Not everything is terrible: 7 great things that happened this week.

It's been 21 days.

Twenty. One. Days.

And it would take another 21 days to recap everything horrific, unacceptable, and plainly un-American that has happened since Inauguration Day.


So, instead, consider this a safe space. Give yourself permission to take a break from being angry, and check out these seven pretty awesome news stories you might have missed this week.

I'm betting you could use 'em.

1. "Hidden Figures" became the highest grossing Oscar-nominated film of the year.

The cast of "Hidden Figures." Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

If you thought only chiseled white guys could be Hollywood moneymakers, think again.

"Hidden Figures," the incredible true story of three black women who made landmark contributions to NASA in the 1960s, was released in mid-December. So far, it's grossed over $119 million at the box office, edging out its fellow Best Picture nominees, including "La La Land."

Money talks in Hollywood, and the more proof we get that diversity in film is both the right thing to do and can be good business, the better.

2. People tried to body shame Lady Gaga after her Super Bowl performance, but even more people shut them down.

While Lady Gaga was busy wowing millions of people with her high-wire act, powerhouse vocals, and precision dance moves, a few surly folks were a little overly concerned with how her bare midriff looked.

Obnoxious comments on social media were easy to find. But Gaga fans, and most good humans in general, weren't having it.

Gaga herself, of course, took the high road.

PSA: We can drown out the hate if we all speak up for what's right together.

3. "The Magic School Bus" is coming back.

Admit it, you always wished you could be in Ms. Frizzle's class as they shrunk down to explore the inner workings of the human body or blasted off on a deep space adventure.

Well, you still can't. But soon you can enjoy all new episodes of everyone's favorite after-school show!

And the absolute best part: The brilliant Kate McKinnon, of "Saturday Night Live" fame, will voice Ms. Frizzle in a Netflix reboot set to debut later this year.

Kate McKinnon. Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for AT&T.

This is my kind of good news.

4. Facebook just announced big changes to its family leave policy.

Do you live to work, or do you work to live? If you're like most people, there is at least one thing more important than the ol' 9 to 5: family.

So kudos to the people at Facebook who just announced some great, progressive changes to their leave policies. According to COO Sheryl Sandberg, the new policy will give employees dedicated and paid time off for grieving and caring for sick family members on top of the company's already pretty good parental leave.

There have been many times when I've been grateful to work at companies that supported families. When my son was born...

Posted by Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It's great to see forward-thinking, people-first policies coming from some of our country's most influential companies.

5. A guy created an Amazon Dash button so he could easily donate $5 to the ACLU every time Donald Trump made him mad.

Hey, you know Dash buttons, right? They're the supposed shopping device of the future, making getting laundry detergent delivered to your home as easy as hitting a button above the washing machine. Or you could put a button in the mug cabinet that orders coffee the instant you run out.

Well, designer and programmer Nathan Pryor decided to take this concept to the next level and create a button he could smash every time he read a baffling tweet from President Donald Trump. Each time, it would donate $5 to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Unfortunately, this isn't an "official" thing, so not everyone can get one, but it is a great reminder to try to channel your frustration into something productive.

You can donate to the ACLU online right here, in fact.

6. Oh! And speaking of Trump, even Kanye West is turning on him now.

Kanye West and Donald Trump, former pals. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

There are few things as disgusting as entertainment industry schmoozing that won't quit, and Trump has certainly rubbed elbows with a lot of famous people. Many of his old golf buddies and party pals still refuse to denounce him. (Looking at you, Tom Brady.)

But we can finally scratch Kanye West off that list.

Yep, even Yeezy has had enough of Trump's shit. According to TMZ, Kanye has deleted every mention of Trump from his Twitter timeline and no longer supports the current president.

I know, I know. It's Kanye and who cares, right? But while watching the country slowly become unrecognizable largely in part because none of Trump's friends and allies will stand up to him, it's hard not to be excited about any sign of pushback.

7. A review board told Comcast to stop saying it has the fastest internet: a big win for objective facts.

How is Verizon winning a case against Comcast good news? I'll tell you.

Comcast has been claiming for a while to have the fastest internet in America. Verizon had data that suggested that simply wasn't true. So the National Advertising Review Board ruled Comcast had to stop making the false claim.

Someone lied, and there were actually consequences! In 2017, how is this not good news?

Take that, "alternative facts."

Now, if only the media would start covering terror attacks.

There's bound to be great news next week, too. You just have to look a little harder for it these days. But I promise you, it's worth it!

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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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."