More

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.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

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.

Amazon

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.

Keep Reading Show less

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

Keep Reading Show less
True

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.