Retired police officer says 'brother in blue' code likely to blame for George Floyd's death.

Omar Delgado, a first responder at the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in 2016, still grapples with the nightmare. As shots were fired then, Delgado quickly moved bloodied victims outside. As he took cover, the firing continued. There were lifeless bodies everywhere. One of the survivors he helped was Angel Colon, who was shot six times. The two made headlines everywhere. I even interviewed them back then.

But despite Delgado's heroic actions, he was fired from the Eatonville, Florida police force the following year after developing post-traumatic stress disorder from the massacre—six months before his vested pension. He filed a lawsuit against the department, and he was eventually granted disability retirement, which was 42% of his $38,500 salary. Nowadays, former officer Delgado can't believe what our world has come to. In some ways, he says, things have become progressively worse.



Protesters are breaking windows, igniting fires and vandalizing properties in Minneapolis over the killing of George Floyd, who is a black man. A video surfaced of him struggling to breathe while the knee of a white police officer was pressed against his neck. You can hear Floyd repeating "I can't breathe," also voicing that he's about to die. Finally, when the officer released pressure, you can see Floyd's limp body on the pavement. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. "It's horrific. He couldn't breathe. It's not like he was tugging or fighting. It was extremely unnecessary," says Delgado. "My heart goes out to the family and his friends. To see that situation, it's just really, really bad."

Delgado wants people to know that not all officers are like Derek Chauvin. He believes those four officers that day put a bad name to the badge. "As a former police officer, and I'm Puerto Rican, it's frustrating and it's sad. But I wish people would not think every officer is the same way," he says. "I know there are officers out there right now who are thinking, 'I have to get up, I have to put this uniform on. I have to serve and protect, but you know what? I'm going to get shit for it because of them.'"


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Delgado mentions most things had to do with race when he was an officer. When they would call in, the first thing asked was the ethnicity of the driver. "I don't know why they were doing that. They always wanted to know. But why? I never understood," he says. "It really didn't matter what race they were."

During training, Delgado was always taught to subdue and contain the suspect. Once the person was in cuffs, the officer gauges if the individual is a threat. Sometimes they'll kick or spit, but Delgado doesn't believe there is ever a time an officer should use brutal force if a suspect is contained. "In my opinion, what should that officer have done? Once [Floyd] was on the ground and already contained, the officer should have picked him up and put him in the car. He shouldn't have been on him like that. It's absurd."

But Delgado feels training only goes so far. "We are in 2020 and I don't think it will ever get better. It hasn't happened yet. There will always be that persona of police brutality or injustice or something you think an officer should have done it differently. I still would love to know what [Chauvin] was thinking that moment. It doesn't make sense. And sadly, the man lost his life."
As for the other officers, Delgado thinks the "brother in blue code" may have applied here. "Those three other officers did not come to their senses and say, 'Enough is enough.' "There is this thing where they have the officer's back no matter what. But look what happened. They lost their jobs. They could have said, 'Stop, enough,' he says. "They didn't. It's terrible."

He admits that the brother in blue code of always having the back of another officer is a real thing, but common sense is more important. "Some officers don't have it. It doesn't look good. Those are the ones who shouldn't be officers," he says. "There was no need to be the tough guy, the macho man. The officer probably thought if he backed down, he would show weakness. Having weakness out on the streets as an officer is bad. But they should have shown brotherly love and professionalism. How many poor black people are treated like that on a daily basis? How many poor white people are treated like that? It happens a lot. This should be an eye opener."

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After the 2012 Trayvon Martin case, where an unarmed, black 17- year-old was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida, Delgado believes that's when police officers got a really bad reputation. The ensuing trial in 2013 acquitted George Zimmerman of second degree murder, which sparked national debate around gun violence and racism. "All these officers were then beating up black people. I couldn't believe it," says Delgado. But then the Pulse shooting occurred, he says, and people looked at the officers as heroes, and put them in a better light. Now, he believes, things have come full circle. "But that doesn't mean people should be looting, trashing and destroying other people's property," he says. "Why are they doing it? They're upset. They should be. I get it. But why damage other people's property that has nothing to do with it? I don't think that's the right way to voice an opinion."

Delgado isn't shy to voice his own opinions either. "It shouldn't be about race, but it's hard to paint that picture when you see what you see. But right away, everyone wants to put a title on racism," says Delgado. "Yes, it is a white officer and a black victim, but that's what makes it look like race. But if it's the opposite, do they ever smash out the race card? Are they in a hurry to pull out the race card if it was a black officer and a white victim. Would they? If it was hispanic, or asian, or another race? To me, it's a crime on an individual and a person."

Delgado was also labeled as a racist while he was an officer in his predominantly black town in Eatonville. "I've never been somebody who plays the race card. My grandfather was blacker than black. My mom is whiter than white. I never saw color. If you look at the history of Puerto Ricans, we are mixed with a whole bunch of people and race. People used to say, 'You're racist.' And I'd say, 'Really? I'm Puerto Rican.' Then I was fine," he says.

But people were quick to put labels on him, telling him that he was racial profiling. "I would say, 'Are you serious?' The whole town is almost black!'" he quips." Second of all, if I pulled that vehicle over, I sometimes can't tell who is even driving, since the windows are tinted. I pull over a vehicle at a high rate of speed. People are quick to lash out. But it doesn't mean I'm going to treat anyone differently. I'm going to treat everyone with the respect they deserve."

The best word to describe how Delgado is feeling lately is numb."I know how bad the world is through my own experience, witnessing all of it first hand. What gets me is that people are not learning from what's going on. You would think after all these incidents that have been happening, there would be more training to officers."

But the real question is how do things change?

"There are a lot of black chiefs of police out there. Do you start off at the top and give them more jobs? I don't know if officer [Chauvin] acted that way because [Floyd] was black. What I do know is the way that officer acted was totally unacceptable. He was wrong at every level," he says.

Delgado believes officers aren't protecting only whites or only blacks. They are protecting the community. When things like this happen, he realizes that the public has a difficult time trusting police again. "That is the most challenging part. You respect the profession because you know what they are there for, but when the profession fails you, that is a tough pill to swallow. I don't have all the answers, but I do know things need to change."

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
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When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

Police arrest man suspected of scamming an elderly woman.

There has been a rise in scams against the elderly during the pandemic. According to the FBI, American seniors were scammed for $1 billion dollars in 2020, up $300 million from the previous year.

To stay connected with friends and family during the pandemic, more seniors joined social media, opening them up to new avenues for fraud.

“The combination of online shopping and social media creates easy venues for scammers to post false advertisements,” the FBI report said. “Many victims report ordering items from links advertised on social media and either receiving nothing at all or receiving something completely unlike the advertised item.”

But when scammers came after 73-year-old Jean Ebbert in Long Island, New York, they had no idea they were dealing with a law enforcement veteran. Ebbert is a former 911 dispatcher, so she knows exactly what a scam looks like.

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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
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The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

Peter Dinklage in 2013.

Disney has taken another step toward diversifying its iconic princesses by casting Rachel Zegler to play Snow White in its upcoming live-action version of the Grimms’ fairy tale. Zegler’s mother is of Colombian descent and her father has Polish roots. The 20-year-old actress recently wowed audiences in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.”

Disney has also announced that Halle Bailey, a Black actress, will play Ariel in its upcoming live-action version of “The Little Mermaid.”

Disney’s big push toward inclusivity in the casting of its princesses is definitely a welcome move, but according to actor Peter Dinklage, the Mouse may be missing the forest for the trees.

Dinklage, who was born with a form of dwarfism named achondroplasia, criticized Disney on the “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast for being hypocritical for focusing on race while completely missing the ball when it comes to people with disabilities.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Maron.

"Really? Like what?" Maron asked. "What do you see?"


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This article originally appeared on 07.22.15



"So just recently I went out on a Match.com date, and it was fantastic," begins Dr. Danielle Sheypuk in her TEDx Talk.

If you've ever been on a bunch of Match.com dates, that opening line might make you do a double take. How does one get so lucky?!

Not Dr. Sheypuck's actual date.

Not Dr. Sheypuck's actual date. Photo by Thinkstock.


But don't get too jealous. Things quickly went downhill two dates later, as most Match.com dates ultimately do. This time, however, the reason may not be something that you've ever experienced. Intrigued? I was too. So here's the story.Gorgeous!

Gorgeous! Photo from Dr. Sheypuk's Instagram account, used with permission.

She's a licensed clinical psychologist, an advocate, and a model — among other things. She's also been confined to a wheelchair since childhood. And that last fact is what did her recent date in.

On their third date over a romantic Italian dinner, Sheypuk noticed that he was sitting farther away from her than usual. And then, out of nowhere, he began to ask the following questions:

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