Things That Matter

This Week’s Google Doodle Is About One Teen’s Appreciation For Her Colombian Mother’s Sacrifices And I’m Sobbing

Even since 2008, search engine Google has dedicated a contest to aspiring young artists around the world. With a yearly theme, the company challenges these young people with the task of creating a specialized Google Doodle. This year’s theme was announced to be “When I grow up, I hope… ;” a hopeful look at the future of our society. Each year, thousands of entries are submitted and one is selected as a winner for each age group. Of those winners, only one is declared the overall winner of the Doodle for Google contest. 

This year’s winner is Georgia teen, Arantza Peña Popo.

Twitter / @scottbudman

Entitled “Once you get it, give it back,” the doodle depicts a representation of a real picture of Peña Popo and her mother when the artist was a baby. In front of this display is the artist and her mother imagined in the future when Peña Popo will repay her mother’s devotion and care for her in her old age. 

According to a press release from Google, Peña Popo describes her mother, who is from Colombia, as a person who lights up any room she’s in. Also, the teen hopes to one day be able to help her mother to travel around the world and do all the other things in life that she hopes to do.

Peña Popo’s win was announced Monday night by Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” where she appeared as a guest. Her doodle was picked as the winner out of over 200,000 entries.
“I wanted to make it more personal to me,” the teen artist said in her interview with Fallon. “So, I decided to make it about my mother. You know, she’s made so many sacrifices for me so I kind of wanted to show me paying it back in the future”

According to Peña Popo, she has been interested in art since she was three but was suffering from a major artist block while working on this piece. 

Twitter / @GoogleDoodle

“I came up with the idea at the last minute, actually the day of the deadline,” she shared. “I looked at the photograph of my mother [the real version that inspired the drawing] and thought, ‘Hey, why don’t I reverse it?’ I wanted to focus more on a message of helping out my awesome mother more than anything else.” 

This is just the start of Peña Popo’s promising art career. Last Spring, the Colombiana graduated valedictorian of Arabia Mountain High School. In the Fall, she plans to attend the University of Southern California and wants to publish alternative graphic novels and comics in the future.  

The win also comes with some amazing perks for the artistic teen. 

Twitter/ @FallonTonight

As an aspiring artist, Peña Popo will get some of the best exposure in the world. Google.com will display her winning doodle for the entire day and it will appear whenever the search engine is used. The teen artist will also receive a $30,000 college scholarship to help with her as she attends the University of Southern California. Finally, Peña Popo will go on a trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Reactions to Peña Popo’s beautiful illustration and the story behind it have been incredibly supportive.

Twitter / @leeshaheard

Most people can relate to the story of sacrifice and love told by Peña Popo’s Google Doodle. Basically, it makes us all think about our own mothers. No wonder her entry won; it tugs at all of our heartstrings. We can’t help but want to support this young artist. 

This tweet credits Peña Popo’s win to #BlackGirlMagic and we have to agree with this based on her undeniable excellence.

 Twitter /@destinyiyabo

We always love to see a woman of color succeed but we are especially proud of this Afro-Latina and her accomplishments. It just goes to show that brilliance and talent can’t be contained by bigotry, bias or colorism. We have to label this win with #AfroLatinaExcellence.

While Peña Popo was both the winner in her age group and the national champion of this year’s Doodle for Google, she wasn’t the only one to win

Google / Amadys López Velásquez

Natalia Pepe of Connecticut won the K-3 grade group with a doodle that honors the farmers of America. Amadys López Velásquez of Puerto Rico won the 4-5 grade group with a doodle that celebrates the power of imagination. Texas student Christelle Matildo won first place in the 6-7 grade group with an entry that hopes for a better tomorrow. New Jersey native Jeremy Henskens won the 8-9 grade group with a comic book-inspired doodle. 

Congrats to Peño Popo and all the other winners. We hope the real future is half as beautiful as the one they’ve doodled

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Parler Is Back Online But All Traffic Is Being Routed Through Russian Servers

Things That Matter

Parler Is Back Online But All Traffic Is Being Routed Through Russian Servers

Photo Illustration by Thiago Prudêncio / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

Parler, the alt-right social media platform, is back in business. Of course, the app is not supported by American companies. The app is now running all of its information through Russian servers.

Parler is running again thanks to the help of Russian servers.

Parler faced quick discipline after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. The social media platform was one of the key tools organizers of the riot used to organize and mobilize. Amazon, Apple, and Google all stopped carrying Parler, essentially ending the social media platform’s ability to keep running. Parler tried to sue Amazon Web Services to pick up the app again to allow it to continue but a judge ruled against the platform.

“The court rejects any suggestion that the public interest favors requiring AWS to host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler’s users have engaged in,” U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein wrote in the order. “At this stage, on the showing made thus far, neither the public interest nor the balance of equities favors granting an injunction in this case.”

The Russian-backed servers are only providing partial support but it’s a slippery slope.

Parler has hired DDoS-Guard, is a Russian digital infrastructure company that threw the platform a lifeline. While the server is only providing a defense against denial-of-service, critics are concerned that it still poses a significant risk. All of the traffic on Parler is going through those servers leaving the users vulnerable to Russian surveillance.

“Now seems like the right time to remind you all—both lovers and haters—why we started this platform,” reads Parler’s current homepage. “We believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential … We will resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon.”

DDoS-Guard has a history of working with racist and far-right groups.

CEO John Matze is confident that the app will be fully restored by the end of January. The social media app has been banned and dropped from major American tech companies after the insurrection. Amazon will not restore the app but the app has said that they retrieved their info from Amazon.

READ: Latino Congressman Lou Correa Fights Back at Insurrectionist Trump Supporters Who Harassed Him at a D.C. Airport

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

Things That Matter

Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP via Getty Images

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is not a contentious topic among Americans. The program offers young adults who entered the U.S. as children relief from deportation and a chance to live out of the shadows. Now that it has been reinstated, Google wants to help some people achieve the dream of being a DACA recipient.

Google is pledging a quarter of a million dollars to help people apply for DACA.

The Trump administration did everything in their power to end DACA. The constant uncertainty has left hundreds of thousands of young people in limbo. The war waged against Dreamers by the Trump administration came to a temporary end when a federal judge ruled that Chad Wolf was illegally installed as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. It invalidated a member from Wolf stating that no new DACA applications would be approved.

Kent Walker, the SVP of Global Affairs, laid out the case for DACA in an essay.

Walker discusses the uncertainty the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients currently face after the tumultuous time for the program. He also touches on the economic hardships that has befallen so many because of the pandemic. With so many people out of work, some Dreamers do not have the money to apply or renew their DACA due to a lack of financial resources. For that reason, Google is getting involved.

“We want to do our part, so Google.org is making a $250,000 grant to United We Dream to cover the DACA application fees of over 500 Dreamers,” writes Walker. “This grant builds on over $35 million in support that Google.org and Google employees have contributed over the years to support immigrants and refugees worldwide, including more than $1 million from Googlers and Google.org specifically supporting DACA and domestic immigration efforts through employee giving campaigns led by HOLA (Google’s Latino Employee Resource Group).”

People are celebrating Google for their decision but are calling on Congress to do more.

Congress will ultimately have to decide on what to do for the Dreamers. There has been growing pressure from both sides of the aisle calling on Congress to work towards granting them citizenship. DACA is a risk of being dismantled at any moment. It is up to Congress to come through and deliver a bill to fix the issue once and for all.

“We know this is only a temporary solution. We need legislation that not only protects Dreamers, but also delivers other much-needed reforms,” writes Walker. “We will support efforts by the new Congress and incoming Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform that improves employment-based visa programs that enhance American competitiveness, gives greater assurance to immigrant workers and employers, and promotes better and more humane immigration processing and border security practices.”

READ: New DACA Applications Were Processed At The End Of 2020 For The First Time In Years

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com