Courage and sacrifice: 6 activists behind LGBTQ progress

(CNN)Activism takes different forms, whether it’s marching in the streets, speaking on behalf of marginalized people or influencing pop culture to embrace people from society’s fringes. Marsha P. Johnson: The defender of transgender rights Marsha P. Johnson’s name isn’t in most American history books, but it should be. When a judge asked her about the “P” in her name, she responded that it stood for “Pay it no mind.” The judge laughed and dismissed the charges against her. Her persistence and advocacy made her one of the most significant figures in LGBTQ and AIDS activism. The term “transgender” wasn’t commonly used in Marsha’s lifetime, but she identified as a “transvestite,” gay and a drag queen and used she/her pronouns. “I …

Here are 5 ways to show your patriotism on Flag Day 2019

(CNN)There are three weeks until the Fourth of July, but if you can’t wait til then to celebrate the Stars and Stripes, we have another patriotic holiday for you. 1. Learn the proper way to display and handle the flag Today is actually part of a larger patriotic celebration — Flag Week — during which police stations, fire departments and schools are urged to display the flag and government buildings are required to. Join in by flying the red, white and blue outside your home. Just be aware that flag etiquette requires that no other flag can be flown higher than the national flag and that the flag cannot touch the ground or any surfaces beneath it. For more guidelines …

Meryl Streep Fast Facts

(CNN)Here’s a look at the life of Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep. Father: Harry Streep Jr., pharmaceutical company executive Mother: Mary (Wilkinson) Streep, commercial artist Marriage: Don Gummer (1978-present) Children: Louisa, 1991; Grace, 1986; Mary Willa “Mamie,” 1983; Henry, 1979 Education: Vassar College, B.A., 1971; Yale University, M.F.A., 1975 Other Facts: Nominated for 21 Academy Awards with three wins. Nominated for one Tony Award, but did not win. Nominated for four Emmy Awards and won three Nominated for five Grammy Awards, but has not won. Took opera singing lessons as a child. Meryl is a combination of her first and middle names. Frequently plays roles of historical female figures. Has played Ethel Rosenberg, Julia Child and Margaret Thatcher. Timeline: 1971 – …

7 of the 8 Spelling Bee winners are Indian Americans. Here’s why that’s not surprising

(CNN)This year, 562 spellers competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and after a grueling 20 rounds, the eight left at the end were named co-champions. South Asian-Americans have come out on top each of the past 12 years. In 2015, Shalini Shankar, a professor of anthropology and Asian-American studies at Northwestern University, told CNN that spelling bees can be a prestige activity for Indian-American parents. Many immigrants from South Asia are well-educated, success-driven professionals and they want their kids to be that way too. “Parents invest a lot of their time with their kids,” she said. “They prioritize education and have the economic means to have a parent stay at home. It’s much more a socio-economic factor than a …

How an internet mob falsely painted a Chipotle employee as racist

(CNN)Dominique Moran knew something was wrong as soon as she awakened that Friday morning. She turned on her smartphone and saw the first of what would become a barrage of texts and voicemails. For the last six months, Moran has been trying to answer those questions. She was dubbed online as the “racist bitch.” The video of her November confrontation was watched at least 7 million times and re-tweeted at least 30,000 times within two days. The incident was covered by media organizations such as ABC News and Fox News. Chipotle fired Moran after the video went viral. Soon after that, she would be vindicated. But while the internet mob moved on, she hasn’t. “Life is really difficult,” she said. …

A gunman slaughtered 11 Jewish worshippers. Then people hunted for hate online

(CNN)The deadliest attack on Jews in American history appears to have triggered a spike in anti-Semitic searches on Google, exclusive research by CNN shows. Threat of violence against Jews in US at alarming levels The loss turns to outright fury, when she learns more about the searches after the twin attacks on her community. “It makes my blood run cold,” she says. “It is literally chilling me to the core.”

Our criminal justice system is built to inflict pain. Here’s how we can heal it.

(CNN)California’s San Quentin is one of the oldest prisons in the country. Located on a parcel of land jutting out into the San Francisco Bay, the mammoth 167-year-old facility has a lonely and intimidating look from the outside — and on the inside, it’s just as forlorn. This approach makes some intuitive sense. The problem is that adding harm to harm inevitably produces more harm. Too often, people come out of prison bitter — not better. While they’re locked away, their children suffer and may be led astray. And rather than derailing the cycle of violence and trauma, our system’s retributive approach may often support and even accelerate that destructive cycle: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 68% of …

Some cozy birds, a curious whale and a childhood dream come to life

(CNN) Want more inspiring, positive news? Sign up for The Good Stuff, a newsletter for the good in life. It will brighten your inbox every Saturday morning. Our favorites this week Get going with some of our most popular good news stories of the week Warm and cozy Baby. Birds. In. Knitted. Nests. Need we say more? The Carolina Waterfowl Rescue in Indian Trail, North Carolina, recently asked its Facebook followers to put together some knitted or crocheted nests to accommodate the more than 3,000 (!!!) orphaned and endangered baby birds that will come through their doors this year. And wouldn’t you know, people were more than happy to oblige! The rescue is now positively blanketed with thousands of adorable …

Archives reveal the untold stories of diplomats who helped Jews escape Nazi death camps

(CNN)In 1942, two Jewish men were operating between the safety of neutral Switzerland and the danger of Nazi-occupied Europe. With coded messages they knew could be read by the Nazis, they smuggled the names and pictures of Jews hoping to escape death. At first, the family avoided being sent to a death camp because Heinz’s work in international metals trade appeared useful to the Nazis, Fishman said. But ultimately, Heinz’s name appeared on the list for the next transport to Auschwitz. At the last minute, as Fishman’s mother Ruth tells it, someone said “Hey, don’t you have the Paraguayan passport? This is the time to use it.” The Nazi officers gave Heinz a small piece of paper with the word …

20 years after Columbine, former Principal Frank DeAngelis is still learning how to move on

Arvada, Colorado (CNN)Frank DeAngelis stood in his home office, his hair graying over his ears, and pointed to each frame on the wall, telling the story behind the mementos he’s collected over the last two decades. Even so, Frank was unsure what he wanted to study in college, his brother said. But they had both played sports growing up, so when Frank told his brother he’d become an educator, Anthony DeAngelis assumed it was for the sake of athletics. “I thought, ‘He’s probably going to be pretty good at this,’” Anthony said. As with all things, Frank dove in deep. Early in his career, Frank’s principal once forced him to fork over his keys to the school for a weekend. …

Southern Poverty Law Center names new interim president and CEO

(CNN)The embattled Southern Poverty Law Center has tapped a new interim president and CEO, the civil rights organization announced Tuesday. Those claims resulted in the leadership changes and the company-wide review. Former Michelle Obama chief-of-staff Tina Tchen will oversee the top-to-bottom external review of workplace culture. Last month, SPLC President Richard Cohen, who has spent 30 years at the center, stepped down after Dees’ dismissal. Cohen said his departure would help move the nonprofit forward. ‘A difficult time’ for the SPLC The SPLC is known for tracking civil rights and hate crimes in the United States. “As you may know, over the last few weeks we’ve faced a number of internal workplace challenges. It has been a difficult time for …

Leukemia survivor meets the bone marrow donor who saved her life

(CNN)To the travelers at the train station in Cologne, Germany, they probably seemed like two old friends embracing after a long time apart. But it was actually a long-awaited meeting between strangers — a two-time cancer survivor finally seeing the bone marrow donor who saved her life. Beth Wilson, 36, an intensive care nurse, was diagnosed 10 years ago with adenocarcinoma in her small intestine. She went through six months of chemotherapy and beat the cancer, but was then diagnosed with leukemia, one of the risks of chemo. Wilson said she believes the chemo was the likely cause. A German university student was a match Alina Theine, 24, was one of those matches. The resident of Cologne, Germany, had registered …

General Motors CEO visits Toledo plant where nooses, ‘whites-only’ signs hung

(CNN)GM CEO Mary Barra visited employees on Tuesday at a Toledo, Ohio, plant that has been alleged to be the site of racial discrimination and harassment, and told employees all complaints are being taken seriously. Plant shift supervisors Marcus Boyd and Derrick Brooks, who worked different shifts, described being threatened and called racist names in the plant. Boyd said threats and racial slurs were a regular part of work life there. Brooks said he found a noose hanging in the area where he worked. As the only black employee in that space on his shift, he believed it was meant to intimidate him. In total, five nooses were found and reported to GM, according to the lawsuit. Boyd quit his …

Stop ‘whitesplaining’ racism to me

(CNN)Health officials issue public warnings about spikes in everything from the flu to the measles. But there is one contagion authorities are ignoring: To become a victim of “whitesplaining” is infuriating. Imagine a plumber trying to tell a pilot how to land a plane or a man trying to tell a mother what it feels like to give birth. Fortunately, whitesplaining is not a silent epidemic. Some of the biggest headlines about race recently have featured some form of whitesplaining: • Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin engaged in legislative whitesplaining when they blocked their black Democratic counterparts from honoring a former NFL quarterback during Black History Month because he was “too controversial.” • Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam whitesplained when he …

The Feds are spending $48 million to move his village. But he doesn’t want to go.

Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana (CNN)The plans are grand — a brand new community with homes, baseball fields, fishing ponds, a meeting hall and a solar farm to generate electricity to sell. The land used to be sugarcane fields, but now it will be a “hugely important pioneer project,” says Pat Forbes, executive director of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development. The people of Isle de Jean Charles will not be the last to have to move because of climate change. Because it’s the first government project of its kind, it will be more expensive but it also offers opportunities, Forbes says. “One of the main objectives is to enhance the culture that the community once had and help them have …