More

Meet the star athlete getting fellow players to take a stand against sexual assault.

Shocked by the Steubenville assaults, Jerome Baker decided that it's time for athletes to publicly commit to ending gender-based violence.

Meet the star athlete getting fellow players to take a stand against sexual assault.

In December 2012, when the sexual assaults in Steubenville, Ohio, made national headlines, the impact hit high schooler Jerome Baker close to home.

As a star football player in his hometown of Cleveland — just two hours away from Steubenville — he noticed people started to act differently around him. And not in a good way.


"Not sure if I should back away slowly or run..." GIF via "Futurama."

When he'd tell people that he was a football player (just like the young men who assaulted the young woman in Steubenville), he felt like they immediately saw him as a perpetrator. He didn't like it, and he wanted to do something about it.

And it wasn't just that he wanted to set himself apart. (There's a reason the #NotAllMen meme isn't useful when it comes to conversations about sexism. They derail the conversation by taking the focus off the prejudice the women experience and onto men.) Baker wanted to take responsibility and do something bigger to address the issue of gender-based violence.

What he did is an amazing example of how a single person can spark a meaningful cultural shift to help end sexual violence.

After Baker talked with his neighbor and mentor Tyrone White (lovingly called "Coach Ty" by his students), founder of anti-sexual violence group Whoaman, the two decided to reached out to the top 31 high school football players in the area, asking them to take a public pledge to end violence against women and girls. Part of the invitation read:

"In the pledge we will promise to treat women and girls with respect and speak up if we witness or hear of assaults — to stand as a protector and speak out against perpetrators.

Let's be the voice that prevents assaults like what happened two years ago involving members of Steubenville's football team. Let's use our status as athletes to encourage change and promote behavior that respects women and girls and does not bring harm to them."

Here's the awesome part: Almost all the top players agreed to take the pledge. Better yet, when the day came for the group to take the pledge on camera, Baker was surprised to see that 50 athletes had come to participate.

Just a fraction of the athletes in attendance. Image via Tyrone White/YouTube.

Turns out that they'd heard about it from their friends and decided to join. Baker didn't stop there. He knew that how we talk about women, girls, and sex matters. And as one of the top high school players in the country, he decided to use his platform to influence other male student athletes.

He urged them to speak up when a teammate says something that contributes to a culture of disrespecting women, like slut-shaming or making rape jokes. No easy task in the face of high school machoism and peer pressure. And yet — Baker made an impact. A student from a different high school came to him, discouraged by the taunting he'd get when he spoke out again sexist speech. Baker was able to lift his spirits enough to keep on.

Now a player at Ohio State University, Baker is continuing his anti-violence work on his college campus.

Baker, giving a post-game interview about going to Ohio State. Image via cleveland.com/YouTube.

He recently asked the head coach Urban Meyer to allow team members to take the pledge. While the coach has declined for now (for unknown reasons), Baker's still hopeful for change.

An initiative like this is more important than ever.

A recent survey of college campuses found that over 27% of women and more than 30% of transgender and gender-nonconforming folk reported being sexually assaulted at school. We have a long way to go — and we need to start doing the work before people take a step on campus.

Work like Baker's is part of a winning movement to end sexual violence by attacking it at its roots. It's time to put a stop to rape ... before it happens.

Photo by Richard Potts/Flickr.

Baker's high school had little to no sex or anti-sexual assault education. With 40% of women reporting victimization before the age of 18, Baker's pre-college efforts show how it's better to start anti-rape training sooner rather than later.

Sexual assault is not an individual issue. Almost 47% of rapes and 82% of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. This is something that communities have to address collectively. That's why Baker's leadership is so important. In the wise words of Coach Ty, that Baker shared in an interview with SB Nation:

"People are going to follow you no matter what. If you're doing the right thing, they're going to follow you. If you're doing the wrong thing, they're going to follow you, too. It's just a matter of which one you want to do."
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less

If you've never seen a Maori haka performed, you're missing out.

The Maori are the indigenous peoples of New Zealand, and their language and customs are an integral part of the island nation. One of the most recognizable Maori traditions outside of New Zealand is the haka, a ceremonial dance or challenge usually performed in a group. The haka represents the pride, strength, and unity of a tribe and is characterized by foot-stamping, body slapping, tongue protrusions, and rhythmic chanting.

Haka is performed at weddings as a sign of reverence and respect for the bride and groom and are also frequently seen before sports competitions, such as rugby matches.

Here's an example of a rugby haka:

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

Keep Reading Show less
via Good Morning America

Anyone who's an educator knows that teaching is about a lot more than a paycheck. "Teaching is not a job, but a way of life, a lens by which I see the world, and I can't imagine a life that did not include the ups and downs of changing and being changed by other people," Amber Chandler writes in Education Week.

So it's no surprise that Kelly Klein, 54, who's taught at Falcon Heights Elementary in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, for the past 32 years still teaches her kindergarten class even as she is being treated for stage-3 ovarian cancer.

Her class is learning remotely due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, so she is able to continue doing what she loves from her computer at M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minnesota, even while undergoing chemotherapy.

Keep Reading Show less