She turned her dad's 50-year-old FBI file into a stunning work of art.

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover once said the most threatening thing about the Black Panthers was their free breakfast program for kids. Seriously.

That didn’t stop the FBI from keeping close tabs on people like Rodney Barnette, a founding member of the Compton chapter. A Vietnam veteran, he became disillusioned by the racism he experienced after returning home from the war. During his time organizing through the Panthers, he helped push the group's "radical" agenda that involved feeding hungry kids, protecting elderly in their neighborhoods, and providing black people easier access to health care and hospitals.

Eight different FBI agents followed Barnette for several years. They traded information with one another as they intimidated and gaslighted him, even going so far as to get him fired from his job at the post office. It was all in an attempt to demoralize and crush a movement they couldn’t control.


Rodney Barnette, circa 1968. All images by Sadie Barnette, used with permission.

The FBI had more than 500 pages of records on Barnette. Now, nearly five decades later, he and his family got to see those pages.

“We filed a request through the Freedom of Information Act, but it took about four years of back and forth writing letters before we actually got the file,” explains Sadie Barnette, Rodney’s daughter.

The loving father she’d known was a lifelong labor organizer with a passion for grassroots community building, a kindhearted man who built the first black-owned gay bar in San Francisco.  She’d heard stories growing up about his involvement with the Black Panthers, but even he still had questions about that period of his own life — until the day that massive PDF document finally arrived.

“We were really just blown away by how much attention they paid,” Sadie explains. “They interviewed all of my dad’s employers. They interviewed his high school teachers and even the little old lady next door to where he grew up ... just so many resources they put into not just my dad, but anyone who was organizing with the Black Panthers and other groups at the time.”

Rodney’s name was included on the FBI's Administrative Index, or ADEX, which was essentially a terrorist watchlist at the time — a fact that Sadie calls sobering and terrifying. The agency even kept a detailed tree of his extended family, all of whom had been interrogated too.

Sadie as a baby, with her dad.

Then Sadie took those pages of her father’s life and turned them into art.

Sadie is an acclaimed visual artist whose work has been seen across the world. While the FBI files were obviously an important artifact for their family, she also knew they would make great fodder for a new project.

With her father’s blessing, Sadie combed through the files to find the most striking pages, and she found different ways to repurpose them — and the discordant story they told. She tagged some pages with pink and black spray paint like graffiti, while others were combined with her original artwork.

“There’s also these rhinestones that adorn some of the pages," she explains. “That was an act of love and an act of trying to to heal this really intense and violent surveillance that people were going through and also to memorialize some of the people who lost their lives during that time.”

Sadie didn’t just assert her family’s ownership and recontextualize the FBI records. She also juxtaposed them with her father’s own photographs of himself and of her as a child. “It’s really a chance to reclaim the narrative and paint a more real picture of my father,” she says.

The artwork become a physical exhibition called “Do Not Destroy” that was displayed at galleries in Oakland and New York, with another exhibit scheduled at University of California, Davis.

According to Sadie, nearly 400 people turned out at the opening in Oakland, which was part of a larger celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers.

“It was a really intergenerational crowd,” she says. “People were there with their families, really reading through all the pages and investigating everything. I think because the Panthers were founded in Oakland, it’s a really personal history to so many people there. The courthouse where many Panthers had their trials was just two blocks from the museum, so it really felt like what our town is about.”

Some visitors even confessed to her in private about their own families' secret or shunned connections to the area’s history of black liberation and social progress. They said the artwork was inspiring them to find out if there were records on their parents too.

Sadie, at the exhibition's opening.

Sadie's artwork has also helped people realize this 50-year-old history is still frighteningly relevant.

“If you read the Ten-Point Program of the Black Panthers, it could’ve been written today. Nothing else is checked off the list, so to speak,” she says. “They were talking about systemic change."

The fact that the group is still remembered more as armed extremists than as community activists shows just how successful the FBI was in their campaign against people like Rodney.

Sadie also explains how the law used to fire her father from the post office — President Truman’s Executive Order 10450 — was originally put in place to keep LGBTQ people out of government work, not against black civil rights activists. “We have laws now, and people say, ‘Oh, that doesn’t affect me.’ But the same law can be used against you whenever the government decides that you’re the enemy.”

“With Donald Trump coming into office, a lot of people who may not have thought about it in this way before are realizing — hey, the government might not always be trying to protect the interests of the majority of the people,” she adds.

Rodney was in attendance at the opening of his daughter’s exhibition in Oakland.

He mingled with the other guests there, and stood and watched as they absorbed two contradicting accounts of his life from 50 years ago — and of course, admired his daughter’s beautiful handiwork. “It gave me a sense of freedom,” he said that night.

“I felt like, ‘Wow, I’m free now.’”

Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

True

"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

There's a weird thing that happens when we talk about people dying, no matter what the cause. The 2,977 souls who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack felt overwhelming. The dozens of children who are killed in school shootings are mourned across the country each time one happens. The four Americans who perished in Benghazi prompted months of investigations and emotional video montages at national political conventions.

But as the numbers of deaths we talk about get bigger, our sensitivity to them grows smaller. A singular story of loss often evokes more emotion than hearing that 10,000 or 100,000 people have died. Hearing a story of one individual feels personal and intimate, but if you try to listen to a thousand stories at once, it all blends together into white noise. It's just how our minds work. We simply can't hold that many individual stories—and the emotion that goes along with them—all at once.

But there are some ways we can help our brains out. An anonymous visual effects artist has created a visualization that can better help us see the massive number of Americans who have been lost to the coronavirus pandemic. The number alone is staggering, and seeing all of the individual lives at once is overwhelming.

In this video, each marble represents one American who has died of COVID-19, and each second represents six days. At the top, you can see the calendar fill in as time goes by. Unlike just seeing a grid of dots representing the visual, there's something about the movement and accumulation of the marbles that makes it easier to see the scope of the lives impacted.

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Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

True

"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

"We couldn't decide on who would be the biological father," Simon told The Daily Mail. "Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did."

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Usually when we share a story of a couple having been married for nearly five decades, it's a sweet story of lasting love. Usually when we share a story of a long-time married couple dying within minutes of each other, it's a touching story of not wanting to part from one another at the end of their lives.

The story of Patricia and Leslie "LD" McWaters dying together might have both of those elements, but it is also tragic because they died of a preventable disease in a pandemic that hasn't been handled well. The Michigan couple, who had been married for 47 years, both died of COVID-19 complications on November 24th. Since they died less than a minute apart, their deaths were recorded with the exact same time—4:23pm.

Patricia, who was 78 at her passing, had made her career as a nurse. LD, who would have turned 76 next month, had been a truck driver. Patricia was "no nonsense" while LD was "fun-loving," and the couple did almost everything together, according to their joint obituary.

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