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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.

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.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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