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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 Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."