+
True
Starbucks Upstanders Season 2

27 years ago, Debbie Baigrie was shot in the face during an attempted robbery. Her assailant was a 13-year-old boy.

Ian Manuel was the youngest of three boys who threatened Baigrie that night, but despite his age, he was the one holding the gun.

Ian Manuel in grade school. All photos provided by Starbucks.


"I heard from behind, 'I’m serious, give it up,'" Baigrie recalls.

As she turned around to look at Manuel, he accidentally fired.

She felt an awful pain shoot through her face and saw one of her teeth land on the ground. The terrified boys took off, and Baigrie managed to run back to the restaurant where she had just eaten dinner to get help.

Later she learned all the teeth on the bottom left side of her mouth had been blown out. If the gun had been pointed slightly higher, she would've suffered a traumatic brain injury. All things considered, she was very lucky.

A few days later, Manuel was arrested for riding in a stolen car, and he immediately admitted he was the one who shot Baigrie.

Baigrie didn't learn her shooter was only 13 until she read about his arrest in the paper.

"I’m like 13?! There’s no way a 13-year-old kid shot me. He’s just a child," Baigrie says.

Debbie Baigrie.

Even so, Manuel was charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, and attempted armed robbery as an adult. The maximum sentence was life in prison.

His mother and lawyer urged him to plead guilty in order to get his sentence cut, but the judge was determined to make an example of him and gave him life without parole.

Baigrie could not believe it.  "The punishment didn’t match the crime."

Two weeks before his 14th birthday, Manuel started serving his sentence. A year into it, around Christmas, he decided to reach out to Baigrie.

The first thing he said to her was, "Miss Baigrie, I called to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and happy holidays. And to apologize, you know, for shooting you in the face."

Needless to say, it was a difficult conversation. Manuel asked if he could continue it by writing her letters, and she said yes.

One of Manuel's letters to Baigrie.

Over the next 15 years, the two corresponded regularly and struck up an unlikely friendship.

Baigrie was impressed by Manuel's writing abilities, which seemed to her to far exceed the abilities of a 13-year-old of his background. He also sent her his report card from prison school to show her how well he was doing. She encouraged him to keep improving himself, despite his circumstances.

While she doesn't recall saying or writing it, she eventually forgave him and did what she could to remind him there was someone outside who cares.

The exterior of the Equal Justice Initiative.

Aside from Baigrie, Manuel also wrote letters to civil rights groups in hopes that one would take up his case. In 2006, one finally responded.

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) told him they were interested in challenging the constitutionality of life sentences without parole for children. They had recently won a similar case to save a minor from the death sentence, so they thought they had a good shot.

It took four years for EJI's case to reach the Supreme Court, but sure enough, the judges ruled in their favor.

Seven years later, after the same judge who first sentenced him to life re-sentenced him despite Baigrie's support, Manuel won his freedom.

"I told the judge me and Debbie have been waiting for years for the judicial system to catch up to my remorse and her forgiveness," Manuel recalls.

After 26 years in prison, 18 of which were spent in solitary confinement, he was released, and his first meal as a free man was pizza with Baigrie.

Manuel's first night of freedom with Baigrie.

The EJI then helped Manuel get a Social Security card and an apartment and even offered him a job in their offices. It was a major leg up, but he still had a lot to learn, having never been an adult out in the world.

Thankfully he had people like Baigrie supporting him along the way.

"I see Ian for who he is," Baigrie says. "I’m not saying he wasn’t responsible for his actions, but when you’re 13, you should be given the opportunity to change, to grow."

Remorse and forgiveness saved Manuel on so many levels and brought Baigrie peace.

Few stories more clearly prove that human connection has power — sometimes enough to right the egregious wrongs of the past.  

Watch Manuel and Baigrie's whole story here:

She followed her gut and answered a phone call from her attacker. Then a beautiful friendship blossomed.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, October 23, 2017

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

True

Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

Keep ReadingShow less
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:

Keep ReadingShow less
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 YouTube

This article originally appeared on 02.15.22


These days, we could all use something to smile about, and few things do a better job at it than watching actor Christopher Walken dance.

A few years back, some genius at HuffPo Entertainment put together a clip featuring Walken dancing in 50 of his films, and it was taken down. But it re-emerged in 2014 and the world has been a better place for it.

Walken became famous as a serious actor after his breakout roles in "Annie Hall" (1977) and "The Deer Hunter" (1978) so people were pretty shocked in 1981 when he tap-danced in Steve Martin's "Pennies from Heaven."

Keep ReadingShow less
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.

Keep ReadingShow less