NASCAR's only black driver asked them to ban the Confederate flag. Two days later, they did.
via piccolini cuscino / Twitter

NASCAR's only black driver, Bubba Wallace, told CNN on Monday that the league should ban the Confederate flag. "No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race," he said. "So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them."

Wallace drives the No. 43 car with Richard Petty Motorsports.

On Wednesday, NASCAR released a statement saying that it had banned the flag. It's believed that Wallace's statement pushed NASCAR to finally do what it had been considering for years.


"The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry," it wrote.

"Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community it creates is what makes fans and sport special, the statement continued, "The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties."

The ban comes a few days after the sport had a dramatic display of solidarity with the black community.

On Sunday, during its pre-race routine at Atlanta Motor Speedway, drivers stopped their cars on the track for a statement by president Steve Phelps who called upon Americans to listen to black people's calls for change after the death of George Floyd.

He also said, "Our sport must do better. Our country must do better."

During the race Wallace wore a shirt that said "I can't breathe" and had "Black Lives Matter" painted on his car.

"Our team brought that idea to me and I jumped all over it," Wallace said according to Sports Illustrated. "Why not dive in straight to the root and put #BlackLivesMatter on the car?"

Wallace's stance on the flag and willingness to stand for racial justice in NASCAR is a bold statement, to say the least. NASCAR is a favorite sport among American conservatives in the south and the flag is a familiar site at NASCAR races, dotting the infield atop RVs or being waved by fans in the grandstands.

The 26-year-old Alabama native wasn't always bothered by the sight of the flags but had a chance of heart.

"What I'm chasing is checkered flags and that was kind of my narrative," Wallace said, "but diving more into it and educating myself, people feel uncomfortable with that, people talk about that -- that's the first thing they bring up."

For the past five years, the sport has had an uncomfortable relationship with the flag. It called for fans to stop beginning it to events in 2015 after a after a white supremacist murdered nine black people at a Charleston church in 2015.

But the request did little to limit its presence.

Before Wednesday's race, Wallace said NASCAR made the right call.

"Bravo," he said while clapping. "Props to NASCAR and everybody involved," he said. "There's a lot of emotions on the racetrack and off the racetrack that are riding with us. Tonight is something special. Today has been special. Hats off to NASCAR."







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."