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Honored, humbled, but not satisfied: Carmelo Anthony on receiving the inaugural Kareem Abdul …

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On May 3, Carmelo Anthony climbed to 10th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list – joining an elite group with some of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball, led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose 38,387 career points remains the benchmark three decades removed from his retirement.

But the connection between Kareem and Carmelo goes well beyond the buckets they can put up on the court. Both men have been leaders off the court in the fight for social justice and racial equality and both have used their platforms to bring change to their local communities and on a national platform.

On Tuesday, Anthony was named the recipient of the inaugural Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award, which recognizes a current NBA player for pursuing social justice and advancing Abdul-Jabbar’s life mission to engage, empower and drive equality for individuals and groups who have been historically marginalized or systemically disadvantaged.

“First of all, I just want to say I’m honored, I’m blessed, I feel humbled to be the first recipient of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion award,” Anthony said. “Just that name alone, we all know what that stands for, we all know what Kareem stood for and what he stands for now. So, for me to be receiving this award means so much more than a lot of other awards that I’ve ever received.

“Kareem laid the foundation for us to be able to go out there and continue to fight the fight and continue to use our voice,” Anthony continued. “We know he was a legend on the court. And what he dedicated his life to, but at the end of the day, what he fought for when it comes to equality and he made it his mission and his duty to drive positive change in our community and in our society.”

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Carmelo and the other four finalists for the award – Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris, Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday and Golden State’s Juan Toscano-Anderson – have taken the torch from players like Kareem and Bill Russell and led a new era of activism across the NBA.

While Anthony receives this recognition in 2021, his efforts began over 15 years ago when he founded the Carmelo Anthony Foundation as a vehicle for actionable change and social reform through a variety of outreach programs and disaster relief initiatives. His work continued over the course of his NBA career, highlighted by a call to action he made alongside fellow NBA stars Chris Paul, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade at the 2016 ESPY Awards.

It began with an Instagram post from Anthony – an image from the Cleveland Summit on June 4, 1967 that included Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) as well as other prominent Black athletes such as Jim Brown, Bill Russell and Muhammad Ali coming together to discuss Ali’s refusal to fight in Vietnam – along with a lengthy caption from Carmelo about the need for today’s athletes to step up and utilize their voices and platforms to lead the charge for social change.

Shortly after that post, Anthony heard from Paul, James and Wade and the wheels set in motion to speak at the ESPYs, which Anthony called a “breaking point.”

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“It was time to really step up to the challenge, step up to the plate, put our money where our mouth and make a call to action,” he said. “For the longest time, nobody wanted to touch these issues, or touch certain issues for whatever reason, but that moment really broke something. And at that moment, when we came together, we stood up in front of the crowd of fellow athletes and we demanded change, we demanded them to get up, stop being quiet, use your voice, use your platform, and that’s what we demanded.”

Anthony, Paul and Wade took what Anthony calls the “2.0 step” to that ESPY moment a few years later when the trio established the Social Change Fund. The three future Hall of Famers invested their own money to help support organizations doing the work on the ground to enact social change.

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“We established the Social Change Fund to just support and invest in organizations that’s fighting and working towards tackling criminal justice reform, enact policy solutions, and advocate for the human rights of all Black lives – not just for my generation and generation before us, but the generation that’s to come,” Anthony said.

That idea of looking toward the next generation could clearly be seen when Anthony took on the role of Editor-in-Chief of Slam Magazine’s Special Social Justice issue in 2020 when Carmelo posed on the cover of the magazine with his son, Kiyan, with the headline below them reading: “It Stops Now.”

That cover brings things full circle for Anthony, who says he traces his passion and commitment for social justice back to his own father.

“It’s part of my DNA, I get it from my father,” Anthony said. “My father was very active and in the Puerto Rican community and fighting for what was right and fighting for Puerto Rican rights. He was a Young Lord and was part of the Young Lords Party. So, I get that from him.

“I didn’t know that at an early age. But as I got older and started putting things together, asking questions and doing my own research of the family ties, it started to all make sense of why I love tackling these issues. I love bringing these issues up and bringing light to these issues because it was already embedded in me without me even knowing that.”

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Anthony’s commitment to social change is not limited to reform in criminal justice, voting or race spaces, he has also developed an incubator program focused on creativity and the arts as a way to showcase Black stories and storytellers.

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In 2020, Anthony established the STAYME7O Propel Program as a way to tap into the creativity of Black culture through fashion, art and design to develop intricate pieces that honor a vision of Black excellence and inspire a culture to create and move further, together.

This spring, Anthony announced Creative 7, a global, multi-platform content company through which he has been developing a robust slate of projects that speak to the evolution of the human spirit through adversity, social activism and compelling, entertainment-forward storytelling.

“It’s not enough to only fight for social justice in the moments of brutality or injustice,” he said when he was announced as a finalist for the Social Justice Champion award. “For equality to truly exist, we need to push for equity and justice in all areas of Black lives. That can only happen when opportunity exists. My mission is to continue fighting for reform in our justice system, amplifying the voices of the fallen, and generating opportunities to uplift Black creatives and storytellers who will propel the narratives that for too long have gone unheard.

“I’m going to keep fighting for progress and using my resources in hopes that we will be able to create a future for the next generation where everyone is accepted and celebrated for being their truest self, regardless of who they are, what they look like or where they come from.”

As the winner of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award, Anthony receives a $100,000 donation to the social justice organization of his choosing. He chose the Portland Art Museum’s Black Arts and Experiences Initiative as the recipient of his donation.

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While this award recognized the work that Anthony has been doing for years, it does not signify a level of completion, but rather a reminder that progress is slow and requires a collective effort.

“We have a long way to go,” he said. “But I do see progress, I see the trajectory going in a nice direction. And I just want to help keep it there. I just want to continue the conversations, continue talking to the people. And the most important thing is continuing to listen to people. Because when you listen closely, you’re going to hear something and you’re going to hear a lot of important gems and things that you can actually take into consideration and move forward.”

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One of those conversations for Anthony was with civil rights leader Opal Lee back on March 24 as part of the “Juneteenth: The Road To Unity” livestream event as the two discussed the Juneteenth movement and Lee’s mission to have it recognized as a national holiday. Less than three months after that conversation, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was signed by President Joe Biden to fulfill that mission.

“I started doing research. I got to talk to Ms. Opal Lee and at that moment that you understood the fight,” he said. “You understood how hard she was fighting and how long she was fighting, the uphill battles that she had to go through. I mean, this is years and years and years of fighting for what she believed in and what was right, that Juneteenth should be a national holiday. And I wanted to be a part of that, I wanted to be a part of getting it over the top and pushing it through and now people can celebrate the way that we should be celebrating on Juneteenth.”

Whether its lending his voice to a cause he supports, funding on-the-ground efforts to combat racial injustice, or providing a platform for young Black creatives to grow and showcase their talents, Carmelo Anthony is committed to uplifting his community.

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“What inspired me was the fact that I was a part of that environment,” he said “I saw and experienced what it was like to be there, what it was like to live there, what it was like to grow up there. Seeing the things that I’ve that I’ve seen, knowing that I was always wanting somebody to come back to my community and give back.

“When you saw people go to other communities and do those appearances, it was like I wish somebody would just come back to us, I just wish somebody would come back to me and just say, everything’s will be alright, or there’s hope, or you’ve got to believe and dream. I’ve never received that message before, so I know what that feels like being on the opposite side of that.

“So now, and even when I first got into the NBA, it was like, I have to give back to that community, I don’t want to do anything else until I give back to my community. That’s how it started – just being a product of our environment, and understanding the needs and the wants of that community.”

From inspiration came action and now those actions have been recognized as Carmelo Anthony is the inaugural winner of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award.

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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August

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Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …

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Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a pic.twitter.com/2chGZP9hr4

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

Read next: Instagram Plans On Allowing Users To Return To Its Old Chronologically Sorted News Feed

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android

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Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly

PLANOLY

We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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