission was greeted by loud applause.

“Four years ago it would have been impossible for me to imagine that I would come out to my entire college," he added. “It is a phenomenal feeling and it is a victory for me in and of itself."

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Easton was praised by Democratic presidential hopeful and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“I know that kid is going to make it easier for somebody else," Buttigieg, who is gay, told BuzzFeed News. “Imagine if you're a terrified closeted kid in that audience at BYU and what it does for you to have that student lead that way."

“I don't think someone in [Easton's] position is looking to be celebrated; I think the reason this is so hard for them is they're looking to be accepted," Buttigieg continued.

Buttigieg has a good idea about what Easton is going through. The Afghanistan War veteran put his political career on the line back in 2015 when he came out of the closet while running for reelection as mayor.

Buttigieg won with over 80% of the vote.

“I only had the room to do [this] because people before me had to assert, sometimes militantly, that they shouldn't be suppressed. Otherwise there's no oxygen for somebody like me to do something like this and possibly help someone like that," he said. “All of this is part of a bigger arc."

According to Real Clear Politics, Buttigieg is running in fifth nationally with the support of 6.6% of Democratic primary voters. Joe Biden currently leads with 37.6%, more than double that of second-place Bernie Sanders.

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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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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.