Serena Williams made a vital point about discrimination and the need to speak up.

Sitting in the passenger seat of her car, her 18-year-old nephew behind the wheel, Serena Williams had a terrifying thought.

"In the distance, I saw cop on the side of the road. I quickly checked to see if [my nephew] was obliging by the speed limit. Than I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend. All of this went through my mind in a matter of seconds," the tennis champion wrote on Facebook.

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.


Williams was scared, she wrote. Were she or her nephew about to become another statistic?

"I would never forgive myself if something happened to my nephew. He's so innocent. So were all 'the others.'"

Racial bias in law enforcement and disproportionate police brutality against people of color is very real. It's telling that even someone like Williams — a celebrated, successful athlete and businesswoman — was sent into a panic just from spotting a cop car.

In her Facebook post on Sept. 27, 2016, Williams opened up about these terrifying thoughts. The post has since garnered over 117,000 Likes and 20,000 shares.

Today I asked my 18 year old nephew (to be clear he's black) to drive me to my meetings so I can work on my phone...

Posted by Serena Williams on Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Why did I have to think about this in 2016?" Williams asked in her post. "Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives?"

"I had to take a look at me. What about my nephews? What if I have a son and what about my daughters? As Dr. Martin Luther King said, 'There comes a time when silence is betrayal.'"

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.

Williams and King are right: We all need to speak up — even though (if we're being honest) staying silent can be so much easier.

Staying on the sidelines is safe, especially if you're a white person. It can be easy to brush off ignorant comments ridiculing Black Lives Matter supporters when you hear them in line at the grocery store or sitting around the dinner table.

It's easier to share your take on last night's episode of "Game of Thrones" on Facebook than it is to share an emotionally charged post about systemic racism in law enforcement.

Silence is easy. But silence costs lives.

So here's how you can speak out and spark real change when it comes to police brutality:

1. Listen. Listen to the stories of those who've been targeted by police because of the color of their skin. Listen to the (many) amazing cops who agree that change is necessary and also want solutions. Before you speak your opinion, hear their stories. Get their perspective.

2. Educate yourself. This takes some work, but knowing the facts is crucial. Let the data about racial bias sink in. And if you're white, know that it's your responsibility to understand this issue — it's not a person of color's job to enlighten you.

Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images.

3. Know when to speak up (and when to shut up). These conversations can be tough, but we have to have them. When you hear loved ones saying something problematic, chime in — even if your voice is the minority opinion. And if you're white, know when to take a step back; your voice should never drown out or contradict the experiences of those who know this discrimination firsthand.

4. Get involved. The bad news is that police brutality has been disproportionately affecting communities of color for decades. The good news is that we're finally talking about it. And there are many political leaders and grassroots efforts fighting to make change when it comes to our policies and systems. Help them do it.

And just to say it, speaking out against systemic racism and demanding we do better at protecting and serving our communities of color doesn't make Williams — or you — anti-cop.

As Williams wrote in her post, "I am a total believer that not 'everyone' is bad. It is just the ones that are ignorant, afraid, uneducated, and insensitive that is affecting millions and millions of lives."

For those millions and millions of lives, we all need to take a hint from the tennis champ: "I won't be silent."

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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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.