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It's been a long journey, but 29-year-old Luis Canales is ready to cast a ballot in his first ever presidential election.

Today, Luis is a third-year law student at Villanova University, where he volunteers for the school's Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services (CARES) program, a faculty-supervised clinic where students provide free legal representation to refugees, immigrants, and asylum-seekers in the U.S. Just years earlier, he was among them, a Honduran asylum-seeker trying to navigate our country's convoluted immigration system.

Luis holds the shoes he wore during his travels to the U.S. from Honduras. Photo courtesy of Luis Canales.


At age 16, in an attempt to escape a life besieged by gang violence, Luis fled his home in Honduras.

The 12th of 14 children born to a poor family in the town of Siguatepeque, Luis says he was active at school and in his community and vocal in his opposition to guns, drugs, and gangs. It was those stances that got him targeted by the gang MS-13. After being shot at by MS-13 members when he was 15, Luis had no choice but to leave the country.

"The trip was so horrible," he says, describing his 2004 journey to the U.S. "I used a cargo train in Mexico to make it to the United States. Even though I [faced] a lot of danger, and hunger, and suffering, and coldness, and everything else that you can think of, as being outside, on top of the cargo train, I just had in my mind: 'Luis, you have to keep on going. If you go back to Honduras, you're going to be killed.' That was my incentive to continue the trip."

The city cathedral in Comayagua, Honduras, near Siguatepeque. Photo by Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images.

Recounting his trip, Luis describes horrors that no teenager should have to witness. "I saw people falling from the train, being cut in half," he says. "One of the people, I actually heard him yelling when he was on his way down to the train wheels. ... Seeing those things was very difficult for me."

His first trip to the U.S. was cut short. Immediately upon arrival in Eagle Pass, Texas, Luis was placed in a shelter before eventually being returned home to Honduras. As a minor with no relatives in the U.S., he could not stay. Upon his return, he again found himself targeted by gangs.

In total, he made four trips to the U.S., eventually connecting with family in Pennsylvania, where he began the long process of establishing legal status.

It took five and a half years for Luis to be granted asylum in the U.S. He later became a permanent legal resident before becoming a full-fledged citizen in August 2014.

More than 7,500 miles worth of travel and years of legal maneuvering later, Luis made it.

Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images.

Immigration is a hot topic in the 2016 election, and it's certainly been on Luis' mind.

"I have been insulted by one of the candidates many, many times," Luis said, referencing Donald Trump. "You know, calling immigrants in general very bad words, and [saying] we only come to this country to take from the country."

Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric was a slap in the face to Luis, who not only went through the arduous process of teaching himself English but has taken pains to give back to others through his volunteer work.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the second presidential debate. Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images.

"We immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers do not come here because we did not have anything else to do, or because we wanted an easy life," Luis adds. "We have come here for survival, for opportunities, for a better life for our children.  We do not come to take. We come to give, and we give back a lot, especially to those communities that have welcomed us. We work really hard to give back as much as we can."

This year, while tens of millions of people will vote, nearly half the country will probably sit this one out. If you're in the latter group, Luis hopes he can change your mind.

"Your vote is your voice," he says.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Make your voice heard and vote.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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Photo by DJ Paine on Unsplash

Mississippi teen saves three girls and a police officer.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Sixteen-year-old Corion Evans was passing by the river when he saw a car drive off the road and into the river with three girls inside, and without hesitation, the teen stripped down to his shorts and jumped in to save them. Amber Spradley at WLOX in Mississippi originally reported on the story.

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Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

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