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Police Shot Her Brother. She is Now Fighting Police Brutality-Meet Human Rights Activist Shackelia Jackson

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Shackelia Jackson is fighting police brutality in Jamaica
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Shackelia Jackson is a human rights activist fervently fighting police brutality. She advocates for equal policing and judicial reporting in Jamaica. She has been fighting for social justice since her brother, Nakiea, was shot in 2014 by police in Kingston, Jamaica. The effort that Jackson has put into making change after her terrible loss has been motivated by her brother. She has reflected on who she is as a human and how she can help others through her life.

“This situation has called me into discovering even my own strength and the purpose that extends beyond me,” said Jackson. 

Kingston, Jamaica holds one of the world’s highest rates of fatal police shootings, many of which are results of racially motivated police brutality. Growing up, Jackson felt support from both of her parents to strive for her dreams. She felt that her parents understood who she and her brother were and what made them unique and supported them accordingly. Jackson’s brother attended a technical high school and they both worked at a local newspaper. After Jackson’s brother began taking cooking classes, he put his heart and soul into his career and was an inspiration to Jackson.

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When Jackson’s brother was shot by the police and taken to the hospital, Jackson told him for the first time that she loved him, in hopes that his hearing would be the last to go. She also knew that if the police got anywhere near her brother, they might harm him because they did not want him to be a witness to the violence that they had unfairly used against him. Jackson reached out to the newspaper that she had worked for in the past, but they did not understand the extent of the incident. She then reported the incident to the investigative authorities, with little response. When Jackson got home, she was informed that her brother had passed away.

“I prayed that I would, over time, establish the right linkages and support to help me and my family.” 

Jackson has faced brutal intimidation from the police and little support from the Jamaican legal system in her efforts to create change. Jackson sees oppression everywhere and advocates for the need to reframe the biases against people of certain races and communities. She spoke of the irrationality of thought that the police had when they approached her brother on that traumatic day and she sees a need to fight back. The officer who shot Jackson’s brother was the first officer in the history of Jamacia to be charged with murder. But because of the faulty judicial system in Jamacia, the officer was given bail and eventually walked free.

“My fight starts with the need for due process.”

Jackson brought up something that was explained by the Minister of Security saying that the longer a matter takes to be brought before the court, the less likely that there will be a successful prosecution. Jackson faced verbal and psychological abuse during the court hearings, but continued to fight for justice. The dropped charges opened Jackson’s eyes to the real injustice in the Jamaican judicial system. Jackson had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Prime Minister’s office alongside the Write for Rights campaign, but was still not given a fair voice. Though the challenges she has faced have been major detriments to her efforts, this uphill battle has been worth every sleepless night and every brutal day that Jackson and other activists have gone through. And they are not about to give up now.

“It speaks to the fact that great work is still being done and I have now learned to celebrate small victories which maybe not in my lifetime, but in my daughter’s lifetime there will be some semblance of justice and the policy of legislative changes to support aggrieved families.”

The experience of Jackson’s family with the unfair justice system has amplified the need for change. They are motivated each day to keep fighting. Her family draws strength from the people who are still being oppressed and those who support them each and every day. Jackson relies on her faith to cope with the tragic loss that she has, and will, deal with for the rest of her life.

Racial profiling and police brutality is not just an issue in the United States. It is happening all over the world and causing unjust deaths to thousands of people. When looking at the history of Jamaica, police officers have allegedly killed more than three thousand people and the number of fatalities in the hands of Jamaican law enforcement officers in just 2017 was 168 people. An average of three people are killed every week by officers in Jamaica with a population of just 2.8 million.

The biggest change that Jackson has seen since she began fighting as a human rights activist is the increase of major organizations, such as the NBA, speaking out in support of social justice. She has seen an increase in support from these organizations and has appreciated each action that they have taken towards change.

“We cannot afford more children needing to be briefed [on how to stay safe] before going outside.” 

Stronger police forces do not mean a safer society. Society has a lot of work to do to create a safe environment. Recent tragedies all over the world could have been avoidable if people had realized the faults in the current system. According to Jackson, the origin of violence in the police force begins in the training that each officer. In current police training, more attention is given to shooting skills than the understanding of communication and nonverbal behavior. This needs to be changed immediately. The current system of engagement and policy establishment also needs to be altered to work against racial profiling and police brutality.

“When you have been oppressed for so long, it manifests itself in the degree of oppression that you’ve been forced to endure.”

Just as revolts lead to the abolishment of slavery in the US, social justice movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement, have the power to end racial injustice. No matter their race, people everywhere are as much at risk as others and need to work in unity in order to make change happen. Shackelia Jackson will never stop fighting for judicial reform and encourages others to speak up and fight alongside her and other activists all over the world.

This is a call to action to put an end to police brutality in countries all over the world including Brazil, Chile, and Columbia. There is violence everywhere, but it just takes one person to speak out like Shackelia Jackson to make a difference and show others that there is hope for a better world.

Credits:
Host & Producer: Cielo
Developer: Mark Starbinski
Editor & Writer: Sydney Murphy

MYVOS Talks

How Johnny Ward Made Millions Travelling Around the World And Inspiring People Through His Travel Blog

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A portrait of Johnny Ward

Johnny Ward is a famous travel blogger that has traveled to every single country on the planet. 

He has built an empire blogging with his site, “One Step 4Ward.” After growing up on welfare in Ireland, attending university and moving to the United States after graduation, Ward dreamed of traveling the world country by country. 

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“I wanted to show people from around the world that you can still do what you want to do even without the proper financial support in the beginning, said Ward” 

Ward found different ways to earn his own funds to financially support his dream. In the end, he became an English teacher in Thailand, traveled around Asia, and landed jobs teaching English in other countries such as South Korea. In Australia, he realized that he wanted to share with others his experience stepping into the world. 

Johnny Ward leaning against a blow-up globe

Ward created a blog in order to teach others what he had done and how he was still able to achieve his dream of traveling the world. While traveling from Cape Town to Syria using public transport, he blogged many of his traveling days. When Ward began to earn money for the posts he was creating, he realized how much his work was appreciated by viewers and decided to continue blogging full time. Traveling came with amazing experiences and baffling stories that Ward now shares with people all over the world. 

Ward has made over 2 million blog posts, and throughout his journey, he overcame many challenges and learned how to work through trial and error. It took him a lot of self-motivation to realize that his upbringing did not have to define the rest of his life or his success. 

“People think that victimhood is some sort of currency. They argue about who’s had it hard rather than getting on with it. There is nothing stopping you from being a success.” 

After Ward grew to love each community he visited, he created a way to give back to those communities that had given him so much joy. He created Mudita Adventures, a nonprofit organization to help others take opportunities to participate in service projects all over the world. Ward’s favorite place in the world is Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he is now building a villa to celebrate his success.

A portrait of Johnny Ward.

Ward has learned a lot about the media market and has shared many of his findings with his supporters. Ward advises listeners and readers to steer clear from the idea that the marketplace is saturated. There is space for any quality product. Believe in the success that you will have in your venture. 

“Don’t get hung up on your shortcomings.”
Ward has also written an e-book, which he is offering for free on his blog website. Blogging Brought Me Here is a first-hand account of how blogging and traveling changed Ward’s life and how they can change yours as well. It even includes tips on how to start your own blog!

Credits:
Host & Producer & Editor: Cielo
Developer: Mark Starbinski
Editor & Writer: Sydney Murphy

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MYVOS Talks

Meet Grace Strobel-The Down Syndrome Model Elevating Empathy In the Modeling World

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Grace Strobel wearing a white shirt and jeans smiling.
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Grace Strobel is a Down syndrome model taking the modeling industry by storm.  At 24, she has signed with three modeling agencies and recently became the first American model with Down syndrome to represent a skincare line. Grace, through her career, strives to promote acceptance and the illumination of gifts and talents of all people. She is also committed to being a light for people with disabilities

The Grace Effect is a 45-minute presentation that Grace created in 2017 to educate others on what it is like for her to live with Down syndrome, and the importance of practicing kindness, respect, and overcoming struggles. When Strobel was working in the lunchroom, other kids made fun of her for not being able to do certain tasks at school. Through the victimization, Strobel realized that the other kids didn’t understand what it was like for her to live with Down syndrome, especially through the lack of fine motor skills that make her syndrome more apparent. Her mother, Linda Strobel, has been incredibly supportive throughout her daughter’s journey of launching The Grace Effect

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“Sometimes people fear what they don’t understand,” said Linda 

Through her projects and her modeling career, Strobel has been given a voice and a chance to change peoples’ understanding of disabilities. Strobel began by posting photos on her Instagram and Facebook accounts, and she was soon discovered by a modeling agency. She has now walked the runway in St. Luis and Atlantic City, N.J., and virtually in Runway of Dreams and New York Fashion Week. Strobel’s parents are proud of how much she has been able to accomplish this early in her career and how strong she has been in getting over her challenges. 

“Our biggest triumphs are our biggest struggles,” said Linda.

Strobel’s father, Jeff, appreciates all of the kindness people have shown his daughter and family. He has also supported her in her career. Strobel is now just 24 years old, and has paved the way for many other people to step into the spotlight and break more barriers in the fashion industry, and many other industries with limited career opportunities for those with disabilities. 

“I knew she was beautiful and I always knew that she had value and worth to the world,” said Linda

Strobel believes that she was called to advocate for herself and others. When speaking to others who feel ostracized, or feel that they don’t have the worth to be in the spotlight, Strobel encourages them to “speak for themselves, be confident, work hard, and never give up.” 

“I’m a model, I’m a speaker, I’m an advocate,” said Grace

Confidence is an important factor in modeling and Strobel has practiced positive affirmations and body positivity to build up her confidence. Everyone has their own insecurities, and the message that Strobel is spreading shows people that no matter who you are or what you are living with, no one deserves negative judgment.

The Grace Effect also addresses the danger of cyberbullying and the importance of kids hiding behind computer screens putting themselves in the shoes of the kids they are attacking. She is not only helping those who are victims of bullying, but she is also helping bullies see the harm that they are inflicting. 

“I know she is changing minds and hearts one speech at a time. She is helping people see others in a valued way,” said Linda

Strobel is overcoming the standards of the modeling world. She is part of the movement that is breaking down race, body image, accessibility, and many other stereotypes of the modeling/fashion industry. The world still has a long way to go with its acceptance of disabilities. Strobel has learned of the importance of surrounding herself with a support system.

Credits:
Host & Producer & Editor: Cielo
Developer: Mark Starbinski
Editor & Writer: Sydney Murphy

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MYVOS Talks

Outliving Cancer and Changing Lives Through Exploration-Meet Angelina Mangiardi

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Angelina Mangiardi sitting outside, laughing

Angelina Mangiardi (aka “Katniss”) grew up in Western Massachusetts on a farm where she grew to love nature and thrived in the open countryside. At just nineteen, her life completely turned upside down after she was diagnosed with bone cancer. At the time of her diagnosis, she was attending the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in NYC to pursue her dream of entering the fashion industry as a stylist but she had to put her dreams on hold to start chemo treatment.

Mangiardi’s battle with cancer was a tough one but she never lost hope. Mangiardi’s treatment plan involved six 21-day cycles of chemotherapy, with a 96-hour infusion and five-day hospital stay required with each treatment. After finishing chemo, Mangiardi completed nineteen grueling rounds of radiation. After six painful months of treatment, the cancer was gone.

“Everything happened so quickly that I just went into survival mode,” explains Mangiardi. 

While in the hospital, Angelina started researching cancer resources, and she stumbled upon First Descents, an outdoors program for cancer patients that completely changed her life. She got to experience the healing power of spending time outdoors, and she formed a passion for bringing people closer to nature. With her shifting dreams, Mangiardi studied environmental science and worked as the Environmental Education Program Assistant at Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) in Fairbanks, Alaska.

After experiencing many adventures in Alaska, she went to work as the Farm-to-School Coordinator for Mālama Kaua’i, a non-profit organization working for sustainability across Kaua’i. Mangiardi kept up with her leadership responsibilities and later on, decided to continue where she had left off with her passion for introducing others to the natural world. She returned to First Descents after her first year in remission and joined the team as the Program Coordinator to help introduce others to the power of adventure that she had discovered while she was a participant in the program. 

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Mangiardi’s motto is, “outliving it” because she has connected with the importance of surviving cancer and going outside of her comfort zone to live whatever life she wants for herself no matter what may challenge her along the way. 

“Everything in my life, the career path, and things that fulfill me all stem from the lessons I learned from surviving cancer.”

As Mangiardi reflects on what it was like in the moment of being told that she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, she remembers how she needed to understand how to cope. That she did not need to stay perfectly strong the entire time. She needed to live positively, but also accept that there would be times when it was okay to not be okay. When she did need to break down and let out the negative emotions that she may try to hold in. Mangiardi has gotten to meet and connect with many other young adults dealing with similar challenges as she has. 

“There is this unspoken bond and instant connection between us. Everyone in the cancer community understands it.”

First Descents is one of the ways Mangiardi has felt this bond with others. She has gotten to go climbing, boating, surfing, and reclaim her life through the First Descents program. She has transitioned from a participant to a Program Coordinator. 

Discovering the rock climbing program at First Descents changed Mangiardi’s perspective on the challenges she faced. She focuses on accessibility and adaptability at First Descents to make sure that no matter the medical situation people are in, they are welcome in the program. First Descents offers outdoor experiential programming, skill development, and aims to improve the long-term survivorship of young adults living with serious health conditions. Mangiardi sees the importance of keeping nature in our daily lives and the impact it can have on our mental health. 

“Find ways to connect with your environment and what is around you.” 

The power that this program has had on so many young peoples’ lives is being spread through social media for others to discover. Check out their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and share about this amazing opportunity with anyone you know who may appreciate this program as much as Mangiardi. Help more people discover the beauty of nature and outlive their own challenges. 

Credits:
Host & Producer: Cielo
Editor & Writer: Sydney Murphy

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