+
More

This heartbreaking fact about the #MissingDCGirls should concern all of us.

An alarming number of young black girls are missing in the nation's capital. The whole country should be paying attention.

You've likely read many stories recently pouring out of Washington about health care, Russia, and Supreme Court justices.

You probably haven't, however, read as many about the staggering number of black girls reported missing in D.C. in the past few months.

It'd make sense if you haven't — there's been virtually no news covering it.


Just this year, D.C. has 22 unsolved cases of missing youths — most of them involving black and Latinx teens — as of March 22, the Associated Press reported.

Fortunately, alarm bells are beginning to ring far beyond the capital, as people ask the same question many neighborhoods in D.C. have been voicing for a while now: Why doesn't anyone care about this?

Image via iStock.

The news, which is finding viral traction online through the hashtag #MissingDCGirls, was further pushed into the spotlight this week when members of the Congressional Black Caucus called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to devote resources to the matter.

"Ten children of color went missing in our nation's capital in a period of two weeks and at first garnered very little media attention," CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond wrote. "That's deeply disturbing."

Emotions boiled over at a March 22 town hall meeting, as one girl asked officials through her tears, "Why?"

“We got to get worried about somebody trying to take us and we can’t even live our life without somebody trying to put their hands on us,” she pled into the microphone, an adult comforting her at her side.

The number of young people of color in D.C. vanishing without adequate media coverage is disturbing. But it doesn't quite tell the whole story, according to social justice activist DeRay Mckesson.

“What’s most startling about [the high number of missing black girls] is that this is not a spike," Mckesson explains. "It’s a continued trend.”

D.C. police confirmed Mckesson's assertion. There hasn't been an unusual increase in missing children in Washington in 2017 — what has changed is the police department's new push to publicize information on missing children via social media. Naturally, the move has brought more attention to the issue than in years past.

What's happening in D.C. highlights another disturbing trend happening all over America.

Missing black girls — and missing people of color, in general — are often overlooked by the media.

Research shows that a disproportionately high number of black youths go missing, but news coverage devoted to their disappearances is lacking compared to their white peers, Ebony reported. It's even worse when you look solely at black girls and women.

Why the discrepancy? Throughout our society, whiteness has been deemed normal — the standard — while anything non-white becomes the "other" and is therefore seen as less important. Mckesson explains, “That bias exists in the media as well."

In other words, as activist Shaun King wrote for The Daily News, missing people of color "don't get the Elizabeth Smart or Natalee Holloway treatment."

It's just another way institutionalized racism and implicit bias affects our way of life.

Image via iStock.

The fact so many people are suddenly alarmed by what's happening in D.C. reflects, among other things, the persistent lack of awareness around missing black and brown people, Mckesson says. It also points to howmany of us are quick to dismiss the realities of human and sex trafficking here in the U.S. (Although D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser reported no evidence linking the missing girls to trafficking, some advocates, including the Black and Missing Foundation, aren't so sure.)

Reversing institutionalized racism in our media is admittedly a daunting task, but you do have the power to make a difference.

Learn more about why missing people of color are marginalized in our media. Speak out if you see this injustice happening in your own community. And make sure to share the names and faces of those who need our help by using platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Shining a light on this problem and helping those in need is the best way to ensure progress, Mckesson says. “There’s no better answer than visibility."

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

Keep ReadingShow less