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He is black. He is privileged. And all of that concerns his parents.

At first I didn't understand why two parents wanted to film their son's journey through prep school. But once they started telling their story, I totally got it.

He is black. He is privileged. And all of that concerns his parents.
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The Atlantic Philanthropies

Meet Joe Brewster.

Meet Michèle Stephenson.


Michèle and Joe are married with two kids. Their oldest son is named Idris. At the age of 4, Idris was accepted into The Dalton School, a super-elite and rigorous college prep school, where he was one of few black students from a middle-class family.

"I want my son to have the best education possible. Although he's not technically from an upper class, Idris is very privileged and bright." — Joe Brewster

Both Joe and Michèle grew up poor. Joe became a doctor and Michèle a lawyer. So their son has been afforded opportunities they never had. That's great, but it's also really scary to them.

"I just don't want Idris to be hurt. I don't want for his self esteem to suffer. ... In any environment that you're in, whether it's Dalton or elsewhere, race always plays a part in how the students are perceived, in how we perceive as parents our role in that environment. How we interpret what the school says, how the school reacts to the kids and reacts to us as parents. It's always there as an undercurrent." — Michele Stephenson

So, they decided to film their son Idris' experience for 13 years — from the time he started kindergarten at 5 to his graduation at the age of 18.

Each year Idris talks about his feelings as they relate to race and class on tape. It's interesting to check out his observations year after year.

Age 5

Age 9

Age 10

Age 11

Age 17

Then the 17-year-old added:

"The students ... a lot of them, live in this bubble, and during the course of my life, it's created a divide between my school life and in my race. I've been around a lot of black people outside of school, and they have a totally different way of living, totally different way of speaking and going about their daily lives. I really do feel a sense of two-ness. "

While Idris' parents were super-concerned about how he would confront race and class issues at school, all in all, they still wouldn't trade the experience.

Whoa. This kind of reminds me of my experience growing up. Two-ness — I can so relate. I wonder how many other kids in this situation have felt like this? Click below to preview the rest of this fascinating documentary.

In 2015, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price had a life-changing epiphany.

Price, who founded Gravity with his brother in 2004, was out hiking in the Cascade Mountains with his friend, Valerie. She told him her landlord had raised her rent by $200 and she was struggling to get by on her $40,000 a year income. Price, who was making $1.1 million a year as CEO of Gravity, was struck by her story. Not only did he feel for Valerie—a military veteran working two jobs and barely making ends meet—realized that some of his own employees might be facing similar struggles.

And they were. One employee frankly told him his entry-level salary was a rip-off. Another employee had secretly been working at McDonald's outside of work hours to make ends meet. So Price decided to make a drastic change by investing in his employees.

He researched how much money the average person would need in order to live comfortably and settled on $70,000 a year. In one fell swoop, he dropped his own salary to that amount, while also making it the minimum salary for anyone who worked at Gravity.

The move drew media coverage—and dire predictions from pundits. On Fox News and other conservative outlets he was called "foolish," a "socialist" and a "lunatic of lunatics." Rush Limbaugh called the company policy "pure unadulterated socialism" that was "going to fail" and should be a case study in MBA programs on how socialism doesn't work. Talking heads predicted that his employees would end up in the welfare line.

Six years later, Price has proved the haters wrong—by a lot.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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