Woman uses Democratic Convention speech to argue father's support of Trump cost him his life
via Joe Biden / YouTube

Kristin Urquiza isn't running for the House of Representatives or the Senate. She isn't a governor or up-and-coming mayor. But her speech on the first night of the Democratic National Convention was one of its most moving.

Kristin lost her father, Mark, in June to COVID-19. In her speech, she shared how it wouldn't have happened if President Trump and his "mouthpieces" spoke honestly about the seriousness of the pandemic.

"He had faith in Donald Trump," she said. "[He] listened to him, believed him and his mouthpieces when they said that coronavirus was under control and going to disappear; that it was OK to end social distancing rules before it was safe and that if you had no underlying health conditions."



Kristin Urquiza speech at the Democratic Convention | Joe Biden For President 2020 www.youtube.com

Mark went out to a karaoke bar in May, right after the state of Arizona prematurely reopened businesses, and contracted COVID-19. He was placed on a ventilator and died June 30.

"After five agonizing days, he died alone in the ICU with a nurse holding his hand," she said.

Dealing with the death of a family member is devastating for anyone, but for the Urquiza family it was even worse because they couldn't comfort him while he was in the hospital.

Kristen said goodbye to him over Facetime.

"One of the last things that my father said to me was that he felt betrayed by the likes of Donald Trump," Urquiza said. "And so, when I cast my vote for Joe Biden, I will do it for my dad."

Urquiza belives that Trump didn't cause the virus, "but his dishonesty and his irresponsible actions made it so much worse."

"The coronavirus has made clear that there are two Americas: the America that Donald Trump lives in and the America that my father died in," she said.

Trump's False Statements on COVID-19 Testing, A Supercut | NowThis www.youtube.com

Kristen's testimony was powerful because it proves that there are real-world consequences when people in power lie.

Trump has been one of the most dishonest politicians in recent history. As of July 2020, The Washington Post has counted Trump lying over 20,000 times. Even though it's blatantly obvious to most people in the country that he shouldn't be trusted on any issue — let alone a deadly pandemic — there are millions who still take his word as gospel.

A recent poll by NBC News found that "58 percent of Americans say they don't trust what Trump has said about the pandemic, while 31 percent say they do trust his comments."

Trump's reckless dishonesty makes him an accomplice to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, one of them being Mark Urquiza.

In early February, Trump claimed the virus would weaken "when we get to April, in the warmer weather." Later that month, he said it would "disappear" one day, "like a miracle."

In June, he claimed the virus was "fading away" and in July it was "under control."

Kristin Urquiza will long be remembered for putting a face to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let's hope that her tragic story will make those in power think a second time before lying about serious, life-or-death issues.



Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

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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."