Councilwoman comes out to her constituent complaining about Pride flags in an unforgettable exchange
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Pride Month events were cancelled in Minot, North Dakota last June due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, the city decided to temporarily fly a Pride flag in support of the LGBTQ community at city hall earlier this month.

The flag ceremony was accompanied by the town's mayor, Shaun Sipma, proclaiming June as Pride Month in the city. This gesture ruffled a lot of feathers in Minot, a city of around 41,000 residents.

Spima said his decision to support the flag-raising stemmed from seeing "a population within our community that does need to have that issue addressed – the issue of hate. When they came to me, they had stated that they wanted a call for kindness, not necessarily acceptance but a call for kindness. And that I can appreciate."


Last Tuesday, angry residents spoke out against the flag at a city council meeting. This prompted councilwoman Carrie Evans to deliver a beautiful defense of the flag.

Evans began her defense by letting meeting attendees know that she is a lesbian.

"So Mr. Walker, if you're not aware," Evans told a resident who was against the flag, "and I think a lot of people in this room are not aware and have come here just because this is a gay issue, I am proudly the first openly elected lesbian in North Dakota. So that is why I am not paying any heed to your crap."

Evans told Walker that the flag was a way to show LGBTQ people that they are just as valuable as anyone else to their community.

"We, the people. I'm the people. I live in Minot. I am a taxpayer. I am a person," she said. "I get to see myself represented on that flagpole just as much as the people who got the Juneteenth flag last month, as much as the POW/MIA will get later this month."

"Every single person is entitled to see themselves represented," she continued. "We are not some group of people who live in San Francisco or Seattle."

"We are here. We are your elected officials. We are your brothers. we are your sisters, and don't tell me you're not hatred or anger. That's all I feel. I've had to listen to it for days now, as has the mayor and many of my colleagues. It is unacceptable," Evans said.

The councilwoman made the compelling point that the flag does absolutely nothing to hurt Walker but has an incredibly positive effect on how the LGBT community is perceived and protected.

"This city is big enough for all of us. Me having a flag flying does not take away anything from your rights. But you know what it does for me? It shows me I live in a city that appreciates and embraces me, and my community," Evans said.

"And I can live here and feel safe," she continued. "That's what it does. I'm sorry that it doesn't make you feel comfortable, but we're here, we're queer, and we're not going away!"

Over time, symbols like the Pride flag may become so ubiquitous that we forget their true meaning and why it's important for them to be flown.

Evans' defense of the Pride flag serves as a perfect explanation for why people choose to fly it in the first place and why they should continue to do so.

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 David Lavaux / Facebook and Google

A farmer in Belgium has caused an international incident by inadvertently redrawing the border between Belgium and France. The farmer moved a border stone that stood on the grounds for over 200 years because it was blocking his tractor.

The two countries share a 390-mile border that was established under a treaty signed in 1820.

The stone, marked 1819, was put in place four years after the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Nearly 50,000 soldiers died in the battle that would determine the border.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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