In 2017, there were 11.6 immigrants from Mexico living in the United States, 43% of which were undocumented. In that same year, Mexicans were deported 192,334 times. The people who make up the statistic are often reduced to just that, numbers on a piece of paper. Selena Gomez, the grand-daughter of immigrants from Mexico, used her position to draw attention to the people impacted by policy in an op-ed for Time. "In the 1970s, my aunt crossed the border from Mexico to the United States hidden in the back of a truck. My grandparents followed, and my father was born in Texas soon after," she wrote. "I never forget how blessed I am to have been born in this country thanks to my family and the grace of circumstance. But when I read the news headlines or see debates about immigration rage on social media, I feel afraid for those in similar situations. I feel afraid for my country."
More than 116,000 people are currently waiting for an organ transplant.
Earlier this year, when Selena Gomez needed a kidney transplant, one of her friends came through with a life-saving donation.
Actress Francia Raisa was starring on ABC Family's "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" when she met Gomez during a children's hospital event in 2007, and they have remained close friends ever since. In 2013, Gomez underwent chemotherapy to treat lupus, something she went public with two years later. As a result of her illness and treatment, Gomez needed a new kidney.
Naturally, Raisa offered one of hers.
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"Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist."
It may not seem like that big of a deal when a celebrity speaks up about their experiences with mental illness. But it is.
Throughout 2016, dozens of actors, authors, artists, and athletes — trailblazers we're used to seeing smiling on red carpets or snagging gold medals on TV — shared the personal battles they've faced behind closed doors. It was a groundbreaking year.
“It levels the playing field," Aaron Harvey says of the many public figures who chose to speak up. Harvey is the founder of Intrusive Thoughts, a group set on humanizing those living with mental illness. “Suddenly, you realize the same struggles that you have might be the same struggles that someone you really idolize have. And that [makes it] OK."