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When I was a first-generation immigrant kid in the late-1980s, Ronald Reagan was president.

It was a big deal. I didn't even know whether he was Republican or Democrat, but I knew he was a good man. People liked him. He had my family and my community's respect. I also knew he had been an actor, but that wasn't what defined him or his presidency.

Image by J. David Ake/AFP/Getty Images.


When I was a kid, I could walk to and from Arizona to Mexico without too much of a fuss.

Because I'm the only U.S. citizen in my immediate family (born in Tucson, Arizona), I always felt a special sense of pride in being able to say "U.S. citizen" before the customs agent waved me across.

When I was kid, I wasn't scared the government would deport my parents.

Maybe it's because I knew my parents and my older brother and sister had permanent residence cards. They became U.S. citizens about 10 years ago, once I was grown up, but still, I never even worried about the words "resident alien" on my family's passport cards when I was younger.

Image by iStock.

When I was a kid, I wasn’t aware of the fact that I was an “other.”

When I turned on the television, I never saw families that looked like mine, but I was oblivious that I wasn't represented in Hollywood. As long as I enjoyed the actors and the storyline in any given TV show or movie, life was grand. Representation wasn't an issue because I was unaware I was a minority. No one treated me differently. I thought everyone was just like me, Mexican-American — made up of two cultures.

When I was a kid, it really did feel like you could accomplish anything with hard work. It was "Morning in America."

My family was considered middle-to-upper class. It felt like we had a fighting chance in the land of opportunity. My father was the owner of a successful auto parts wholesale warehouse. He also owned at least a dozen rental properties on both sides of the border that kept us living comfortably. It felt like that sense of financial security would last forever. The devastating devaluation of the peso wasn't an issue ... yet.

My family and I posing at one of my dad's business locales in Mexico in the late-1980s.

When I was a kid, I knew that people were engaged in the political process, but they didn’t live and breathe it like some do today.

I remember picking up snippets of news here and there, hearing about politics from my parents, neighbors, maybe teachers at school. But there was no constant barrage of information. I knew who my parents were endorsing in election years. I also knew who was running in the Mexican presidential election. But that news was delivered either via newspaper or the TV news, promptly at 5 or 10 p.m. That was it.

When I was a kid, I felt that if I got a good grades, everything else would just fall into place.

My parents didn’t have to worry about how to pay for my tuition. I felt secure that the opportunity to attend college was readily available if I worked hard and earned the grades to get in. I knew it was up to me how far I wanted to get in school too. The idea of "how are my parents going to pay for this?" was never a factor when I was accepted into grad school. The fact that I don't have student debt is a blessing.

Image via iStock.

Now, I’m an adult. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. And I see things with a lot more clarity and cautious optimism.

Today, I'm worried about my nieces and nephews and their children, and about first-generation immigrant kids everywhere.

I want them to have what I had growing up. I want them to live without fear of being discriminated against, without the financial burden of taking out high-interest loans to pay for college. I want them to know that, in spite of the constant downpour of any salacious or unnecessary details related to the 2016 presidential election, the process matters.

Today, I have no idea what the border checkpoints would look like under a Trump presidency, let alone his plan to build a giant 10-foot-tall wall.

Part of the proposed structure would be built right smack in my hometown. It would send a divisive message of "us versus Mexico" — literally and figuratively.

The border fence that separates Nogales, Arizona, from Nogales, Mexico. Image by Alicia E. Barrón.

Today, many kids are scared to death that their parents will be deported back to their country of origin.

Kids today are more aware about social issues (like illegal immigration) than I was as a child in the late-1980s, and a presidential candidate publicly calling Mexicans "rapists" and "criminals" is part of that. Some kids saw that and they are well aware of how that candidate feels. There were no minced words. They worry that they don't belong.

Today, many minority kids are more likely to feel like they are a minority.

The racial divide has never been more apparent.

Image via iStock.

Today, for many folks, America can feel more like the land of little-to-no-opportunity.

If Trump wins, it feels like another win for “the man,” for the top 1% — with nothing to offer lower- and middle-class families. I worry that the opportunity to get ahead will not be the same for everyone across the board. I worry that the children of my family and friends won't be able to fight for their dreams. I fear that Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric will further rub off on society.

Today, politics are everywhere.

We no longer have to wait for the daily newspaper or the evening news to hear the highlights.We’re infiltrated with every single news tidbit throughout the day via social media and constant TV coverage. It's exhausting. It’s difficult. It's almost impossible to have an objective opinion about the world (much less politics) because of the filter bubble.

Sometimes, I fear that we are all over-informed and that we're not talking about the issues that affect our everyday lives, like LGBTQ rights or who will be appointed to the Supreme Court.

The last presidential debate. Image by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

Today, I worry about how the heck kids are paying for college.

Today, even if you have stellar grades, you worry about how to pay for your education. Today, if I wanted an education, I would be one of millions taking out a student loan. The last thing I want is for my nieces and nephews to graduate with a mountain of debt I never had to endure.

But despite all of this, today, I am still hopeful we can make progress.

What I had and saw as a child in America can still exist, in some sense. And the choice to make progress is ours to make.

We can choose to tell -generation immigrant kids that they matter and they belong in America. We can choose to make progress on issues that affect all kinds of people, not just the wealthiest among us. We can choose to create systems that make education accessible, not prohibitive. We can choose progress and more opportunities for all. We can choose to live in a country where dreams come true. We can choose all of this because we live in a democracy.

As a first-generation immigrant, I'm incredibly proud to be an American.

I was given opportunities to succeed. I am where I am today because of America.

That's why it's super important to me, and to other people who know how great America is, that we all cast our vote for the kind of America that doesn't build walls or function on fear. On Nov. 8, let's not waste this choice that we have.

There's way too much at stake.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


A dad from Portland, Oregon, has taken to LinkedIn to write an emotional plea to parents after he learned that his son had died during a conference call at work. J.R. Storment, of Portland, Oregon, encouraged parents to spend less time at work and more time with their kids after his son's death.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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