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5 real things you can do right now to fight Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban.'

The president's executive order is a shocking reversal of American values.

5 real things you can do right now to fight Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban.'

On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump enacted harsh restrictions on immigration and refugee intake via executive order.

Titled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States," the executive order has the effect of placing a hold on the U.S. refugee program and restricts travel from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The order also stipulates that of the refugees who are let into the country, Christians will be prioritized over Muslims.

Photo by Pete Marovich - Pool/Getty Images.


Within hours of the order's signing, its effects became clear. At major U.S. airports around the country, more than two dozen individuals covered by the newly implemented restrictions were detained upon arrival. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that the order would also have the effect of banning green card holders from seven countries from re-entering the U.S. In all, the order could block up to 500,000 legal U.S. residents from exiting and re-entering the country.

Though the administration has insisted this is not a "Muslim ban," Muslims will be disproportionately affected by Trump's actions. In December 2015, then-candidate Trump called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." For what it's worth, Michael Flynn Jr., son of Trump's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, celebrated the order on Twitter as a "Muslim ban."

Protestors rally during a protest at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Jan. 28, 2017. Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.

Banning people on the basis of where they're from or what their religion is, is quintessentially un-American. It's a slap in the face to the men and women who founded this country on a principle of religious liberty, and it's a show of disrespect for the men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect our national ideals at home and abroad.

Since the order was signed, people have taken to the streets in protests, donated to causes dedicated to ensuring the safety and rights of immigrants and refugees, and legal challenges have already begun to work their way through the courts, with stays reportedly being issued Saturday evening to halt any immediate deportations.

The fight on this is just beginning. Here are five things you can do right now to help:

1. Donate to causes supporting legal challenges to the order.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against the Trump administration, arguing that his executive order is unconstitutional.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit along with the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center, the National Immigration Law Center, Yale Law School’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, and the firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

On Twitter, musical artist Sia announced matching donations to the ACLU up to $100,000, and entrepreneur Chris Sacca said he would match donations up to $75,000.

2. Join a protest.

As news of the challenges facing the detained travelers emerged, protesters began showing up at the affected airports with a simple message: This is not who we are.

ThinkProgress has a running list of upcoming protests against the ban.

Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.

3. Donate to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

In the lead-up to last year's election, anti-Muslim sentiment seemed to be on the rise. In the months since, documented instances of Islamophobic attacks and hate crimes have seen a spike. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a civil rights advocacy organization that works to resolve instances of anti-Muslim discrimination through mediation, negotiation, public pressure, and legal action.

On Twitter, musician Grimes offered to match donations to CAIR up to $10,000.

4. Call your lawmakers.

Where do your politicians stand on Trump's executive order? Have they released any sort of statement? Either way, it's a great chance to reach out to their offices. Representatives and senators cannot single-handedly undo an executive order, but they can put pressure on the administration to roll back the changes.

Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.

A number of lawmakers from both parties have spoken out against the order on social media. Even if your representatives have taken a stand against the order, you can call to say thanks.

5. Speak out, speak up, and let it be known that this is not who America is.

No matter how we voted in November, we are all a part of the same country — and that country should be a welcome home for all.

To paraphrase Emma Lazarus: We should aim to be a welcoming home to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the homeless, and the tempest-tossed. That's the America we should aspire to be.

So tell your friends, tell your families, share messages of support on social media. We don't need to fear the unknown. In fact, the odds of an American dying as the result of an act of terrorism carried out by a refugee is a minuscule 1 in 3.64 billion in any given year.

Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

via Gage Skidmore/Flickr and Terry Morgan/Flickr

Senator Ted Cruz and a kangaroo.

Conservative media in the United States has painted Australia as a state on the brink of authoritarianism due to strict COVID-19 protections in some parts of the country. These news outlets appear to be using the country as an example of what can happen in America if liberal politicians go unchecked.

Fox News' Tucker Carlson ran a story on Australia earlier this month claiming the country "looks a lot like China did at the beginning of the pandemic." He ended it by saying that "what's happening in Australia might be instructive to us in the United States" and that things can "change very quickly" and become "dystopian and autocratic."

Carlson provides zero reasons why Americans should be fearful of becoming an autocratic country due to COVID-19, beyond the idea that "things can change very quickly" so his appeals sound a lot more like fear-mongering than genuine concern.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."