Last month, I wrote a post about aphotography project by Braden Summers. Braden photographed LGBT couples inromantic settings around the world to show a different depiction of romantic love — one that we do not see very often. This is what it looked like:

The project got a lot of, well, love. It was shared far and wide (thanks for that!). And I received lots of messages on my Facebook page about it.


But one message stood out, from a girl named Esther:

I asked if I could speak with her sister because she sounded awesome.

Esther put me in touch with Serena. Serena and I had a short email chat and then hopped onto Skype, where wediscussed her faith, her beliefs, and how she dealt with the wide range ofresponses she received when she shared my post on Facebook.

She told me that she got a barrage of critical responses from a small minority of fellow Christians. People were emailingher and sending Facebook messages to her asking why she supported gay rights and whether she is gay herself. She even got phone calls at work abouther "controversial views" from people trying to convince her to change her stance.

Serena was concerned:Was she going to be kicked out of her church? Howshould she respond?

She told me she responded to each message sent to her (she showed me the emails — she did so with tolerance and kindness).

But the best part of it all was when Serena reposted my link with a definitive statement to end the chaos.

Just read how ace her reply is:

Serena told me the head pastor of her church told her that discussion is a good thing because homosexuality isn't talked about much in her community and kept very "hush-hush" in her church. She explained that she wasn't angry about the reaction she got — in fact, she felt it "opened up dialogue ... it required people to express their opinion, but also to really listen to other opinions, too."

Serena helped shape the conversation about LGBT rights in a positive way and encouraged a dialogue even when she faced a backlash. Simply sharing a post (like mine) may not seemlike a big thing to do, but Serena has proved that it can bring an importantissue to the table that otherwise would have been ignored or misunderstood.

When I asked Serena if she'd share another Upworthy post that mirrored her views or supported LGBT rights, she replied, "absolutely."

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Shkoryah Carthen has spent half of her life working in the service industry. While the 32-year old restaurant worker quickly sensed that Covid-19 would bring real change to her daily life, Carthen hardly knew just how strongly it would impact her livelihood.

"The biggest challenge for me during this time, honestly is just to stay afloat," Carthen said.

Upon learning the Dallas restaurant she worked for would close indefinitely, Carthen feared its doors may never reopen.

Soon after, Carthen learned that The Wilkinson Center was desperately looking for workers to create and distribute meals for those in need in their community. The next day, Carthen was at the food pantry restocking shelves and creating relief boxes filled with essentials like canned foods, baby formula and cleaning products. In addition to feeding families throughout the area, this work ensured Carthen the opportunity to provide food for her own.

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