Posts tagged with "Good Morning America"

Mother creates ‘Just Us’ mobile app to help protect Black drivers

April 2, 2021

In a display of motherly love and concern for her own son’s safety—and everyone’s else’s sons and daughters—one mom has created a mobile app that will protect Black drivers in the event they are pulled over by police (and all people of color, including Asians, who currently are under attack).

Charmine Davis, a clinical psychotherapist based in Los Angeles, became increasingly concerned as her son neared driving age, she recently told Good Morning America—noting that Black drivers are more likely to be pulled over by police than White drivers.

Several academic studies prove the point: A study published in Nature Human Behaviour found that Black drivers in the United States are 20% more likely to be stopped than White drivers; and are 1.5 to 2 times as likely to be searched afterward.

Another study conducted by Harvard University researchers found that Blacks are more than three times as likely to be killed during a police encounter.

“A driver’s license to me meant that he was going to be out in the world and I couldn’t protect him,” Davis told “Good Morning America.” “I just kind of pondered, ‘What can I do? How can I stay connected without stagnating this young man who was ready to venture off?'”

She created her own answers: The Just Us app launched in August and currently has about 3,000 users. The name comes from a play on the word “justice.” There are three main features to the app:

  • Check In” will send a message to designated contacts that the person is safe and reveal their current location;
  • Head’s Up” will notify designated contacts that the person is being pulled over by law enforcement, send the driver’s location, and begin livestreaming; and
  • Help” will begin livestreaming and notify anyone within a three-mile radius of the app that the person needs assistance.

All features have the ability to be hands-free with voice activation, something that Davis was adamant about due to the harsh reality that many Black drivers face.

“We know that a lot of incidents happen when folks reach for things,” Davis said. “And so the voice activation was so important to me because you’re not reaching for anything. There’s no misconceptions there.”

Despite her busy schedule, Davis went above and beyond the call of duty, even funding the project herself. “She was so committed to it that she used her own money,” Candace Walker, a social impact technologist who worked with Davis on the app, told GMA. “And as you can imagine, this technology isn’t cheap to develop. So it was a big deal.”

“You can’t put a price on love,” Davis said of her monetary support.

Accountability and connection are other important aspects for Davis, who said the app keeps everyone accountable and that the more people who download the app, the safer we all will be.

“Just from a cultural aspect, we have always—as African Americans and as people of color— put our safety in someone else’s hands,” she said. “And this is just a way to put it back in ours in a peaceful way. And we are connecting with law enforcement and saying, ‘This protects not just me, but you too.'”

The app’s functionality extends beyond driving, and can be used in any situation where someone feels they’re in danger.

“We did a community meeting once, and one young lady said that she had used it on her college campus at night when she felt afraid,” Davis said. “She was just so happy to have it.”

The location data itself can be used as a way to bring up safety issues to policymakers and be an impetus for change. Walker noted that the data can be gathered to pinpoint specific areas -—down to the street corners—that have high incident reports.

Davis used her experience working with families who have experienced domestic violence and sex trafficking to highlight how the app can be used in those situations as well.

“Even if their phone was taken, we would be able to see if they need help, and they would be able to get help because it has their location on it,” she said. “And it’s not like the phone will be talking; so if someone is harming them, they would know that the police are on their way.”

Research contact: @GMA

Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen collaborate on new Spotify podcast series, ‘Renegades’

February 24, 2021

Last year, Bruce Springsteen sat down for an in-depth conversation with former President Barack Obama that has become the crux of a new eight-part podcast —the first two episodes of which debuted this week on the audio streaming app Spotify, ABC-TV’s Good Morning America reports.

Renegades: Born in the USA was produced by Obama and wife Michelle’s new Higher Ground Productions company. The podcast features the politician and the rocker—both of them, cultural icons—discussing a wide range of topics, from family to race, to marriage, to fatherhood, to the current state in which America finds itself.

According to GMA, the preview, available on Spotify’s YouTube channel, includes a scene in which Springsteen and Obama discuss some issues they had with their fathers.

“My father was silent most of the time. He was not communicative,” Springsteen says. “I grew up thinking, you know, my father was, like, ashamed of his family. That was my entire picture of masculinity.”

Obama then shares, “So my father leaves when I’m two, and I don’t meet him until I’m ten years old, when he comes to visit for a month. I have no way to connect to the guy. You know…he’s a stranger who’s suddenly in our house.”

In another segment, Springsteen recalls that he bought his first guitar for $18, and that he then started learning some Beatles songs.

When Obama asks him how his parents reacted, the legendary singer-songwriter says, mimicking them, “Turn it down!”

Research contact: @GMA

Is there a ‘dogtor’ in the house?

January 11, 2021

A therapy dog in Baltimore is bringing joy to healthcare workers and patients, alike, by making digital visits, Good Morning America reports.

Loki, a two-year-old Rottweiler therapy dog is known for comforting patients each week at the University of Maryland Medical Center. But when the coronavirus pandemic prevented therapy dogs from visiting the hospital, Loki and her owner, Caroline Benzel, had to figure out a creative way to reach and develop rapport with patients.

So, Benzel came up with the idea of remote therapy dog visits. “I’ll Facetime [while Loki and are sitting] outside … in my mom’s front yard,” Benzel told GMA.

She said that she tells patients to close their eyes and imagine a different scene outside the confines of the hospital, telling them, “Imagine sitting at a park and we’re having a conversation so they can ‘hear’ the birds, they can see people walking by. So that’s kind of how we’ve been doing it now.”

Benzel, who is a second-year medical student at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, started training Loki when she was just 18 weeks old. Then, she got Loki acclimated to the hospital’s environment and patients.

Benzel has describes her pup as a natural at her job. “I’ve never met a dog that’s so empathetic. It’s kind of strange. There have been many circumstances at the hospital where she can just read a situation where a patient is in a very bad way or a family member is going through a loss,” Benzel told GMA.

Before COVID-19 hit, Benzel would also dress Loki in a signature white “dogtor’s” coat that was custom-made for every hospital visit with patients.

Since transitioning to remote visits, Benzel and Loki also have had a chance to connect with hospital staff—and Benzel has noticed the painful physical effects caused by the masks that healthcare workers now wear.

“I was seeing the masks doing the damage to the nursing staff, the doctors, the social workers, because everyone, custodians to doctors are all required to wear it,” Benzel said.

She thought of ways that she could help those experiencing the issue and came up with care packages called Hero Healing Kits. The kits, which have Loki’s face on them, include products like hypoallergenic lotion for irritated skin, packs of gum to help with dry mouth, medicated powder to help with skin irritation, Vaseline, and tea and coffee packets. Each kit also has a thank you note with messages of appreciation for hospital staff during this time.

With the help of her neighbor, Benzel has put together about 1,400 kits so far and medical students have raised $300 to $400. The kits have become so popular, a medical student in Philadelphia also started the Hero Healing Initiative there. Benzel has also expanded and has created kits for neighboring hospitals.

The kits were also a way for Benzel to give back to the medical community, after members stood by her when Loki recently had to undergo ACL surgery for a broken foot, which required cash up front.

“I didn’t know how I was going to come up with that kind of money as a medical student,” Benzel said. “The hospital staff [at UMMC] suggested I do a GoFundMe, and the whole surgery and physical therapy ended up being covered by donations within two weeks.”

“They did that for me when I was down and I know the people there are going through a hard time now. themselves. I wanted to do what I could to return the favor,” she added.

Research contact: @GMA

Grandparents send cardboard cutouts to grandkids to take their place at Thanksgiving

November 26, 2020

A set of grandparents from Texas have found a safe solution to sharing the holidays with their family amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Good Morning America reports.

Missy and Barry Buchanan, lovingly known as Ama and Poppi, still wanted to be “present” for Thanksgiving dinner—but in a safe way. So, Missy Buchanan ordered two six-foot cardboard cutouts of her and her husband and mailed them to their four grandchildren.

“My daughter got hers first. She texted, ‘Omg!’ and called and said, ‘This is the funniest thing we’ve ever seen,'” Buchanan told Good Morning America, adding that the kids propped up the cutouts and took pictures.

“They were moving us to the chicken coop to the kitchen to the fireplace,” she said.

Siblings Quintin, 12, Oliver, 10, and Clara, 6, received cutouts of Ama and Poppi at their home in Texas; and so did their cousin, Noah, 3, in California.

“My mom had told me that she was sending a large package for the Thanksgiving table,” Noah’s mom, Mindy Whittington, told “GMA.” “I didn’t think twice about it. I just assumed it was going to be a holiday decoration. We were just in stitches, we could not stop laughing. We were not expecting 6-foot cutouts of my parents.”

Buchanan said the cutouts have relieved some pandemic stress for her and her loved ones. “Family love is not going to change whether we’re there or not,” she added. “It’s a reminder that there’s still something to laugh about.”

Buchanan said her cutouts will also be celebrating Christmas with her grandkids this year.

Research contact: @GMA

You can now buy Serena Williams’ daughter Olympia’s favorite doll, Qai Qai

October 16, 2020

If you follow tennis pro Serena Williams and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian on Instagram.then you’ve probably met Qai Qai—their daughter Olympia‘s favorite baby doll.

Now, anyone can have their very own Qai Qai! The doll is available for purchase on Amazon, according to a report by Good Morning America.

“When I was looking for a doll for Olympia, I felt like I was picking out a doll for me too. We can all relate to the sheer joy of playing make-believe and giving our toys their own characters and voices, and it is even sweeter when you can find a doll that looks like you,” Serena Williams told GMA recently. “Our responsibility as parents is to raise our children to be loving, accepting and empathetic to everyone’s experiences. Qai Qai is the platform and brand we created to champion these messages and make people laugh while doing it.”

Qai Qai has over one million followers across social media platforms and goes on all of Olympia’s adventures, including, most recently, the U.S. Open.

“There’s something really special about the relationship between a child and their favorite toy. … We are incredibly excited to be able to bring the same delight we see in her every time she plays with Qai Qai to the homes of children everywhere,” Williams said.

Olympia is rarely seen without Qai Qai and in turn the doll has become somewhat of social media icon. The baby doll’s mission has become to tell uplifting stories, spread humor and share important social messages.

“Qai Qai is no ordinary doll, and we’ve been amazed at the way she’s been able to become a platform to educate and inspire her audience online,” Williams said.

Qai Qai is available exclusively on Amazon for $29.99.

Research contact: @GMA

 

Bea Lumpkin of Chicago, age 102, says to would-be voters, ‘Nobody should have an excuse’

October 6, 2020

A 102-year-old woman who just cast her mail-in ballot for the 2020 election—wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE)—has a message for other would-be voters: If she can vote, so can you.

“That’s why I had my grandson take a photo of me—because if I could come out at the age of 102 and face a pandemic [to vote], nobody should have an excuse,” Bea Lumpkin, of Chicago, told Good Morning America this week.” “I think that in this election more than any other that I’ve taken part in, the only way we can answer it is for the people to come out and vote and stay active to a degree we’ve never seen before.”

“I think we can do it,” she said.

The photo, shared on Instagram by the Chicago Teacher’s Union, shows the 102-year-old holding her ballot in front of a USPS mailbox while wearing PPE as a precaution.

Lumpkin, a retired teacher, cast her first ballot in the 1940 presidential election and told GMA that not even a global pandemic would stop her perfect streak of voting in every election since, for the past eight decades.

“There’s a lot at stake,” she said about the 2020 election, a presidential year that features President Donald Trump running against former Vice President Joe Biden. “If you never bothered to vote before and if you care anything about the children coming after us, you’ll come out and vote this time.”

Lumpkin, a mother of four, grandmother of three, and great-grandmother of one, said she is looking to the next generation of voters to continue moving America and democracy forward.

“I have a lot of confidence in the young people,” she said.

Research contact: @GMA

Chadwick Boseman mural inspires Downtown Disney

September 28, 2020

A powerful tribute to beloved actor Chadwick Boseman, who died in late August at the age of 43, has been unveiled in California’s Downtown Disney District.

The mural, entitled “King Chad,” was created by former Disney Imagineer Nikkolas Smith and depicts Boseman, who played King T’Challa in “Black Panther,” giving a Wakanda salute to a child wearing a hospital gown and a “Black Panther” mask, ABC-TV’s Good Morning America reports..

Boseman, who succumbed to colon cancer, had famously visited with children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

“This one is special. My King Chad tribute is now on a wall on display at Downtown Disney,” Smith wrote on Instagram on September 24. “It is a full circle moment for me: My final two projects as a Disney Imagineer last summer were working on the Children’s Hospital project and the Avengers Campus.

“To millions of kids, T’Challa was a legend larger than life, and there was no one more worthy to fill those shoes than Chadwick Boseman,” Smith added, noting,. I’m so thankful to be able to honor Chadwick’s life and purpose in this way.”

Disneyland is not yet open to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Downtown Disney reopened in July, GMA reports,  with capacity restrictions.

Research contact: @GMA

Finding puppy love: A dating app called Dig helps dog lovers start human and canine relationships

August 13, 2020

Looking for love but haven’t truly connected with your soulmate? You might just be barking up the wrong tree, according to a report by ABC-TV’s Good Morning America.

If you are someone who loves dogs, then you know just how important it is to find a human companion who feels the same way. Which is exactly why sisters, Leigh and Casey Isaacson, created Dig, which they describe as “The Dog Person’s Dating App.”

The app first launched on Valentine’s Day 2018 and now has gone national with the intention of connecting dog people, regardless of whether they actually own a pooch, or are someone who just really “digs” canines.

The idea originated one night in New York City, when Casey Isaacson discovered that her otherwise acceptable date wouldn’t let her dog into his apartment. Standing unhappily on his stoop, as the relationship abruptly dissolved, she had an idea. Casey called the only person she knew who loved dogs as much as she did— her sister Leigh—and Dig was born.

“When you’re dating and you’re a dog owner, it doesn’t matter who reaches out first or how many friends you have in common. If you don’t get along with my dog, it’s never going to work,” Leigh said in an interview with Pet Friendly House. “If you don’t have a dog but you know you’ll want one in the future, you need to know you’re dating a dog person from the start.”

According to GMA, when users join Dig, they can indicate particular preferences— including whether they are already dog owners—or just love dogs. The app then presents users with unlimited matches every day where they can express whether they “dig,” “really dig,” or “pass” on those particular matches.

The goal of the app is to connect people who “live a dog-forward lifestyle” so Dig offers tips from veterinarians and dog trainers to help make that first date and dog meet-up go as smoothly and with as little stress as possible. Having a dog impacts every aspect of your life so it’s extremely important to find out early on not only if you’re compatible, but if your dogs are too. By offering dog-friendly date ideas, the Dig team is helping both couples looking to connect, as well as promoting dog-friendly businesses.

Lizz Evalen, a freelance writer from Chicago, told GMA that one of the great things about her Dig date was having her dog along as a buffer.“Lull in the conversation, make goofy noises at the pup,” said Evalen. “Think you have nothing to talk about? Ask anything related to the pup.”

In addition to helping people make a love connection, Dig is also using their platform to help shelter dogs find their “fur-ever” home. The team works closely with rescue organizations in various cities and at most events will have dogs available for adoption. In addition, their social media is another great way to check out those pups looking to make their own human connection.

With the recent health crisis, Dig events have been put on hold, but Leigh says the sisters have been using this time to focus on further building out the app. One new addition, which will be available over the next few weeks is the digital dog park, a space where users can interact and learn more about one another before matching with someone.

Research contact: @GMA

Finding puppy love: A dating app called Dig helps dog lovers start human and canine relationships

August 3, 2020

Looking for love but haven’t truly connected with your soulmate? You might just be barking up the wrong tree, according to a report by ABC-TV’s Good Morning America.

If you are someone who loves dogs, then you know just how important it is to find a human companion who feels the same way. Which is exactly why sisters, Leigh and Casey Isaacson, created Dig, which they describe as “The Dog Person’s Dating App.”

The app first launched on Valentine’s Day 2018 and now has gone national with the intention of connecting dog people, regardless of whether they actually own a pooch, or are someone who just really “digs” canines.

The idea originated one night in New York City, when Casey Isaacson discovered that her otherwise acceptable date wouldn’t let her dog into his apartment. Standing unhappily on his stoop, as the relationship abruptly dissolved, she had an idea. Casey called the only person she knew who loved dogs as much as she did— her sister Leigh—and Dig was born.

“When you’re dating and you’re a dog owner, it doesn’t matter who reaches out first or how many friends you have in common. If you don’t get along with my dog, it’s never going to work,” Leigh said in an interview with Pet Friendly House. “If you don’t have a dog but you know you’ll want one in the future, you need to know you’re dating a dog person from the start.”

According to GMA, when users join Dig, they can indicate particular preferences— including whether they are already dog owners—or just loe dogs. The app then presents users with unlimited matches every day where they can express whether they “dig,” “really dig,” or “pass” on those particular matches.

The goal of the app is to connect people who “live a dog-forward lifestyle” so Dig offers tips from veterinarians and dog trainers to help make that first date and dog meet-up go as smoothly and with as little stress as possible. Having a dog impacts every aspect of your life so it’s extremely important to find out early on not only if you’re compatible, but if your dogs are too. By offering dog-friendly date ideas, the Dig team is helping both couples looking to connect, as well as promoting dog-friendly businesses.

Lizz Evalen, a freelance writer from Chicago, told GMA that one of the great things about her Dig date was having her dog along as a buffer.“Lull in the conversation, make goofy noises at the pup,” said Evalen. “Think you have nothing to talk about? Ask anything related to the pup.”

In addition to helping people make a love connection, Dig is also using their platform to help shelter dogs find their “fur-ever” home. The team works closely with rescue organizations in various cities and at most events will have dogs available for adoption. In addition, their social media is another great way to check out those pups looking to make their own human connection.

With the recent health crisis, Dig events have been put on hold, but Leigh says the sisters have been using this time to focus on further building out the app. One new addition, which will be available over the next few weeks is the digital dog park, a space where users can interact and learn more about one another before matching with someone.

Research contact: @GMA