Check out this cool new ad that businesses can use to show their support for LGBTQ patrons.

The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-gender couple.

Its ruling, however, was particularly narrow and reflective of the specifics in the case. The decision avoided setting any new precedent on if a business owner can discriminate against an LGBTQ patron based on religious belief.

In writing the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy made sure to affirm protections for LGBTQ people, The New York Times reported.


But the misleading narrative that SCOTUS' ruling was "a major victory for religious liberty" — as Sen. Ted Cruz claimed in his tweet below — began to take hold, regardless of the details in the court's decision.

That narrative is music to bigots' ears.

Some anti-LGBTQ leaders and business owners have felt emboldened by SCOTUS' decision.

In a controversial Facebook comment after the ruling, South Dakota Rep. Michael Clark celebrated the development and claimed a business owner "should have the opportunity to run his business the way he wants" — even if it includes refusing to provide services to people of color.

(Clark later walked back the claim.)

Jeff Amyx, who first made waves in 2015 for hanging an abhorrent "No Gays Allowed" sign at the front of his Tennessee hardware store, called SCOTUS' new wedding cake decision a "ray of sunshine."

Image from Brandon Rook/YouTube.

"Christianity is under attack," Amyx explained. "This is a great win, don't get me wrong, but this is not the end. This is just the beginning."

Fortunately, at least one LGBTQ rights group isn't sitting idly by.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) decided to fight back against the hate by equipping allies in the business world with a simple but effective tool: a sign of their own.

HRC took out a full-page ad in USA Today that reads, "We stand with the LGBTQ community," and "We are open to all."

The ad, as HRC's Charlotte Clymer indicated on Twitter, can be hung in a business' window to ensure queer and trans patrons know they're welcome inside.  

The nonprofit also put a downloadable and printable version of the ad on its website and is encouraging supporters to stand in solidarity with the queer community by using the hashtag #OpenToAll on social media platforms.

Moves like this one can make a big difference.

In 2015, after then-Gov. Mike Pence signed a now-infamous anti-LGBTQ "religious freedom" bill into law in Indiana, thousands of businesses pushed back against the discriminatory legislation by placing "This business serves everyone" signs in their storefronts.

Some lovely people “shop hopping” at #openforservice businesses #love #support #wewelcomeall http://ow.ly/i/a8vEO

Posted by Open For Service on Saturday, March 28, 2015

That initiative by Open For Service was part of the broad backlash to the law, which was later revised to protect LGBTQ people in employment, housing, and services.

Aside from HRC's sign, there are other simple ways you can ensure patrons know your business is inclusive.

Hang a rainbow flag — as big or small as you'd like — in an area where people will spot it. (They're not just for Pride month, after all. Leave 'em up 365 days a year.)

Let it be known that your restrooms are inclusive of transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people. And if your business has only one or two restrooms, why needlessly assign a gender to one or either of them when the facilities can be explicitly all-gender?

Write messages affirming your belief in equality on message boards, menus, and/or customer-facing pamphlets. If you have a space where the community leaves event flyers, include your own LGBTQ-affirming flyers or signs as well. Small but meaningful steps like these can make a difference — not just politically, but on an individual level, too. If you want LGBTQ people to know they're accepted and welcome in your business, speak up!

Vocal allyship is critical in the fight for fairness. Let it be known that you stand for equality.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture