Zoe Saldana just called out her Hollywood bosses for panicking about her pregnancy.

As much as anyone can be "it," Zoe Saldana is "it" right now.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.


After all, we're talking about an actor who has played the main lady in some of the biggest movies of the last six years, including "Avatar," "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Star Trek," and, most recently, the super badass real-life role in which she got married and her husband took her last name.

Yep. That happened. Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images.

It's hard to imagine any movie studio not wanting to work with this woman.

Except, according to Saldana, when she got pregnant, a lot of studios kinda sorta didn't.

But rather than accept that as the cost of doing business, Saldana spoke out about it in an interview with USA Today.

Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY:

"Let me tell you something, it will never be the right time for anybody in your life that you get pregnant," says Saldana, noting that last year, "the productions I was slated to work on sort of had a panic. I heard through the grapevine there was even a conversation of me being written off of one of the projects."

It takes guts to call out your bosses like that.

But that's exactly what she did. And with good reason.

It's pretty clear that many American companies haven't totally figured out what to do when their employees get pregnant yet.

Congrats, Sheila! And will you be helping train your replacement? Image via Thinkstock.

The United States is one of a very small group of countries that does not require employers to provide maternity leave.

And when employers do provide maternity leave, it's often unpaid.

Zoe Saldana's job is ... a little more glamorous than most. But that makes it all the more essential that she's using her platform to tell it like it is.

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images.

And making sure that her bosses know that if they want to work with her, that means accommodating her right to be a parent at the same time.

Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY:

"Delays stalled production, and Saldana wasn't written out of any of her upcoming films. But her team fought to have child care included in her deals."

Clearly, Saldana is doing both career and family, and making Hollywood follow her lead.

More Americans should have the opportunity to do the same.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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