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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.

Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

Screenshots via @castrowas95/Twitter

In the Pacific Northwest, orca sightings are a fairly common occurrence. Still, tourists and locals alike marvel when a pod of "sea pandas" swim by, whipping out their phones to capture some of nature's most beautiful and intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

While orcas aren't a threat to humans, there's a reason they're called "killer whales." To their prey, which includes just about everything that swims except humans, they are terrifying apex predators who hunt in packs and will even coordinate to attack whales several times their own size.

So if you're a human alone on a little platform boat, and a sea lion that a group of orcas was eyeing for lunch jumps onto your boat, you might feel a little wary. Especially when those orcas don't just swim on by, but surround you head-on.

Watch exactly that scenario play out (language warning, if you've got wee ones you don't want f-bombed):

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