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In his farewell address, President Obama shared one last powerful message of hope.

Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, we're in this together.

In his farewell address, President Obama shared one last powerful message of hope.

On Tuesday night, Barack Obama delivered his final public speech as the 44th president of the United States.

Speaking from his adopted hometown of Chicago, President Obama delivered a powerful, emotional address to a crowd of thousands and a TV audience of millions. The speech itself centered on the progress we've made as a country over the course of the past eight years — and how much further we have to go.

"Tonight, it’s my turn to say thanks," said Obama.


Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

As a candidate, Obama campaigned on a message of hope. As he leaves the White House, his core message remains largely unchanged.

At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, then-Illinois state Senator Obama delivered a powerhouse speech pushing back against the cynicism and divisiveness that so often finds its way into politics. "The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats," he said. "But I've got news for them too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states."

If his speech then was the vision of an optimistic — if slightly naïve — man first dipping his toes into the national political arena, his farewell speech on Tuesday was the perfect bookend to a storied, improbable presidential career. If there's something to take away from his farewell, it's that through all the opposition and obstruction and challenges he's faced in his time in the Senate and White House, he still sees this country as the hopeful land he spoke of 12 years ago.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Whether Democrat, Republican, or Independent, Obama's speech was a reminder that we all have a role to play in a thriving America.

A 240-year-old work in progress, the U.S. remains a relatively young, imperfect country. In his farewell speech, Obama took time to acknowledge the struggles that exist, cautioning against believing that things like discrimination on the basis of race or gender or religion or country of origin are things of the past. The fact is, they're not. That sort of utopian thinking is, in his words, a "threat to our democracy."

"After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America," Obama said. "And such a vision, however well intended, was never realistic. Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. I've lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10 or 20 or 30 years ago — no matter what some folks say. You can see it, now just in statistics, you see it in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum. But we're not where we need to be."

It's up to us to continue to work toward a more perfect union — starting with the belief that if all men (and women) are created equal, they should be treated as equals.

"We all have to try harder. We all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do."

Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

In just a few short days, Obama will leave office. His legacy of change, progress, and hope doesn't have to leave with him.

The 2016 presidential election was hard-fought, to say the least. It's easy for those whose candidate won to shut out those who disagree. It's easy for those whose candidate lost to feel a sense of hopelessness. It doesn't have to be that way.

The power of our democracy lies not in the politicians who represent us, but in the individuals who compose it. We the people are the ones who matter — all of us. It's that message that Obama shared in his final public words as president.

"I do have one final ask of you as your president," Obama said during his closing remarks. "The same thing I asked we took a chance ... eight years ago. I am asking you to believe not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours."

Whether or not you agree with him or his policies, we should all be able to agree that working together to create a more just society that cares for each of its members is far more productive than walling each other off.

Thanks, Obama.

Photo by Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Public Domain

A very simple thing happened earlier this week. Dr. Seuss Enterprises—the company that runs the Dr. Seuss estate and holds the legal rights to his works—announced it will no longer publish six Dr. Seuss children's books because they contain depictions of people that are "hurtful and wrong" (their words). The titles that will no longer be published are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.

This simple action prompted a great deal of debate, along with a great deal of disinformation, as people reacted to the story. (Or in many cases, just the headline. It's a thing.)

My article about the announcement (which contains examples of the problematic content that prompted the annoucnement) led to nearly 3,000 comments on Upworthy's Facebook page. Since many similar comments were made repeatedly, I wanted to address the most common sentiments and questions:

How do we learn from history if we keep erasing it?

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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When an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 most people who lived in the area fled. Some left without their pets, who then had to fend for themselves in a radioactive nuclear zone.

Sakae Kato stayed behind to rescue the cats abandoned by his neighbors and has spent the last decade taking care of them. He has converted his home, which is in a contaminated quarantine area, to a shelter for 41 cats, whom he refers to as "kids." He has buried 23 other cats in his garden over the past 10 years.

The government has asked the 57-year-old to evacuate the area many times, but he says he figured he was going to die anyway. "And if I had to die, I decided that I would like to die with these guys," he said.

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