More

He's black. He's a cop. He's also been stopped and frisked 30 times.

He was upset when the police stopped him the first time. But by the 30th time, there was an ironic reason why he was downright embarrassed.

He's black. He's a cop. He's also been stopped and frisked 30 times.
True
The Atlantic Philanthropies

Meet Nick.

Nick was a superstar athlete in high school who still loves to jog regularly. Nice, friendly looking guy, right?


Nick believes in abiding by the law. It's actually a hugely important value to him (you'll understand why later ... keep reading).

So why has he been stopped and frisked by the police 30 times?

"I have been stopped lots of times, sometimes driving my car; other times, I've been stopped on the street. And I've had some really poor experiences. ... It's intimidating when you know you haven't done anything wrong, that it's frustrating. It's also embarrassing." — Nick

Nick was guilty of driving, walking, and, essentially, living while black — an all-too-common narrative that has resulted in people getting stopped and searched everywhere from inside cabs to their own apartment buildings. But that's not where the story ends.

In case you don't know what stop-and-frisk is, it's a highly controversial practice when an officer stops someone who s/he thinks "looks suspicious" and frisks them for weapons. A crime-intervention policy that has sparked national and international debate over its fairness and legality, stop-and-frisk was initiated by the police and still receives tons of support from police.

But here's the irony: Nick, a black man who has been stopped and frisked 30 times, is the police. That's right. Nick is a cop.

BOOM. Imagine that: constantly being a victim of a policy supported and implemented by the same organization that you work for. That cuts pretty deep.

"It makes you wary of a police car behind you or police officers in the street, which seems really weird when I'm a police officer myself. But I genuinely do feel that." — Nick

So Nick is working with Equally Ours in the U.K., speaking up about this problem that he has experienced firsthand from both sides of the issue. And he knows it's a big problem — not just in his own life, but statistically speaking too.

Let's run the numbers.

Research from the New York Civil Liberties Union shows that stop-and-frisk in New York focuses on men of color, which seems totally skewed if you look at the total population.

For example, NYCLU's stats say that in 2011:

  • 168,126 young black men (between the ages of 14 and 24) were stopped by the police.
  • This makes up 25.6% of NYPD stops.
  • Young black men are only 1.9% of the city's population.
  • In the same year, only 24,760 young white men were stopped.
  • That accounts for 3.8% of NYPD stops.
  • Young white men also make up 2% of the city's population.

Between 2003 and 2012, stop-and-frisk climbed by a whopping 600% in New York, but only a small percentage of those incidents involved police finding someone carrying a gun or attempting to commit a violent crime. According to the NYCLU, during that time, stops increased by 524,873, but officers found only 176 more guns.

Granted, any number of guns off the streets helps, but does finding them really have to involve such racially insensitive tactics that affect hundreds of thousands of innocent people?

The good news is that stop-and-frisk practices in New York have started to dip. There's a big difference in the numbers from 2013 to 2014.

According to the NYCLU:

  • In 2013, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 191,558 times.
    169,252 were totally innocent (88 percent).
    104,958 were black (56 percent).
    55,191 were Latino (29 percent).
    20,877 were white (11 percent).



  • In 2014, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 46,235 times.
    38,051 were totally innocent (82 percent).
    24,777 were black (55 percent).
    12,662 were Latino (29 percent).
    5,536 were white (12 percent).



Most attribute this to a 2013 case New York. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that stop-and-frisk is "unconstitutional and racially discriminatory." Part of the settlement in this groundbreaking case required that the NYPD put reforms in place, including more intense monitoring and accountability for these incidents, along with requiring that officers wear body cameras.

That sounds like a good place to start, but implementing these reforms has been difficult because of various appeals, negotiations, and, more recently, having Judge Scheindlin removed from the case, which caused some of the reforms to be put on hold.

As the battle for fair treatment continues, it's good that people like Nick are sharing their stories. To learn more, take a look at the video below.

via Lever Du Ciné / YouTube and Josiah Robles / Twitter

One of the most touching moments in Disney's "Toy Story" series is in the third film when 17-year-old Andy goes off to college, leaving his beloved toys behind to a young girl named Bonnie. It's the moment when he's forced to put the things of childhood behind and make his way in the world as an adult.

Before driving off in his car, he gives Bonnie his favorite toy, Woody, and the two play together with his toys for one last time. While he's excited to move on to go to school, his heart is clearly heavy with the knowledge of everything he's leaving behind.

Keep Reading Show less
via Lever Du Ciné / YouTube and Josiah Robles / Twitter

One of the most touching moments in Disney's "Toy Story" series is in the third film when 17-year-old Andy goes off to college, leaving his beloved toys behind to a young girl named Bonnie. It's the moment when he's forced to put the things of childhood behind and make his way in the world as an adult.

Before driving off in his car, he gives Bonnie his favorite toy, Woody, and the two play together with his toys for one last time. While he's excited to move on to go to school, his heart is clearly heavy with the knowledge of everything he's leaving behind.

Keep Reading Show less
True

Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."