Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Volunteers at Houston Food Bank After Raising Nearly $5 Million for Texas Winter Storm Relief

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t just fundraising to help winter storm-battered Texans, she’s also giving her time…

A fundraising effort spearheaded by the 31-year-old Bronx-born Puerto Rican politician, currently serving as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, to help people in the Lone Star State affected by this week’s winter storms has raised nearly $5 million in just a few days.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

And, on Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez visited the state to celebrate the success of the fundraising effort, which will go to local organizations providing Texans food assistance, homelessness relief and elder care.

She was joined by Democratic Texas Reps. Sylvia Garcia and Sheila Jackson Lee, all of whom helped fill boxes at the Houston Food Bank.

“When disaster strikes, this is not just an issue for Texans; this is an issue for our entire country,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters. “And our whole country needs to come and rally together behind the needs of Texans all across this state.”

She added: “That’s the New York spirit, that’s the Texas spirit, and that’s the American spirit.”

Winter storms across Texas left dozens dead, knocked out power for millions for several days and many still don’t have safe drinking water.

Garcia said the fundraising idea was spurred by Ocasio-Cortez, who sent her a text saying she wanted to help. “You know, we’re from Texas right?” Garcia told reporters. “Who does things with New York? We always kind of make fun of New York. But this time we love New York.”

Ocasio-Cortez announced the fundraising Thursday afternoon on Twitter. Within two hours, the effort had pulled in $325,000 in donations. By Friday morning, the total was up to $2 million. As of Saturday afternoon, $4 million, according to Ocasio-Cortez. And, by Sunday, that amount was at nearly $5 million.

The money will go toward several organizations, including the Houston Food Bank, Family Eldercare, Feeding Texas and the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center. But charity itself, while helpful, doesn’t replace the need for policies that prevent power grids from failing in the future, Ocasio-Cortez said.

“We need to make sure that we make short- and long-term policy decisions to that this devastation — preventable devastation — never happens again,” she said.

A number of factors contributed to the massive power failures in Texas, which relies on its own electricity grid.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Helps Raise $2 Million for Winter Storm-Ravaged Texans

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has stepped up to help Texans dealing with the aftermath of deadly winter storms…

The 31-year-old Bronx-born Puerto Rican politician, currently serving as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, has helped raise more than $2 million in less than 24 hours to help bring relief to the state of Texas.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

On Thursday evening, AOC announced she was partnering with several Texas charities and encouraged her millions of Twitter followers to donate money to help residents in Texas reeling from widespread power outages, water shortages and freezing temperatures.

“Team AOC is launching relief efforts for Texas starting today,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Thursday evening. “Our first effort is a partnership w/5 Texas orgs getting on-the-ground relief to Texans ASAP. If you’re able, please donate here – it’ll split your contribution to all 5.”

By Thursday night, more than $1 million had been raised, and by Friday morning, the charities raked in more than $2 million.

The funds are being split between The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, Ending Community Homeless Coalition, Family Eldercare, Houston Food Bank, Feeding Texas and several other charities.

Dozens of people have died in hard-hit Texas since Sunday as massive winter storms hit the region.

Millions of homes and businesses in the state went without electricity for days as single-digit temperatures increased the demand for heat while freezing most of the state’s energy infrastructure.

While most of the power in the state has been restored, many are still experiencing a lack of safe drinking water due to damaged pipes that carry the water supply.

Camila Cabello Teams Up with Movement Voter Fund to Launch the Healing Justice Project, Offering Mental Health Support to Frontline Activists

Camila Cabello is spreading healing justice to frontline activists

The 23-year-old Mexican & Cuban singer is partnering with Movement Voter Fund, a charitable nonprofit that connects donors to grassroots organizations, to launch the Healing Justice Project, which will focus on giving frontline activists access to mental health support.

Camila Cabello

Cabello, who will star in Sony’s upcoming Cinderella, donated the seed money for the project and has matched all the funds raised for it to date. The first grant round totals nearly $250,000, and Cabello also has pledged to continue to donate and raise funds for future grant rounds.

The initial cohort of 10 organizations will receive grants to cover six months’ worth of mental healthcare for their activist workers. Each nonprofit has the discretion to spend the money on resources that address its individual needs and are “culturally competent,” meaning that providers are knowledgeable about the anti-racist framework to understand racial trauma. (A May 2018 American Psychological Association report revealed that just 5 percent of active psychologists are Hispanic and 4 percent are Black.)

The Healing Justice Project was inspired in part by conversations Cabello has had with California surgeon general Nadine Burke Harris about the toll of “toxic stress” (prolonged activation of the body’s stress response systems), and with such activists as Latinx Racial Equity Project founder Ana Perez and Jerry Tello, founder of the racial equity group National Compadres Network, about racial reconciliation. Cabello has been interested in both subjects ever since social media posts of hers from 2012 and 2013 featuring racist memes and racial slurs resurfaced in December 2019; the singer said she was “deeply sorry and ashamed” for her use of “horrible and hurtful language” and pledged to use her platform “to speak out about injustice and inequality.”

Cabello reflected further on what she’s learned in a conversation with Tello this week for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s fifth annual National Day of Racial Healing.

“I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years, and especially this past year home during the pandemic, in constant reflection, learning and exploring the ways I have contributed to systems and beliefs that actively oppress others,” Cabello tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve realized there’s so much more I can and must do to support others who are doing the work to heal our communities…. Grassroots organizers are faced with the exhaustion, emotional burden and trauma that comes with fighting against inequitable systems. Our hope is to offer access to the necessary support they may need as they continue their critical work advocating for social justice.”

In addition to amplifying each of the 10 grant recipients through virtual engagements and on her social media accounts over the next few months, Cabello also will work to raise general awareness among the public about the psychological and emotional burnout that activists face, and to normalize mental healing and wellness practices. Prolonged exposure to racial and social injustice has been linked to higher incidences of poor mental health among affected demographics. Last summer a U.S. Census Bureau survey revealed spikes in anxiety and depression among Black and Asian Americans in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and COVID-19-related hate crimes, and a 2018 New York Times story detailed the traumatic burden shouldered by Black Lives Matter activists, two of whom lost their lives by suicide and one by heart attack.

“In the past year, a global pandemic, an overt rise in white nationalist attacks and a deeply fractious presidential election have placed challenges on organizers and activists in ways that will be felt for the long haul,” says MVF senior director Syd Yang. “Unfortunately, they often don’t get adequate support. Our partnership with Camila Cabello on the Healing Justice Project will help fill that gap and allow us to expand our support of BIPOC organizers and raise awareness about the care that is needed to drive sustainable and just social change.”

Cabello worked with MVF to identify the Healing Justice Project’s 10 recipient groups, chosen in part because they are located in regions that have recently been at the epicenters of major racial, social or electoral justice activism, and therefore have elevated levels of exhaustion, trauma and need for mental restoration. They are:

Black Leaders Organizing Communities: BLOC coordinates and harnesses the power of collective political action to represent the needs, concerns and values of local Black communities and businesses in Milwaukee and throughout the state of Wisconsin. “We simply cannot do community engagement and organizing without being mindful of our own traumas and having conversations that allow us to center our wellness,” says BLOC founder and executive director Angela Lang. “We have to take care of ourselves before we can empower anyone else.”

Faith for Justice: The St. Louis-based coalition of Christian activists, who believe that the Bible calls Christians to serve and empower the poor and challenge oppressive systems, supports Black-led organizations and liberation campaigns and helps connect churches to them.

Freedom, Inc.: Based in Madison, the self-described Black and Southeast Asian (Hmong Americans are the largest Asian ethnic group in Wisconsin) nonprofit provides direct services, leadership development and community organizing to achieve social justice among low- to no-income communities of color in Dane County.

Living United for Change in Arizona: LUCHA has worked to improve life for working families through everything from immigration services to policy change, such as its successful 2016 campaign to pass Proposition 206, which provided up to five days of paid sick leave for all employees and raised the minimum wage to $12 in 2020. “This work is difficult and often carries a heavy emotional weight,” says LUCHA co-executive director Alejandra Gomez. “It is so important that we have the practices and resources available to sustain ourselves so we can continue fighting for a better future.”

PETA Declares Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty Its Favorite Vegan Makeup Line

Selena Gomez’s pawsitive efforts to push animal rights forward are being recognized.

PETA‘s 15th annual Libby Awards have been announced, with the 28-year-old singer, actress and entrepreneur taking home one of the prizes.

Selena Gomez

Gomez’s cosmetics line Rare Beauty won favorite vegan makeup line for being animal-test-free and cruelty-free as certified by PETA, joining more than 48,000 other companies in the organization’s Global Beauty Without Bunnies database.

Lizzo won favorite vegan cooking videos for whipping up green chile enchiladas with jackfruit with a jackfruit margarita and a Thanksgiving dinner that turned out to be 100% plant-based.

“These compassionate celebrities didn’t let the pandemic stop them from walking the walk when it comes to kindness to animals,” Marta Holmberg, PETA senior director of youth programs, says in a press statement. “PETA is honoring the superstars who are leading by example and proving that helping animals can be as simple as whipping up jackfruit enchiladas or buying a vegan lipstick.”

Lily Collins not only scored her new best friend Redford from an animal shelter during quarantine, but also the honor for most pawsitive quarantine story. And during the early stages of quarantine when every A-lister began binge watching Netflix‘s Tiger KingRiverdale star Madelaine Petsch spoke up on her Instagram Story about how “these animals belong in the wild they aren’t meant to be domesticated and put in cages.” Her declaration took home the award for favorite post for animals.

To find all the winners and more information about the PETA Libby Awards, head to PETA.org.

Jennifer Lopez to Take Part in Revry’s QueerX Live! Special

Jennifer Lopez is bringing the star power to this year’s QueerX Live! special.

Revry and Pride Media will kick off the fifth annual music, film, and industry festival QueerX! with a special awards show, featuring the 51-year-old Puerto Rican superstar, on Sunday, October 11.

This year, the LGBTQ+ virtual cable TV network is celebrating National Coming Out Day with a star-studded award show that will include screenings of the category winners from the competition, musical performances, celebrity coming out stories, and the presentation of the 5th Annual Revery Visibility Awards, which honors public figures on the front lines of queer advocacy this year.

In addition to J.Lo, QueerX Live! will feature Angelica Ross, Carmen Carrera, Isiah Thomas, and more. It will premiere across 250+ millions households & devices on the Revry apps, which are available in all major app stores, and on its 11 live TV channels on mainstream platforms like Samsung TV Plus, The Roku Channel, Comcast, and more.

The show will also screen at a pandemic-safe, drive-in screening event, QueerX @ the Drive-In, a pop-up Drive-In in Downtown Los Angeles benefiting the community-focused non-profit, DTLA Proud, and featuring DJs, food and drink, as well as surprise guest performances.

QueerX Live! will also screen the three winners of the QueerX short film festival and will showcase performances by VINCINTROB.B., and the House of Balmain (the winners of season one of HBO Max‘s Legendary).

Other events include QueerX’s annual Powerhouse Industry Pitchfest, presented by Final Draft. On October 17, Revry is giving any creator the rare opportunity to pitch a project face-to-face with top industry producers and decision makers. Only 20 pitch slots are available with top pitches receiving the Final Draft product as prizes.

Then, on October 15, 22, and 29, each Thursday evening from 5pm to 7pm PST / 8pm to 10pm EST, enjoy a free Virtual Happy Hour and connect with fellow festival attendees, filmmakers, and industry professionals.

Stream the event tomorrow night, October 11, by clicking here.

Vanessa Zamora to Perform at the First-Ever Edition of OutMusik Festival on National Coming Out Day

Vanessa Zamora’s ready to express her Pride

The 29-year-old Mexican singer, songwriter and composer will celebrate National Coming Out Day by taking part in the first-ever edition of OutMusik Festival.

Vanessa Zamora

In addition to Zamora, the list of performers set to take the stage on October 11 include Georgel, Javiera Mena, Zemmoa, Mabiland and Christian Chavez, among others.

The virtual festival will feature artists who form part of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as allies who’ll be sending motivational messages to the community.

Georgel, Raymix and Esteman will serve as hosts of the first OutMusik Fest.

“I didn’t grow up with openly and well represented LGBTQ+ icons to identify with in mainstream media, which a lot of times led me to feel like I didn’t exist or this life wasn’t  worth living,” Georgel tells Billboard. “OutMusik represents an evolved world as I perceive it, a platform where LGBTQ+ artists express their truth through performance and audiences feel represented.”

“Music is a powerful medium to tell stories and send messages that tell our reality,” adds Esteman. “The more visible our stories, we won’t have to put labels and instead celebrate who we are.”

Presenters and allies who will be of the celebration include Karol G, Chiquis, Maite Perroni, Lila Downs, Francisca Valenzuela and Gepe.

The festival will be streamed on the website OutMusik.Com, which will remain post-festival and will serve as a resource center for the LGBTQ+ community. Access to the live stream will be free but viewers will have the option of donating.

Proceeds will go toward to organizations It Gets Better and The Trevor Project.

Demi Lovato Takes Part in Twitter Q&A About Mental Health with “OK Not To Be Okay” Collaborator Marshmello & NBA Star Kevin Love

Demi Lovato’s spreading her “OK Not To Be OK” message with the world…

NBA player Kevin Love moderated a Twitter Q&A about mental health with the 28-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress and her “OK Not To Be OK” collaborator Marshmello.

Demi Lovato

While 2020 has thrown curveball after curveball at the world and the well-being of millions, Lovato, Marshmello and Love wanted people to know it will get better.

The Cleveland Cavaliers player — who recently penned a personal essay about his mental health struggles — replied to fans who asked questions using the #OKNotToBeOK hashtag about what tools, from therapy to different hobbies, they can use to improve their mindset.

“It’s not easy some days, but knowing ‘it’s ok not to be ok’ has truly helped me with this,” Lovato responded to a fan who asked about motivating yourself even during the rough patches. “You have good days… and a couple bad days in between. We can’t stress ourselves with trying to be perfect. Love you too!”

https://twitter.com/ddlovato/status/1308129595221143554?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1308129595221143554%7Ctwgr%5Eshare_3&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.billboard.com%2Farticles%2Fcolumns%2Fpop%2F9453162%2Fkevin-love-ok-not-to-be-ok-mental-health-twitter-qa-demi-lovato-marshmello

Lin Manuel Miranda Challenges TV Industry to Create All-Inclusive Environment in New #SeeAll PSA

Lin Manuel Miranda is stressing the importance of diversity on the small screen…

During Sunday night’s Primetime Emmy Awards, a powerful PSA that challenges the television industry to do more to create an all-inclusive environment will air, featuring the 40-year-old Puerto Rican composer, lyricist, actor, singer, rapper, producer, and playwright.

See All,

Miranda, who created the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton, appears alongside Billy Porter, Isis King, Daniel Dae Kim, Jamie Chung and others, in the 60-second PSA, titled “See All.”

The PSA, created by the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing (AIMM), a division of the New York-based Association of National Advertisers, features the actors alternating lines of the script, which opens with the appeal, “We appreciate the dialogue. We see the effort from Hollywood. But we need more.”

In the spot’s midsection, the voices raise important questions. “Do you see me in this industry? You act as if bias doesn’t exist. Would you rather breathe life into stereotypes or stand up against them? Because what I know of my culture isn’t who you portray me to be.”

The comments become more pointed as the spot progresses. “We are more than a splash of color on your white canvas. We’re not your quota. We are quotable. So show me — me. Not your me. Me.”

A social movement to #SEEALL will follow.

The actors epitomize the success in recent years of more diverse performers. Miranda, who has Puerto Rican roots, is just an Oscar away from becoming an EGOT. Porter, the star of Poseand Kinky Boots, is among today’s most high-profile LGBTQ performers. King, the first trans woman to compete on America’s Next Top Model, is one of the most visible transgender people on television. Kim, who was born in South Korea, has appeared in Lost, Hawaii Five-O and Angel. Chung, a second-generation Korean-American, has appeared in the films The Hangover Part IISucker Punch and Big Hero 6.

AIMM describes itself as “a coalition of entities from the entire marketing ecosystem, representing the Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and LGBTQ+ markets. AIMM members are focused on re-prioritizing multicultural and inclusive marketing to help companies maximize their growth potential. AIMM has been the catalyst for unprecedented industry research examining multicultural marketing opportunities and the obstacles that stand in the way of optimal growth.”

Melissa Fumero Taking Part in NBCUniversal’s New “The More You Know” Social Justice, Equality and Equity PSAs

Melissa Fumero is helping people get in the know

NBCUniversal will launch a new series of its popular The More You Know PSAs that tackle systemic racism and speak up for social justice, equality and equity, with the 38-year-old Cuban American actress and Brooklyn Nine-Nine star among the artists taking part.

Melissa Fumero

Fumero joins a roster of NBC talent that includes Dulé Hill, James Roday Rodriguez and Kelly Clarkson, among others.

The campaign was developed in collaboration with social and racial justice organizations Fair Count, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, the National Action Network and the National Urban League, and focuses on standing up against injustice, teaching children about equity, and the importance of voting and completing the census, especially for how it impacts the Black community and communities of color.

The campaign kicked off this week on NBC’s Today with a spot on teaching children about inclusion and acceptance. The campaign will be rolling out over the next few weeks, with spots now available on TheMoreYouKnow.com and YouTube.

The More You Know site also includes comprehensive resources and educational guides.

“For over 30 years, ‘The More You Know’ has sought to bring light to the nation’s most pressing social issues,” said Craig Robinson, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, NBCUniversal, “and we hope this new iteration will continue to educate, encourage and inspire people of all ages to take an active role in improving the world we live in.”

In addition to Fumero, Hill, Roday Rodriguez and Clarkson, stars participating in the campaign include: Carlos Adyan (En Casa con Telemundo), Freema Agyeman (New Amsterdam), Notah Begay III (NBC Sports), Gizelle Bryant (The Real Housewives of Potomac), Kandi Burruss (The Real Housewives of Atlanta), Victor Cruz (E! News), Dexter Darden (Saved by the Bell), Ester Dean (Songland), Ryan Eggold (New Amsterdam), Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster), Damon Hack (Golf Channel), Zuri Hall (Access Hollywood), Ana Jurka (“En Casa con Telemundo and Titulares y Más), Aneudy Lara (100 Días Para Enamorarnos), Howie Mandel (America’s Got Talent), Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: Organized Crime), Wendy Osefo (The Real Housewives of Potomac), Jeimy Osorio (Telemundo), Nina Parker (E! News’ Nightly Pop), Nichole Sakura (Superstore), Jocko Sims (New Amsterdam), Chris Sullivan (This Is Us”), Justin Sylvester (E! News’ Daily Pop), Elyfer Torres (Enemigo Íntimo) and Reno Wilson (Good Girls).

Demi Lovato Teams Up with Marshmello on the Empowering Single “OK Not To Be OK” During National Suicide Prevention Month

Demi Lovato is hoping people take the lyrics to her latest song to heart…

The 28-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actress has joined forces with Marshmello to release their new collaboration “OK Not To Be OK” and its accompanying music video on.

Demi Lovato

In the clip, both Lovato and Marshmello wake up in classic suburban bedrooms. A young ‘Mello rolls around the yard and rides his bike through the neighborhood, while a young version of Lovato trashes her teenaged bedroom.

“It’s okay not to be okay/ It’s okay not to be okay/ When you’re down and you feel ashamed/ It’s okay not to be okay,” Lovato sings on the inspiring chorus.

Marshmello’s disco-inflected production serves as an engaging setting for Lovato’s words of wisdom and hope.

Lovato has long used her pop platform to spread awareness on mental health issues — through self-examination in her songwriting, amplifying useful resources and information to her fans, and everything in between.

Lovato and Marshmello’s track aims to encourage outreach during National Suicide Prevention Month, but that also functions as a handy reminder during a uniquely stressful, isolating year for everyone.

“OK Not To Be Okay” follows Lovato’s personally revealing singles “I Love Me” and “Anyone,” which she debuted at this year’s Grammy Awards.