She blocked a black man from entering his own building, then followed him to his door.

Why do some white women insist on harassing black people for living their lives?

We've seen the stories of Permit Patty, BBQ Becky, Pool Patrol Paula, and other white ladies calling the police on black people doing normal, everyday things. Apparently, some have not yet figured out that black people can, you know, live lives.

This past week, we've added Walmart Wendy, who called the cops on a black man who was babysitting two white kids because she had a "funny feeling." (Has anyone ever called the cops simply because they saw a white person caring for two black kids? That's a no.) Then Cornerstore Caroline traumatized a 9-year-old black child who accidentally bumped her with his backpack, claiming he grabbed her butt, making lewd gestures toward him, and acting like she was calling the police to report a sexual assault.


And now we've got Apartment Ashley, who tried to block a black man from entering his own apartment building and followed him to his front door because she felt "uncomfortable" and didn't believe that he lived there.

D'Arreion Toles shared videos of the woman blocking him from entering his building.

According to CBS affiliate KMOV, Toles was returning from a late night at the office when the incident occurred. As he tried to enter his luxury apartment building in downtown St. Louis, he was stopped and questioned by a white woman.

The woman can be seen asking why he was trying to enter her apartment building. When he told her he lived there, she asked him what apartment he lived in — all while physically blocking his way into the building. He calmly told her he wasn't going to give her that (personal, private, none-of-her-business) information, and said, "Excuse me" as he tried to go past her. But she blocked his way and said, "I'm uncomfortable."

To Be A Black man in America, & Come home,Women tries to stop me from coming into my building because she feels...

Posted by D'Arreion Nuriyah Toles on Friday, October 12, 2018

I'm all for women being assertive when they feel uncomfortable, but let's just back up here a minute. She's blocking him from entering his building. She's asking him for personal information. She's refusing to believe him when he offers proof of his residency and refusing to let him by . . . and she's the one who's uncomfortable?

Not only did she try to stop him from entering the building, she followed him into the elevator.

Once Toles moved past her, undoubtedly feeling more than a little uncomfortable himself at this point, Apartment Ashley followed him to the elevator. Despite his being nothing but calm and polite, despite his having named the people who manage the building, and despite his having a key fob for the building, she felt the need to follow him and repeatedly ask him who he was there to see.

Now, her behavior here begs the question: If she was really concerned about security and worried that this man might be some scary bad guy of some sort coming into her building, why did she get on the elevator with him alone?

Could it be that she wasn't actually afraid of him, but rather afraid of the idea that someone who looked like him might live in her building?

Not only did she follow him into the elevator — she followed him all the way to his front door.

Even after Toles told her that he was considering calling the police to report her for harassment, this woman still insisted on following him all the way to his front door.

Only at this point, she starts to tell him that if he really is a neighbor then she wants to introduce herself and get to know him. And even after he showed her that he was in the apartment, with his key in the lock, she still stood there trying to tell him she just wants to know his name.

Seriously, Ashley? Stalk much?

If this were a one-time incident, we could chalk it up to a wacky woman with some serious boundary issues. But it's not.

Could the woman have been inebriated, as some suggest? Sure. Is it possible that this woman has some mental issues? Yep. Does that mean racism was not at the heart of this incident? Absolutely not.

Practically every black person I know has a story that fits the category of "White person freaking out because a black person is doing normal life things." It's not unusual. It's not a one-off. Some may say it just seems common because we're seeing viral videos of these kinds of encounters, but it's actually only a fraction of encounters that get filmed and sent around on social media.

Ironically, the woman actually worked for a luxury apartment company, but has since been fired. A statement from her former employer reads:

“The Tribeca-STL family is a minority-owned company that consists of employees and residents from many racial backgrounds. We are proud of this fact and do not and never will stand for racism or racial profiling at our company. After a review of the matter the employee has been terminated and is no longer with our company.”

Poetic justice, I suppose. But for Toles and other Americans of color who put up with this kind of crap regularly, true justice won't come until we root out the racism that causes such incidents in the first place.  

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
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Growing up in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan always loved the ocean. It's why she decided to study marine biology. But the more she learned, the more she realized that it wasn't enough to work in the ocean. She needed to protect it.

"I see the ocean ecosystem collapsing due to overfishing and climate change," she says. "I felt powerless and didn't know what to do [so] I decided to pursue my master's in environmental management."

This choice led her to work in environmental protection, and it was fate that brought her back home to the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia — one of the last places on earth where species such as tigers, orangutans, elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros still live in the wild today. It's also home to over 300 species of birds, eight of which are endemic to the region.

"When I first flew over the Leuser Ecosystem, I saw an intact landscape, a contiguous block of lush, diverse vegetation stretched through hills and valleys. The Leuser is truly a majestic landscape — one of a kind."

She fell in love. "I had my first orangutan encounter in the Leuser Ecosystem," she remembers. "As the baby orangutan swung from the branches, seemingly playing and having fun, the mother was observing us. I was moved by the experience."

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

"Over the years," she continues, "the encounters with wildlife, with people, and with the ecosystem itself compounded. My curiosity and interest towards nature have turned into a deep desire to protect this biodiversity."

So, she began working for a government agency tasked to protect it. After the agency dismantled for political reasons in the country, Farhan decided to create the HAkA Foundation.

"The goals [of HAkA] are to protect, conserve and restore the Leuser Ecosystem while at the same time catalyzing and enabling just economic prosperity for the region," she says.

"Wild areas and wild places are rare these days," she continues. "We think gold and diamonds are rare and therefore valuable assets, but wild places and forests, like the Leuser Ecosystems, are the kind of natural assets that essentially provide us with life-sustaining services."

"The rivers that flow through the forest of the Leuser Ecosystem are not too dissimilar to the blood that flows through our veins. It might sound extreme, but tell me — can anyone live without water?"

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

So far, HAkA has done a lot of work to protect the region. The organization played a key role in strengthening laws that bring the palm oil companies that burn forests to justice. In fact, their involvement led to an unprecedented, first-of-its-kind court decision that fined one company close to $26 million.

In addition, HAkA helped thwart destructive infrastructure plans that would have damaged critical habitat for the Sumatran elephants and rhinos. They're working to prevent mining destruction by helping communities develop alternative livelihoods that don't damage the forests. They've also trained hundreds of police and government rangers to monitor deforestation, helping to establish the first women ranger teams in the region.

"We have supported multiple villages to create local regulation on river and land protection, effectively empowering communities to regain ownership over their environment."

She is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to the Ecosystem Impact Foundation. The small local foundation is working to protect some of the last remaining habitats of the critically endangered leatherback turtle that lives on the west coast of Sumatra.

"The funds will help the organization keep their ranger employed so they can continue protecting the islands, endangered birds and sea turtle habitats," she says.

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Do you know an inspiring woman like Farwiza? Nominate her today!

Jennifer Lawrence

After being a Hollywood staple, Jennifer Lawrence vanished from the public eye following the release of "X-Men Dark Phoenix" in 2019.

Sure, the pandemic had something to do with that … in addition to the usual way our society treats Hollywood "it" girls, once it grows accustomed to the flavor. But in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Lawrence opens up about some other reasons she chose to step away for a time.

Lawrence went from being a highly sought-after Oscar-winning actress to starring in less-than-successful films like "Passengers," "Mother!" and "Red Sparrow." The films were not only poorly received among critics, but commercially as well.

"I was not pumping out the quality that I should have," she told VF. "I just think everybody had gotten sick of me. I'd gotten sick of me. It had just gotten to a point where I couldn't do anything right. If I walked a red carpet, it was, 'Why didn't she run?'"

So then, why do it? As any workaholic would know, it's about so much more than money.

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Courtesy of Ms. Lopez
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Marcella Lopez didn't always want to be a teacher — but once she became one, she found her passion. That's why she's stayed in the profession for 23 years, spending the past 16 at her current school in Los Angeles, where she mostly teaches children of color.

"I wanted purpose, to give back, to live a life of public service, to light the spark in others to think critically and to be kind human beings," she says. "More importantly, I wanted my students to see themselves when they saw me, to believe they could do it too."

Ms. Lopez didn't encounter a teacher of color until college. "That moment was life-changing for me," she recalls. "It was the first time I felt comfortable in my own skin as a student. Always remembering how I felt in that college class many years ago has kept me grounded year after year."

It's also guided her teaching. Ms. Lopez says she always selects authors and characters that represent her students and celebrate other ethnicities so students can relate to what they read while also learning about other cultures.

"I want them to see themselves in the books they read, respect those that may not look like them and realize they may have lots in common with [other cultures] they read about," she says.

She also wants her students to have a different experience in school than she did.

When Ms. Lopez was in first grade, she "was speaking in Spanish to a new student, showing her where the restroom was when a staff member overheard our conversation and directed me to not speak in Spanish," she recalls. "In 'this school,' we only speak English," she remembers them saying. "From that day forward, I was made to feel less-than and embarrassed to speak the language of my family, my ancestors; the language I learned to speak first."

Part of her job, she says, is to find new ways to promote acceptance and inclusion in her classroom.

"The worldwide movement around social justice following the death of George Floyd amplified my duty as a teacher to learn how to discuss racial equity in a way that made sense to my little learners," she says. "It ignited me to help them see themselves in a positive light, to make our classroom family feel more inclusive, and make our classroom a safe place to have authentic conversations."

One way she did that was by raising money through DonorsChoose to purchase books and other materials for her classroom that feature diverse perspectives.

Courtesy of Ms. Lopez

The Allstate Foundation recently partnered with DonorsChoose to create a Racial Justice and Representation category to encourage teachers like Ms. Lopez to create projects that address racial equity in the classroom. To launch the category, The Allstate Foundation matched all donations to these projects for a total of $1.5 million. Together, they hope to drive awareness and funding to projects that bring diversity, inclusion, and identity-affirming learning materials into classrooms across the country. You can see current projects seeking funding here.

When Ms. Lopez wanted to incorporate inclusive coloring books into her lesson plans, The Allstate Foundation fully funded her project so she was able to purchase them.

"I'm a lifelong learner, striving to be my best version of myself and always working to inspire my little learners to do the same," she says. Each week, Ms. Lopez and the students would focus on a page in the book and discuss its message. And she plans to do the same again this school year.

"DonorsChoose has been a gamechanger for my students. Without the support of all the donors that come together on this platform, we wouldn't have a sliver of what I've been able to provide for my students, especially during the pandemic," she says.

"My passion is to continue striving to be excellent, and to continue to find ways to use literature as an anchor, depicting images that reflect my students," she says.

To help teachers like Ms. Lopez drive this important mission forward, donate on DonorsChoose.

Courtesy of Ms. Lopez

Looking for some good gift ideas that wont break the bank? We've got you covered with these five suggestions available at our very own Upworthy Market! You can feel good about your purchases, too. That's because every item you buy from the Upworthy Market directly supports the artisans who crafted it.


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Photo by Vanessa Garcia from Pexels

A professor's message to students has gone viral.

If you know any teachers, you probably know how utterly exhausted they all are, from preschools all the way up through college. Pandemic schooling has been rough, to say the least, and teachers have borne the brunt of the impact it's had on students.

Most teachers I've known have bent over backwards to help students succeed during this time, taking kids' mental and emotional health into consideration and extending the flexibility and grace we all could use. But teachers have their own mental and emotional needs, too, and at some point, something's gotta give.

A college student posted screenshots of a professor's message on Twitter with the comment "someone PLEASE check on my professor." It's simply incredible.

The message reads:

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