A Virginia man responds thoughtfully when asked if immigrants are taking coal jobs.

Meet Nic Smith. He's got some powerful things to say.

Nic, who works at a Waffle House in Virginia, comes from a long line of union coal miners. His grandfathers were coal miners. His great-grandfathers were coal miners. Cousins, uncles, you name it. However, the coal industry has been shedding jobs for a while now. And, while President-elect Donald Trump has promised to bring all those coal jobs back, Nic isn't buying it.

In the video below, he lays out the facts pretty clearly as to why. Really bluntly.

If you don't have time to watch all of his powerful answers, here are the highlights of what Nic had to say:


1. "Coal's not coming back."

Yeah, Trump has claimed he's going to bring back all the coal jobs. But according to experts, those jobs are just not coming back, between automation of systems and lower demand for the polluting energy source. From 2008-2012 alone, the coal industry lost almost 50,000 jobs while natural gas, wind, and solar all had huge gains in the same time period.

2. "Ain't no damn immigrant stole a coal job. I'll tell you that right now."

"Even if they did," he continued, "would you be blaming the immigrants or the people that hired them? The only reason they'd hire an immigrant over an American citizen is if it benefits their wallets."

He's right. The reality is that uneducated immigrants are vying for different jobs than American workers.

3. "I do $2.35 an hour plus tips. ... We need $15 an hour."

In a second video, Nic explains how little he earns, by waiting tables at the local Waffle House. He makes $2.35 per hour plus tips, unless those tips are less than minimum wage, then he makes $7.35 per hour. He'd make more as a cook on the grill on most nights than he does as a waiter, but even that isn't enough to support himself. It's only $15,000 per year.

In Dickenson County, Virginia, where Nic lives, 1 in 5 people live below the poverty line, and the average income is barely half that of the rest of Virginia.

4. "[Trump supporters] are desperate to believe in something."

The reason many blue-collar workers and low-income people in the coal industry voted for Trump? "There's 80% [of people], they're struggling day to day," Nic says. "The only industry they've got there is coal, and they're trying to hold onto what little bit there is. And they really don't care what it takes to keep that industry there or bring it back. "

If there's one thing Nic hopes people take away from his interview, it's that we can't ignore people in dying industries.

"If we invested in Appalachian people and helped diversify the economy, these people would stop clinging to coal," he says. "There is a culture-wide Stockholm syndrome we have with the coal industry, and people don't get that."

You can learn more about Fight for $15 here.

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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.