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Constance Wu kept it real about the need for diverse stories in Hollywood.

Politics, leadership, and Hollywood were on the menu at this star-studded women's brunch.

Constance Wu kept it real about the need for diverse stories in Hollywood.

Some of Hollywood's brightest stars joined forces not for awards, premieres, or accolades, but for a bigger cause —empowering women.

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, comedian and TV host Chelsea Handler partnered with Emily's List, a nationwide resource for Democratic women running for office, to host the Resist, Run, Win pre-Oscars Brunch and panel in Beverly Hills. The lively discussion among panelists former U.S. senator Barbara Boxer, Amber Tamblyn, Padma Lakshmi, Elaine Welteroth, and Constance Wu focused on women speaking up — and speaking out — about politics, leadership, and running for office.

Left: Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Emily's List. Right: Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.


“We are in a moment for women’s leadership and empowerment at every level of leadership and especially in positions of political power," Handler said in a statement. "Emily's List has been leading this charge for over 30 years, and this event marks an important opportunity for women in Hollywood to help shift the momentum of this important cultural moment into direct electoral power."

The panel definitely wasn't politics as usual. Actress Constance Wu discussed the importance of visibility and representation in Hollywood.

Wu stars in the hit sitcom "Fresh Off The Boat," the first show in more than 20 years to feature an Asian-American family. This summer, she'll appear in "Crazy Rich Asians," a film based on the Kevin Kwan book of the same name. According to Wu, it will be the "first studio Hollywood movie ever, ever, to star an Asian-American in a contemporary context."

Think about that. Asian-Americans are often cast in historical films or in supporting roles as best friends or sidekicks, but we almost never see them save the day or fall in love. That's why Wu has intentionally shifted her career in another direction, pursuing opportunities that center and value her experience as an Asian-American.

Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Emily's List.

"I think .... understanding the thing that makes you different is nothing to be ashamed of. Actually, it's the thing that makes you great. And I think stories [should] celebrate that ... center that experience rather than having us be like the side characters who support a white person's story."

Former Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth also highlighted the need for diverse stories, and shared how pursuing them changed her for the better.

Welteroth, who recently stepped down to pursue opportunities in TV and film, was the youngest person to lead the magazine, taking on the role at just 29. She was also only the second black woman to lead a magazine in the history of publishing giant Condé Nast. Though an intimidating position for many, Welteroth rose to the challenge.

During her time at Teen Vogue, Welteroth made a point to highlight the stories and issues of young people who don't usually see themselves in mainstream publications because of their faith, gender identity, or ethnicity. The decision proved wise when the brand quickly soared under leadership. Teen Vogue’s website had nearly 8 million viewers in January of 2017, and just under 3 million the previous year.

Elaine Welteroth (L) and Amber Tamblyn speak onstage at Emily's List's 'Resist, Run, Win' Pre-Oscars Brunch on February 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Emily's List.

"What we found is the specificity of those stories pierced the zeitgeist of more people than we had reached prior," she said. "There is something universal about speaking of the experience of 'the other.' It is critical in a moment like this because it triggers empathy."

That's why even away from magazine publishing, Welteroth will continue to tell those authentic stories, starting with herself.

"Me being authentic, being exactly who I am is so important and so radical. Wearing my hair in an afro is important ... because a young girl is looking at me and I'm giving her an example of what's beautiful and what is centered and what is valuable in society. It's countering everything else that she's seeing. So that's important work."

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

As more women find inspiration and courage to run for office in their community or state, the importance of inclusivity can't be overstated.

Politics and government should be places where we uplift and celebrate the voices that too often go unheard. We should look to our leaders to role model community-building, acceptance, and the power of unity. Because only together can we mobilize to make change happen.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via Wikimedia Commons and Goalsetter

America's ethnic wealth gap is a multi-faceted problem that would take dramatic action, on multiple fronts, to overcome. One of the ways to help communities improve their economic well-being is through financial literacy.

Investopedia says there are five primary sources of financial education—families, high school, college, employers, and the military — and that education and household income are two of the biggest factors in predicting whether someone has a high level of financial literacy.

New Orleans Saints safety, two-time Super Bowl Champion, and social justice activist Malcolm Jenkins and The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation hope to help bridge the wealth gap by teaching students about investing at a young age.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.