Radio commentator Jay Smooth discusses what it's like to be racially mixed: "When you believe you must be perfect in order to be good, it becomes an obstacle to being as good as you can be."
Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.
"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.
While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."
In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.
"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."
In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, she decided it was time to do even more to serve people during these difficult times.
"It became clearer to me that the lack of representation in the book publishing industry for BIPOC/LatinX writers & poets had to change," she says. "I want to be an agent of change in the publishing industry and contribute to its transformation."
She created Alegría Publishing to nurture and produce works by indie LatinX storytellers and expanded the mobile bookstore to celebrate BIPOC/LatinX writers and poets, as well as the books published by Alegría publishing. And one day she hopes that she can take the bookstore across the United States and discover even more emerging writers.
Today, Agudelo also mentors indie authors two nights a week through the Alegría Writing Collective for LatinX writers. "They rock my world every class," she says.
"The amount of talent in our community pushes me to keep growing our company so the world can read their work and remember their names."
Agudelo has made it her mission to empower women and her community. "My career has been such a blessing filled with magical milestones and I never take these moments for granted," she says. "There is nothing like being able to make a woman's dream of publishing their first book and bring it to life. Watching their reaction, when they look at their book for the first time is priceless."
"As women, we are naturally powerful, we just have to keep reminding each other of our power."
Agudelo is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to The Sims Library of Poetry, which is the first black-owned poetry library in California.
"Hiram Sims, its founder, started lending books to his university students out of this suitcase after mandating that they read one book of poetry a week. As demand grew, his suitcase library was forced to seek a larger home," says Agudelo. "Their mission is to serve, educate, and foster a love for poetry, especially for marginalized people of color in the community of South Los Angeles."
To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today.
The UK is experiencing record-breaking weather this week. England reached its hottest temperature of the year on Tuesday when it hit 32.2°C at Heathrow Airport in west London. Temperatures in Northern Ireland reached an all-time high when 31.3°C was recorded at Castlederg the next day.
However, when you translate Celsius to Fahrenheit, the temperatures don't seem to be that extreme, at least to an American. Thirty-two degrees celsius is only 89.6° F. When you compare the temperatures in the UK to an average July day in Las Vegas, Nevada where it'll hit 107°F, the British seem a little weak.
An American TikTokker named Rae pointed out that the temperatures weren't that hot in a viral video.
The clip shows her reading the headline, which says: "UK sees hottest day of 2021 as temperatures soar to 31.6°C." In a voiceover, she says, "I wonder how much that is in Fahrenheit."
She converts the temperature on a website and found that it only equates to 88.88°F. "The British are p******," she says.
The video has since been deleted.
However, a British TikTokker named @imeyrick pushed back against claims that the British can't handle hot weather by pointing out how the country's infrastructure isn't set up to handle the heat.
#stitch with @rae_harmon leave us alone we’re hot 🥵
"Point number one, we don't have air conditioning, anywhere," the 27-year-old explains. "Apart from, like, retail outlets. Some places will have it. But most homes do not have air conditioning. They're not built with air conditioning, the best we can have is portable stuff."
Just imagine what it would be like to be stuck in 89°F weather all day without being able to cool off by turning on the A/C?
"Point number two is that our buildings are insulated to hell because we typically have mild summers and cold winters. So our buildings are designed to hold the heat to save energy costs," he continued.
He also makes the point that British people's bodies aren't used to heat. Much like if someone from California were to go to England during the winter, they'd be extremely uncomfortable.
"And point number three, your body will adjust to the climate that you live in," he said.
"We don't get that much hot weather, it lasts for about two to three weeks. Our bodies don't have time to adjust, therefore our bodies literally cannot handle the heat," he said.
The video received a lot of positive comments from Americans who live in the UK.
One commented: "I'm from California, 103°F summers no problem. I'm in Kent, it's 80°F and I'm dying. There is no relief. Not having ac is a huge difference."
Another wrote: "I'm from Florida, living in London now, and yeah. it hits differently here."
The good news for people in the UK is that the heatwave looks like it'll subside soon. Thunderstorms are predicted to hit most of England and Wales over the weekend, bringing temps back down to a reasonable level.