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Serena Williams wrote a powerful open letter to girls and women everywhere.

Why is Williams a great "female athlete," yet you never hear LeBron James referred to as a great "male athlete"?

Serena Williams wrote a powerful open letter to girls and women everywhere.

One of the greatest athletes of all-time, superstar Serena Williams gets it done on and off the court.

In addition to being a 22-time Grand Slam singles champion, the tennis legend has pushed back against body-shamers, shut down rude reporters, spoken out against police violence, and just recently teamed up with her sister, Venus, to open a center for gun violence victims in their hometown of Compton.

But that's not all she's done lately.


Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images.

In an open letter addressed to "incredible women who strive for excellence," Williams shared some real talk about the real effects of gender bias.

Appearing in Porter Magazine's "Incredible Women of 2016" issue (and reprinted at The Guardian), Williams talks about what it's like being one of the most hugely successful women in the world and the struggle and frustration that goes along with it.

Opening with a line about her childhood dream of becoming the greatest tennis player in the world, Williams went on to say how thankful she is to have a family that was there for her to support that goal.

"People call me one of the 'world’s greatest female athletes,'" she writes. "Do they say LeBron is one of the world’s best male athletes? Is Tiger? Federer? Why not? They are certainly not female. We should never let this go unchallenged."

Too often, women and girls are limited by society and even by loved ones. We can work to change that.

Speaking in Lima, Peru, earlier this month, President Obama opened up about some of the unnecessary roadblocks women and girls face in the world.

"The leaders and the men in every country need to understand that the countries that are most successful are going to be the countries that give opportunities to girls and women, and not just boys and men," he told the audience during a question-and-answer session.

Changing the culture of limitations will take action in government, in business, in education, and yes, in parenting.

Over the years, numerous studies have shown that when it comes to self-esteem, there's a major difference between boys and girls. When it comes to asking why this is the case, there are a number of theories, many of which center around culture and upbringing.

As both Obama and Williams suggest, removing the roadblocks women face in the professional world means setting girls up for success from the start. Girls need to know that they can be anything they want — astronaut, scientist, engineer, president, or even the greatest tennis player in the world.

The world needs role models and strong women who follow big dreams.

"As we know, women have to break down many barriers on the road to success," Williams writes. "One of those barriers is the way we are constantly reminded we are not men, as if it is a flaw."

For the sake of future generations, we must set aside this notion that being a woman is a bad thing and that men are the default. That's why it's important that we see people like Williams, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg, and Michelle Obama as not only some of the greatest and most successful women, but as some of the most successful people of our time as well.

The end goal, of course, must be to eliminate the unique hardships women and girls face for no reason other than their gender.

Discrimination exists in America. That's just reality. The existence of successful women isn't proof that sexism is over, just as the existence of successful people of color isn't proof that racism is over. These elements exist in society, whether they're on the basis of gender, religion, race, or a number of other factors.

One step forward, as Williams suggests, is using what others view as weakness as fuel and motivation. Until the world no longer looks at women and people of color as "lesser" because of who they are, it's important that we acknowledge just how extraordinary women like Williams are.

The fasting period of Ramadan observed by Muslims around the world is a both an individual and communal observance. For the individual, it's a time to grow closer to God through sacrifice and detachment from physical desires. For the community, it's a time to gather in joy and fellowship at sunset, breaking bread together after abstaining from food and drink since sunrise.

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited group gatherings in many countries, putting a damper on the communal part of Ramadan. But for one community in Barcelona, Spain, a different faith has stepped up to make the after sunset meal, known as Iftar, as safe as possible for the Muslim community.

According to Reuters, Father Peio Sanchez, Santa Anna's rector, has opened the doors of the Catholic church's open-air cloisters to local Muslims to use for breaking the Ramadan fast. He sees the different faiths coming together as a symbol of civic coexistence.

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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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