Heroic Officer Eugene Goodman used himself as bait to lure rioters away from the Senate
Kristen Wilson/Twitter, Ian Bremmer/Twitter (Photo by Ashley Gilbertson)

As more footage from last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol comes out, we're getting a fuller picture of what took place that day. And frankly, it's terrifying.

We've now seen the gallows erected outside of the Capitol and the rioters shouting "Hang Mike Pence!" We've seen reports of insurrectionists carrying zip tie restraints and now know how close we were to possibly witnessing lawmakers being taken hostage—or worse—live on TV. We've seen journalists attacked, a policeman dragged down steps and beaten with an American flag, and feces and urine left in the hallways and offices of the U.S. Capitol.

One piece of footage that has emerged shows how one Capitol Police officer's bravery may have saved members of the U.S. Senate. Officer Eugene Goodman found himself alone and confronted with a mob forcing him backwards up a stairway within the Capitol. Video from HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic shows Goodman attempting to hold back the rioters, but he is clearly outnumbered. They keep pushing him farther and farther up the stairs, toward the floor where the Senate chambers are.


What isn't immediately obvious in the video footage is a specific moment when the mob reached the floor where the Senate chambers were. Goodman appears to glance down the hall toward the chambers, where no security can be seen, and then shove the frontman of the mob before leading them in the opposite direction of that hallway.

In other words, it looks like he used himself as bait to keep the mob away from the Senate chambers. Insurrectionists did end up breaching those chambers, but thankfully, it wasn't until after lawmakers had been moved to a secure location within the building.


It's hard to imagine the terror this man must have felt in these moments. Completely outnumbered, charged with the duty of protecting the U.S. Capitol as it's being overrun, knowing that the nation's lawmakers—including the next three people in line for the presidency—were in the building and relying on the police for protection.

But the terror for Officer Goodman goes beyond that. This isn't just a police officer being outnumbered; it's also a Black man facing down an angry white mob. We've seen photos of pro-Nazi apparel worn by some of these people. We've seen a huge Confederate flag being marched through this building that day. Many of the people who have since been arrested are prominent members of white nationalist groups.

To be who he was, in the place that he was, facing the mob that he was—and to still have the presence of mind to do what he did—is a demonstration of heroism that can't be overstated.

As we express our gratitude and praise for his heroism, we must also acknowledge the trauma of this experience. Not just the trauma any of us would have endured, but the added racial trauma of knowing that this mostly white mob could—and just might—lynch him.

The racism in the group isn't just an assumption. Nor is the violent threat they posed.

BuzzfeedNews interviewed two Black Capitol officers, both of whom remained anonymous, about their experiences in the Capitol that day. They said they were repeatedly called the n-word as the rioters stormed the building. Some even abused them while telling them they were doing it for them.

"We were telling them to back up and get away and stop, and they're telling us they are on our side, and they're doing this for us, and they're saying this as I'm getting punched in my face by one of them … That happened to a lot of us. We were getting pepper-sprayed in the face by those protesters — I'm not going to even call them protesters — by those domestic terrorists," one officer told the outlet.

And they were left to fend off white supremacists without sufficient support. One officer, who has been with the Capitol Police for more than a decade, said the threat was downplayed before the event, and then the chief of police was MIA during the riot. He also explained how the absurd costuming and antics of some of the rioters served as a distraction from how serious the threat really was.

"That was a heavily trained group of militia terrorists that attacked us," said the officer. "They had radios, we found them, they had two-way communicators and earpieces. They had bear spray. They had flash bangs ... They were prepared. They strategically put two IEDs, pipe bombs, in two different locations. These guys were military trained. A lot of them were former military."

The threat isn't over. There are multiple reports of plans for more armed protests in the nation's capital as well as state capitals in the days leading up to Biden's inauguration. Social media companies have cracked down on incitement, including banning the president, in an attempt to keep extremist groups from organizing via their platforms. Other private companies have also taken action to limit further violence by denying service to Parler, a "free speech" social media platform that has been a favorite of many pro-Trump organizers, as the seriousness of what happened last week truly sinks in.

In everything that's happened this week, Officer Goodman's brave actions stand out as a beacon of hope. President Biden will have an incredibly busy schedule once he takes office, but as soon as possible, he should award this man the Presidential Medal of Freedom. If anyone has ever deserved that honor, Eugene Goodman certainly does.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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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.