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Donald Trump's worst nightmare is running for governor of Maryland.

Krishanti Vignarajah is a force to be reckoned with.

Donald Trump's worst nightmare is running for governor of Maryland.

"I hope Marylanders will agree the best man for the job is a woman," Krishanti Vignarajah announced, officially declaring her entry into Maryland's gubernatorial race.

"I am running for Governor because I am worried my daughter will not have the same opportunities my parents gave me when they brought our family here when I was a baby girl."

Vignarajah has never held elected office before, but she was policy director for former first lady Michelle Obama and senior adviser to Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. On Aug. 9, she announced that her name would indeed be on the ballot in Maryland's 2018 election.


Vignarajah, who helped launch Obama's Let Girls Learn initiative in 2015, wants to bring her passion for improved access to education to the people of Maryland.

In her campaign announcement, she lists education, the economy, drug addiction, infrastructure, and the environment among her priorities. Just as important, she says, "We need a new generation of leadership that will make progress at home, while standing up to a White House that threatens the very values that unite and define us."

A woman, an immigrant, and a new mother, Vignarajah embodies both the American Dream and the current president's worst nightmare.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Vignarajah discussed her family's journey (they fled Sri Lanka on the brink of civil war when she was nine months old for the U.S. with $200 in their pockets) and reflected on whether they would even be allowed to enter the country had their trip happened in 2017 instead of 1980.

"President Trump, he can demonize immigrants to our country, but the truth for me is there's a family just like mine out there who applied, and they waited their turn, and they want to work hard and pay their taxes and raise a family and live a decent and safe life here," Vignarajah told Cosmo. "Just as immigrants before them have for generations. I know that that story is not only personal to my family, but it’s fundamental to the American experience."

2018 is shaping up to be a big year for women in politics.

It turns out that electing a sleazy, misogynistic, accused sexual predator president led a record number of women to take matters into their own hands and consider running for office. Go figure.

EMILY's List, a group dedicated to helping elect pro-choice Democratic women, saw a huge jump in the number of women showing interest in running for office around the country. According to Vogue, 920 women expressed interest to EMILY's List from the beginning of 2015 to the end of 2016; more than 16,000 have done so in 2017 alone. That's massive.

On Jan. 21, women around the country took to the streets in protest of President Trump. The enthusiasm doesn't seem to have let up. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Vignarajah's advice to other women thinking about running for office? Just do it.

Though she did tell Cosmo that it's important to "think long and hard about whether [running for office] makes sense," she cautioned prospective candidates against becoming paralyzed by indecision or overwhelmed by negativity.

"Don't doubt yourself," she said. "As I was making the decision, there were a lot of considerations. But you have to listen to your heart. And for me, I know that I should run because I’m worried that my baby girl and all of our children would not have the same opportunities that I had growing up in Maryland."

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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