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If you're wondering why people always seem to be talking about racism lately, here's an explainer.

"Black lives matter. It's OK. We do matter. You don't matter any less."

If you're wondering why people always seem to be talking about racism lately, here's an explainer.

We're still talking about racism.

It's been over a year since a nation long at odds over racial tensions erupted with the molten hot feelings on both sides coming to a head in Ferguson, Missouri, when Michael Brown was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson.

Yes, we're still talking about it.

The conversation hasn't cooled; no glassy obsidian aftermath has worn smooth with the sands of time. Instead, it continues to bubble and simmer, promising to overflow at each next inflection point. Those inflection points are going to be many because we still have a nation made up of thousands of municipalities, many unfair in their own ways and to varying degrees. And with a world still divided on the value of black lives and the appropriate measure of force and punishment for even tiny malfeasances, Eric Garners and Sandra Blands will continue to surface. Knee-jerk reactions, outdated training, and the safety of knowing how very rarely officers will be punished almost ensure it.


"Why are we still talking about racism?" one might exasperatedly say.

Because we're not done having this conversation. Because we haven't all learned from it yet. Because the conversation hasn't turned into action in the form of police reforms and criminal justice reforms — in a few forward thinking places, maybe, but not at all in the sweeping way it would take to prevent injustices from being so prevalent.

We all feel a lot at stake when we talk about racism.

That conversation may feel threatening at times. That doesn't mean the answer is to not have it. Like an ancient volcanic lava cesspool that's in need of a good purge, this topic will keep coming to the surface until we finally get it right or until it wipes us all out.

Can we calm the fiery cauldron in some way?

Part of quelling the vitriol that heats everything up so much is learning to really listen. If we can do that, we can perhaps start to manage the escalating heat and pressure and develop a strategy that allows everyone to feel safe again.

Are we ready? Because this video on why we're still talking about racism is ready to reach us, if we let it. And if you think we could use more (constructive) conversation, not less, consider sharing with your friends, too.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.