This immigrant and law student wants you to make your voice heard on Nov. 8.

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.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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