Her AncestryDNA test had a powerful impact on her, so she asked others to take one, too.

"I never really understood what it meant to be Peruvian as a child," says Connie Chavez.

Chavez is a self-taught videographer who works at Latina magazine in New York. Growing up in New York, she didn't really have an opportunity to be around other Peruvian people. Her friends dismissed her background, assuming it was the same as any other Latino culture.

"Nobody understood what Peru was," she says. "It made me really feel bad."


Now that she's older, Chavez has had the opportunity to learn about the rich, unique culture that she is a part of. "I'm Peruvian, and I'm proud," she says. Her parents taught her about the history and culture of their Incan ancestors, and that’s what led her to eventually embrace her heritage. "Because of that knowledge, I feel powerful," she says.

Learning about her background boosted Chavez's confidence in who she is — and it made her want to get others involved. Watch her story below:

She wanted to do something about the xenophobia she was seeing in the world, so she started with herself.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It wasn't just as a kid that Chavez faced misunderstandings and mischaracterizations of her culture.

During the 2016 election season, Chavez found herself on the receiving end of xenophobic and racist comments.

"It was last August, and I was feeling really low because I was hearing a lot of xenophobic things, racialized remarks towards me," says Chavez.  

She found herself wondering what she could do to start a more productive dialogue around race and culture. Inspired by activist Carmen Perez and her goal of starting "courageous conversations," Chavez wanted to start some courageous conversations of her own.

"It is really hard to talk about race. It's really difficult," she says. "People feel uneasy, but that feeling is what creates progress."

Chavez decided to take an AncestryDNA test as a starting point for these conversations.

As she puts it: "Are you 100% everything? No, you're not, and there's no such thing as a superior race because, essentially, we all have DNA from the entire world."

Chavez's test revealed that she's 59% Native American, 27% European, 2% African, and 3% West Asian.

"After seeing my Ancestry results, I got to admit, I felt really powerful," she says. "I truly felt like a global citizen. It just affirmed what I always believed in, and it really gave me the confidence to reclaim certain parts of myself."

Chavez wanted to share the empowerment she felt with others, so she persuaded her coworkers at Latina to take AncestryDNA tests too.

Chavez worked with AncestryDNA to procure tests for her coworkers, and then the women got together at work to discuss their results. They broadcast the conversation in a Facebook Live video.

Many of Chavez's coworkers felt empowered by their results too.

"I would definitely say I feel a lot more confident in who I am, knowing where I come from," says Barbara Gonzalez, a former staff writer at Latina.

It's not always an easy process; sometimes seeing the results can be emotional and even scary. Chavez says, "It is a deeply profound, sentimental issue for some people, and I understand it. This is a big thing."

But, she says, it's worth it. "It's a beautiful thing to find out who you are."

Latina staffers discussed their results in a Facebook Live video.

Chavez's project demonstrates how learning about your ancestry isn't just about the past — it can also help shape the future.

With the help of her coworkers, Chavez used her AncestryDNA results to spark important conversations about race and culture. And she's inspiring others to do the same.

After the Facebook Live broadcast, she says she received numerous emails from people thanking her.

"When I started seeing the responses and the happiness behind every response," says Chavez, "I felt compelled to just continue the work that I'm doing."

"I never really thought of myself as a pioneer for  anything, but really, starting this project really made me feel like I had a purpose here."

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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.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

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.

WE Teachers
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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture