This man was grieving the loss of his mother. Obama showed up to help.

When sports writer Dave McKenna lost his mother in 2011, he got some support from an unexpected source.

In a video for Deadspin published in June 2018, McKenna spoke frankly about the suffering that accompanies such a staggering loss.

"It was to experience a level of grief that was almost exhilarating," he recounted. "Like nothing I'd ever been through."


McKenna also knew that he'd have to keep going, so one day he went to a coffee shop in D.C. to get his work done. 15 minutes in, a man interrupted him and told him he'd need to check his bag.

The reason? The president of the United States would soon be coming to see him.

"How did he know I was here?" McKenna joked to a fellow patron. But President Barack Obama really was on his way. A friend of McKenna's, Jay Carney, Obama's spokesperson at the time, had told the president about McKenna.

When Obama entered the coffee shop, he made a beeline for McKenna.

"He put his hand out," McKenna tears up, "and says, 'Jay told me about you. I went through this myself. You may not know this, you may not understand this, but things will get better. You can't believe this now, but they will get better."

McKenna had felt isolated in his grief, but Obama's words helped change that for him.

McKenna felt he would have to face his grief by himself. He'd seen other people go through the loss of a parent or loved one, and he understood that the world doesn't stop for anyone's pain.

Moments like the one between McKenna and Obama, though, remind us that we're not alone.

It's important to remember how meaningful it is when people show up for us in our moments of pain.

What Obama did was thoughtful and compassionate and shows that even the smallest kindness can help us heal. Not everyone has a president on speed dial, but that doesn't mean we can't show up for our friends, relatives, and extended social network during difficult times.

It doesn't take much — a phone call, a text, a workday lunch — to remind others we care, see all they are going through, and are here to support them no matter what.

With time and kindness, things really can get better.

Watch McKenna tell the full story of Obama's visit below:

President Biden/Twitter, Yamiche Alcindor/Twitter

In a year when the U.S. saw the largest protest movement in history in support of Black lives, when people of color have experienced disproportionate outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, and when Black voters showed up in droves to flip two Senate seats in Georgia, Joe Biden entered the White House with a mandate to address the issue of racial equity in a meaningful way.

Not that it took any of those things to make racial issues in America real. White supremacy has undergirded laws, policies, and practices throughout our nation's history, and the ongoing impacts of that history are seen and felt widely by various racial and ethnic groups in America in various ways.

Today, President Biden spoke to these issues in straightforward language before signing four executive actions that aim to:

- promote fair housing policies to redress historical racial discrimination in federal housing and lending

- address criminal justice, starting by ending federal contracts with for-profit prisons

- strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native American tribes and Alaskan natives

- combat xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has skyrocketed during the pandemic

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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 WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

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via TikTok

Menstrual taboos are as old as time and found across cultures. They've been used to separate women from men physically — menstrual huts are still a thing — and socially, by creating the perception that a natural bodily function is a sign of weakness.

Even in today's world women are deemed unfit for positions of power because some men actually believe they won't be able to handle stressful situations while mensurating.

"Menstruation is an opening for attack: a mark of shame, a sign of weakness, an argument to keep women out of positions of power,' Colin Schultz writes in Popular Science.

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