TIME U.S.

12-Year-Old Terminal Cancer Patient Distributes Legos to Other Sick Kids

Joseph Dees is the founder of Building Hopes

Twelve-year-old Joseph Dees has been living with glioblastoma, an incurable brain tumor, for four years, enduring radiation, chemotherapy and many surgeries. Legos were among his only pleasurable pastimes, and now Joseph is bringing that joy and distraction to other kids.

Earlier this year, Joseph and his family began buying and distributing boxes of Legos at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He went on to coin the name Building Hopes, a group that hopes to spur Lego drives across America. After the Legos from his recent drive are distributed, some 300 children will have received toys through his work.

Read the full story at PEOPLE.

TIME society

Watch a 4-Year-Old Cancer Patient Fulfill Her Dream of Marrying Her Favorite Nurse

"Here comes the bride..."

A four-year-old cancer patient had always dreamed of marrying her favorite nurse, so the hospital organized a “wedding” for the couple in less than a day.

Abby, who has leukemia, “married” Matt Hickling at the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancers at Albany Medical Center, WNYT.com reports, after one of the nurses posted a video on the news outlet’s Facebook page. The “groom” was wearing a tuxedo t-shirt and scrubs. The other nurses on staff were “bridesmaids,” who carried bouquets of flowers and walked down an aisle covered in rose petals donated by a local florist. Afterwards, there was cake and ring pops for everyone.

TIME society

Denying Hate Crimes Doesn’t Make Them Disappear

Fourteen years ago I tried to protect an undergraduate from hate—I shouldn’t have

In the summer of 2001, I began graduate school in Philadelphia, in the hopes that it would lead to a nice paycheck and some job stability. I lived in a dorm, as a graduate assistant, and was responsible for helping 60 freshmen transition to college. I was one of those over-eager GAs, drumming on residents’ doors early on a Saturday, wanting to go to the dining hall en masse.

If you’d asked me that August, I would have told you I was in school to write a dissertation on outsourcing or marketing or something business-y like that.

But then the September 11 attacks happened, and changed everything for me.

September 11 was a singular moment in my life that led almost immediately to a rare sort of clarity. It’s a focus that I think only disaster can bring: a sudden understanding of what is important, and needs to be protected in the world.

I remember the night of 9/11, most of all: how I had propped my door open, and the kids had trickled in, all 60 of them. How we had huddled around my tiny television set: bewildered, hugging each other, watching the footage of the planes hitting the towers over and over again.

Some of the students had parents who worked in the Financial District, or even in the Towers themselves, and we had taken turns trying to call in, to get through when the lines were jammed.

I don’t remember falling asleep that night, but when I woke up the following morning, I found the front of my door had been vandalized. I was stunned and embarrassed. “Go home, you f—ing sand-n—-” was perhaps the most illuminating of the messages, in that it offered a directive, while simultaneously pointing the finger.

This is your fault, it seemed to say, and you need to be sent home for it.

There were many problems with this, not the least of which was the fact that I consider the United States my home. There is no other place I want to be. Then there was the issue of blame by proxy. Was this my fault somehow? Was I guilty, because I was born Turkish? Muslim?

I certainly felt guilty that morning. I felt responsible.

I walked down the hallway, feeling foggy, and stopped when I got to the other end. Another door had been chosen, too. Same handwriting, similar missives. That door belonged to an international student. He was 18. Just a week before, his family had asked me to take care of him. “It’s his first time away from home,” his dad had explained, his eyes soft and vulnerable and aging, and I had promised him his son was in good hands.

Of course he was.

And so on September 12, while the floor was still quiet, and the day freshly broken, I took a sponge and, with those good hands, I scrubbed that door clean.

Then, I went back to my room, shut my own door, and began to cry.

Later that week, I decided that if this had happened here, it was also probably happening elsewhere. So I approached my house dean who encouraged me to reach out across campus, to gather the students who might be impacted in the aftermath.

I didn’t know what I was doing at the time, but it was my first attempt at community organizing. I had free pizza, and a member of the counseling center on hand to answer questions, except nobody showed up.

No one.

I had to give the pizza away, entire boxes.

So I tried again. And again. And again.

For two years, I chipped away at the fear that had silenced so many.

Eventually I learned about the Sikh kid who had his head cracked against a giant flowerpot by a group of strangers. There was the sophomore whose life had been threatened by a middle-aged man in a car. There was the mosque that had been vandalized, and a nearby Gurudwara that had been torched.

“Go home” was always the refrain.

In times of violence and uncertainty, it’s perhaps a human impulse to look for someone to blame, someone to hit and strangle and spit at. It’s perhaps also instinctive, in response to trauma like this, to pull away — to hide inside your shell, to wait out the storm in solitude.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In February, my Twitter feed flooded with news of a shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Three Muslim American students, all under the age of 25, had been shot, execution-style, by a man who may or may not have carried out a hate crime. They were killed near the University of North Carolina campus, after an apparent dispute over a parking spot.

There was history here, according to the victims’ parents. In previous instances the man had come to their door, armed with a rifle, threatening them. It’s unclear whether or not any of this was reported to the police.

Perhaps the students were scared to draw attention to what was happening to them. Perhaps they didn’t want to rock the boat. Perhaps they’d grown accustomed to living life in a state of apology for something they hadn’t done. The youngest victim would have been about five years old when the Twin Towers fell.

We know we have a choice, when faced with hate. Either we can stay where we are — small and angry and scared — or we can take a path that goes beyond that. We can talk. Not about each other, not at each other, but to each other. We can see that burying feelings, or stuffing them down the barrel of a rifle, doesn’t solve anything at all.

In fact, it only makes things worse.

To this day, the kid, the one down the hall, doesn’t know what happened to his door the night after September 11.

And that’s my fault.

I did that.

I denied him a chance to see, to explain, to confront, and ultimately to understand what was happening around him, and to him. By denying those words, scrubbing at the surface of them, by erasing the hurt that had found its way to his front door, I was denying the wounds that put them there in the first place. But denying hurt doesn’t make it disappear. It only makes the hurt grow stronger.

Sometimes, even strong enough to pull the trigger.

An early version of this piece has run in the Pennsylvania Gazette. This article originally appeared on Medium.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME psychology

The Curse of the ‘Do Something’ Syndrome

people-moving
Getty Images

Shane Parrish writes Farnam Street

“We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.” — Roman satirist Petronius Arbiter

I was flipping back through one of my favorite books, Seeking Wisdom, when I came across this quote in the section where Bevelin talks about ‘Do Something Syndrome.’

There is something almost poetic in the way that Petronius so succinctly captures a phenomenon that most of us have been through.

There are numerous reasons why someone may choose action over the more logical course of inaction — some conscious and others subconscious. We may, for instance, act on bad advice when we haven’t done the work to understand a problem, we may succumb to peer pressure, the idea that ‘everyone is doing it,’ we may follow our hearts (and buy that fancy car we really want instead of keeping the reliable one we have), blindly follow the lead of an expert, or, perhaps most dangerously, we may simply want to appear like we are doing something.

Maybe we just can’t sit still. This idea isn’t new.

“I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to sit quietly in his room.” — Blaise Pascal

We all have moments where we fall victim to the curse of Do Something Syndrome. In fact the modern organization is full of do something syndrome. The key is to try and realize when we are doing it and back away.

So next time you feel the urge to do something for the sake of doing something remember these words of wisdom from Bevelin:

The 19th Century American writer Henry David Thoreau said: ‘It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?’ Don’t confuse activity with results. There is no reason to do a good job with something you shouldn’t do in the first place.”

Charles Munger says, ‘We’ve got great flexibility and certain discipline in terms of not doing some foolish thing just to be active – discipline in avoiding just doing any d— thing just because you can’t stand inactivity.’

What do you want to accomplish? As Warren Buffett says, ‘There’s no use running if you’re on the wrong road.’

Still curious? Most of what you’re going to do today is not essential.

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

Watch 100 Years of Classic Italian Beauty in Less Than 2 Minutes

From intricate up-dos to diva-inspired looks

MIMI is a Time Inc. property.

Cut Video’s 100 Years of Beauty is back, this time with world beauty and fashion icon, Italy. In Italia, it’s been all about the drama since the beginning: intricate up-dos and bold red lips in the 1910’s, and a heavy brow and pout in the ’20s. Even the ’40s, which saw a shift toward clean faces and simple braided hairstyles because of World War II, was effortlessly chic. One of my favorites is hands down the Missoni-inspired deep green eye shadow and orange lip of the ’70s that brought color back to post-war Europe (don’t forget that wildcat hair). The look I want to recreate right now? That ’80s gold glam à la Versace. The looks are classic from there, with the early 2000’s and 2010’s harking back to vintage, whimsical hair of divas from the past like Sophia Loren and Monica Vitti.

This article originally appeared on MIMI.

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TIME society

Watch Nick Offerman Try to Convince Kids That Pizza Grows on Trees

Don't tempt us

Comedian Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) gives viewers a tour of his “pizza farm” where trees grow pizza, fish fingers and taquitos (deep-fried tortillas with meat filling) in a public service announcement produced by the American Heart Association and Funny or Die, a website for comedy videos.

One of his most preposterous statements: “French fries are practically salads, which is why I like mine with ranch.”

The TV star’s spurious claims are supposed to mock the special interest groups pushing to repeal school lunch regulations promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama that require serving more fruits and vegetables and whole-grain-rich products as Congress considers whether to reauthorize them when they expire in September.

 

TIME Religion

Live Life With the GPS Off

car
Getty Images

You never know where that journey may take you

When is the last time you got lost? I don’t mean you missed a turn that you should have taken and you experienced a short inconvenience. I mean genuinely seriously lost, as in stuck on a back mountain road with no idea where you were and the sun was quickly setting.

I can remember the last time I got lost.

I was on my way to visit my then fiancee, now wife. She was working for the summer in a camp near some small town in Pennsylvania. I was working at an internship in Chicago. I printed out all the directions I thought I would need and began the drive east. Most of the drive was easy of course. All I needed to do was stick to the highways. It was when I finally got off the main roads, only a few miles from the camp, that I got really lost. The directions at that point started telling me to do things like “look for dirt road three houses after the the wooden sign in the road for the general store.” It took me a bit of going back and forth, asking a few people for help and stopping frequently to find various points along the way but eventually I made it.

As I began just another routine car trip this past week to a destination not far from my home but somewhere I had not been before, it dawned upon me that the summer of visiting my now wife was the last time I ever got lost while driving. It is practically impossible to get lost now. We don’t even need those clunky GPS devices anymore. All we need is our phone and a good battery, or at least a good charger. So it was that as I started my short trip last week to another place I had not visited before I drove there like I was a local.

What have we lost though in always having a GPS nearby? While our travel times have been greatly reduced, is there something we have lost in the process?

Along with that last time I got lost on the road those many years ago, it was also the last time I pulled down my window and asked another random passerby for help. It was one of the last times I intentionally stopped to take in the scenery all around me. It was a time when I needed to focus on the details of the landscape, of the small town surrounding me and of the type of roads I was driving on. I can still remember the winding road right before entering the town and the small locals bar and homemade ice cream shop not far from each other. I can remember the rockiness of that last dirt road leading to the camp and the smell of farmland around me. I can visualize the Amish family that lived not too far from the place where hundreds of young city kids came to experience the outdoors.

In the beginning of the Jewish people’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land they come upon a fork in the road. They can go straight, the most direct route or they can take a winding path through the desert. The quickest route posed the immediate danger of the Philistines but the long path also posed another type of danger: the unknown. The simplest way of understanding the decision of God in that moment was to choose the danger of a more distant unknown than the immediate and pressing danger of the Philistines. A people just freed from years of slavery only a moment ago would not be able to persevere against such a mighty and early threat to their existence.

However, if you parse the words carefully, something truly interesting happens. The Torah in Exodus 13:17 says “God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines for it was near, because God said, ‘Lest the people think again when they see war and go back to Egypt.’” The language of “for it was near” should strike us as an odd choice of words. Could it not have said “even though it was near,” thereby fitting in with the meaning of the verse in a much simpler fashion?

The Midrash Mekhilta in contemplating this language choice offers a number of possible interpretations. One of them struck me this week as I reflected on how many years it has been since I’ve truly been lost. Why did God have the people avoid the closest route home? Why not take them the shortest way? The Midrash reflects that God was concerned that if they went into the land right away they would become so self-confident in the homes they would have built and the agriculture they would have cultivated that they would have forgotten the Torah almost immediately. They would have forgotten their purpose. Therefore, God takes them through a 40-year journey through the wilderness of Sinai to imprint the Torah in their DNA so it could never easily be forgotten.

What an incredible insight! God purposefully took us the long way so we would learn to pay attention, to see the details, to not lose sight of the world around us and the bigger picture. Ultimately, the people were not actually lost. There were sign posts along the way and God guiding them along the path. Yet, in choosing the road not yet taken, we are taught the value of turning our GPS off once in a while. Taking our time. Letting the journey sink in. Not only do some of our most lasting memories get made this way but some of our biggest insights are developed while lost as well.

The next time I head for a trip to a place I have not yet been before immediately turning on my GPS app, I’ll start the journey. You never know where that journey may take you.

Rabbi Ben Greenberg is Planning Executive of SYNERGY Manhattan at UJA-Federation of New York. Previously Rabbi Greenberg was a community organizer in Chicago, the Orthodox Jewish Chaplain of Harvard University and the Orthodox Rabbi of Harvard Hillel and also served as Senior Rabbi of an Orthodox Union affiliated congregation in Colorado. While at Harvard he was a member of the Executive Committee of the Harvard Chaplains and was appointed to an advisory committee by University President Drew Faust. During his time in Colorado, Rabbi Greenberg was a member of the Board of Directors of Hillel of Colorado and of the Executive Committee of the Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council.

This article originally appeared on Patheos.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Culture

A Way to Move Past Implicit Bias

Bias may tell us more than we thought about inequality, violence, and the need to embrace humanity

We love data in America with a passion I’ve seen firsthand. As part of a team of scholars from the New School, Duke Center for Social Equity, and Insight Center for Community Economic Development who study inequality, I’ve also seen an abundance of groundbreaking data on racial and wealth disparities. While recent acts of police brutality and racial terrorism may lead many to despair about the disparities in our communities, our data also points to promising approaches that could enable more people – both back and white – to live their lives to their fullest potential.

As detailed in our recent report, Umbrellas Don’t Make It Rain: Why Studying and Working Hard Isn’t Enough for Black Americans, black families face significant obstacles to economic achievement in this country. Centuries of social and political choices, from slavery to Jim Crow to subprime lending, stymie black families in their efforts to achieve economic advancement through just working and studying hard. Blacks with a college degree have two-thirds the wealth of whites who are high-school dropouts and blacks with full time jobs have about half the wealth of whites who are unemployed. Black Americans are half as likely as their white counterparts to be given job opportunities and are selectively targeted for mass incarceration and “poverty violations” such as driving with a suspended license and failure to provide proof of insurance.

In this context, the recent video that surfaced of a McKinney police officer (which shows him dragging a black girl by her hair and pulling his weapon when two young men ran to her defense) became for me just one more demonstration of how power is not only withheld from but also enforced against people of color. This incident, now overshadowed by the staggering violence in South Carolina, is among a multitude of troubling indications that, contrary to claims of “color-blindness” (especially among Millennials), we as a society are not becoming more progressive on the issue of race.

However, I do believe – in part because of what I’ve seen from the data my team analyzed – that a deeper look at Officer Casebolt as an example can help us better understand why we as a society are stuck and potentially open up pathways toward a more equitable future.

Unlike his actions at the pool party, you’ve probably read less about what Casebolt’s day was like before the events recorded on video. Before the incident took place, Casebolt had responded to a suicide call where a black man shot himself in the head in front of his wife and children. After this incident, he responded to another call where a teenage girl was threatening to jump from the roof of her parent’s home. Why does any of that matter? Because this backstory suggests that Officer Casebolt’s behavior might have been a result of both internalized racism and external emotional trauma.

While it’s impossible to know what was in Casebolt’s mind, it’s a fact that while many white Americans are ideologically opposed to racist prejudice, experts say that may not prevent them from displaying racist behavior. NYU psychology professor David Amodio, who researches prejudice, explains that while white participants in his studies “might write down on a questionnaire that they are positive in their attitudes towards black people,” you can see the influence of their implicit prejudices in a variety of behavioral measures. These biases can be very difficult for even the most well-intentioned to control, and in Casebolt’s case, were likely even more challenging to keep in check after a traumatic day on duty.

Some might ask: so what? As a trustee of the state, Casebolt had a sacrosanct obligation to “protect and serve” all people, regardless of whether he was having a tough day. At the same time, given how pervasive implicit bias is in the United States, we miss an opportunity if we focus on Casebolt solely as an anomaly to be fired and forgotten. Instead, we should view him as both a creator and victim of multiple overlapping systems that deprive most people of the opportunity to express their humanity.

As Brigid Schulte’s brilliant analysis shows, in a society in which people are increasingly overwhelmed and have decreasing leisure, we have less capacity to feel and be human. At the same time, research suggests that having insufficient financial resources decreases our ability to connect with those who are outside our immediate circle of community. If alienation and stress lead to the manifestation of implicit bias, then we should expect empathic connection and joy to be effective antidotes. The data bear this out. Specifically, “the active consideration of other’s mental states and subjective experience” is a powerful means to combat intergroup bias, as well as “loving-kindness” meditation, a Buddhist practice in which people focus on developing warm and friendly feelings toward others.

In the context of policing, Casebolt’s example highlights the importance of prioritizing emotional welfare and positive coping strategies in our efforts to address entrenched racism. Last year the Wall Street Journal reported on efforts to help police officers cope with job-related stress and emotional trauma. As one expert put it, “the culture of policing historically has been that cops…engage in the worst bloody things and when they are done, they’re supposed to be fine, to go home and have a beer.” What if Officer Casebolt had access to more resources and support? It is certainly possible that he might have responded more appropriately to the Texas teens’ pool party.

To be clear, I do not mean to suggest that making more room to be human at work or finding ways to keep financial stress from compromising our empathy ought take the place of direct action and organizing for ending mass incarceration, implementing aggressive job and income supports, and scrapping tax policies that redistribute wealth from the bottom to the top. What I am arguing is that both sets of concerns need to be on the table when we talk about how to address the structural inequalities that our data so starkly reveal. In particular, while both conscious and unconscious biases have created significant obstacles for black families to live their lives to their fullest potential, each requires a more creative and responsive strategy in order to pursue our shared hopes for a better future.

Vishnu Sridharan is a former member of New America’s Asset Building Program who has worked on international and domestic anti-poverty platforms for the past decade. He is a member of the Experts of Color Network at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine, The Weekly Wonk. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox each Thursday here, and follow @New America on Twitter.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

When Rioting Is the Answer

The Boston Boys throwing tea from English ships into Boston harbor in historic tax protest (a.k.a. the Boston Tea Party).
Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images The Boston Boys throwing tea from English ships into Boston harbor in historic tax protest (a.k.a. the Boston Tea Party).

Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

From the Boston Tea Party to Ferguson, Americans have employed violence to improve their lot. But does it work?

America was founded on riots. From as far back as the days of tar-and-feathering British tax collectors, citizens have resisted power by fighting back, using fists when their voices weren’t heard.

This violent tradition lives on in the country, boiling up at times in our cities. In places like Los Angeles in 1992, and Ferguson and Baltimore in the past year, urban tensions—often the result of racial and economic inequalities—have exploded into a mess of arson, looting, and police brutality.

What sort of progress is made in these periods of unrest? Do they actually make conditions better? In advance of the Zócalo/UCLA event “Can Urban Riots Cause Change?” we asked people who study, write about, and are deeply engaged with sometimes-violent protests: Have urban riots ever improved the lives of a city’s residents? If so, when and how? If not, why not and what happened?

Sherry Hamby — They work sometimes, but aren’t great solutions

From the Boston Tea Party to the Los Angeles riots to the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, violent resistance has sometimes led to positive social change. Most often, rioting has drawn attention to oppressive authoritarian rule (sometimes by kings, sometimes by police). In some cases, it has also spurred investigations into law enforcement or other government systems. Occasionally, it has even forced corrupt or incompetent leaders to surrender or resign.

But rioting—or other violent resistance—does not always make people’s lives better. The 2005 French riots surrounding Paris led to deaths, injuries, car burnings, and arrests. The aftermath was a crackdown on immigration and blaming of musicians instead of a frank assessment of ethnic and religious tensions.

Nonviolent resistance is a relatively new path to social justice. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., were some of the first to convince large groups of people to protest without physical fighting. Gandhi accomplished something that the early Americans did not; he got rid of British colonial rule through peace, not war.

Riots are not great solutions, but riots are usually caused by real injustices. Thousands of people do not take to the streets for no good reason. That was true during the American Revolution, and it is true today. Riots are often the desperate response of people who feel they have no other recourse. We can reduce rioting by providing better access to justice for everyone.

Sherry Hamby is editor of the journal Psychology of Violence and director of the Appalachian Center for Resilience Research. Her most recent books are Battered Women’s Protective Strategies: Stronger Than You Know and The Web of Violence.

Lawrence Grandpre — Their value depends upon whom you ask

If one had asked the white residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921 whether urban riots improve the lives of a city’s residents, they likely would have responded with a resounding “yes.” Fresh off burning down the town’s thriving black business district (the so-called “Black Wall Street”) in retaliation for alleged black criminality, residents would have described the event as necessary for the safety and stability of their communities. As might have the rioters in 1860s New York who attacked more than 200 black men in anger over being drafted to fight for the Union, or the pro-Confederacy rioters in 1860s Baltimore.

But the recent black urban uprisings aren’t seen in the same way. Even though they show a historical continuity between America’s past and present, the constant reality of drug raids, pat downs, and “jump outs” is often not taken seriously as a justification of violence, because these violations of bodies usually aren’t violations of law.

It’s presumptuous to assume those who have not experienced 400 years of anti-black violence have a right to moralize on the black community’s expressions of grief and rage. As such, to the extent to which urban rebellions help expand the range of askable questions and speakable thoughts on race in America, these actions have value.

To debate whether riots help blacks win the proverbial “game” of politics ignores that the existence of such conditions should be proof enough that the game itself is not just rigged, but broken.

Lawrence Grandpre is the director of research of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a Baltimore-based social justice think tank. He is co-author of The Black Book: Reflections from the Baltimore Grassroots.

John Hope Bryant — They signal the need for change

Can urban riots cause change? It’s a bit of a paradox. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said in 1968, “I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.” Sometimes it takes a riot to bring attention to needed change. Unfortunately, the new action often comes as a reaction to old pain.

As a witness to the riots sparked by the Rodney King beating some 23 years ago, I chose not to be driven by blind rage, but by a determination to change the very chemistry of this volatile brew of anger, recrimination, and recoil. The difference to my approach is that I was looking for the problem that lay underneath the problem. I wanted to unpack power and money and prosperity and repack it with poor people in mind, because it dawned on me that middle-class neighborhoods no matter their racial makeup didn’t riot; only poor ones did.

In the wake of the Rodney King riots, I founded Operation HOPE, a plan to empower the financially ill-equipped and struggling in America to participate in the only system we have: capitalism. The path I chose was based on the power of free enterprise to change lives—no different from what President Abraham Lincoln did in 1865 after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, when he called forth the Freedman’s Bureau, which created the Freedman’s Bank, chartered to teach newly freed slaves about money.

I subscribe to the simple premise that rainbows only come after storms, and I see a shining light of opportunity emerging from the dark night of tragedy and tears. Let us resolve to erase the impediments to equal economic opportunity, and strife will subside, tempers will cool, and a clearer morning of hope will break through the clouds of animosity and rage.

John Hope Bryant is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. He is a member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Youth for President Barack Obama.

Noche Diaz — Rioters do what’s necessary

After 1967’s “Long Hot Summer” with Detroit’s 12th Street riots, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders found that (surprise!) blacks are systematically mistreated. After 100-plus rebellions following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, additions to the Civil Rights Act passed.

Was it right for Baltimore youth to rise up? Or Ferguson youth before that? Will it be right the next time people are sick of police killing them off?

Yes, yes, yes!

Eric Holder has said, “peaceful, nonviolent demonstrations… have led to the change that has been most long lasting and the most pervasive.”

Get real. Tell that to police committing illegitimate violence on the regular—murder and brutality that destroys lives, futures, and whole people. Holder, and the system he represents, care more about CVS and broken cop cars. They greenlight police terror. A black president, a black attorney general, and still no federal prosecutions of cops killing unarmed black people!

Baltimore rises, suddenly six cops are charged. A light was shined on generations living under police crosshairs. Everyone is now forced to relate to the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” This is improvement.

A Baltimore teenager said to me, “I know Freddie [Gray]’s family didn’t want rioting… and people don’t want us destroying our community… but we don’t want police killing us. If they won’t stop, we do what we have to.”

Society was shaken. Lines got drawn. Where this goes is on us.

Noche Diaz is freedom fighter who splits his time between Baltimore and New York City. He is currently facing jail time for protesting killings by police.

This article was written for Zocalo Public Square

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME fashion

Watch 100 Years of Men’s Fashion in Under Three Minutes

From the newsboy caps of 1915 to the slim-fitting jeans of 2015

We’ve seen plenty of videos highlighting the evolution of beauty trends for women — but now, here’s a video that outlines 100 years of men’s fashion.

Mode Studios grabbed a male model and dressed him up in the most iconic looks from the past 100 years, beginning in 1915. Things start off kind of charmingly retro and dapper, with sharp suits and spiffy hats. Then, we’re reminded of some of the more unfortunate looks that became popular for men (primarily in the 1970s and 80s.)

Note how the stylists nail it with the ’90s look, particularly when it comes to facial hair and accessories. And when it is time for 2015’s modern style, they do a great job of making the model look like every guy you work with.

Read next: Watch 100 Years of Russian Beauty Trends in Less Than 2 Minutes

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