Old texts from a Parkland victim are going viral for a heartbreaking, yet inspiring, reason.

It's finals week and Hunter Pollack is missing his biggest ally: his sister.

High-school and college students know how stressful finals week can be, especially if you're cramming for tests that can have a lasting impact on your academic careers.

A few years ago, whenever Hunter found himself in these situations, he could always count on his sister, Meadow. Her encouragement, often in the form of inspirational text messages, helped him get through times of self-doubt and overwhelming stress.


But this week, Meadow isn't here to offer that encouragement. She was one of the 17 victims in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, an 18-year-old high school senior who was described as having "a smile like sunshine."

Heading into finals week, Hunter shared some of those text message on his Twitter account, writing:

"Finals week, and you’re not here to give me the motivation that keeps me going. I don’t know how I cope without our daily texts. miss you."

Image by Hunter Pollack/Twitter

Image by Hunter Pollack/Twitter

Nothing could replace Meadow, of course, but an informal community of strangers online responded to Hunter's tweet in the most inspiring way.

The response was overwhelming, with strangers stepping in to offer support and encouragement.

Echoing the sentiments of Meadow, people began sharing acts of kindness in their response to Hunter's tweet:

"You got this."

"You've got a whole country rooting for you. I know it feels so painful sometimes and so completely empty at others, but you can get through this."

"You are so strong, Hunter. Push through in her honor — millions of people are supporting you from behind. You got this. "

"You're so strong bro. I'm in this with, as well as many others. Good luck on your finals, you got this. It's for Meadow. Make her proud."

Image credit: Hunter Pollack/Twitter

We've learned so much from those affected by the Parkland shootings, including how to support them during their times of need.

The Parkland survivors have shown us so much already, offering courage and compassion in the face of criticism and doubts over their movement.

They've shown how our nation's youth can rally behind a cause and capture the hearts and minds of a nation.

But they're also human.

Hunter's tweet, and the response from people online, including many who probably disagree with his politics, shows the best in all of us.

We continue to be inspired by those affected by the Parkland shootings — but sometimes they need our support and inspiration just as much as we need it from them.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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