Nigeria just got crossed off a list no country wants to be on. It's a huge win for us all.
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Gates Foundation

In 2012, over half of the world's polio cases were in Nigeria.

But then something amazing happened.

This year, they've had ... zero.

A substantial drop to zero cases of polio in 2015. You do the math. That's incredible.


I know, right? GIF via "Full House."

As the country celebrates going an entire year without a single case of the crippling disease, the entire continent of Africa can too. Nigeria is the last of the African countries to suffer from it. That's huge! And it's huge for all of us — including you.

Think of the progress made: It wasn't that long ago polio was everywhere — including the U.S. — crippling hundreds of thousands of kids a year.

If you grew up in the U.S. in the 1950s, you lived in fear of this horrible disease cutting your healthy childhood short. Even as recently as 1988, polio was a devastating problem in 128 countries.

In 2014, there were three countries that hadn't eliminated polio: Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Go ahead and cross Nigeria off that list.

Maps via CDC.

How in the heck did they manage to get rid of it?

It wasn't magic, and it didn't come easy. Between misinformation, politics, and violence, there have been some major roadblocks in the past years.

It turns out when you have the resources and agree to work together, powerful things can happen — and more kids get a chance at a healthy life.

Kids being kids. Via Jeremy Weate/Flickr.

A recent joint effort between the Nigerian government, community members, religious leaders, and thousands of health workers with an awesome vaccination program helped kick polio to the curb.

Hopefully for good.

Vaccination programs and close monitoring helped make polio disappear in so many countries — and now in Nigeria too. We're on our way to completely eradicating it globally because of them.

But since the disease is contagious and can spread so fast, it'll take two more years of no polio cases in Nigeria for it to be declared completely polio-free. But hey, you gotta start somewhere. Cheers to Nigeria!

Next up: Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is work to be done — but it can be done.

Polio sucks. Image via CDC/Flickr.

There are entire generations of people who have never even had to consider polio.

There are people who have never known anyone with the disease or had to fear it themselves. They might not even understand the damage its caused all over the world — or how it works. (Ask Google or your grandma).

I can't wait until no one in the world has to think about polio anymore.

We're so close to eliminating polio from the earth! And when we do, it'll be one of the greatest achievements in our human history. It's going to be awesome.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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via @Kingkeraun / Twitter

Keraun Harris, who goes by the name King Keraun, is a popular comedian on social media who's appeared as an actor on HBO's "Insecure" and ABC's "Black-ish."

On Monday, he posted a video on Twitter sharing the story of how a white woman had his back during a recent traffic stop.

"I just got pulled over, and for the first time, I watched a white woman record my whole traffic stop," she said.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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