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Sen. TammyDuckworth takes Trump to task over his trans military ban.

The Purple Heart recipient isn't messing around.

Sen. TammyDuckworth takes Trump to task over his trans military ban.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) knows a thing or two about the military.

In 2004, while enrolled with the Illinois Army National Guard's Reserve Officers' Training Corps, Duckworth was called up and deployed to Iraq. She participated in a number of combat missions as the pilot of a Blackhawk helicopter before being shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade. As a result, she lost both legs and partial use of her right arm.

After recovering, she put her focus into Veterans Affairs activism, eventually landing the title of assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2012, she ran for Congress and won. In 2016, she ran for Senate and won.


This photo from 2010 shows Duckworth when she was assistant secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images.

When Donald Trump, a man who received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, attacked transgender service members, Duckworth responded as only she could: from experience.

With reports circulating that the trans military ban, first announced via tweet in July, is making its way through official channels and inching closer to becoming reality, Duckworth shared a blistering note on Facebook about unit cohesion, trust, and national security.

When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter after I was shot down, I didn’t care if the American troops...

Posted by Senator Tammy Duckworth on Thursday, August 24, 2017

"When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter after I was shot down, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white or brown," she wrote. "All that mattered was they didn't leave me behind."

"If you are willing to risk your life for our country and you can do the job, you should be able to serve — no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation. Anything else is not just discriminatory, it is disruptive to our military and it is counterproductive to our national security."

Perhaps a war hero like Duckworth can get through to Trump.

So far it hasn't been enough for him that the Department of Defense commissioned a 112-page report on the effects of allowing trans people in the military, finding that there weren't any financial or medical reasons to ban them.

Maybe there's hope that the voices of actual trans people who have served in the military might sway the president's mind or that he can be convinced by his own words, which extolled the virtues of the military's "shared sense of purpose" that transcended our differences, adding, "All service members are brother and sisters."

Duckworth speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

If all that fails, however, Duckworth is prepared to push for legislation that takes this decision out of his hands.

"If the President enacts this ban, which would harm our military readiness, the Democratic and Republican Members of Congress who oppose this discrimination must enact legislation that prevents it from taking effect," she says at the close of her statement."

There's no telling whether such a bill would have a shot of making it through Congress and avoiding a veto, but there's hope. After all, a surprising collection of otherwise conservative lawmakers stepped forward to criticize Trump's ban the day he tweeted it out. They may soon have the opportunity to take it beyond simple words and show their support through action.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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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

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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.