Things That Matter

A Nurse Stepped Up To Help After This Photo Drew Attention To The Humanitarian Crisis In Venezuela

When an image of a malnourished Venezuelan child was shown in a New York Times article, there was an immediate reaction. The image made headlines across the internet. Whether it was the visual representation of the humanitarian crisis happening in Venezuela or the sheer shock of a starving child, it got people’s attention. Specifically, Fabiola Molero, a nurse within a Roman Catholic aid group, Caritas.

This image highlighted the reality of what’s happening in Venezuela as food prices have doubled and hunger has become a major issue for many.

Anailin Nava is just two years old and was suffering from severe malnutrition due to lack of food and medicine. Making things worse was Nava having a genetic neurological disease, which causes convulsions and muscular problems.

Her ailments make eating and digesting a difficult task for the young child. Her family can’t afford to feed her more than once a day and, when they do, it is rice or cornmeal.

The image was enough to convince Molero to make the journey to the western city of Maracaibo to Toas Island, where Nava lives. Molero, who had been a nurse for the past 20 years, quit three years ago and became a volunteer with Caritas. She did this so she could help people like situations like Nava’s and fight the hunger epidemic that’s devastating Venezuela.

“I worked in a hospital and quit because I couldn’t handle the fact that children were dying in my arms for lack of food,” Molero told the New York Times.

So she packed nutritional supplements like milk and food and hitchhiked from the western city of Maracaibo to Toas. She set off with a mission to help the young girl and others just like her in the community.

The state of Zulia, which Toas is part of, has seen some of the worst effects of the country’s economic fall.

The island is at a huge disadvantage when it comes to resources like food and aid. It’s also been practically removed from the mainland after boats that were used as public transport broke down recently.

According to Anailin’s mother, Maibeli, the little aid that comes by from the government arrives every five months. Yet, that doesn’t last very long as they are consumed by families in less than a week.

This has been the result of unsustainable inflation the country has seen recently that has seen food prices double. Nine out of 10 Venezuelans do not feel they have sufficient resources to buy food which has left many people like Nava malnourished.

Since Molero has arrived, she’s helped Nava and other children in the neighborhood with basic nutrients and food.

“My baby had deteriorated and was in a very bad state,” Maibeli who is 25, told the New York Times. “I thought my daughter was going to die. She didn’t even give me her hand when I tried playing with her.”

Maibeli says that the nurses help made an immediate difference to her daughter’s health. But there are still concerns for her and other young children on the island that face similar situations.

Out of 26 children examined by Molero, 10 weren’t eating enough. Almost all of had blisters and abscesses in their skin most likely caused by poor water conditions.

The image provoked an immediate response from people around the world wanting to help Venezuela.

The image, which first appeared in the New York Times on May 17th, prompted a wide response from people wanting to help.

One user said, “how can I help 2-year-old Anailin Nava?”. Another asked, “there any way to help Maibeli Nava and her daughter Anailin?”

While other volunteers are expected to come to Toas, there is still a need for more help. Basic items for babies like milk are of necessity, as well as gasoline to help deliver the food.

“The condition of our children gets worse every day,” Molero said. “We’re working by the strength of our nails here because we barely have any resources.”

Read: This Graphic Image Of A Venezuelan Mother Carrying Her Daughter’s Dead Body To A Morgue Amidst The Country’s Massive Blackout Has Social Media Users Heartbroken

Mattel Just Dropped A Barbie With Vitiligo And Another With Alopecia And This Has Me Tearing Up Y’all

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Mattel Just Dropped A Barbie With Vitiligo And Another With Alopecia And This Has Me Tearing Up Y’all

Mattel / Twitter

The maker of the iconic Barbie doll just announced the launch of a lineup of diverse dolls featuring new skin tones, wheelchairs, and body types. The latest Barbie additions are a doll with the skin condition Vitiligo and another with a gold prosthetic leg —and we’re here for all this diversity. 

“More skin tones! More body types! More unique looks” read the caption.

The new Barbie pals doll be part of the Fashionistas collection and it’s being labeled as the American toy company’s most diverse line.

“What makes us different, makes us beautiful”

The line features dolls with vitiligo, no hair, darker skin tones, in a wheelchair and a wide range of body types. These dolls are part of Barbie’s 2020 releases for its Fashionistas line, which, over the past five years, has introduced more than 170 looks showcasing different identities around the world in hopes of representing global diversity and inclusivity, according to a press release from Mattel. 

Mattel launched a new Barbie doll with the condition vitiligo, which causes pigmentation loss in the skin. 

To create the doll with vitiligo, Barbie worked with a dermatologist to ensure the condition was accurately portrayed. Viitiligo causes patches of skin to lose their pigment. Mattel said in a statement that a prototype of the vitiligo toy, which debuted on the Barbie Instagram page last year, became its most “liked” post ever.

Speaking of the Barbie with no hair, the company said:

“If a girl is experiencing hair loss for any reason, she can see herself reflected in the line.”

Last year, a doll with a prosthetic leg and another with a wheelchair joined the Fashionistas range. 

The then 12-year-old Jordan Reeves, who co-founded the nonprofit Born Just Right — which develops “creative solutions that help kids with disabilities live a more enjoyable life” — helped inspire a doll with a prosthetic limb. Barbie’s 2019 Fashionistas line was also the first time it included a doll that uses a wheelchair.  Other dolls in the 2019 Fashionistas line offered a variety of appearances, including braided hair texture and more realistic body types (smaller bust, less defined waist and more defined arms).

On Twitter people are happy about the new dolls.

Some are excited to see themselves reflected in Barbie form for the first time. “Heeeyy! That’s pretty sweet. I’ve had #vitiligo since I was little, and no one knew what it was,” wrote one Twitter user, “In recent years, I’ve seen high fashion models with it, and now this.. very cool.”

People with Vitiligo are finally feeling seen

Visibility for vitiligo is getting better thanks to models like Winnie Harlow and Amy Deanna. Due in large part to recent exposure to vitiligo through mainstream media, general understanding about and attitudes toward this condition are changing.

Perhaps the most well-known current face of vitiligo is Chantelle Brown-Young

The black fashion model, activist, and vitiligo spokesperson is also known professionally as Winnie Harlow. Winnie was diagnosed with vitiligo in childhood, and she revealed she was teased and bullied and at one point contemplated suicide. “The continuous harassment and the despair that [vitiligo] brought on my life was so unbearably dehumanizing that I wanted to kill myself,” she disclosed.

After competing on America’s Next Top Model in 2014, Winnie Harlow became a household name.

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Winnie redefined global standards of beauty and, in her own words, accepting the differences that make us unique and authentic. She went on to speak at the Dove Self-Esteem Project panel at the 2015 Women in the World London Summit and was presented with the Role Model award at the Portuguese GQ Men of the Year event that same year.

Fashion brand Missguided unveiled a diverse range of mannequins in 2018—including one with Vitiligo. 

The collection of mannequins included female figures of different ethnicities, in addition to highlighting skin conditions such as stretch marks and vitiligo.

Mattel is leading the charge for representation in the toy industry.

The American toy maker has incorporated more diversity in its Barbie range by offering dolls with different skin shades, eye colors, hairstyles and clothing. In 2017, the company introduced the first Barbie to wear a hijab.

Though Barbie dolls have long been overwhelmingly white and skinny, Barbie has made strides during the past five years to diversify. 

Previously, Barbie dolls have drawn criticism for upholding a slim, white, domestic ideal. In 2019 though, more than half its doll selections were inclusive. According to a Mattel spokesperson, since 2015, the more than 170 new looks for Barbie have included 5 body types, 22 skin tones, 76 hair styles, 94 hair colors, and 13 eye colors. 

Consumers have largely responded to these choices enthusiastically.

A curvy black Fashionista with an afro hairstyle was the top-selling doll during almost every week in 2019. “We are proud that Barbie is the most diverse doll line on the market that continues to evolve to better reflect the world girls see around them,” says Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie and its dolls portfolio. 

Chipotle Was Hit With The Biggest Child Labor Penalty In Massachusetts After An Investigation Proved The Chain Was Violating Child Labor And Sick Time Laws

Culture

Chipotle Was Hit With The Biggest Child Labor Penalty In Massachusetts After An Investigation Proved The Chain Was Violating Child Labor And Sick Time Laws

chipotle / Instagram

Chipotle was just hit with the biggest child labor penalty in the state of Massachusetts. Turns out the Mexican fast-food chain was cited for violating child labor and sick time laws. Some of the child labor violations include minors working without valid work permits, working too late into the evening and too many hours daily and weekly. 

Massachusetts’s Attorney General just hit Chipotle with the largest ever child labor penalty in the state.

Attorney General Maura Healey ordered the largest child labor penalty ever issued by the state against the Mexican restaurant chain after finding an estimated 13,253 child labor violations in its more than 50 locations.

“Chipotle is a major national restaurant chain that employs thousands of young people across the country and it has a duty to ensure minors are safe working in its restaurants,” Healey said in a statement. “We hope these citations send a message to other fast-food chains and restaurants that they cannot violate our child labor laws and put young people at risk.”

A review of the chain’s records revealed that minors “routinely worked in violation of the child labor laws,” according to AG Healey.

The fine detailed that Chipotle had employees under the age of 18 working past midnight and for more than 48 hours a week. Teenagers told investigators their hours of work were so long that it was preventing them from keeping up with their schoolwork. The company also regularly hired minors without work permits. 

Some Twitter users and former Chipotle employees were not surprised. 

“Not even a small bit surprised” tweeted one user.

Just last year, workers at an NYC Chipotle staged a mini-strike over the same issues.

“Keep your tacos, keep your bowls, pay your workers what they’re owed!” chanted the crowd of about 30 workers before employees at the Sixth Ave. store in Greenwich Village walked off the job in a staged strike. Workers at another four Chipotle outlets in the city planned to join the Manhattan group in a protest against their employer, which had violated city law by overbooking their weekly work schedules.

“Right now, we’re fighting for our rights as Chipotle workers,” said part-time employee Carlos Hernandez. “I honestly don’t believe the management shows the employees respect. They just don’t want to give us the hours. They don’t want to give us more money.”

The AG’s office of Massachusetts began investigating Chipotle in 2016.

The investigation started after a minor’s parent alleged that the employee had worked “well past” midnight at a Chipotle restaurant in Beverly, the AG’s office said. Audits between 2015 and 2019 identified child labor violations such as minors working without valid work permits, too late into the evening, and too many hours daily and weekly. The chain regularly permitted dozens of 16- and 17-year-old employees to work later than what is allowed by law and worked minors past the nine-hour daily limit and 48-hour weekly limit, the AG’s office said.

Some people have taken to social media to express their discomfort with Chipotle as a workplace.

“Working at this Chipotle makes me feel real uncomfortable” wrote one user. “They over work [their] minors”

Chipotle also did not notify employees of their right to earned sick time. 

According to the AG’s office, the chain did not properly notify employees of their rights under the earned sick time law. It failed to provide the AG’s office with complete timekeeping records and, in some locations, failed to pay workers within six days of the end of the pay period. 

The chain was cooperative with the investigation and is now in compliance with state child labor laws. 

“We are committed to ensuring that our restaurants are in full compliance with all laws and regulations and we believe that in hiring workers beginning at age 16, we can provide younger employees with valuable experiences and provide a compelling work environment,” Laurie Schalow, chief corporate reputation officer of Chipotle, said in a statement.

The settlement total is close to $2 million.

The settlement includes penalties for earned sick time violations in which managers granted employees paid time off only for certain illnesses. The violations also include failure to keep accurate records and pay timely wages. Lastly, the company was ordered a voluntary $500,000 payout to a state youth worker fund dedicated to education, enforcement, and training.

READ: Chipotle Is Expanding Its Menu Options For A Limited Time Only, They’re Adding Carne Asada To Stores Nationwide