Justice Scalia died. I still don't like him. And that's OK.

I didn't like Antonin Scalia.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.


I never met him, but, boy, did I not like the guy.

I think most of his votes on the Supreme Court made the country worse.

I think too many of them made ordinary people's lives more difficult.


He said some pretty horrible things about gay people. In Lawrence v. Texas, the case that ruled sodomy laws unconstitutional, he made jokes about "flagpole sitting" during oral arguments.

In that case, he argued in his dissent that because "many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, [and] as teachers in their children's schools," that was reason enough to keep Texas' sodomy ban intact.

He called the Voting Rights Act a "racial entitlement."

His dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey — the 1992 decision that affirmed a woman's right to chose — alludes to Nazism and slavery.

His last vote — in a lawsuit brought against the EPA by 29 states — made it more difficult for the United States to enforce regulations designed to combat climate change, one of the greatest existential threats to humanity in the 21st century.

Literally, the last act of his professional life was to make it harder to prevent global ecological catastrophe.

Like an actual supervillain.


Pretty much. Photo by J.J./Wikimedia Commons.

There are a lot of reasons not to like the guy.

And now he's dead.

I'm sad he's dead. He had a family, who must be reeling. He had friends, who are certainly devastated. His fellow justices liked and respected him. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, his ideological opponent in every way, was reportedly one of his closest friends.

I'm sad he's dead. And I think his professional legacy is a highly destructive one.

I'm sad he's dead. And I still don't like him.

There's no "but." It's just "and."

I think that's fine.

It's complicated, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

I can be angry at him for steering our society toward more racism, homophobia, and sexism without being happy he's dead.

I can be excited that someone new will replace him on the court without being happy he's dead.

Just because someone dies doesn't mean you have to stop disagreeing with them. And disagreeing with them doesn't mean you're glad they're not alive anymore. When public figures die, it's natural to want to assess their records. It's not too soon to criticize them.

It's more respectful to his legacy, honestly — to remember it clearly, the way he laid it down.

"It would be not much use to have a First Amendment, for example, if the freedom of speech included only what some future generation wanted it to include," he once said. He'd almost certainly support the right to call him out on his worst tendencies, even after death.

It wasn't all negative, of course. It never is.

Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images.

There were a couple of moments where he came down on the right side of history, mostly in favor of people's right to free expression.

He was a terrific writer, even if he frequently wrote odious things. He was funny.

"The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie," he wrote in a footnote to his stinging dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that finally made marriage equality the law of the land in 2015.

Unlike many political figures, he knew how to take a joke.

In my opinion, Scalia was a pretty terrible Supreme Court justice. But you know what? I don't think he'd really care how much I couldn't stand him. His opinion, when he was alive, counted way more than mine when it mattered.

He was a giant. He was a huge jerk. He was human.

Rest in peace.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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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."