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This Texas mayor is 'more fearful' of white guys than refugees. His reason is pretty simple.

Mayor Mike Rawlings and Sen. Sherrod Brown are onto something.

This is Mike Rawlings, the mayor of Dallas, Texas.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.


And if there's one thing Rawlings is certainly not afraid of, it's Syrian refugees.

In an interview with MSNBC on Nov. 21, 2015, Rawlings voiced concerns about how we're responding to the terror attacks earlier this month in Paris — namely, that some leaders are reacting in-line with how extremists want them to.

"ISIS wants us to be divided on this issue," he said, later noting that "ISIS is no more Islamic than the Nazi senior staff was Christian."

"ISIS wants us to demonize these Syrian refugees," he said.

In indirect fashion, Rawlings was referring to the several presidential candidates and governors (including his own state's) who've come out in support of a ban on Syrian refugees in the wake of the attacks.

But then, Rawlings said something truly ... well, out of the box.


Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

When asked if he had any safety concerns about allowing refugees to enter the country, he got candid:

"There is never a 100% guarantee [of keeping terrorists out], and safety is my #1 concern, as it is [Texas] Governor Abbott's. We've got to make sure [those entering the country] are safe. This is a 21-step process to get in. 18 to 24 months to jump through these hoops. This is a serious issue. I am more fearful of large gatherings of white men that come into schools [and] theaters and shoot people up, but we don't isolate young, white men on this issue." (Emphasis added.)

Yeah ... it's that last part that's really got the Internet abuzz.

And yeah. Rawlings actually ... he made a really great point.

Hear me out. I'm not saying anyone should fear all white guys (#NotAllWhiteGuys), and I certainly don't think the mayor is, either. But Rawlings is simply alluding to the fact that in the U.S., you actually are more likely to become the victim of a white male terrorist than an Islamic jihadist, statistically speaking.

Since 9/11, 48 people have died from radical right wing terrorist attacks while 26 have died from jihadists.

Throughout the past 14 years, nearly twice as many people in the U.S. have died at the hands of white supremacists or extreme anti-government terrorists (such as Dylann Roof, who murdered nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, this past summer) than at the hands of jihadists (like the terrorists who bombed the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing four), according to a study released in June by the New America Foundation.

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio hinted at that same statistic during a recent interview with NPR, according to CNN.

"I mean, since the beginning of the Bush administration when we were attacked, September 11th, we've not had any major terrorist attacks in this country. We've had individual crazy people ... they look more like me than they look like Middle Easterners — they are generally white males — who have shot up people in movie theaters and schools. Those are terrorist attacks, they're just different kinds of terrorists." (Emphasis added.)

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

In total, 48 people in the U.S. have died from radical right wing terrorists since 9/11 while 26 have died from jihadists. Although those facts may make some people uncomfortable, they certainly don't lie.

With his statement, Rawlings wasn't trying to imply white people are scary.

But white supremacists and extremists are just as much of a threat, if not more so. And yet, we do nothing to prevent all white men from accessing guns or even prevent white men with a history of extremism from accessing guns and weaponry. Rawlings was pointing out how ridiculous it is to fear (and ban) Muslims and Muslim refugees based on the harmful and false premise that many of them are extremists attempting to infiltrate the U.S. through our refugee resettlement program.

The good news is, there's no shortage of mayors from across the country who, like Rawlings, are committed to helping Syrian refugees.

Rawlings is one of 18 U.S. mayors, all part of the Cities United for Immigration Action initiative, who penned an open letter to President Obama, applauding his efforts to accept Syrian refugees and noting their cities will certainly accept more.

Mayors from cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Baltimore agree: Refugees aren't violent, and we should be doing more to help them.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

"It sends a horrible message to the world," New York's Bill de Blasio said of some governors' refusing to take refugees, according to CNN.

"It means we're turning our backs on the people who are the victims of terrorism. We're not going to turn our backs on children and families. It's not the American way. It's certainly not the New York City way."

In may have taken Rawlings making a bold statement to point out a surprising reality, but I'm glad he did.

After all, facts should be the guiding light of our policymaking. Not fear.

“This is a big issue, and we as a nation must step up and make sure we're secure," Rawlings told MSNBC. "But we must not do things that change the soul of who we are as well."

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
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When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

This article originally appeared on 07.22.15



"So just recently I went out on a Match.com date, and it was fantastic," begins Dr. Danielle Sheypuk in her TEDx Talk.

If you've ever been on a bunch of Match.com dates, that opening line might make you do a double take. How does one get so lucky?!

Not Dr. Sheypuck's actual date.

Not Dr. Sheypuck's actual date. Photo by Thinkstock.


But don't get too jealous. Things quickly went downhill two dates later, as most Match.com dates ultimately do. This time, however, the reason may not be something that you've ever experienced. Intrigued? I was too. So here's the story.Gorgeous!

Gorgeous! Photo from Dr. Sheypuk's Instagram account, used with permission.

She's a licensed clinical psychologist, an advocate, and a model — among other things. She's also been confined to a wheelchair since childhood. And that last fact is what did her recent date in.

On their third date over a romantic Italian dinner, Sheypuk noticed that he was sitting farther away from her than usual. And then, out of nowhere, he began to ask the following questions:

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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
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The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

@elenisabracos on TikTok

Look, it’s a sad situation for anyone to hear that Adele will not be gracing the stage any time soon. The beloved singer woefully announced on Instagram last Friday (Jan 21) that her planned residency in Las Vegas “wasn’t ready” due to coronavirus. Half of her crew had been infected, making it “impossible to finish the show.”

But for one fan in particular, who has tried—and failed miserably—to catch Adele live on three separate occasions, the news hit particularly hard. Luckily, her sense of humor proves that any tragedy can turn into comedy gold.

This story, with all its hilarious twists and turns, is quite the delightful saga. And though it doesn’t erase all the gutting disappointments left from pandemic cancellations, it does serve as wholesome entertainment.

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This article originally appeared on August 14, 2016


Time travel back to 1905.

Back in 1905, a book called "The Apples of New York" was published by the New York State Department of Agriculture. It featured hundreds of apple varieties of all shapes, colors, and sizes, including Thomas Jefferson's personal favorite, the Esopus Spitzenburg.






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