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Maggiano's donates $10K to Anti-Defamation League after hosting 'alt-right' dinner.

The restaurant made a donation after playing host to a white nationalist organization.

Maggiano's donates $10K to Anti-Defamation League after hosting 'alt-right' dinner.

On Friday night, managers of a Washington, D.C., chain restaurant found themselves in an almost impossible situation.

The Maggiano's location in D.C.'s Friendship Heights neighborhood played host to a group of people in town for a conference of white nationalists called the National Policy Institute (NPI). The group, which has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, espouses views that can only be described as racist and hateful.

Making matters worse, while at the restaurant, reality TV star Tila Tequila posted a picture to her Twitter account in which she and two friends did a Nazi salute. Tequila, whose Twitter account has since been suspended, has a history of anti-Semitic views and actions.


Screengrab from Twitter.

Where the NPI goes, protesters often follow — and understandably so.

NPI President Richard B. Spencer has called for "peaceful ethnic cleansing" of anyone who isn't white with European ancestry from the U.S. During the conference, held at the nearby Reagan Building, he recited Nazi propaganda in the original German and questioned whether Jews are people (spoiler alert: they are).

'Hail Trump!': Richard Spencer Speech Excerpts

“Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” is how Richard B. Spencer greeted an audience of more than 200 attendees of an alt-right conference Washington D.C. He was met with enthusiastic cheers and Nazi salutes.Read the full article: http://theatln.tc/2gxTlxG

Posted by The Atlantic on Monday, November 21, 2016

With a restaurant filled with white nationalists on the inside and a group of protesters on the outside, Maggiano's closed shop a bit early.

In a statement condemning the NPI's rhetoric, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum wrote:

"The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words. The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech."

Hateful rhetoric and action has no place in this country or in this world. While so much of what what we see and hear lately comes through partisan, politicized filters, standing up to hate shouldn't have to be.

People protest the appointment of Steve Bannon to be chief strategist of the White House by President-elect Donald Trump. Photo by David McNew/AFP/Getty Images.

Free speech is one thing, but allowing a space for hate speech is not the same thing. In fact, Maggiano's initial response was a less-than-stellar nod toward a "free speech" defense.

"If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them," philosopher Karl Popper wrote of the "tolerance paradox" back in his 1945 work "The Open Societies and Its Enemies."

For Maggiano's, there was the question of what to do with the money the restaurant made hosting the NPI dinner. On Monday, the restaurant announced a $10,000 donation to the Anti-Defamation League.

The Anti-Defamation League is a civil rights organization originally created to fight discrimination against Jews. While it has expanded in scope, that remains a core tenet of the group's work. On Monday, Maggiano's indicated that they would be donating that night's profits to the ADL.

On Friday night, Maggiano’s in Friendship Heights was the inadvertent site of a protest that caused us to close our...

Posted by Maggiano's Little Italy Chevy Chase on Monday, November 21, 2016

What happened at Maggiano's serves as a blueprint for how businesses can respond to modern hate: denounce and donate.

The world is full of good people with good ideas. The world has a lot of love in it. Understandably, some people feel helpless in the election's wake, but in truth there are things you can do to push back against bad things that are happening around us. Whether it's donating to a civil rights organization or volunteering, there are still important things to be done to ensure that hateful ideas and actions are not simply accepted as a political "other side" but, rather, an unacceptable element of society.

A "love rally" march in New York on Nov. 11, 2016. Photo by Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images.

This is a new, unprecedented era in America, and it's likely we might all find ourselves accidentally involved in things or connected to things we don't endorse. Now more than ever, it's important to take steps to say "no" to hate.

Courtesy of Capital One
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Marim Albajari was a high school senior living in New York City during the onset of the pandemic. Suddenly, the prospect of starting college directly after graduation no longer seemed like a sure thing.

Due to a lack of resources to help her navigate the college application process, she was almost a victim of the "summer melt"—a term used to describe students who cancel plans to attend college before classes begin.

The "melt" is a common problem disproportionately affecting students from low-income families—many high-school graduates who have been accepted to college and plan to enroll are quickly knocked off-course if they do not obtain sufficient financial aid, miss administrative deadlines, or most importantly, lack support from family and friends.

The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the problem, as high school graduates who immediately went on to college in Fall 2020 declined by nearly 7% when compared to the previous year, for obvious reasons. Even without a pandemic, finding the right information about things like course load, financial aid, and housing can be time-consuming and overwhelming for students without a guide.

That's where Oli comes in.

A free AI chatbot service, nicknamed "Oli", is offered by The Common Application (Common App). In 2018, the Reach Higher Initiative merged with Common App and partnered with AdmitHub to develop the AI chatbot that would eventually become Oli. The group then joined forces with the College Advising Corps to offer counseling services to get more first-generation, low-income, and diverse students enrolled in college.

Now a freshman at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Albajari can attest to the value of Oli's help.

Courtesy of Common App

With the help of $1.4 million in grant funding from the Capital One Foundation, nearly 675,000 high school students applying to colleges through Common App have gained access to information on admissions and scholarship opportunities.

"The Capital One Foundation saw the need and stepped up to help by moving as quickly as possible to maximize the number of people that could be helped," says Eric Waldo, executive director of the Reach Higher Initiative at Common App. "Our colleagues at The Foundation have gone over the top to connect us with resources across their organization and are continuing to help us achieve our mission to assist as many students as possible through its continued support to the Class of 2021 and beyond."The result? Resources provided by Oli have saved students nearly 18,000 hours that traditionally would've been spent consulting with an advisor.

"Oli was my guardian angel," Albajari said. "As a first-generation college student, I didn't have the privilege to get the help I needed at home on my college journey. Even though Oli may be a robot, I felt like someone had my back."

The result? Resources provided by Oli have saved students nearly 18,000 hours that traditionally would've been spent consulting with an advisor.

"Oli was my guardian angel," Albajari said. "As a first-generation college student, I didn't have the privilege to get the help I needed at home on my college journey. Even though Oli may be a robot, I felt like someone had my back."

"It is imperative that all graduating high school students be equipped with the tools necessary to avoid delaying their dreams of attending college," says Andy Navarrete, Head of External Affairs at Capital One. "The playing field of opportunity in higher education has never been level, and the COVID-19 pandemic only made that fact more clear. We're committed to continuing our efforts to support equitable access and persistence for aspiring college students of all backgrounds."

That support from The Foundation comes alongside an initial $200 million, multi-year commitment from Capital One to advance socioeconomic mobility through the Capital One Impact Initiative.

In addition to exclusively funding the initial launch of the AI chatbot for Class of 2020 students, Capital One is continuing to expand this resource by contributing both financially and through pro bono support from its tech associates. Since the chatbot's inception, nine associates from Capital One have volunteered 500 hours of pro bono service to optimize the chatbot's ability to help prospective college students.

"As a first-generation college student, I remember having a lot of the same questions that students interacting with the chatbot were seeking answers to," says Elizabeth Souza, a Capital One associate who helped support the development of this chatbot. "Volunteering to support the development of this chatbot has been a tremendous opportunity to ensure equitable access to technology and resources for all."

Courtesy of Capital One

Those efforts in turn helped first-generation college student Jennifer Sanchez, a California native now finishing her freshman year at the University of La Verne. With the help of resources provided by the AI chatbot, Sanchez earned a scholarship, received a grant to help offset the cost of housing and was connected with councilors at each university she received admission to best decide which school would be the best fit for her.

"I was considering not even going to college because of how the pandemic financially impacted my family, but that chatbot gave me access to financial and educational resources that I would've never known existed without it," Sanchez said. "I think of that Oli like a friend. It supported me on my journey, like a friend would, every step of the way."

A little encouragement and access to the right information can take us places we never imagined.

Frank Grasberger has been wishing he could meet Dashauna Priest for more than a decade. The 95-year-old WWII veteran from Strongsville, Ohio received a letter from Priest wrote when she was in the third grade 12 years ago, and he has kept it as a prized possession since then.

The letter was addressed, "Dear WWII Veteran," and read, "Thank you for saving us from Hitler. If it wasn't for you we would never have freedom. You made freedom for us. You sacrificed your life. I'm so happy you made sacrifices." It was signed, "Your friend, Dashauna Priest."

Grasberger's wife, Delores, told CBS News that he carries the letter everywhere. He said he sees it as a symbol of a life well-lived.

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Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."