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When Melissa Chance Yassini came home from work on Dec. 8, she found her daughter Sofia in tears.

Melissa Chance Yassini and her daughter Sofia. Photo by Melissa Chance Yassini/Facebook. Used with permission.

Sofia had been watching the news with her grandmother, when she heard about Donald Trump's call to deport refugees and ban Muslims from entering America.

"She ran to me with a look of absolute fear on her face," Melissa told Upworthy.
Sofia, who is 8 years old, was convinced that Trump wanted to kick her and her family, who are Muslim — and American citizens — out of the country.
"It was the first time that it really drove home to me that we’re in a dangerous place right now," Melissa said.

Melissa stayed up most of the night comforting and reassuring her daughter. Exhausted and frustrated, she posted about the experience on Facebook the next day.

The post caught the eye of Kerri Peek, an Army veteran from Colorado, who responded to Melissa a few days later.

"Salamalakum Melissa!" Peek wrote on Facebook. "Please show this picture of me to your daughter. Tell her I am a Mama too and as a soldier I will protect her from the bad guys."

Photo by Kerri Peek/Facebook. Used with permission.


Peek — who is Hispanic — told Upworthy that her heart broke reading Melissa's post, which reminded her of similar statements that have made her own family feel unwelcome.

"It bothered me all night. Stuck in my craw, so to speak," Peek said. "This rhetoric and fear, hate, and violence is not okay. It's not the United States that I would fight for. I was awake all night."

Peek started a hashtag — #IWillProtectYou — and encouraged her fellow vets to respond. The messages of support began pouring in.

"Calling all vets. I've been reading reports of kids being harassed and accosted because of their faith. This is UNAMERICAN. Now is the time to act," veteran Andres Herrera wrote on Facebook.

Andres Herrera. Used with permission.

"Let Muslim children know that we will not hurt them. That they are safe here in America. That we will protect innocents as we always have and by added benefit keeping our oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution," Herrera added.

"I am not Muslim," veteran David Bruce wrote on Facebook, "But when anyone says the Army that I served with will go on to remove Muslims from my country, they'll have to take me too."

Photo by David Bruce/Facebook. Used with permission (on the contingency that I mention Bruce said, "I thought photo filters would hide how messed up my gear looks. They didn't. Oh well.”)

"Sweet girl, I am no longer in the Navy, but know you are protected," veteran Sarah Cullen wrote. "‪#‎IWillProtectYou‬ to the moon and back if necessary. Many hugs sent your way."

Photo by Sarah Cullen/Facebook. Used with permission.

"We are Muslim, an Army family, and we will protect you," Aneesah Hydar wrote on Facebook.

Photo by Aneesah Hydar/Facebook. Used with permission.

As the responses continue to come in, Peek remains blown away — but not surprised — by her fellow vets' willingness to stand up to bigotry.

"I have always been proud of my Battle Buddies (we are all comrades-at-arms)," Peek said. "But this is outstanding."

Melissa told Upworthy she is incredibly moved by the show of support for her daughter.

"I have probably received close to 500 messages from various people in our military, from just people," Melissa said.
"Christians, atheists, Jews, every walk of life, every stage, have reached out to Sofia and I with overwhelming support and love."

Most importantly, Sofia now knows there’s an army of her fellow Americans who have her back.

Peek's message came through loud and clear: No matter what Donald Trump says that makes Muslim-Americans feel unsafe and unwanted, there are men and women in America's armed forces who won't stand for it.
"I read each and every message to her," Melissa said. "And she now understands that we’re all part of a fabric which is America."

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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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.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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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.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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