+
upworthy
More

During this dismal election, women of color quietly made history in the Senate.

Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.

The pundits didn't see it coming. The polls were all wrong. And many of us — particularly the groups our new president-elect has targeted throughout much of his campaign — feel like we've woken up in a country that no longer wants us. A country we no longer recognize.

This is scary.


Even though today is a tough day, I know I'm finding comfort in remembering that history was made last night in a different but still good way.

The 115th Congress will have a record-high 21 female senators in it next year, including more women of color than ever before.

This session, 20 of the 100 senators are women. Although an increase by one is admittedly not a huge jump, we'll still have the most women ever in the U.S. Senate next year.

While numbers fluctuated in the years between the bars above, overall the figures represent a good sign for gender equality in Washington. Image by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

Meanwhile, the number of women of color in the Senate quadrupled.

Catherine Cortez Masto beat Joe Heck in Nevada to become the very first Latina elected to the Senate.

She'll be taking the seat of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who is retiring.

“It should have happened a long time ago,” she told Fusion in September of the possibility of making history.

Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

She has no plans to put a progressive agenda on hold because of a President Trump.

“I’ll be one hell of a checks and balances on him,” she told a crowd after the election. “Tonight, we start our fight together.”

Tammy Duckworth, a double-amputee veteran of the Iraq War who was born in Thailand, cruised to victory over incumbent Mark Kirk in Illinois.

"The military gave me leadership skills," she once told the Asian American Policy Review. "It taught me to stand up and express myself. It taught me, then, to defend what I think is the best solution."

Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Plenty of people around the country were rooting especially hard for Duckworth after her opponent made a racist jab at her family during a debate last month.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris held on to her sizable lead and will soon become America's first female biracial senator.

"All of the most substantial movements in this country started with or have been championed by students," she told Lenny last year. "I feel strongly we want to encourage student voice and take it seriously."

Democrat Kamala Harris of California. Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Variety.

These trailblazers will be joining the ranks of other senators who've made history in Washington recently — women like Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay senator, and Mazie Hirono, the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the upper chamber, in 2012.

These women and so many others reflect a Senate that's (slowly but surely) looking more and more like the American electorate.

We've got a long way to go, especially with Donald Trump poised to be the 45th president of the United States. But the changing faces of our leaders mean more and more groups and communities — women, racial minorities, the LGBTQ community, and so many others — have someone fighting for them in the halls of Congress. Representation matters because without their say in Washington, it's easy for the voices of these groups — their concerns, their challenges, their dreams — to go unheard.

Particularly in the years ahead, under a president who ran his campaign on divisiveness and scapegoating, it's more critical now than ever before that we hear these voices and make room for them at the table.

Female senators at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Image from YouTube video.

An emotional and strong Matt Diaz.


Matt Diaz has worked extremely hard to lose 270 pounds over the past six years.

But his proudest moment came in March 2015 when he decided to film himself with his shirt off to prove an important point about body positivity and self-love.

Keep ReadingShow less

Millenial names are now "old" names.

You can’t turn back the hands of time and so it’s impossible to avoid being labeled “old” by younger generations, no matter how hard you try. For many of us, our names are tied to the times when we were born and can start to sound really dated, no matter how fashionable they were at one point.

TikTokker Amber Cimotti found this out the hard way when her daughter noted that she has an “old” person's name.

“My daughter told me the name Ashley or Amanda — or my name is Amber — are like old people names and I never thought about it this way,” Amber explained in a video with over 3 million views.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

Keep ReadingShow less

Woman shows her misbehaving cat to 'the trenches'

You always hear about a "bad dog," giving the furry goofballs a reputation for getting into mischief, but what about bad cats. Not all cats are angels just lounging around the house until someone gives them food while fanning them with a giant palm leaf. Some cats have a sketchy "catigree" and every once in a while they let that wild streak show. When that happens, what is a cat owner to do?

A cat mom that goes by the user name Lambo Licia on Instagram posted a video showing exactly how she gets her cat in line when he's misbehaving. No, it's not with a spray bottle. She shows him what life is like in "the trenches." You know, the area of town where homeless cats roam and cat burglars have real whiskers and thumbs that don't work, leaving a strange fish smell wherever they lurk.

If Scared Straight: Cat Edition was an actual thing, Mega, the orange tabby would be the first to turn his life around. He looks absolutely petrified from all of the unruly cat behavior he sees out the window and his mom's commentary.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

College students use AI to decode ancient scroll burned in Mount Vesuvius

“Some of these texts could completely rewrite the history of key periods of the ancient world."

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E., it buried entire cities in volcanic materials. While Pompeii is the most famous site affected by the natural disaster, the nearby villa of Herculaneum was also laid to waste—including over 800 precious scrolls found inside Herculaneum’s library, which were carbonized by the heat, making them impossible to open and recover their contents.

Which brings us to the Vesuvius challenge, started by computer scientist Brent Seales and entrepreneurs Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross in March 2023. The contest would award $1 million in prizes to whoever could use machine learning to successfully read from the scrolls without damaging them.

On February 5, the prize-winning team was announced.
Keep ReadingShow less
Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

Shaquille O'Neal retired from pro basketball in 2011, but he's still one of the most famous players ever.

Fame comes with a lot of challenges, but it also comes with some pretty obvious perks. There's the money that frequently follows fame, of course, but there's also the special treatment people automatically offer you.

Some famous folks might revel in that special treatment and some might even express gratitude for it. But occasionally, you find a celebrity who refuses it altogether.

Take basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, for instance.

Keep ReadingShow less