Teen kicked out by her parents for political activism outs them as violent Capitol rioters
via GoFundMe

One of the primary jobs of being a parent is setting a good example and teaching your children right from wrong. 18-year-old Helena Duke caught her mother being a terrible role model and, in a powerful reversal, punished her for it publicly.

What else can you do after catching your mother harassing a Black woman while attempting to overthrow the U.S. government?

It all started when Helena's mother, Therese Duke, claimed she was going to visit Helena's aunt to accompany her for a medical procedure. However, Helena suspected she was really going to Washington, D.C. to attend the "Stop the Steal" Trump rally near the White House.


Therese conveniently turned off the geo-tracking app on her phone so she wouldn't get caught.

But as the rioters have learned over the past week, there were a lot of cameras and photos taken of the insurgency. The day after the riot, Helena's cousin sent her the video of a physical encounter on the stress of D.C. that featured some familiar faces.

The video shows multiple people harassing a Black woman who eventually becomes fed up and punches a woman in the face. That woman is Therese.

"My initial reaction was more like, Oh my gosh, I was right. I was actually right about them being there," Helena told BuzzFeed News. "It was very surreal because it was an insane video, first of all, and then it was the revelation that, Oh, that's my mother. That's her."

So Helena decided to out her mother as well as her aunt and uncle for their participation in the ugly scene.

On Thursday, Helena texted her mother asking where she was on Wednesday and didn't receive a response. The day after, Helena texted again asking, "how's your nose?"

"Please call me or talk to me if you really wanna know," her mom wrote.

A big reason why Helena outed her family is that she had been kicked out of the house multiple times for being a liberal lesbian and attending a Black Lives Matter protest. Her mother was once a Democrat, but after Trump's election, became a right-wing extremist.

"She told me she thought Black Lives Matter was a violent organization and they would be inciting violence," she recalled.

"I always felt almost heartbroken over how they viewed the world and how skewed it was and how they wouldn't allow me to express my views. But showing that they can act in such a horrible way is just really appalling to me," she said.

"I am honestly very disappointed to have to be part of this family that is so...just, very not welcoming or supportive," she added. "I don't feel safe being part of this family."

The Black woman, who later identified herself as Ashanti, was arrested for the assault but claims she wasn't the aggressor in the heated situation.

"A video has surfaced where I was surrounded by a group of Trump extremists, and I honestly feared for my life. The video makes me look like I am the aggressor, but it does not show what happened prior to my defending myself," she wrote on a GoFundMe page.

"People shoved me, tried to take my phone and keys, yelled racial epithets at me, and tried to remove my mask," she wrote. "I asked them to social distance and stay out of my personal space due to COVID. They refused, and I was afraid of being hurt and harmed. After being assaulted, I defended myself."

In the video, a man who was identified by Helena as her uncle, Richard Lorenz, is seen throwing a punch.


via Twitter


Since Helena's tweet about her family went viral, her mother has been fired from her job at UMass Memorial Medical Center.

Helena has started a GoFundMe campaign to help with her college expenses.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.