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When Clara Spera says she has looked up to Hillary Clinton her entire life, she’s not exaggerating: Clinton visited Spera’s day care when she was a toddler.

Although she didn’t know it at the time, that chance encounter was the start of something for Spera.

Clara Spera and Hillary Clinton. Photo via Clara Spera, used with permission.


Now a student at Harvard Law School, Spera says she knew she had to be a part of Clinton’s campaign last summer. She was working in Paris and was stunned by the Brexit vote result. Her first thought the next morning was “If they can do this ... President Trump.”

Spera got involved through a friend who was working on the campaign and rearranged her schedule so she’d only take classes two days a week. She spent the rest of her week commuting to Brooklyn and working as an intern on the campaign’s voter protection team.  

“I felt like it was my duty to do anything I could to try to prevent a Trump presidency,” she says.

Spera is just one of many women who joined the effort to elect Clinton. But who were these women? And why were they so invested in Clinton’s presidential bid?  

After sharing a “particularly passionate Facebook rant,” Dayli Vazquez was encouraged to “take it a step further and get involved in the campaign’s grassroots efforts” by friends who were already involved with the Florida Democratic Party. The party eventually offered Vazquez a job as a field organizer.

“I had a theatrical ‘aha!’ moment in which everything was placed in perspective for me and I knew I wouldn’t forgive myself if I turned it down,” she recalls.

LaDavia Drane, who worked as the Clinton campaign’s director of African-American outreach and later as the deputy director of congressional affairs, knew a friend who “was playing a significant role” and “decided to reach out.”

LaDavia Drane walks with Hillary Clinton. Photo by Elliot Powell, Powell Photography, Inc., (Chicago).

Shola Farber applied for a role at the campaign’s headquarters in Brooklyn. She believes the campaign passed her information along because soon “senior staffers in states across the country” started to recruit her. She eventually served as the regional organizing director for the Michigan Democratic Party.

“When the opportunity arose in Michigan, I knew I could not — in good conscience — decline the offer," Farber says. "Too much was at stake in this election; I felt an obligation to do whatever I could to help Secretary Clinton reach the People’s House. I took on the role with a deep sense of purpose.”

Zerlina Maxwell, on the other hand, randomly received a phone call with a job offer while she was writing for Essence magazine. Maxwell served as the campaign's director of progressive media.

Zerlina Maxwell shakes hands with Hillary Clinton. Photo via Barbara Kinney/Hillary for America.

“It didn’t take me a lot of time to say yes. ... I didn’t want to not do everything I could possibly do to help,” she explains.

Although these women's responsibilities varied, their goal was singular: help Clinton become our country’s first female president.

Their efforts, however, were not rewarded. As the electoral map slowly turned red Nov. 8, their shared dream fell apart.

“The outcome of the election came as a total shock. We were blindsided. It was as though a dear friend or family member had died unexpectedly,” recalls Farber, who was in the conference room of a law office in Southfield, Michigan, on election night.

Vazquez was with a group of volunteers and paid staff at the Ybor, Florida, campaign office for what she thought was going to be a victory party. “None of us were prepared for the outcome,” she says.

Drane, watching from home, says she "felt deeply empty by the end of the night.”

Spera took what she calls “the most expensive cab” of her life back to her parents’ apartment, crying the entire time. She says she went to bed wrapped in a Hillary for America Legal Team sweatshirt, just hoping for a miracle.

The election was over, but the fight was not. Soon after, they got to work.

Vazquez says she has jumped right back into the local political scene, getting involved with numerous Democratic organizations. Drane also picked up another job in politics: She’s working as the chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-New York).  

Maxwell, a political analyst, speaker, and writer, is continuing the work she did before joining the campaign: giving speeches on college campuses about sexual assault and rape culture. Farber co-founded a political consultancy that “brings the best practices of political organizing to the digital world” and is working as a freelance writer.

As for Spera, she’ll clerk for two federal judges in New York once she graduates. “I am mostly angry for now, but I plan to fuel that anger into action,” she says.

Vazquez echoed her sentiments. When asked what advice she’d give to others who have faced a similarly crushing defeat, she says to take the time to grieve, “then get back up and fight like hell.”

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

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Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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