You Made This 17 Year-Old's Story So Big, Even A Federal Judge Noticed

If not, check out this post to refresh your memory.


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Back in November 2012, we posted a video about Alvin Cruz, a then-17-year old Harlem native who recorded a disturbing incident while he was stopped, searched, and frisked by members of the NYPD.

Alvin's recording was the first known audio evidence of stop-and-frisk, a decades-long institutional police practice in New York City that, in effect, legalized (and even incentivized) racial profiling, especially of black and Latino people.

While we thought Alvin's story was outrageous and important, we weren't convinced that a 13-minute video about racial profiling could go viral.

Boy, were we wrong. By our count, the video's been viewed almost 5.5 million times. But that's not even the coolest part:

In August 2013, after years of citizen activism and organizing toward ending stop-and-frisk, U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the program is unconstitutional. In her opinion, she cited Alvin's story and the original video it appeared in as "frequent and ongoing notice of troubling racial disparities in stops."


There are a lot of critics out there who think sharing a video on the Internet can't actually contribute to meaningful social change. While we're not making the argument that Alvin's story alone ended stop-and-frisk, we think this stands as pretty powerful evidence that seeing an unjust practice directly from the perspective of someone who bears its brunt is a good way to change hearts and minds — and, hell, occasionally some crappy laws too.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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4 minutes of silence can boost your empathy for others. Watch as refugees try it out.

We could all benefit from breaking down some of the walls in our lives.

Images via Amnesty Poland

This article originally appeared on 05.26.16


You'd be hard-pressed to find a place on Earth with more wall-based symbolism than Berlin, Germany.

But there, in the heart of Germany's capital city, strangers sat across from one another, staring into each other's eyes. To the uninitiated, it may look as though you've witnessed some sort of icy standoff. The truth, however, couldn't be more different.

This was about tearing down walls between people.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."