I made my daughter cry by sharing the history of a local landmark. She needed to hear it.

I made my 11-year old daughter cry yesterday.

We were driving to the beach, and we passed the Portland Expo Center. It's not the usual way we go, but the traffic was bad and this would let us avoid downtown.

I asked her if she knew anything about World War 2, and she knew a little… she remembered, for instance, that in that war the US was fighting against Germany and Japan.

So I pointed out the Expo building to her, and I told her, "During the war, the US government was afraid that Americans with Japanese heritage might be spies or might side with Japan, so they gathered them all up in that building. It was a livestock building. They moved all the cattle out and moved all the people in, and they kept them there for almost a year."

"Did they kill them?" she asked.

"No," I said. "But they all lost their jobs. Many of them lost their businesses, their houses, and most of their possessions."

She didn't say anything after that, but she's a sensitive kid and I looked over to see that she was softly crying, wiping the tears from her eyes with the sleeve of her sweatshirt.

Why would I do that to my kid?

Well it's not because of "CRT" or because I hate white people, or because I want her to. It's not because I'm cruel or overly fixated on race. It's not because of political correctness or politics.

It's because things like this still happen today and they'll happen again in the future and when that day comes I don't want her to stick her head in the sand and say, "Well that could never happen in the Land of the Free," but instead be one of the people standing up to say, "Not this again, this is wrong, how dare you."


It's because she has Asian-American friends, and when they are in danger or the victims of Anti-Asian racism or violence I don't want her to be confused or surprised, I want her to be able to stand in the gap to protect, support, and comfort her friends.

It's because she has Latina friends who have been deported. It's because she has Asian-American friends who have family members who have been spit on or harassed. And just because she's 11 and white doesn't mean she should be shielded from that… her friends of color aren't. She's old enough to know that the world her friends live in is the same world she's in.

And yes, she needs to know that these things happened in living memory. That right now there's a kind older woman who volunteers at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon who will tell you the story of when her family packed their bags and met at the Expo Center. She'll tell you about how they stayed in a cattle stall with a sheet for a door, and how the flypaper hung over her, heavy with flies, while her family tried to figure out what was going to happen to them all, what their own government was going to do to them (the answer being, send them to a camp in California and then transfer them to a camp in Idaho where they would live one family to a room, sleeping on cots, the guards outside the camp with their rifles, barbed wire on the fences. The answer being that some of their fathers and brothers got out early if they volunteered to fight, but the families remained in the camps, imprisoned by their own government, not "innocent until proven guilty" but "presumed guilty because of their ethnicity.").

She needs to know that if every story she ever hears about the USA is "we are the good guys" that she's listening to liars. We have done some incredible, beautiful things in the world (and still are), and we have done some horrific, evil things in the world (and still are).

Because we're not raising her to be a good American, we're raising her to be a good person.

And because when we're driving through the streets of our cities, the history matters. We should be able to point out, "This church belonged to Black people until the city decided it was time to revitalize downtown and they forced all the African Americans north, out of downtown." We should be able to say, "This is Fort Vancouver" and also know that the coming of that fort meant that in a span of barely thirty years entire cultures of Native people were nearly wiped out by smallpox and other diseases… and many of the remaining peoples were forced onto the worst pieces of land at the threat of death so that the great American empire could continue to expand.

I tell my daughter all of this not because of some political agenda. I tell her because it's true.

I tell her this because if she's going to be a good citizen she needs to know what to fight against. She needs to know who we've been to recognize who we are.

I tell her this because I love America and I want us to be better.

I tell her this because I love her and I don't want her to grow up closing her eyes to injustice.

I tell her this because she needs to know that when we talk about camps built for racist reasons in World War 2 we call them "concentration camps" in Germany and we call them "internment camps" in California or Idaho. She needs to know that we try to hide it, to soften it, to make it somehow something understandable rather than something evil.

I tell her this because once upon a time on May 2nd, 1942, three thousand six hundred and seventy-six Japanese Americans showed up at the Expo center carrying their bags – they could only bring what they could carry -- or carrying their infants and toddlers, and were moved into cattle stalls. They lived there, in our city, for five months until we could get our camps built, get the barbed wire installed, get the guard posts filled, get the trains ready to pack with our own citizens.

I tell her because their story – OUR story – matters. She needs to know.

I tell her all this because if she's never cried about something America has done, she doesn't know America.

This post was first published on the author's Facebook page. Find more writing from Matt Mikolatos on his website.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around 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!

Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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