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She worked with the civil rights movement in 1964. Here's her truth now.

I reached out to a civil rights movement veteran expecting to get some nice quotes about hope; what I got was so much better.

She worked with the civil rights movement in 1964. Here's her truth now.

Shaun King, a professor and leader in the modern movement for racial justice, said in a Facebook post:

"If you EVER wondered who you would be or what you would do if you lived during the Civil Rights Movement, stop. You are living in that time, RIGHT NOW."


Image of Black Lives Matter protest in Missouri via Jarred Gastreich, used with permission.

I have definitely wondered that. Who would I be if I had been born then? I needed to get some advice for how to move forward today, as the civil rights movement continues.

I found Jane Adams of Carbondale, Illinois, on the website Civil Rights Movement Veterans.

White mob marching in Little Rock, Arkansas. Photo by John T. Bledsoe/Library of Congress/Flickr.

The site is a magical treasure trove of our country's wisdom. Each person on the site — and there are hundreds — has written a letter, a testimonial about their time fighting in the civil rights movement. Jane Adams was at the very top of the list on the front page of the site.

Jane participated in the Freedom Summer of 1964 and '65.

Jane was a white teenager who saw injustice, didn't like it, and tried to help. I'm not a teenager, but I am white. I'm in that boat, too, so her story stuck out to me.

Her parents were back-to-the-land folks from Chicago. Her dad bought a farm in the 1950s and worked for the unemployment office in Carbondale — a part of Illinois that's closer to Kentucky than Chicago. Despite her parents' more Bohemian origins (at least by the standards of Southern Illinois), she was mostly raised on a farm there, one of the only homes to have running water at the time it was built.

The Freedom Summer was a tactical moment in the civil rights movement that recruited hundreds of white students from the North to come to Mississippi for a summer, and Jane was part of that group.

Jane's story was fascinating to me for many reasons.

First, here is an excerpt of what she said about her time in Mississippi on the Civil Rights Movement Veteran website:

"I went to Mississippi with Freedom Summer and was assigned to Harmony Community in Leake County, working on Federal Programs. ...

The work changed my life. It was far more important to me than anything I — a naive youngster — contributed. As Bernice Reagon said, 'I was reborn in the Civil Rights Movement.' I learned, more than anything, that people make history. I saw heroism that I could never have imagined, and a sense of hope that infused people who had lived all their lives with the degradation of white supremacy. I also saw what is probably the most important kind of leadership — that at the level of communities, where people have to confront and deal with the people who make their day-to-day lives possible."

I was intrigued, so I called Jane to learn more.

As it turns out, she had a lot to say about growing up, her civil rights work and the work of today's civil rights leaders.

She told me that her summer in Mississippi was a violent summer. Three participants were killed. But that was part of the deal.

"We were shipped in. We all knew, if a white person got beat up, a white person from a good family with connections to legislators, that had a lot more impact than a black field hand who didn't know anyone connected to power," she said. "We were brought down because we could awaken the consciousness of a nation ... hopefully and get Congress to act."

Civil rights activist Priscilla Stephens being arrested in 1961, in Florida. Image via State Archives of Florida/Florida Memory/Flickr.

"As Bernice Reagon said, 'I was reborn in the Civil Rights Movement.'"

I asked Jane what she thought of all that's happening today with Black Lives Matter and with just "the world today" in general.

I was expecting some encouraging, hopeful quotes. But what I got instead was a challenge.

Civil rights movement boycott and picketing of downtown Tallahassee in 1960. Image via State Archives of Florida/Florida Memory/Flickr.

She challenged me, and anyone interested in participating in social change, to watch out for what she called "the politics of grievance" — a fight for political change based solely upon the hardships a group has faced — and to always find something to fight for, even when you're fighting against so much.

"There was a positive thing that people were fighting for," she said, "that people were willing to risk their lives for. Fighting for the right to vote, the right to hold jobs, the right to go to school ... the right to be treated like an equal person."

Jane reminded me there's a wonderful banality to the dream of equality.

Humans just want to be treated like humans. Black lives should matter. It's almost boring because it's so obvious — it's often not shiny, but it is important.

The 1963 march on Washington. Photo by Rowland Scherman/U.S. National Archives/Flickr.

The last story Jane told me really captured the delightful banality of living in a just world:

While wandering around a protest in Ferguson, Missouri, she says a young guy asked her husband to take a photo. Jane's husband did, and that was that. She told me it was a normal, everyday moment, but for Jane, a white person in a predominantly black crowd, it was really significant.

For her, it was a moment where everyone, in a crowd supposedly fraught with racial tensions, was just treating each other as humans. Unremarkable humans.

"We got giddy over it!" she remembers. "Like 'Wow, this is what we fought for. This is what we put our lives on the line for. To be in a place where we could just be.' That's what we were fighting for."

A Black Lives Matter protestor in Brooklyn in July 2016. Image via lolololori/Instagram.

Jane reminded me that I can't just be mad if I really want to inspire others and even myself.

Instead, I have to find something worth fighting FOR, not just against. Yeah, it's kind of obvious, but it also cracked my mind open in the best way.

I hope that y'all can find someone to talk to when America's path to justice gets bumpy (tragically bumpy), like it has lately. For me the Civil Rights Movement Veterans website was the perfect place to start finding inspiration about how to take steps forward.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
File:Pornhub-logo.svg - Wikimedia Commons

A 2015 survey conducted by the National Union of Students found that 60% of respondents turned to porn to fill in the gaps in sex education. While 40% of those people said they learned a little, 75% of respondents said they felt porn created unrealistic expectations when it comes to sex. Some of the unrealistic expectations from porn can be dangerous. A study found that 88% of porn contained violence, and another study found that those who consumed porn were more likely to become sexually aggressive.

But now the thing that breaks those unrealistic expectations… might also be porn? Pornhub has launched a sex education section.

The adult website's first series is simply titled, "Pornhub Sex Ed" and contains 11 videos and is accessible through the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center. The section also contains articles, some showing real anatomy and examples in order to bust myths people may have picked up on other portions of the website.

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True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic and it feels like disinformation and denial have spread as quickly as the virus itself. Unfortunately, disinformation and denial during a pandemic is deadly. Literally. People who refuse to accept the reality we're living in, who go about daily life as if nothing unusual were happening, who won't wear a mask or keep their distance from people, are preventing communities from being able to keep the pandemic under control—with very real consequences.

An ER nurse in South Dakota shared her experience treating COVID patients—some of whom refuse to believe they have COVID—and it's really shocking. One might think that the virus would become real to people if they were directly affected by it, but apparently that's just not true for some. As Jodi Doering wrote on Twitter:

"I have a night off from the hospital. As I'm on my couch with my dog I can't help but think of the Covid patients the last few days. The ones that stick out are those who still don't believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the USA. All while gasping for breath on 100% Vapotherm. They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that 'stuff' because they don't have COViD because it's not real. Yes. This really happens. And I can't stop thinking about it. These people really think this isn't going to happen to them. And then they stop yelling at you when they get intubated. It's like a fucking horror movie that never ends. There's no credits that roll. You just go back and do it all over again."

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While many of us have understandably let the challenges of 2020 get under our skin and bring us down, a young man from Florida was securing his place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Chris Nikic became the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full triathlon.

For the majority of people, a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride or a 26.2 mile run would be difficult on its own. The Ironman competition requires participants to complete them all in one grueling race. In a statement, Special Olympics Florida President and CEO Sherry Wheelock called Chris "an inspiration to all of us." She continued, "We are incredibly proud of Chris and the work he has put in to achieve this monumental goal. He's become a hero to athletes, fans, and people across Florida and around the world."

Nikic's journey to become an Ironman started off as a challenge far less lofty. He and his father, Nik, created the "1 percent better challenge." The idea was to keep Chris motivated during the pandemic and beyond. According to The Washington Post, the idea was for Chris to improve his workouts by one percent each day because he "doesn't like pain" but loves "food, videos games and my couch." The plan was to keep building strength and stamina while keeping his eye on the grand prize of completing a triathlon. Nik told the Panama City News Herald, "I was concerned because after high school and after graduation a lot of kids with Down syndrome become isolated and just start living a life of isolation. I said, 'Look, let's go find him something to get him back into the world and get him involved,' so we started looking around and we were fortunate that at the same time Special Olympics Florida started this triathlon program, and I thought, 'What a great way to get him started, get him in shape and get him to make some friends.'"


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