Terry Crews is a sexual assault survivor. His brave testimony to Congress is a must-see.
Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images.

Terry Crews' courage and advocacy have made him an important ally in the #MeToo era.

The "Brooklyn 99" star has been an outspoken advocate, opening up about his own experience with sexual assault.

"My name is Terry Crews," he said at the beginning of his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I am an actor, author, former athlete, advocate, and a survivor of a sexual assault."


He was speaking before the committee in support of passing a Bill of Rights for assault survivors in all 50 states. Congress and the White House already passed their own Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act in 2016 that was signed into law by President Barack Obama, but advocates say more protections are still needed at the state level.

"I wanted these survivors to know that I believe them," he said. "I supported them and that this happened to me too."

It's meaningful for people like Crews to speak out about toxic masculinity.

Crews has been praised for his courage in speaking up — but he's also been attacked. After he stepped forward, Crews says he was threatened by a producer on "The Expendables" film series to drop his lawsuit or face being removed from the film.

Rapper and fellow actor Curtis Jackson, aka "50 Cent," publicly mocked Crews through his Instagram after Crews spoke to Congress, suggesting the former NFL star "strap up."

Crews was having none of this, which he made clear in his testimony. “I was told over and over that this was not abuse. This was just a joke. This was just horseplay,” he said. “But I can say one man’s horseplay is another man’s humiliation."

Supporting sexual assault survivors is essential. Moments like this help to make that support an undisputed reality.

There's no shortage of things people can learn about preventing sexual harassment and assault by listening more to the people who have experienced it. Having an open mind and open heart goes a long way toward moving past the culture of toxic masculinity and the problems it creates.

As Crews has said, when women speak out on the issue, men should listen, but men also play a critical role in educating and policing their own communities.

When a celebrity like Terry Crews speaks up, it matters. No one can challenge his stature as a "tough guy." He can admit the problems inherent with the traditionally narrow definition of masculinity that society seems to uphold. He's moved beyond it and hopes others will do the same.

True

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.