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Yo-Yo Ma performed a moving concert at the U.S./Mexico border to protest Trump's immigration policy.

Yo-Yo Ma chose to play one of his Bach Project concerts in the border town of Laredo, Texas for a reason.

The Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, which stretches over the Rio Grande to connect the sister cities of Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, provided the backdrop for Yo-Yo Ma as he played for a crowd of people in Laredo this weekend. The bridge served as the perfect symbol for the renowned cellist's message: "In culture, we build bridges, not walls."

For the past two years, 63-year-old Ma has been traveling the world with his "Bach Project"—an exploration of the connections between cultures. Performing Bach's six suites for cello in 36 locations around the world, Ma hopes to share the composer's "ability to speak to our common humanity at a time when our civic conversation is so often focused on division."


His concert at the border was followed by a concert on the other side of the bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

Ma himself is a perfect representation of cross-cultural understanding.

The mayor of Laredo, Pete Saenz, said the cities of Laredo in the U.S. and Nuevo Laredo in Mexico enjoy close cooperation and see themselves as part of one border community.

"Although people may perceive us as being so different, we're not," he said, according to NPR. "Here the border is extremely unique in that it's one organism. I've always said we're interdependent, interconnected. We survived because the border side survives, especially here on the border area."

Yo-Yo Ma, who was born in Paris to Chinese parents but lived most of his life in the U.S., understands how cultures intertwine more deeply than most. "I've lived my life at the borders," Ma told the audience. "Between cultures. Between disciplines. Between musics. Between generations."

He has spent six decades performing music around the world and believes strongly in the power of music to bring people together.

Ma called up on the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty to drive his point home.

In his remarks during the concert, Ma read part of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tossed, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Ma added, "We must live by those words."

He also pointed out that "A country is not a hotel, and it's not full"—an obvious reference to President Trump's recent tweet stating, "Our Country is FULL."

His message was clear: We should be focusing our energies on building bridges connecting people, not walls dividing them. And what better way to connect people than through music that has touched people of all walks of life for hundreds of years.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Science

Dyslexic plumber gets a life-changing boost after his friend built an app that texts for him

It uses AI to edit his work emails into "polite, professional-sounding British English."

via Pixabay

An artist's depiction of artificial intelligence.

There is a lot of mistrust surrounding the implementation of artificial intelligence these days and some of it is justified. There's reason to worry that deep-fake technology will begin to seriously blur the line between fantasy and reality, and people in a wide range of industries are concerned AI could eliminate their jobs.

Artists and writers are also bothered that AI works on reappropriating existing content for which the original creators will never receive compensation.

The World Economic Forum recently announced that AI and automation are causing a huge shake-up in the world labor market. The WEF estimates that the new technology will supplant about 85 million jobs by 2025. However, the news isn’t all bad. It also said that its analysis anticipates the “future tech-driven economy will create 97 million new jobs.”

The topic of AI is complex, but we can all agree that a new story from England shows how AI can certainly be used for the betterment of humanity. It was first covered by Tom Warren of BuzzFeed News.

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

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