Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream have done some pretty cool things.

The hippie ice cream moguls have made innumerable contributions to the American snack lexicon and have crafted some of the most delightfully indulgent ice cream concoctions in history.


Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Honestly, where would America be without Cherry Garcia? Half Baked? Phish Food?! If this duo hadn't shoved potato chips into a quart of vanilla caramel ice cream back in 2011, we'd all just be sitting around our homes wondering if dreams really do come true.

Beyond an incredible knack for inventing ice cream flavors you didn't even know you needed, Ben and Jerry tout a long and proud history of social consciousness and responsibility.

It was this long history that came to a head on Monday, April 18, 2016, when the two co-founders were arrested outside the U.S. Capitol. Ben and Jerry were taking part in the "Democracy Awakening" protest that converged on the Capitol building and led to the arrests of over 300 people.

Democracy Awakening, which is tied to the "Democracy Spring" protests that occurred earlier in April, is a protest to "protect voting rights, get big money out of politics and demand a fair hearing and an up or down vote on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee."

The Democracy Awakening protest in Washington D.C. Photo by Mike Theiler/AFP/Getty Images.

It's kind of awesome that Ben and Jerry care so much about social issues that they're willing to get publicly arrested defending them.

There are a lot of issues that Ben and Jerry care about as individuals and as a company — issues they've folded into their company as naturally as they fold caramel ribbons into ice cream.

Here are five issues you may not have known Ben and Jerry really care about:

1. They want the government to fight climate change.

Warming temperatures means melted ice cream, drowning cities, global famine, and general catastrophe.

Whichever of those is the scariest to you, Ben and Jerry have done their part to educate and participate in the climate movement for a long time. They even made a video showing what happens to ice cream when it's just 2 degrees warmer:

GIF via Ben & Jerry's/YouTube.

It might look delicious, but it would be pretty disastrous for the planet.

2. They want the "dough" out of politics.

Dough as in money, obviously. That's their pun, not mine.

The issue of corporate influence on our elections has been front and center in the 2016 election. In fact, it was one of the biggest issues in the Democracy Awakening protests. So you can bet that it's one Ben and Jerry care about a lot:

"At Ben & Jerry’s, we love dough so much, we invented Cookie Dough ice cream. But dough doesn’t mix so well with democracy. In fact, there’s so much big money flooding into our elections in the United States that the voice of regular folks is being drowned out."

Ben Cohen also made his own Bernie Sanders-themed flavor after the Iowa Caucus called "Bernie's Yearning," which claims to be made of "political revolution." Mmm. Delicious political revolution.

3. They want the farmers they work with to be treated fairly.

Ben & Jerry's gets its ingredients from all over the world, including from many developing countries. For example, they get vanilla from Uganda, coffee from Mexico, and even bananas from Ecuador.

A cocoa farm in Ecuador. Photo by Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images.

Ben and Jerry want the farmers who produce those ingredients to be treated respectfully, paid fairly, and of course, to use environmentally conscious practices.

"Ben & Jerry's is committed to sourcing Fairtrade ingredients as a way to improve the livelihoods of small family farmers around the world. As of January 2015, all of our pint, mini cup and scoop shop flavors are made with Fairtrade certified ingredients like sugar, cocoa, vanilla, coffee, and bananas."

Now that you know that, you won't have to feel as guilty when you "accidentally" eat a whole pint in one sitting.

4. They want LGBT equality. Because duh.

And even though marriage equality was declared law by the Supreme Court last summer, Ben and Jerry know that the fight is far from over.

"There’s more to be done, and we’re certainly not done yet! LGBT folks still face discrimination in housing, employment, and health care. Thirty-one states have no laws protecting the LGBT community from discrimination. And the statistics around violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity are startling and sobering."

In 1989, Ben & Jerry's was said to be the first company in Vermont to offer health insurance to domestic partners of employees including same-sex couples. Which, as they note, shouldn't have been a revolutionary gesture.

Since then, they've fought and continue to fight for equal rights for the LGBT community. It makes a lot of sense because, admit it, no matter who you love, you probably love ice cream just a liiiiittle more.

Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Ben & Jerry's.

5. They want world peace. Yeah. That's right.

No goal is too lofty or idealistic for the people that dreamed up Chunky Monkey. Ben & Jerry's is committed to creating a peaceful society. They're basically the opposite of a Bond villain.

It's not just a psychedelic tree-hugging fantasy either. They have a plan.

They're constantly supporting political efforts, grass-roots movements, and business relationships that will help usher us toward world peace. If that's not a worthy issue, I don't know what is.

Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Ben & Jerry's.

When Ben and Jerry were arrested on Capitol Hill, it wasn't because they wanted to break the law. It was because they were fighting, as they always have, for a better world.

Ben and Jerry might just make ice cream, but their commitment to social consciousness makes them so much more.

When Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield lay their heads down to sleep (possibly on a prison-issue pillow) they probably dream of ice cream — ice cream made with fair trade ingredients and consumed by a peaceful, equal, and loving population.

That's a pretty awesome Americone Dream if you ask me.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
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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.

Upworthy is sharing this letter from Myra Sack on the anniversary of the passing of her daughter Havi Lev Goldstein. Loss affects everyone differently and nothing can prepare us for the loss of a young child. But as this letter beautifully demonstrates, grief is not something to be ignored or denied. We hope the honest words and feelings shared below can help you or someone you know who is processing grief of their own. The original letter begins below:


Dear Beauty,

Time is crawling to January 20th, the one-year anniversary of the day you took your final breath on my chest in our bed. We had a dance party the night before. Your posse came over. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, closest friends, and your loving nanny Tia. We sat in the warm kitchen with music on and passed you from one set of arms to another. Everyone wanted one last dance with you. We didn’t mess around with only slow songs. You danced to Havana and Danza Kuduro, too. Somehow, you mustered the energy to sway and rock with each of us, despite not having had anything to eat or drink for six days. That night, January 19th, we laughed and cried and sang and danced. And we held each other. We let our snot and our tears rest on each other’s shoulders; we didn’t wipe any of them away. We ate ice cream after dinner, as we do every night. And on this night, we rubbed a little bit of fresh mint chocolate chip against your lips. Maybe you’d taste the sweetness.

Reggaeton and country music. Blueberry pancakes and ice cream. Deep, long sobs and outbursts of real, raw laughter. Conversations about what our relationships mean to each other and why we are on this earth.


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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
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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.

An assignment on the Trail of Tears has prompted debate about taking historical perspectives.

Helping young people understand the causes and effects of historical events is a formidable task for any educator. History isn't just "what happened and when." There's also a "why," "how" and "who" in every historical happening, and quality history education helps students explore those questions.

Sometimes, however, that exploration can go off the rails.

Most people would agree that understanding different perspectives is an important part of learning history, but there are more and less problematic ways of helping students gain that understanding. We've seen some of the more problematic methods pop up in school assignments before, from asking students to pick cotton like slaves to listing the pros and cons of slavery.

Now an assignment from a school in Georgia is making the rounds, with people calling out issues with the perspective it asked students to take.

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The airplane graveyard that 3 families call home is the subject of a stunning photo series.

From the skies to the ground, these airplanes continue to serve a purpose.

This article originally appeared on 09.18.15


What happens to airplanes after they're no longer fit to roam the skies?


An abandoned 747 rests in a Bangkok lot. Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images.

Decommissioned planes are often stripped and sold for parts, with the remains finding a new home in what is sometimes referred to as an "airplane boneyard" or "graveyard." Around the world, these graveyards exist; they're made up of large, empty lots and tons of scrap metal.

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