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Social justice activism took an expensive turn for several WNBA players on July 21, 2016.

Hoping to show support for victims of recent police shootings and for the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Charles Kinsey, several WNBA players wore shirts with Black Lives Matter hashtags on them to recent games.

According to the WNBA, however, these shirts are in violation of the league's uniform sponsorship policy, so the Indiana Fever, Phoenix Mercury, and New York Liberty were each fined $5,000 for their actions. Several individual players were also fined $500 for wearing the altered shirts.



The fines were frustrating, to say the least, and many players felt the need to speak up about the hypocrisy.

The WNBA is a league comprised mostly of black players, and many of the women are actively involved in advocacy around the Black Lives Matter movement.

While the league has this policy, it's important to note that NBA president Adam Silver didn't fine LeBron James and other NBA players when they wore "I Can't Breathe" shirts in 2014. And up to this point, the league had been fairly supportive of players speaking out on issues that mattered.

Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings was one of many players who called out the hypocrisy.

"Instead of the league taking a stance with us, where they tell us they appreciate our expressing our concerns like they did for Orlando, we're fighting against each other," Catchings said.

In response to the shirts, WNBA president Lisa Borders released a statement defending the league's decision and fines, referencing the league’s uniform guidelines and reminding the league that the women are not allowed to alter their uniforms in any way.

"We are proud of WNBA players' engagement and passionate advocacy for non-violent solutions to difficult social issues but expect them to comply with the league's uniform guidelines," Borders said.

While rules are certainly rules, financially penalizing players who already make significantly less than their male counterparts in the NBA is pretty unfair... especially in a league that's been outspoken in defending a multitude of issues in the past, from LGBTQ issues to health initiatives.

Many players feel that the WNBA's lack of support for Black Lives Matter shows how out of touch the league is when it comes to the lives of its players.

Tina Charles, a player for the New York Liberty, wrote a great response about choosing activism over silence on her Instagram page:

“Seventy percent of the WNBA players are African-American women and as a league collectively impacted. My teammates and I will continue to use our platform and raise awareness for the #BlackLivesMatter movement until the WNBA [gives] its support as it does for Breast Cancer Awareness, [Pride] and other subject matters.”

With the sheer amount of women of color in the WNBA, league officials probably shouldn't be surprised that their players are outraged about the recent shootings, as race relations affect them on a personal level.

And handing out fines for players' peaceful actions represses their right to speak out against injustice and it sends a message that police brutality isn't a topic that should be discussed. Plus, the players' activism followed a legacy of many athletes' protests before them, such as Muhammad Ali being outspoken about his views of the Vietnam War, players from the St. Louis Rams marching out with their hands up after the Ferguson shooting, and LeBron James when he wore an "I Can't Breathe" shirt after Eric Garner's death.

LeBron James has been fiercely outspoken on police brutality and ending violence. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

The actions of leagues and sports teams largely affects public perceptions of issues.

When the Super Bowl pulled out of Arizona in 1990 because the state refused to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day or when the NBA announced their recent ultimatum about North Carolina's discriminatory anti-LGBTQ bathroom law, it made an unmistakable statement.

Some people tend be uncomfortable with the Black Lives Matter movement because they think it's an attack on police. In reality, Black Lives Matter was created to stop violence, not ignite it, and to call out injustice in a blatantly corrupt system. But when key players and public figures, like the women of the WNBA, stand behind issues like Black Lives Matter, even a stand as simple as T-shirts, it matters. It moves the movement forward in the best way.

The WNBA players' fight for advocacy isn't just impressive. It's American to the core.

As these women speak out against a system of injustice in a peaceful and empathetic way, I hope we can all listen.

By peacefully protesting, listening to people of color instead of ignoring them, and supporting efforts to create trust between communities of color and law enforcement, we can stand by what WNBA players and many other athletes of color have already stated: Black lives matter.

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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