Actress, jokester, and animal-loving icon Carrie Fisher died on Dec. 27, 2016. As evidenced by the response that followed, her impact dismantling stigma surrounding mental illness will live on for generations to come.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

The "Star Wars" legend, who died at age 60 less than one week after suffering a heart attack, was more than an actor. She fought for animal welfare. She railed against sexism, body-shaming, and ageism in Hollywood. And she often spoke candidly about living with addiction and bipolar disorder.


To many fans, Fisher's openness about living with mental illness made a big difference.

Helping to stomp out the stigma against mental illness quickly became one way that fans honored Fisher's legacy.

People began opening up about their own experiences living with mental illness using the #InHonorOfCarrie hashtag on Twitter.

As their responses show, Fisher's commitment to live freely helped normalize mental illness. And it helped countless others do the same.

Because, really, mental illness is nothing to feel ashamed about.

Many used the hashtag to "come out" as someone living with a mental illness.

Sharing a secret with thousands of strangers is a very brave thing to do, after all.

One fan shared how Fisher's book, "Shockaholic," changed their life.

Others used the hashtag to send a simple, thoughtful note Fisher's way.

Just by being herself, Fisher helped others understand you are not your mental illness.

Just by being herself, she helped others — at any age — seek help.

And just by being herself, she made it OK to not always be OK.

Fisher helped people understand why they should receive the care they deserve.

She lived a life that showed why no one should be held captive by any mental illness.

And in some small way, her bravery helped whole families heal.

Fisher's on-screen legacy will no doubt live on for generations to come. But it's the person who brought Princess Leia to life that the world will miss most.

As Maya Angelou once said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Fisher made us feel alive. She helped us laugh. She helped us cry. And for millions around the world, she made it a little bit easier for us to simply be ourselves — mental illness and all.

Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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