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.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

Keep Reading Show less
True

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.