College student spends 7 hours a day answering questions from fellow townsfolk about racism

Nifa Kaniga stands alone on a street corner in 100-degree heat in his town of Dripping Springs, Texas, waiting for fellow townsfolk to stop by. From noon to sunset, around 7:00pm, according to CBS Austin, Kaniga answers questions about race and racism from his perspective as a Black man living in a mostly white and Hispanic community. (Dripping Springs has a population of less than 5,000 people, less than 1% of whom are Black).

The 20-year-old holds a sign that says, "ASK ME ANYTHING. MAKE YOURSELF UNCOMFORTABLE." He even offers sample questions, such as "Why is everything about race?" "Black lives matter or ALL lives matter?" and "Institutional racism exists?"


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"Many people have asked me, 'What's up with all lives matter versus black lives matter?'," he told CBS Austin. "Nobody said only black lives matter or black lives matter more than white lives. We're saying when black lives are taken unjustly and nothing is being done about it, it sends the sentiment that black lives don't matter."

Kaniga, who attends UT Dallas, said that he has experienced racism in the community and has concerns about the police. But he also feels that change will come if people are willing to listen to different perspectives and discuss the tough questions.

"It's uncomfortable talking about race. It's uncomfortable having to put yourself out here, but I mean that's why I put on this sign, 'make yourself uncomfortable,'" he said. "Because it is uncomfortable to talk about racial issues and political issues."

He doesn't expect everyone to talk to him, or for everyone who talks to him to agree with him. But the conversation is important.

"It's easy to get mad, and it's to be like, 'Wow, you're so wrong, you have no idea what you're talking about', but everybody has their opinion for a reason, and I think [it's important] having empathy and just hearing their point of view," he said.

Kaniga has begun using his Instagram account, which he'd previously used mainly for skateboarding pictures and videos, as a place to discuss these issues further. He has also put together a Google doc in which he shares some of the racial bias experiences he's has living in New Jersey and Texas, and some notes about institutional racism, U.S. history, and white privilege.

While it's a gift that Kaniga is inviting direct questions about his personal experiences with racism, not all Black Americans should be expected to do the same thing. Racism is painful, and for some, asking to share personal racism experiences is like asking to open a wound. Answering such questions isn't just an intellectual exercise; it's difficult emotional labor. And while white folks might find it helpful, it shouldn't be expected (especially for free).

Thankfully, there are many Black authors, speakers, activists, and social media educators who have put loads of information out for non-Black folks to learn from. Some, such as Doyin Richards, offer occasional "Ask Me Anything" sessions. Others, such as Ally Henny, share daily free education on their social media pages with the opportunity to pay for more. Currently, the NYT non-fiction best seller list is filled with books on racism by Black authors, so people can learn while also compensating people for their work.

Hopefully, the people of Dripping Springs appreciate what Mr. Kaniga is offering and take him up on the offer to have these uncomfortable conversations. "We have to be uncomfortable if we want change," he says. Indeed, when has change ever been comfortable?

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

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Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

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