Tired of being humiliated, these girls fought the school dress code. And won.

Four middle-schoolers sat at the podium. Poised. Confident. Ready to challenge the Portland Public Schools board on its dress code.

Four students from Portland, Oregon, testified in front of the board in May 2015. Image via PPS Communications/YouTube.

AnaLuiza, a seventh-grader, told a story of a friend who was pulled aside one day for wearing a skirt deemed to be too short. The friend sat in the principal's office for hours while the staff tried to get ahold of her parents. She missed important classwork, and worse yet, felt humiliated by the ordeal.


"The only reason I go to school is to get my education," AnaLuiza told the board. "When I get dressed in the morning, my intention is not to provoke or be sexualized. My intention is to feel comfortable in my own skin."

Sophia, also in seventh grade at the time, spoke last. "My problem with the dress code is that 100% of the students that get sent home are female. ... In a way, you're telling [a girl] that boys are more entitled to their education than she is. And I don't think that's acceptable."

They were absolutely right. Because if you're a preteen or teenage girl in America, you can get a dress code violation for almost anything: showing your midriff, shoulder, collarbone, leg, bra strap, or, in some cases, for just wearing something as harmless as spaghetti straps.

Stephanie Hughes of Kentucky was cited for a dress code violation for this outfit, which sometimes shows her collarbone. Photo by Stacie Dunn, used with permission.

Girls who violate their schools' dress codes are accused of being distractions and are often humiliated in front of their classmates.

They're then either sent home to change (missing valuable class time) or forced to cover up with "shame clothes," like old sweatpants that have been lying around the guidance counselor's office for who knows how long.

This has been a problem for years, and a particularly frustrating one to solve. Almost everyone agrees schools need some kind of dress code, but almost no one can agree on what that should look like.

Deanna Wolf of Alabama says her 15-year-old daughter missed an entire class period simply for wearing leggings and a loose-fitting shirt. Photos by Deanna Wolf, used with permission.

But now, thanks to these brave Portland students and a couple of key community members, we might finally be making some progress.

The school board, to the surprise of many, agreed the dress code needed fixing. But that didn't mean it would be easy.

A committee was formed, including Sophia (one of the girls who testified in front of the board), parents, teachers, and other community leaders. Lisa Frack, president of the Oregon chapter of the National Organization of Women, and a parent, was one of them.

Frack said some issues were easy to fix, like the ban on spaghetti straps. That was quick to go. Others? Not so much.

There was plenty of back-and-forth. Are short shorts OK? How about cleavage? What about all of the subtle (and not-so-subtle) policies that unfairly target students of color?

Marian Wilson-Reed of Texas says her 9-year-old daughter was pulled out of class because school administrators thought her natural hairstyle looked like a mohawk, which was against the rules. Photo by Marian Wilson-Reed, used with permission.

Then there was the issue of enforcement. Although hopefully, with the new dress code, there would be fewer violations, the committee wanted to find ways to eliminate shaming and missed class time for students who broke the rules.

Despite debate on some of these specific issues, Frack said, the conversation always came back to the same basic point.

Some board members "felt like they wanted a little line in there reminding everyone that this is a learning institution. But that's exactly what we're trying to get away from," Frack said. "We don't want to link clothing and learning. ... You can't learn math better or worse whether you have a tie on or a collared shirt or a tank top."

"We're going to basically have people covering what you have to do to not be naked."

The final approved dress code, one of only a few like it in the U.S., was a major improvement. But perhaps just as important was the conversation sparked by the process.

Gone was phrasing that specifically targeted bare midriffs, "plunging necklines," or "sexually suggestive clothing." The new, gender-neutral code essentially asks that students wear a top and a bottom (or a dress), and that their clothes not show profanity or reference drugs.

It's pretty simple. But the conversations that led to this point were anything but.

"It raised the issue of people's discomfort with how girls are objectified in this country. Is it a solution to tell them to cover up?" Frack said. She even recalled some of the adult members of the advisory committee having trouble talking about things like breasts and sexuality with a straight face — which, she said, is part of the problem.

For now, though, Frack just hopes this code can serve as a model to other districts looking to get with the times. Portland just rolled out the new policy in the fall of 2016, so it remains to be seen how it'll fare — especially when the weather gets hot again.

But so far, Frack said, all she's heard from parents is how happy their kids are to be free to be themselves without judgment.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

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Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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When Donato Di Camillo was a kid, his family couldn't afford film for their Polaroid camera.

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Years later, when Di Camillo found himself in prison after collecting a lengthy rap sheet of thefts, he discovered a library full of those same magazines.

While other inmates were working out or getting into trouble, he pored over old issues of National Geographic, Life, and Time.

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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