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A startling new report from the Russian LGBT Network highlights just how bad the crackdown on gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in Chechnya has gotten in recent months. As the reported number of people who've been detained or killed for suspicion of being LGBTQ skyrockets, it's hard to know what can be done to help. Making matters worse, details are few and far between, with even the new Russian LGBT Network report admitting it's hard to understand the full scope of the assault for certain.

What we do have are stories, like the one a gay Chechen man shared at Meduza back in April, which comes to life in a haunting new video.

Titled "Unable to breathe," the animated short follows the unnamed man as he's arrested for suspicion of homosexuality, physically and mentally tortured for a week without food or water, and eventually flees the country, forced to leave his family behind. (The subtitles are a bit small, so you may want to watch this full screen.)


"They beat me for several hours straight. They broke my ribs. They used electricity to torture me — they have this special coil and metallic pegs. In the neighboring rooms, people were also interrogated and tortured. I could hear their screams. The policemen wanted me to confess to being gay and to snitch on my friends, but I didn’t break."

The story takes a number of horrifying turns, but perhaps the most disturbing aspect is the portion where he reveals that the Chechen government wants families to murder their gay relatives.

"One of my relatives participates in 'gay-hunts'," he says in the video. "He does not suspect me, so he told me that the police have already arrested about 200 people. The police are blackmailing their families, threatening the relatives with dishonor. They are forcing the families to 'take care' of them. It means to kill. If they don’t do it, the police will. I don’t know what to do."

This assault on LGBTQ individuals is a human rights atrocity, and we cannot remain silent.

Some have spoken up — including Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), 50 members of the House of Representatives, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former Vice President Joe Biden, and others. Still, many of the most powerful people in the world — such as President Trump and Vice President Pence — have remained silent in the face of this terrible campaign.

That's why it's so important that we don't allow stories like these to just fade into the background. We must keep them front of mind, and sharing the stories of those most affected by this barbaric treatment is one very important way to do that.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via LinkedIn

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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