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The new Spider-Man is black. Here's why it's a big deal.

The Marvel superhero roster just got more diverse.

The new Spider-Man is black. Here's why it's a big deal.

Marvel announced that a new Spider-Man is hitting the stands this fall.

This comes on the heels of a Sony email leak showing a contract that required Spider-Man to be — get this — white, male, and straight. Surprise!



This was actually my reaction. GIF from "Real Housewives of Orange County."

And the announcement about the new Spider-Man movie star and director? Spoiler alert: They're both white guys.

Even white dude Harry Potter is bored by the news. GIF via "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

Luckily, the new official Spider-Man in the Spider-Man comics is finally breaking the mold.

Meet Miles Morales, your new friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Image by Marvel.

If he looks ... different ... from all the Spider-Mans (Spider-Men?) you've seen before, it's because he has an African-American father and a Puerto Rican mother.

He's the first black and second-ever Latino Spider-Man in the Marvel Comics universe.

What's especially great is that Miles isn't new to fans of the Spider-Man franchise, but the co-creators made an intentional move to make him official. He has been around for a while in an alternative Marvel universe where Peter Parker dies and he takes his place.

But now Miles Morales is the official main Marvel Comics universe Spider-Man.

Miles Morales in action. Image by Marvel.

This move is significant because it means bringing diversity to Marvel's main roster of superheroes in a big way.

In an interview with the New York Daily News, Spider-Man writer and co-creator Brian Michael Bendis explains the reasoning behind the decision saying, “Our message has to be it's not Spider-Man with an asterisk, it's the real Spider-Man for kids of color, for adults of color and everybody else."

And it's already having a positive impact.

Bendis was brought to tears when his 4-year-old black daughter picked up a Miles Morales Spider-Man mask at the store, put it on and exclaimed "Look, Daddy, I'm Spider-Man!"

YAS. I'm crying too. GIF from "Bob's Burgers."

It's important to have racial diversity in our superhero stories because studies show that representation matters.

One study found that children are quick to pick up on racial stereotypes portrayed in the media. Kids also notice when people of color are not shown as much as white people. They end up thinking that people of color must not be as important.

An Indiana University study showed that not having positive role models of color in the media lowered the self-esteem of black children.

Who our children see in the media and how these characters act has a big influence.

It doesn't just shape how they view people of other races; it influences how they view themselves. Imagine growing up and rarely seeing people who look like you on TV or in books, and when they do appear, they're doing bad things.

The fact that one of the most recognizable (good) characters in the world is multi-ethnic will help children of color feel good about themselves in a world that offers so few positive portrayals of people that look like them.

That's why this latest move by Marvel is so great.

We're officially living in a world that has a black Captain America, a female Thor, and a multi-ethnic Spider-Man.

How cool is that?

This cool. GIF from "Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man: Web-Warriors."

Here's hoping we'll see a live-action version of the new Spider-Man in the near future. My spidey senses tell me it'll only be a matter of time.

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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.

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Images via Canva and Unsplash

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Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

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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.

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via Budweiser

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