More than 150 women stood up and exposed Larry Nassar's unforgivable crimes to the world.

The women who bravely faced Larry Nassar in court deserve our respect and attention for changing the course of a criminal tragedy people were too willing to ignore.

Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison after their testimony dramatically changed the course of his sentencing hearing. He'll spend the rest of his life behind bars thanks to their courageous actions.

Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics national team physician, had already been sentenced to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of child pornography. His crimes are major news but weren't receiving significant attention until so many women — more than 150 — came before a judge to offer personal statements against him.


Because of them, he now faces up to 175 years in light of sexual assault charges.

The statements of well-known figures, including gold-medal-winning gymnast Kayla Maroney, have helped bring renewed attention to the 54-year-old Michigan doctor's hearing.

Image via CBS News/YouTube.

Two-time Olympian Aly Raisman also added her voice, saying in her statement:

"Imagine feeling like you have no power and no voice. Well, you know what, Larry? I have both power and voice, and I am only just beginning to use them."

Nassar tried to avoid hearing those statements in the courtroom, but the judge wasn't having it.

Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina ensured every woman had a safe platform to be heard. "It is so important what you've done," Aquilina told 16-year-old Chelsea Zerfas. "I am so very proud of you. This doesn't define you. This strengthens you."

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina speaks to Larry Nassar. Image via MLive/YouTube.

The statements made by Zerfas and so many others brought attention and accountability to a system that allowed Nassar to stay in power even as more than a dozen Michigan State University staffers allegedly knew of his abuses going back to 1992 but did nothing.

Each day brought another shocking revelation about a system that protected Nassar.

Before giving her statement to the court, Maroney filed a lawsuit alleging that USA Gymnastics paid her a "confidentially agreement" to not discuss the Nassar allegations in public. The organization eventually put out a statement assuring that she would not face any fines or other retribution for speaking out against Nassar.

One teen gymnast revealed she was even still being billed for medical appointments with Nassar despite accusing him of sexual abuse. 15-year-old Emma Ann Miller told the courtroom:

"My mom is still getting billed for appointments where I was sexually assaulted. Are you listening MSU? I can't hear you. Are you listening?"

Miller's bravery led MSU officials to announce that Nassar's former patients will no longer be billed for visits. The university is also reviewing whether to reimburse past patients who had already paid for services billed.

Nassar will now spend the rest of his life behind bars.

And the women who stood up to speak out against him have challenged us all to help ensure crimes like this never again stay hidden for so long.

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In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

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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.

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via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

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via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

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