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What parents want their black sons to do when they're stopped by the cops

It's not a matter of if their sons will encounter the police, it's when. So they want them to be prepared.

What parents want their black sons to do when they're stopped by the cops
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Open Society Foundations

These guys are dads. They've also been stopped by the cops.

"As I'm putting my hands on the steering wheel so I don't make the police nervous, I realize how nervous I was, and then I realize my children were nervous."


"Some people pull us out of the car, throw us on the floor. It's in February, so it's, like, snow and slush and stuff on the ground, put their knees in our back, put the guns to our head."

Whether they're traveling with their kids or solo, these fathers have something in common. At times, they've all felt unfairly targeted by the police due to their race.

In an effort to keep their sons ahead of the curve, they're giving them "the cop talk" in advance. Emmy-Award-winning filmmakers Geeta Gandbhir and Blair Foster, along with an awesome production team including Perri Peltz, Michele Stephenson, and Joe Brewster, put these chats on tape.

It grew into a five-minute documentary called "A Conversation with My Black Son," originally published by The New York Times' Op-Docs section. It features parents sharing advice with their sons on how to interact with the police.

Geeta told Upworthy exclusively:

"This conversation, which has been happening in the black community for generations, will resound with parents everywhere. It's a universal desire to want your children to be safe."

As a mom to two African-American boys, the filmmaker interviewed parents from her inner circle. Although all of them are parenting young black men, the tips they each had for their sons while interacting with cops were totally different. Here are a few from both moms and dads:

  • "Do what they say; don't get into any arguments."
  • "Make sure your hands are out of your pockets so they can see."
  • "Under no circumstance are you to talk to the police if you're arrested until I get there."
  • "It's not like 'Please, master, don't whip me.' No, it's like, 'Excuse me, sir, what is your badge number? I'm going to film this.'"
  • "If you want police brutality to stop, if you want police to treat you like a human being, then you have to see yourself as a human being."

Doling out advice like this didn't come easy. Some parents shed some tears. Others smiled uncomfortably.

They said:

  • "It's maddening; I get so frustrated and angry about having to prepare my kids for something that they're not responsible for."
  • "You can put your hands up and cooperate and say that I'm choking and still be killed ... then there's no repercussions."
  • "It doesn't mean that every police officer is inherently a bad person, but what it does mean is that the police force, that institution, does not look out for your best interest."

"A Conversation with My Black Son" is first in a series of documentaries that Geeta and her team launched after the string of police brutality incidents in Florida, Missouri, and Ohio. The film is part of a larger interactive series in production, that will be released in partnership with Op-Docs. It will include a speaking tour that candidly discusses the current state of race relations in the U.S.

Geeta has two goals: "to create a safe space where uncomfortable conversations about race and civil rights can happen ... that allow different communities to experience each other's realities without feeling accused or attacked" and to educate black kids.

"We do believe that an age-appropriate conversation about the obstacles commonly faced by African-American children will help them adjust to those obstacles and develop coping strategies that will serve them for a lifetime." — Geeta Gandbhir

To hear more from these brave parents, you can hear their thoughts below.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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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.