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.

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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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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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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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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