A U.S. warship saved a group of drowning migrants. But they had nowhere to go.

Imagine you're serving on a U.S. ship in the Mediterranean when you come upon a group of people drowning.

Their boat is disintegrating and dozens of people are struggling to stay afloat. Another dozen have already perished; their bodies float in the water around the survivors. What do you do?

Both human kindness and international law dictate that you help them, of course. And according to The Daily Beast, that's just what sailors on the USNS Trenton did when they came across a group of migrants whose boat had failed off the coast of Libya. The Navy warship brought the 40 survivors aboard and offered them food, water, and medical care.


The problem was that they didn't know what to do with them next.

A child being rescued in the Mediterranean in 2016. Thousands of people drown each year trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach safer shores. Photo via Aris Messinis/Getty Images.

They couldn't return them to Libya because migrants were fleeing violence there, and the law required they be dropped at a "safe harbor." Transferring them to an nongovernmental organization's migrant rescue ship bound for Italy would make sense, but Italy's new interior minister was in the midst of enacting strong anti-immigrant policies, including turning away migrant rescue ships at entry ports. Other nations have been tightening their borders as well, so this U.S. warship has found itself in the middle of a European standoff over migration with nowhere to take a group of vulnerable people.

The global migration crisis has led to complex questions with no simple answers.

More than 1.8 million migrants have arrived in Europe since 2014, most of them fleeing violence and conflict in North Africa and the Middle East. Globally, there are 65 million displaced people who have been forced to leave their homes to find safety.

We are facing a global refugee crisis of massive proportions with no simple solutions.

Photo via AFP Contributor/Getty Images.

It should be a given that when a human being is suffering or in danger, other human beings step up and help out.

But on a global level, who should be stepping up and helping refugees and to what extent? How do you share the load when some nations flatly refuse? At what point do wealthy nations say, "We'd love to help, but we're all tapped out?" And at what point do you look into the face of an innocent child trapped in the most tragic circumstances and tell them, "Sorry, find help someplace else"?

These are questions that governments and individual citizens find themselves grappling with. In the meantime, thousands of people are dying each year trying to get to safety.

The refugee crisis is horrible — but not hopeless. We can use our voices and our wallets to save lives.

Governments have a host of issues to consider when making hard decisions about where to place resources and how to mold policy. But ultimately, they work for the citizenry. One thing we can do to help the most vulnerable is to let our government know we want our country to do more.

Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has cut the number of refugees we take by more than half, from Obama's 2017 goal of 110,000 to a 2018 limit of 45,000. According to the International Rescue Committee, we are actually slated to bring in less than half that number of refugees by the end of 2018.

A Syrian family fled their homeland due to a brutal civil war. Photo via Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

Just so we're clear, George W. Bush maintained an annual refugee ceiling of 70,000, even after the worst terrorist attack in history occurred on our soil. If we hit President Donald Trump's 45,000 refugee limit, that's still just one refugee per 10,000 Americans. And as Trump loves to tout, our economy is booming with unemployment at historic lows. Why aren't we doing more?

It's time to get on the horn to our government and ask that question.

Supporting organizations that help refugees is the most efficient way to provide immediate aid.

A number of highly rated organizations offer aid to refugees in various ways. Here are some you can donate to or volunteer with:

International Rescue Committee. The IRC aids refugees and people whose lives are impacted by conflict and disaster.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR protects and support refugees at the request of a government or the U.N. itself.

Doctors Without Borders. An international humanitarian organization, it provides medical aid where needs are the greatest.

Refugees International. An independent organization (which means it receives no funding from governments or the U.N.), Refugees International advocates for protection and assistance for displaced people and promotes solutions to the refugee crisis.

Mercy Corps. A global nongovernmental humanitarian aid organization, Mercy Corps helps people recover from crises due to economic, environmental, social, and political instability.

Humanity needs help, and those of us in developed, stable nations are in the best position to provide it. We know there are complex problems that need solving to turn the tide, but until we figure that out, let's keep pulling people from the water and doing what we can to keep them safe.

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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."

This article originally appeared on 05.30.15


Men struggle to comprehend the pressures women feel. The same is true of women!

Gah! We'll never get along.

This conversation between comedian Neal Brennan and Amy Poehler is a pretty good example of how hard it can be to figure life out sometimes.

Neal, the genius who co-created "Chappelle's Show," sat down with Amy for his show "The Approval Matrix." The topic? WHAT are men supposed to be now? Cool? Adorkable? Both? Neither?

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around 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!