You Know The Stereotypes About Old, Conservative White Guys? Yeah, Don't Judge A Book By Its Cover.

Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from the Washington Post, carried a heavy secret: He lived in the U.S. undocumented for most of his life. His grandparents brought him to this country legally at age 5, but he never got proper legal status. Jose came out in the national news, and then he decided to make a documentary about his journey and his fight to get rational immigration reform on the books in the United States.That's when he met a self-proclaimed "hardcore Republican" farmer named Lawrence. Lawrence has a very different perspective from much of his party when it comes to immigration. Here's why.


Jose received a handwritten letter in the mail recently. It was from Lawrence and postmarked March 27, 2014, from Birmingham, Ala. It reads:

Dear Jose:


I realize that you have your story, and I have had some part in it. This, however, is something that I haven’t had the opportunity to tell you. You might say that this is part of my side of the story.

I could put more feeling in this orally. Perhaps on occasion will arise when I can do so. I used part of what I’m going to tell you, when I recently met with my U.S. Representative.

Please excuse my handwriting, punctuation, and spelling. This is the best that an old red-neck farm boy from Cullman County, Alabama can do.

If any of this is of any value to you, feel free to use it.

What follows is that part:

When I start to leave Paco’s and Madai’s (Paco’s wife) house after visiting them, or they start to leave my house after visiting me; their children are saying, “bye bye papa, bye bye papa.” Finally one day, I asked Paco: “Paco, what are your children saying, what do they mean they tell me bye bye papa.”

He said they are saying “bye bye abuelo,” or to translate, “bye bye grandfather.” This made me feel ever so great. My heart was filled with joy knowing that they thought of me in this way.

Paco told me a video his dad sent up from Guatamala, recently. The video was about his dad’s 73rd birthday and the celebration that they had for him. In the video he told me hello, of course, but that’s not really what I want to get at.

Paco told me that as their four children watched the video; they asked him: “Who is this man?” He said the told them:” That’s your abuelo, your grandfather.” He said they then asked him, “Como Papa?” To translate: “Like Papa?”

“Like Papa,” this too made me proud that they would make such a comparison. Joy filled my heart once more.

And then, suddenly, my joy turned to sadness, and my eyes filled with tears.

I had realized that Paco’s children don’t know their own grandfather. All they’ve got is a poor substitute.

They don’t know the joy that they can bring to a grandfather and the joy he can bring to them. They don’t know the pleasure that’s shared by sitting on that grandfather’s knee and talking to him.

I ask: Why can’t Paco take their children to Guatamala to visit an aging grandfather; and then return here to his home in the U.S.? Why can’t Madai take their children to Guatamala to visit an aging grandmother; and then return here to her home in the U.S.? Why can’t you, Jose, return to the Philippines to visit an aging mother; and return here to your home in the U.S.?

The hour grows late. The hour grows late for Paco’s dad, for Madai’s mom, for your mom, and yes even for me. Enough of the delay, it’s time for results.

The cause we share it not a right or left cause. It’s a right or wrong cause. It’s a cause in which you and I agree.

I have to end with a question. My Latino friends, my Latino family: How could I not be for them in the struggle?

However, there’s one thing further that I will say. You and I may be poles apart politically. We may be poles apart on life style. We may be poles apart on religion. We may be poles apart on other facets of life.

Always remember, though, that we’re together on something far more important than the differences we have. We’re united in friendship.

I’ve taken enough of your time. Thanks for letting me share a part of my side of the story.

May God be with you.

Lawrence

If Lawrence can be this reasonable, surely more people can. They should hear his story.

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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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