I've been reminded again that black lives don't matter. And I am exhausted.

He was a dad, he was a citizen of this nation, and he deserved better.

I woke up in tears this morning after watching the details of Alton Sterling's murder on social media all night.

The images played over and over in my head like a broken record: officers slamming Alton against a car, kneeing him in the throat, and shooting him repeatedly. I felt sick.

Sterling is the 558th person killed by the police in the United States in 2016.


Image by Arthur Reed/AP.

Last night and today, I watched the same routine play out. I've seen it so many times before, after police brutality takes another black life. The social media outrage. The Black Lives Matter activists demanding justice. The All Lives Matter mouths countering with ignorance and insensitivity. The frustrating responses from white people who claim to be down with black culture, but who step up only when it's entertaining for them, not when it requires a call to action against discrimination or injustice.

Today, it was too much. I am exhausted by this.

So I cried. I cried, and I breathed heavily, and I sobbed.

And then I looked at photos of my dad and mom. And my brother and sisters. And my aunts and uncles. And my cousins. And my best friends.

They are all at risk when they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are all susceptible to the same fate as Alton Sterling if they cross the wrong person or the wrong cop. They are endlessly ignored, swept under the rug, and subjected to injustice.

Then I got angry.

I got angry because the same system that killed Alton Sterling, that holds a threshold of fear of black men and women across this country, killed Emmett Till in 1955 when he had the "audacity" to flirt with a white woman.

The same system killed Tamir Rice while he was playing with a toy gun on a playground.

It killed Sandra Bland, an animal sciences student minding her own business as she was driving down the road.

It killed Michael Brown, an unarmed, recent high school graduate who was ready to start college.

It killed Rekia Boyd because she was talking too loudly for comfort.

It killed Trayvon Martin when he was walking home to eat his recently purchased Skittles.

Memorials for black lives killed by police brutality have become the norm. Michael Kunzelma/AP

Black bodies being brutalized is nothing new in this system.

This brutality has happened for 245 years in every town across this great nation. It happened during the Jim Crow era, when black folks dangled from trees like caricatures.

And it continues to happen. Despite outcry, despite rage, despite calls for change. It continues to happen. And I — along with so many other black people — am hurting. I am tired.

And I am tired of being told that our lives don't matter.

Protestors have been vocal for years. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

I am tired of being told that if I dress a certain way, talk a certain way, or behave in a certain manner, I'll do just fine.

Because all those things? In this system, they aren't true.

They aren't true when police can put an unarmed man in a chokehold and walk away without so much as a slap on the wrist or when they can kill a child on the playground in what is essentially a legalized drive-by shooting.

The Federal Department of Justice has just announced they are opening a civil rights probe into Alton Sterling's shooting.

This is a surprising step in the right direction for a department that usually defends police officers.

But what can we do? We can be sad. We can be tired. And we can be angry.

We can also demand that officers be held accountable when they use unnecessary force. We can continue yelling that Black Lives Matter, even when people retaliate, until our system proves that black lives actually do matter.

A memorial for Alton Sterling. Photo by Gerald Herbert/AP.

And we can remember Alton Sterling. Like the others, we can say his name.

He was 37 years old. He was a father of five. He was loved by those who knew him.

Say Alton Sterling's name and say the names of all of the black people who have fallen victim to police brutality: Mike Brown. Trayvon Martin. Rekia Boyd. Sandra Bland. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Tanisha Anderson. Freddie Gray. Tony Robinson. Walter Scott. And so many more.

And please don't stop saying them until black people get the justice we have always deserved.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture