+
This advocate from Detroit is fighting for equity, justice, and gender equality for all
United Nations Foundation
True

This story was originally shared on #EqualEverywhere — a campaign to champion the changemakers working to make equality for girls and women a reality. You can find the original story here.

London J. Bell is Founder and President of the Bell Global Justice Institute. She is connecting the drive for equality from Michigan to the world while raising awareness about what it will take to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals. Bell is also a member of UNA-USA, and is a UNA Women Co-Chair.

What does #EqualEverywhere mean to you?

To me #EqualEverywhere means gender equality in every area of life for every global citizen. #EqualEverywhere means equal pay, equal access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities for all. #EqualEverywhere means equal access to participation in the political process on local, national, and international levels. #EqualEverywhere means the eradication of all forms of violence against women and girls.

Why do you advocate for equal rights for girls and women?

I advocate because I know the impact of the oppression of girls and women around the world. I am particularly concerned with violence against women and girls and the lack of access to justice for victims and survivors as well as the impunity of perpetrators. The absence of justice reinforces the belief that the dehumanization of women and girls is acceptable and normal. As an advocate, I use my voice to let law and policy makers know that the dehumanization of women and girls is 100% unacceptable. I am particularly vocal about laws, policies, and customs that strengthen protections for women and girls locally and globally.

What motivates me to do this work?

I am motivated to do this work because I know the lives of women and girls are at risk of violence around the world every hour of the day. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where women and girls are often impacted by violence in many forms. This past summer, I was deeply troubled when I learned that, within the span of one week, four African-American women were murdered in Detroit. In response to this violence, in August 2019, I organized and led a Universal Periodic Review Consultation Session (UPR) on gender-based violence with fellow members of the United Nations Association of Greater Detroit. Our Consultation Session was included in UNA-USA's National UPR Consultation ahead of the country's scheduled appearance before the UN as part of its Periodic Review in May 2020. When we held our UPR Session at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, an inter-generational, intercultural group of about 25 community leaders offered personal stories, observations, and recommendations for the U.S. to address systemic issues that perpetuate all forms of violence against women here at home and globally. As an advocate, a member of UNA-USA, and as a UNA Women Co-Chair, I will continue to use my voice to empower women and girls and to demand accountability in every area of life where women and girls are adversely impacted.


What are the main challenges you experience in your work to demand gender equality?

One main challenge for me is sitting down with people in my community and even my family and having tough conversations around the systemic oppression of women and girls, the intersectionalities of women and girls, and the ways in which power and privilege work against gender equality. I have had many hard conversations with very well-meaning people who may not even realize how laws, policies, institutions, and systems continue to subjugate women and girls, even institutions and systems that many among us may benefit from. Though these conversations are challenging, most people are open to becoming part of the solution and resist adhering to their preexisting views and opinions. The more we dialogue about achieving gender equality as a community, the closer we move toward making it a reality. I am committed to continuing these conversations to bring us closer to gender equality, one person at a time.

What progress are you seeing as a result of your work?

As a human rights advocate, I spend time with young people discussing issues around human rights, gender inequality, and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. When I talk with young people, I am so encouraged to hear girls and young women speak about ways they assert themselves in different situations and offer ideas for empowering themselves and fellow young women and girls. In addition, I have had the privilege to conduct a workshop about gender inequality with high school boys at Cass Tech High School in Detroit. When I walked into the room and asked for a show of hands of how many of the boys supported gender equality and supported women's and girls' rights, every boy raised their hand with enthusiasm. These are important examples of progress for me.

What progress are you seeing in the wider gender equality movement?

I am seeing that the movement for gender equality is everywhere! I was very excited when I learned Secretary-General Guterres declared himself a feminist at the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2018 (CSW62). I am happy to see the UN work toward gender equality under his leadership. The movement toward electing more women to government positions in Rwanda and Ethiopia is also exciting. Here in the U.S., more women, particularly women of color, are running for office at every level of government and are in turn being sworn in at every level of government. When women are at the table when laws and policies are created, the needs of women and girls are more likely to be considered. This is progress to me.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

Keep ReadingShow less