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He came to our country when he was 9. He became a citizen when he was 16. Meet Claudius.

Claudius moved to the United States at 9 years old, emigrating from Sierra Leone with his mother and brother. That's when he learned what it's like to be an American.

He came to our country when he was 9. He became a citizen when he was 16. Meet Claudius.
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Carnegie Corporation of New York

Claudius moved to the United States at 9 years old from Sierra Leone, a country torn by civil war.

He landed in upstate New York with his mother and brother and only a few bags of possessions. That's when he learned about life in America.

"It's a story of individuals that come together to make one whole. That's what America is."


Just like any other teenager, he went to school, played sports, and learned English. Politics were discussed at home, and it lit a passion in him to be involved in the process of government. And then he became a naturalized citizen at 16 years old.

"My story is an American story."

He went on to go to college, excel at sports and politics, and pursue his dream of political participation by working for Congresswoman Niki Tsongas in Massachusetts.

"We've welcomed immigrants from countries all over the world and we're enriched by all those distinct cultures. They've shaped the American culture and it's a remarkable legacy we have as a nation." — U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas


What makes our country great? It's the sum of everybody who lives, works, plays, and grows old here.

"That's the thing about America," Claudius says. "Just taking bits of pieces from all walks of life and all parts of the world and bringing them into the fold. My story is an American story."

The Great American Melting Pot is real, and it's made us who we are today. It also made our country stronger.

This is the story of so many of us. With the exception of Native Americans who lived here long before any of our ancestors did, we are all immigrants. It just depends on when our people arrived, doesn't it?

What patriotism means to all of us is something that's usually a little vague, sometimes wrapped in words that are loaded with meaning. But Claudius and so many like him … they get it.

President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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Gates Foundation

Once upon a time, a scientist named Dr. Andrew Wakefield published in the medical journal The Lancet that he had discovered a link between autism and vaccines.

After years of controversy and making parents mistrust vaccines, along with collecting $674,000 from lawyers who would benefit from suing vaccine makers, it was discovered he had made the whole thing up. The Lancet publicly apologized and reported that further investigation led to the discovery that he had fabricated everything.

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via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

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