He has ALS. He can no longer speak. And he needs you to listen to him talk about it.

ALS took his ability to move. So he started a movement.

ALS doesn't strike with a terrifying blow. It is a gradual, creeping illness. A thousand tiny cuts that slowly add up.

For Hiro Fujita, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis started with his arms feeling heavy. Then his legs began to hurt and it became harder to climb stairs. He went to the doctor almost as a precaution, expecting to be told it was nothing serious.

Instead, on Nov. 26, 2010, Hiro was diagnosed with ALS. It is the same devastating disease suffered by astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Hawking has lived 50 years with ALS. Hiro was told he could expect to live three to five years at most before the disease attacking his motor neurons shut down his body completely.


By 2012, ALS was taking hold of Hiro's body. He had trouble lifting his arms. He broke his front teeth after tripping over nothing. Getting up from the couch became a question of if rather than when.

As his body slowly stopped being able to move, Hiro's mind was racing. He had to do something. It was time to start a movement and find a cure.

In late 2012, Hiro launched his foundation, End ALS, with two very simple goals: (1) Make ALS famous and find a cure and (2) change government policy so people living with ALS can affordably access technology that lets them live more comfortable lives.

An End ALS supporter wears her shirt proudly. All proceeds from shirt sales benefit the organization and its work toward a cure for ALS. Image by Hiro Fujita/End ALS, used with permission.

Over the last four years, Hiro has worked nonstop toward those goals. He's built a movement, spoken at conferences, written a book, and done the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Hiro with End ALS supporters in 2015. Image by Hiro Fujita/End ALS, used with permission.

He's done all of this while still working as an planning director at a Tokyo ad agency — thanks in large part to technological advances helping people with ALS live more normal lives. In an interview with Facebook last year, he talked about one innovation in particular:

"I use Tobii eye tracking software so I can control my computer cursor with my eyes. Japan's insurance doesn't cover it unless you can only move your eyes, but every person in need deserves it. ... It enables me to work on END ALS. It also lets me access Facebook, which is my main way to connect and hang with friends. It is a way for me to live my pre-ALS life through others. It can be painful to see what you’re missing out on, but it's comforting it still exists. Not to mention all of the long and short 'stay strong' messages."

"I am 99% grateful for all that has happened in my life. But 1% angry."

That's the most poignant quote from Hiro's very popular talk at TEDx Tokyo in 2014. A year earlier, he'd had a tracheotomy and lost his voice. No matter. He spoke anyway, using text-to-voice software. He plans to keep speaking. However he can. As long as he can. As he says in his Facebook story:

"I can no longer speak, but it does not mean I am giving up. My friends give me strength and I will keep fighting. For myself. For others. For a cure. My voice is louder now that ALS took it away."

Watch Hiro's presentation at TEDx Tokyo:

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A new Harriet Tubman statue sculpted by Emmy and Academy award-winner Wesley Wofford has been revealed, and its symbolism is moving to say the least.

Harriet Tubman was the best known "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses that helped thousands of enslaved black Americans make their way to freedom in the north in the early-to-mid 1800s. Tubman herself escaped slavery in 1849, then kept returning to the Underground Railroad, risking her life to help lead others to freedom. She worked as a spy for the Union Army during the Civil War, and after the war dedicated her life to helping formerly enslaved people try to escape poverty.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

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The Hillary Clinton email scandal was a major right-wing talking point during the 2016 election that aimed to create an air of suspicion around the candidate.

The media played right into it turning Clinton — one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for the office — appear just as unworthy of the presidency as Trump, a vulgar, politically-inexperienced pathological liar.

The controversy surrounded Clinton's use of a private email account in which over 30,000 emails were sent during her time as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. An FBI interrogation found there were 110 confidential emails sent from her private account.

Clinton was never criminally charged, however FBI director James Comey said she was "extremely careless."

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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