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It Was Fourth Of July, So She Wore A Tight Red, White, And Blue Dress. Then Came The Comments.

If you've ever felt anger or fear in an encounter involving bullying, catcalling, or just plain ol' meanies ... Laverne Cox (“Orange Is the New Black") has some riveting advice for how to rise above.

It Was Fourth Of July, So She Wore A Tight Red, White, And Blue Dress. Then Came The Comments.

1. Recognize the absurdity of the bully's words.

Laverne Cox threw on a red, white, and blue dress one Fourth of July ... and soon encountered two guys on the street who started catcalling her...

"And the Latin guy says, 'Yo mama, can I holler at you?' And the black guy said, 'Yo dude, that's [an N-word].' And then, the Latin guy says, 'No man, that's a bitch.' And the black guy said, 'No, that's [an N-word].' And they began to argue."


"What lovely options!"

2. Take a moment to consider that bullying is a serious offense. And a dangerous one.

"Trans women of color are disproportionately victims of violence. Our homicide rate is the highest in the LGBT community. It went from 43% in 2011 to almost 54% of all LGBTQ homicides for trans women and mostly trans women of color."

"There is a link between the bullying that we inflict on an LGBTQ youth and the violence that so many trans women experience."

3. Acknowledge society's role.

What's going on here?

"There are a lot of intersecting identities and intersecting oppressions that make that happen..."

Yeah, that's a lot.

But what comes next is next-level.

3. Acknowledge the trauma that *likely* led the bully to this place.

YES. This was a leap for me personally, but once I made it across the "Sea of Incredulity and Doubting" and onto "Compassion and Curiosity Island" (#metaphors), there was no. going. back.

"And I believe that a lot of black folks feel that there's this historic emasculation that has been happening in white supremacy of black male bodies."

Wait for it...

4. Empathize.

*This is a great part.*

"I have love. I have so much love for my black brothers and sisters, who might call me out on the street because I get it. I understand. They're in pain."

"I think whenever someone needs to call out someone else for who they are and make fun of them, it's because they don't feel comfortable with who they are. And so, anyone ever has a problem with someone else, I ask you to look at yourselves first. What is it about you that you have a problem with? What is it about you that you have a problem with?"

5. Be revolutionary ... and promote LOVE.

"We hear the gay slurs, the anti-gay slurs, and it's really about these kids not conforming to the sex that they were assigned at birth. Their gender expression is not meeting the expectations of society."

So what do we do?

Yass.

For more wisdom and emotions and realness, press play and listen to Laverne.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."