Obama has 3 powerful messages for anyone concerned with the state of America.

Barack Obama is speaking out about the future, and it is coming at a time when we definitely need to hear it.

In addressing what's now going on in the world at a Democratic fundraiser on June 28, Obama had painful and hopeful words about the road to progress in America. Here are the three main messages he wants Americans to focus on:

1. Don't wait.

Obama gets that people are worn down and frustrated. "You're right to be concerned," he said. But it's also up to us to carve out a better future.


"Do not wait for the perfect message; don't wait to feel a tingle in your spine because you're expecting politicians to be so inspiring and poetic and moving that somehow, 'OK, I'll get off my couch after all and go spend the 15-20 minutes it takes for me to vote,'" Obama said. "Because that's part of what happened in the last election. I heard that too much."

2. Fear is powerful.

Obama made clear that while recent elections have certainly provided some relief, it's only the beginning. Fear can be a powerful tool that galvanizes a population.

"Telling people that somebody's out to get you or somebody took your job or somebody has it out for you or is going to change you or your community or your way of life," Obama advised, "that's an old story, and it has shown itself to be powerful in societies all around the world. It is a deliberate, systematic effort to tap into that part of our brain that carries fear in it. There's a fundamental contrast of how we view the world. We are seeing the consequences of when one vision is realized or in charge."

It's imperative to not give into that fear. Instead, we should recognize it for what it is and use it as a lightning rod to spur change.

3. Vote.

If there's one thing every one of us can do right now, it's making sure that our voices are heard in upcoming elections. That means getting registered, being informed, and voting in both local and national elections.

“I am not surprised," Obama noted, "that instead of replacing what we had done with something better, they just have done their best to undermine and erode what's already in place. ... You should go out and vote.”

"Boil it down," he added. "If we don't vote, this democracy doesn't work."

It's up to us to to create the future we want.

His words are tough but true if we want to create a better, more equitable future. Consider one thing you can do today to move the needle of progress forward. Call your reps, stand up for what you know to be right when the current administration gets it wrong, and don't lose heart — because November is coming.

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

Keep Reading Show less