A gay couple's pride flag helped give a young teen the courage to come out to their family.

One of the questions that LGBT people get most often during Pride month is why we need to be so visible all the time — especially in June, when you can't turn a corner without running into a rainbow-themed display at Target. While there are many reasons — check some out right here — one of the biggest reasons visibility is important is that it's letting future generations know that it's okay to be who you are. That there will always be people who support you.

In Round Rock, Texas, that visibility helped change the trajectory of one person's life. And it all has to do with the rainbow flag a couple flies outside their home every day.

Sal Stow, who lives at the home in question with her partner, Meghan Stabler, was just out picking up the mail when she noticed that there was a handwritten note held down by a rock among the letters and packages. She didn't know what to expect — sometimes those things are just pizza delivery menus — but when she took a closer look, the sentiment brought her near tears.

"Hello, you don't know me," the note began. "We've moving away today, but I wanted to thank you. Seeing a Pride flag waving so proudly outside your house every day has given me the courage to come out to my family and be comfortable with who I am." The note-writer had also drawn a self-portrait. In it, they look healthy and content while waving the transgender and pansexual pride flags.

On Twitter and Facebook, the note's been shared thousands of times.


The message here is crystal clear: When we're open about who we are and live our lives free of fear and shame (to the extent which society allows), we're also inspiring others to live out loud. And for those who are struggling with being open about their sexual orientation or gender identity, the tiniest symbols of love and acceptance are a reminder that the world can be a good, supportive place. Sometimes, no words need to be exchanged.

Sure, many of us yearn for a world in which no one has to come out because it's no longer frightening or dangerous, but while Americans have made great strides forward in furthering LGBT+ rights, coming out is anxiety-provoking. Especially when the threats of family rejection and homelessness are still all too real. For many teens, there's a fear that their friends and families will turn on them due to their sexual orientation — even if their loved ones endorsed support for the LGBT+ community before.

In a town like Round Rock, where, Stow writes, the residents are primarily conservative and the local government unanimously struck down a motion to fly a Pride flag at the courthouse, this type of visibility has even more of an impact.

"I am proud of who I am and the person I love. I will continue to be visible in whatever way I can," Stow vowed on Facebook. Maybe it's time we all picked up a rainbow flag to hang near our doors to show pride in ourselves and be an ally for others? Just an idea!

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.