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Here's what you can do to help end police violence.

It's easy to feel helpless in the face of injustice, but there's hope.

Here's what you can do to help end police violence.

On July 5, 2016, police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, shot and killed 37-year-old father of five Alton Sterling.

The officers were responding to a call about an armed man when they came across Sterling, tackling him to the ground outside a convenience store. Holding his head to the pavement, one of the officers fired multiple shots. Since then, multiple videos have emerged, showing what, to many people, looks like an execution-style killing.

The following day, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, an officer shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile.

According to Castile’s girlfriend, Lavish Reynolds, he was shot four times after reaching for his driver’s license at the request of the officer. Reynolds recorded the aftermath of the shooting as the officer stood with his gun fixed on the dying man.


Protesters gather in front of a mural painted on the wall of the convenience store where Alton Sterling was shot and killed. Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images.

Both Sterling and Castile were black men.

In both cases, it appears that the men were complying with instructions from the officers when they were shot. Sterling and Castile marked the 505th and 506th people shot and killed by police in the U.S. in 2016.

In times like this, it's easy to feel helpless to change an unjust system — but there are several things we can do as individuals.

In April 2015, writer Ijeoma Oluo wrote an article for Ravishly addressing this very concern. She lists a number of things you can do to address police brutality, including:

  • Educating yourself on your city's police conduct review process.
  • Pressuring your local elected officials to help close gaps in that process.
  • Voting for local candidates who run on a platform of addressing police violence.
  • Supporting legal defense funds and activism groups like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the ACLU.

Protesters in New York City in 2014 after a grand jury decided not to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images.

Activist-led group Campaign Zero just made it really easy to find out where your state representatives stand on this issue via a new tool posted to their website, complete with ways to contact them to demand action.

Putting pressure on lawmakers to address these problems can (and does) work.

According to the Campaign Zero website, over the course of the past two years, at least 60 laws have been enacted in 28 states, with another 58 bills under consideration. Not bad, but it's only the start of what needs to be done.


Campaign Zero lists 10 things it wants to change, including:

  1. Ending "broken windows policing."
  2. Ensuring community oversight.
  3. Limiting the use of force.
  4. Independently investigating and prosecuting police killings.
  5. Increased community representation.
  6. Equipping officers with body cameras.
  7. Improving training.
  8. Ending for-profit policing.
  9. Demilitarizing departments.
  10. Reforming police union contracts.

So far, five states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, and Utah) have enacted laws that address at least three of those goals. We can do more.

These reforms are necessary to hold all people — police or otherwise — accountable for their actions.

It's not "anti-police" to believe in responsibility. A badge shouldn't function as a license to kill, and reasonable reforms to the justice system to reflect that should be welcomed by everybody, including officers.

No one should have to fear for their life when they come into contact with the police, but for many people — especially people of color — they have no way of knowing the difference between a "good cop" and a "bad cop" until it's too late.

A protester holds her hands up in front of a police car in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 after the grand jury decision in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

You can be a part of the change. You can help put an end to police brutality.

There's nothing that can bring back Philando Castile or Alton Sterling — or, for that matter, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Dontre Hamilton, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Tanisha Anderson, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Rekia Boyd, or others.

What can happen, however, is meaningful change, and that starts with you.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

@SubwayCreatures / Twitter

A man who uses a wheelchair fell onto the tracks in a New York City subway station on Wednesday afternoon. A CBS New York writer was at the scene of the incident and says that people rushed to save the man after they heard him "whimpering."

It's unclear why the man fell onto the tracks.

A brave rescuer risked his life by jumping on the tracks to get the man to safety knowing that the train would come barreling in at any second. The footage is even more dramatic because you can hear the station's PA system announce that the train is on its way.

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