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16 things you can do right now to advocate for women's rights and 4 you shouldn't.

Practicing intersectional feminism will make a more fair and just world for all.

So you’re a feminist? That's awesome!

Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images.

Feminism has been one of the most invaluable tools of resistance against fascism, racism, and bigotry. The advocacy work of feminism from decades before has led to voting rights for women, abortion rights, bodily autonomy, and more.


But at its inception, feminism wasn't as inclusive as it could be. The needs of minority women, women of different sexualities and gender identities, and women who were not of the middle and upper class weren't lifted up.

Erasure of the stories of different types of women — all deserving of equality — inspired the concept of intersectional feminism.

The idea behind intersectionality is that women’s overlapping identities — such as race, religion, class, and sexual orientation — affect the way they experience oppression in varying levels of intensity.  

Photo by Andrew Cabellero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images.

Women are multi-layered, complex beings with varied identities. We must advocate for all to be able to life live free of the structural and systemic injustices that prevail.  

If we limit feminism to white, cisgendered, upper-middle-class women, we continue a violent cycle of white, heterosexual patriarchy that has made the lives of many unnecessarily difficult.

While there are many ways to become more intersectional in your feminism, here are a few steps to get you started.

1. Do stop and listen.

Listen to black women. Listen to Muslim women. Listen to trans women. Listen to lesbian women. Listen to women who are domestic workers.  

All of these women and more experience racism, classism, homophobia, and structural injustice in various ways. This year has brought an enclave of racism, hate crimes, and problematic practices to the U.S. government and our communities. The people most susceptible to the consequences of this culture are marginalized women. They have the right to be sad, disheartened, and pretty darn mad. Listen to their anger, their ideas, and the problems that are a part of their identity.        

2. Do study intersectional feminist history.

Kimberlé Crenshaw's essay on the intersection of race and sex is a great place to start. Or stop by your local library and look into the works of feminists scholars like Bell Hooks and Audre Lorde.

3. Don't whitesplain.

Whitesplaining is to explain something through the lens of whiteness, often condescendingly. Instead, listen to the experiences, ideas, and perspectives of marginalized women to understand what a more equal world looks like to them. It may be uncomfortable or you may disagree, but don't be defensive. Understanding the stories of the women around you without bias is integral to creating a truly equal world.

Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images.

4. Do read books by intersectional feminists.

Audre Lorde’s "Sister Outsider," Bell Hooks’ "Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism," and Roxane Gay’s "Bad Feminist" are just a few of the many books available by badass women to get you started on your journey to becoming an intersectional feminist.    

Reading the work of feminist also assists in financially supporting the work of women that, systemically, often make less than white women for their work.  

Roxane Gay is one of the most well-known feminist writers and scholars. Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images.

5. Do pop that filter bubble.

You can find many women on Twitter that offer their words of wisdom, read articles on websites you don’t usually frequent, and look up information on topics that are new to you to expand you knowledge.          

6. Don't ignore hate speech — call people out.

When you hear a friend, family member, colleague, or significant other making problematic statements, say something.  

You don’t need to hold an hourlong lecture or break off ties with one another, but directly explain why what they said was problematic and the bigger picture behind their words. We often think that people can’t change, but many times, hearing something from a loved one rather than a social media account goes a pretty long way.

7. Do check out art from marginalized communities.

Art reflects life. It remains one of the most important and timeless outlets for human expression during politically charged times. Go to art shows that are curated by minority and women artists or that feature the work of those artists. Listen to music that discusses the challenges facing our world, and support minorities and LGBTQ musicians, painters, actors, and programming.  

8. Do update your media diet by following journalists of color.

Joy Reid, Dylan Marron, Franchesca Ramsey, and Melissa Harris-Perry all have shows, platforms, or social media venues that showcase the experiences of various women and how to best become an ally.

9. Do donate and volunteer with organizations practicing intersectional feminism.  

Planned Parenthood has received a plethora of donations (many in the name of feminism "favorite" Mike Pence), but they aren’t the only organization fighting the good fight for women all over the country. Sistersong: Women of Color Reproductive Justice, a Southern-based organization that works to get reproductive justice and human rights to women of color and indigenous women; Central American Legal Assistance, a New York firm that provides "free or low-cost service to immigrant communities"; and the Trans Lifeline, a hotline service run by transgender people for the needs of trans people, are all organizations that are inherently intersectionality feminist and in need of funds to continue fighting for the marginalized.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

10. Do hire women of color, trans folks, and non-binary people.  

Whether you’re a hiring manager, a teacher, or a community worker, use your space to advocate for the disenfranchised. This could mean hiring minorities and queer people, protesting in marches that advocate for the rights of communities you aren't necessarily a part of, and spending your money at minority-owned businesses.

11. Don’t speak for groups you don’t identify with.  

Trans women can speak for themselves, Latina women can speak for themselves, cisgendered minority women can speak for themselves, and so can every other human. Instead of trying to explain their experiences to other people, let them explain their experiences themselves. They've got this.      

Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images.

12. Do remain politically active.

Keep track of how your representatives are voting by using apps like Countable and iCitizen to follow key issues that impact marginalized communities. Attend town hall meetings, call your congressmen, and be vocal when problematic policies are placed on the table.  

13. Do understand you'll make mistakes.

Sometimes, you may unknowingly say things that are problematic, myths, and outright wrong. Humans are flawed; it'll happen. But don't let that make you afraid to engage in dialogue out of fear of misspeaking. Instead, listen when someone corrects you, and work on being better and more understanding.    

14. Don't spend money with companies that back problematic politicians and policies.

Where you spend your money is a personal choice, but there are several popular companies known to either directly support politicians advocating for discriminatory policies or outright support discriminatory policies. Learn about the history of your favorite companies and the folks who are running it from the top, and use this information to make ethical and well-informed choices.

15. Do buy from companies that support organizations fighting the good fight.

A number of companies use proceeds from sales to support feminism, black people, and other marginalized groups. Support businesses owned by women, minorities, immigrants, and Muslims to financially counter anti-intersectionality.  

16. Do understand the lives of people with disabilities.    

Learn more about the struggles of people living with disabilities by visiting platforms like The Disability Visibility Project. DVP increases dialogue surrounding issues within the disabled community and leads readers to Twitter platforms and online spaces with key information about ways to help and be an ally.

It's also important to remain vigilant in watching what happens with the Affordable Care Act and how those living with disabilities could be affected by any changes to the law.  

17. Do fight for policies that benefit mental health programs.

Women are more likely to experience depression than men, and black women are experience major depression at higher rates than white women. With a rising percentage of hate crimes and uncertain policies ahead, it's imperative to support treatment and mental health programs for those affected most under oppressive policies.

18. Do know the news that affects trans and non-binary communities.

Know how bathroom laws, suicide rates, and poverty affect trans people. You can donate to organizations like The National Center for Transgender Equality, The Trevor Project, and The Human Rights Campaign to support trans kids, teens, and adults.    

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

19. Do support immigrant women.    

Supporting immigrant communities can range from doing activities like fighting against repealing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to hosting immigrants neighbors for dinner. Continue speaking out against police brutality and unethical deportation practices, and make sure to call out hate speech against immigrants.

20. Do live out your activism.    

Resist. Resist racist and homophobic laws. Listen to — don’t argue with — people who tell you that you’re doing hurtful and problematic things. Use your privilege in ways that assist others of different backgrounds.

By living an intersectional life, we give women from all identities and backgrounds the chance to thrive and make the future a brighter place for all.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
True

When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

This article originally appeared on November 5, 2013


When I saw these incredible photos Angelo Merendino took of his wife, Jennifer, as she battled breast cancer, I felt that I shouldn't be seeing this snapshot of their intimate, private lives.





















The photos humanize the face of cancer and capture the difficulty, fear, and pain that they experienced during the difficult time.

But as Angelo commented: "These photographs do not define us, but they are us."

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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
True

The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

A group of around 20 moms gathered at a Boston area high school to vent their frustrations loudly.

The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but there are certain groups of people who have faced particularly intense challenges these past two years. Healthcare workers? For sure. Teachers? Definitely. Parents? Um, yes.

Moms specifically? Yesssss.

It's hard to describe how hard navigating the pandemic with kids has been. Figuring out childcare when schools and daycare centers shut down, managing kids' remote or hybrid schooling, constantly making decisions about what's safe and what's not, dealing with the inconsistency and chaos of it all, weighing risks with who is vaccinated and who isn't—none of it has been easy. Many parents are also raising kids with mental, emotional, behavioral or physical challenges that have only been made harder by pandemic life.

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Peter Dinklage in 2013.

Disney has taken another step toward diversifying its iconic princesses by casting Rachel Zegler to play Snow White in its upcoming live-action version of the Grimms’ fairy tale. Zegler’s mother is of Colombian descent and her father has Polish roots. The 20-year-old actress recently wowed audiences in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.”

Disney has also announced that Halle Bailey, a Black actress, will play Ariel in its upcoming live-action version of “The Little Mermaid.”

Disney’s big push toward inclusivity in the casting of its princesses is definitely a welcome move, but according to actor Peter Dinklage, the Mouse may be missing the forest for the trees.

Dinklage, who was born with a form of dwarfism named achondroplasia, criticized Disney on the “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast for being hypocritical for focusing on race while completely missing the ball when it comes to people with disabilities.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Maron.

"Really? Like what?" Maron asked. "What do you see?"


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