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After anti-LGBTQ trolls went after a trans student, a community responded.

They expected 15 people that first year. 600 showed up.

After anti-LGBTQ trolls went after a trans student, a community responded.

The holidays have a way of turning tables on grinches — whether they be in Whoville or in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

This particular story of family love and community acceptance began back in 2015 when a 6-year-old girl came out as transgender. The girl's mom, Sarah, and her school had her back and worked together to figure out how to make sure both the girl and her classmates were informed and comfortable with this news. The school decided to host a book reading of "I Am Jazz," co-authored by trans youth ambassador Jazz Jennings and author Jessica Herthel, which discusses gender identity.

Sarah and her daughter. All images via Human Rights Campaign/YouTube.


Sounds harmless, right? Well...

The grinches — in this case, the Liberty Council, an anti-LGBTQ law group — came to town demanding the event be cancelled. Little did they know how this would backfire.

Parents were given the opportunity to have their children opt-out of the reading, but that wasn't enough for Liberty Council. Fearing a lawsuit, administrators at Mount Horeb Primary Center cancelled the reading, sending an unfortunate message to the 6-year-old trans girl who was just looking to be accepted.

Just when it looked like all was lost, a stranger came through to save the day.

A concerned mother named Amy was distraught over the fact that a hateful organization was able to roll into town and bully a 6-year-old. Though she didn't know the girl, Amy and her family wanted to help. She signed up for a room at the local library to host a reading of "I Am Jazz" of her own.

She expected 15 people. 600 showed up.

A photo from the "I Am Jazz" reading at the Mount Horeb Public Library.

Each year since, people around the country have hosted their own "I Am Jazz" readings. This year's will be bigger than ever.

Thanks to the Human Rights Campaign, more than 200 readings are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, to show support and acceptance for trans kids.

Sarah and Amy read the book to an audience.

Looking back on that day in 2015, it's hard not to wonder if the Liberty Council ever regrets not letting the school just host its reading so one student could feel a little safer and more welcomed. In trying to shut it down, they accidentally helped create a movement.

Watch a short video about the Mount Horeb reading and the history of the "I Am Jazz" day of reading below.

For more information on how you can host a future event or finding one near you, visit hrc.org/IAmJazz.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via CNN / Twitter

Eviction seemed imminent for Dasha Kelly, 32, and her three young daughters Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, on Monday. The eviction moratorium expired over the weekend and it looked like there was no way for them to avoid becoming homeless.

The former Las Vegas card dealer lost her job due to casino closures during the pandemic and needed $2,000 to cover her back rent. The mother of three couldn't bear the thought of being put out of her apartment with three children in the scorching Nevada desert.

"I had no idea what we were going to do," Kelly said, according to KOAT.

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