What happened at 'Hamilton' last night says a lot about the kind of America we want to be.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence wanted to be in the room where it happens. So he went to see "Hamilton" on Nov. 18, 2016.

But when Pence arrived at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City to see the critically acclaimed hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, he was met with a chorus of boos and jeers (and, for the record, a few scattered claps).

Matthew Anderson, a theater buff visiting New York from Minneapolis said the display before the show was unlike anything he'd seen.

Pence was brought to his seat shortly before the show began.


"All of a sudden it was this rising, booing, general sounds of disapproval," Anderson said. "You couldn't miss it. Everyone in the mezzanine and the upper levels was standing up and craning over to see what was going on."

From his seat, Anderson heard mostly jeers and hissing, though one man yelled out, "We love you, Mike."

But once the show started, Anderson said things were essentially back to normal ... almost.

"Everyone was just in it, immediately," he said. Though the audience did respond with thunderous applause and cheers during certain moments, including Angelica Schuyler dreaming of including women in the founding of the country.

"I have to think it was a much bigger reaction than that line usually gets," Anderson said. "I'm sure it's usually warmly received, but this definitely felt like it was ... as much about who was in the house hearing the support for it."

Meanwhile, news of the brief but raucous display quickly spread to the internet, where a virtual debate fired up on Twitter: Was the audience right to boo Pence?

First, he's vice president-elect, and for some people, that was enough of a reason not to boo.

And vice president-elect or not, seeing a show starring people of color about an immigrant leading America to victory in the Revolutionary War and founding some of the nation's most sustaining institutions isn't a bad thing, right?

On the other hand, Pence has done little for women, people who are LGBTQ, and people of color — the very people starring in the show he happily paid to see.

With tensions high in and outside the theater, the cast of "Hamilton" came to the stage for their curtain call and read a letter to Pence as he left his seat.

Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr (a former vice president), called to Pence. According to The New York Times, a show spokesman said that Pence stood outside the entrance to the auditorium and heard the full remarks from the hallway.

The message, written by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, and lead producer Jeffrey Seller, with contributions from cast members, is worth a watch and read:

The key part is this:

"Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at 'Hamilton: An American Musical,' we really do. We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us — our planet, our children, our parents — or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again we truly thank you for sharing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds, and orientations."

"It was the opposite of the audience reaction at the top, which felt very hostile and confrontational," Anderson said. "It was deeply respectful. It was warm, and it felt like it was very much in keeping with the spirit of the show we had just watched."

Despite the unifying message, Donald Trump couldn't help but get involved as the story continued the day after.

But here's what the president-elect, the vice president-elect, and all of us need to remember, especially in uncertain times: Dissent is not disrespectful; it's American.

In the United States, we can dissent, demonstrate, debate, and disagree without fear of prosecution or imprisonment. At least that's what our founders, like Alexander Hamilton, intended.

Those booing were voicing their frustration and displeasure at a man with a long and storied history of disrespect and outright wrongdoing toward traditionally underrepresented people.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

And here is his record.

Pence suggested women seek funerary services for miscarried or aborted fetuses. That's disrespectful.

Pence supported diverting taxpayer money to conversion therapy programs for gay and lesbian people, including children. And he suggested Congress oppose any measure that would put same-sex marriages on equal footing with heterosexual marriages.  That's disrespectful.

Pence slashed public health spending in Indiana, forcing a Planned Parenthood to close in Scott County, the one HIV testing center in the area. As intravenous opioid use rose, so did needle sharing. Pence opposed needle exchanges too. Soon, the county saw as many as 20 new cases of HIV each week. More than 200 cases were diagnosed before the outbreak ended. That's disrespectful.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Pence runs the transition team for a newly elected president who has yet to condemn those committing hate crimes and violence in his name on Twitter but has spoken out against The New York Times six times and the cast of "Hamilton" twice. That's disrespectful.

But people who disagree with him should keep their mouths shut when he steps out to enjoy a night of entertainment performed by men and women of color and led by a gay, HIV+, Latino actor? No. Not today. Not ever.

Disagreeing with Pence and others of his ilk isn't disrespectful; it's powerful and necessary.

Comparing a few minutes of hurt feelings with the systematic oppression and silencing of women, people who are LGBTQ, low-income people, and people of color is not just incorrect — it's dangerous.

The actions, decisions, and campaign promises of the Trump-Pence administration are not OK. They're divisive, hateful, and xenophobic. Standing up to toxic bigotry like that, by marching in protest, with calls to elected officials or boos in a theater is absolutely vital.

George Washington University students and others protest the election of Donald Trump at the White House. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

And if the president-elect or vice president-elect have a problem with this, they can take a cue from "Hamilton" itself:

"'Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'
We fought for these ideals; we shouldn’t settle for less."

Few child actors ever get to star in an award-winning film, much less win a prestigious award for their performance. That fact appeared to hit home for 8-year-old Alan Kim, as he broke down in tears accepting his Critics' Choice Award for Best Young Actor/Actress, making for one of the sweetest moments in awards show history.

Kim showed up to the awards (virtually, of course) decked out in a tuxedo, and his parents had even laid out a red carpet in their entryway to give him a taste of the real awards show experience. When his name was announced as the Critics' Choice winner for his role in the film "Minari," his reaction was priceless.

Grinning from ear to ear, Kim started off his acceptance speech by thanking "the critics who voted" and his family. But as soon as he started naming his family members, he burst into tears. "Oh my goodness, I'm crying," he said. Through sobs, he kept going with his list, naming members of the cast, the production company, and the crew that worked on the film.

"I hope I will be in other movies," he added. Then, the cutest—he pinched his own cheeks and asked, "Is this a dream? I hope it's not a dream."

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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.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

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When 59 children died on Christmas Eve 1913, the world cried with the town of Calumet, Michigan.

Woody Guthrie sang about this little-known piece of history.

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A one-man drill operation

In July 1913, over 7,000 miners struck the C&H Copper Mining Company in Calumet, Michigan. It was largely the usual issues of people who worked for a big company during a time when capitalists ran roughshod over their workers — a time when monopolies were a way of life. Strikers' demands included pay raises, an end to child labor, and safer conditions including an end to one-man drill operations, as well as support beams in the mines (which mine owners didn't want because support beams were costly but miners killed in cave-ins “do not cost us anything.")

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Courtesy of Tory Burch

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This March marks one year since the start of the pandemic… and it's been an incredibly difficult year: Over 500,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs. But the pandemic's economic downturn has been disproportionately affecting women because they are more likely to work in hard-hit industries, such as hospitality or entertainment, and many of them have been forced to leave their jobs due to the lack of childcare.

But throughout all that hardship, women have, over and over again, found ways to help one another and solve problems.

"Around the world, women have stepped up and found ways to help where it is needed most," says Tory Burch, an entrepreneur who started her own business in 2004.

Burch knows a thing or two about empowering women: After seeing the many obstacles that women in business face — even before the pandemic — she created the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to empower women entrepreneurs.

And now, for International Women's Day, her company is launching a global campaign with Upworthy to celebrate the women around the world who give back and create real change in their communities.

"I hope the creativity and resilience of these women, and the amazing ways they have found to have real impact, will inspire and energize others as much as they have me," Burch says.

This year's Empowered Women certainly are inspiring:

Shalini SamtaniCourtesy of Shalini Samtani

Take, for example, Shalini Samtani. When her daughter was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder, she spent a lot of time in the hospital, which caused her to quickly realize that there wasn't a single company in the toy industry servicing the physical or emotional needs of the 3 million hospitalized children across America every year. She was determined to change that — so she created The Spread the Joy Foundation to deliver free play kits to pediatric patients all around the country.

Varsha YajmanCourtesy of Varsha Yajman

Varsha Yajman is another one of this year's nominees. She is just 18 years old, and yet she has been diligently fighting to build awareness and action for climate justice for the last seven years by leading school strikes, working as a paralegal with Equity Generations Lawyers, and speaking to CEOs from Siemen's and several big Australian banks at AGMs.

Caitlin MurphyCourtesy of Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin Murphy, meanwhile, stepped up in a big way during the pandemic by pivoting her business — Global Gateway Logistics — to secure and transport over 2 million masks to hospitals and senior care facilities across the country. She also created the Gateway for Good program, which purchased and donated 10,000 KN95 masks for local small businesses, charities, cancer patients and their families, immunocompromised, and churches in the area.

Simone GordonCourtesy of Simone Gordon

Simone Gordon, a domestic violence survivor and single mom, wanted to pay it forward after she received help getting essentials and tuition assistance — so she created the Instagram account @TheBlackFairyGodMotherOfficial and nonprofit to provide direct assistance to families in need. During the pandemic alone, they have raised over $50,000 for families and they have provided emergency assistance — in the form of groceries — for numerous women and families of color.

Victoria SanusiCourtesy of Victoria Sanusi

Victoria Sanusi started Black Gals Livin' with her friend Jas and the podcast has been an incredibly powerful way of destigmatizing mental health for numerous listeners. The podcast quickly surpassed a million listens, was featured on Michaela Coel's "I May Destroy You," won podcast of the year at the Brown Sugar Awards, and was named one of Elle Magazine's best podcasts of 2020.

And Upworthy and the Tory Burch are just getting started. They are still searching the globe for more extraordinary women who are making an impact in their communities.

Do you know one? If you do, nominate her now. If she's selected, she could receive $5,000 to give to a nonprofit of her choice through the Tory Burch Foundation. Submissions are being accepted on a rolling basis — and one Empowered woman will be selected each month starting in April.

Nominate her now at www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen.