So, You Voted For President Obama...

We wrote a letter, just for you...

First of all, congratulations. Take a moment to bask in the glow of a victorious candidate...

...done basking? Good. We've got some work to do.





Now that an agonizingly long presidential campaign that saw 3 billion dollars spent slinging mud, running nonsensical doomsday ads, and sending canvassers to your house during dinner (and it is always during dinner) has finally come to a merciful end, the temptation to check out completely is probably pretty strong right now. In fact, We'll bet you're thinking of clicking away from this page right now, aren't you? We'll drop in a baby animal to keep things interesting. Look at the ticklish baby polar bear!



Adorable. Now, as we were saying, the option of tuning out things that matter for a while is probably looking pretty good right about now, and understandably so. Which is why we're here to give you a few compelling reasons not to.

1.) First of all, we're not doing so good on the climate change front. And when I say "we," I don't mean the Obama administration or the United States as a whole — I mean us as a species. The latest International Energy Agency report indicated a poor showing for the nations of the world in terms of progress towards global climate goals. It appears we're now leaving "my kids can deal with it" territory and entering the realm of "actual consequences within our lifetime." Both major parties were disturbingly silent on the issue during the campaign, which means it is once again up to the people to make sure Obama's long overdue mention of climate change in his election night acceptance speech isn't the last we hear of it for the next four years.

2.) America is an equal nation (if you're a straight, white dude.) But there's a long way to go for equality if you're gay (or anything remotely related to livin' the rainbow life). Or from another country. Or have brown skin. Or speak Spanish. Why is it that in 2012 only a tiny percentage of Americans know what it feels like to truly have every opportunity open to them? We should've had that on lock DECADES ago.

3.) We still have millions of people locked up for hundreds of stupid reasons. America locks up more of its citizens than any other country in the world. There's still a long way to go for the nearly half a million Americans in jail right now for drug offenses, for the victims of gun violence and their families, or for the targets of racial profiling and discrimination. But we don't have to wait for the next mass shooting or Trayvon Martin case to speak out and do something about it.

4.) You know what would be even cooler than ending the war in Afghanistan in 2014? Ending it now. Also, ending the program of drone warfare that routinely kills innocent people with flying hellfire machines. We should probably (by probably, we mean definitely) close Guantanamo, say, yesterday. And defending a nation without invading its citizens' privacy can't possibly be that hard. There are still far too many people dying in our wars around the world for us to just sit back and talk about how awesome Seal Team Six is.

And the list goes on. But you get it. Democracy isn't something that happens to us every four years. It's an ongoing process, and if we truly want change, we need to actively participate in that process each and every day. In the past, far too many voters have made the mistake of looking at a victory for Team Red or Team Blue and thinking to themselves "Hey, my work here is done." But we know better now, and we know you do, too.

Let's do this.

Love,
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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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