An immigrant posted her taxes online. Then came the threats. Then came the love.

"Immigrants don't pay taxes!"

It's a common myth, and some pretty high profile people seem to believe it (including, potentially, the president of the United States).

But it's not true. It's been proven not to be true.


Yet, it persists.

Recently, an Arizona State University student set out to bust this myth once and for all.

Belén Sisa came to America as a child and has since been a recipient of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood), an Obama administration program that aims to help people who came to America at a young age to stay. She posted to Facebook a photo of one of her tax documents, showing she paid $300 to the state of Arizona even though she's undocumented.

MYTH BUSTER: I, an undocumented immigrant, just filed my taxes and PAID $300 to the state of Arizona. I cannot receive...

Posted by Belén Sisa on Sunday, March 26, 2017

She's not the only one. Undocumented immigrants pay over $11 billion per year that goes into programs like Medicaid and Social Security — programs they'll never receive benefits from.

There's a multitude of reasons and mechanisms that make this possible, but according to some estimates, undocumented immigrants actually pay taxes at a higher rate than America's wealthy.

Her post quickly went viral, and soon after, there was extraordinary backlash.

Sisa's Facebook page was overwhelmed with insults, anger, and worst of all, threats.

People called her post a hoax. They told her to "get the hell out of Arizona." Or they found a way to gripe about a college student "only" paying $300 in state income taxes.

That's just what was posted publicly. Sisa's private messages revealed an even darker shade of rage, including people who claimed to have reported her to ICE and worse.

The HATE is real guys. The hate is real. I am legally working in the United States through DACA, and I'm pretty sure the...

Posted by Belén Sisa on Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sisa stood tall amid an onslaught of criticism. For as many people as she angered, even more people came to her defense.

Other DACA recipients from across the country praised her for fighting for understanding. Applause emojis rained all over her Facebook page. Other immigrants shared how much they've paid the government in recent years. Anyone who attacked her was quickly swarmed with dozens of rebuttals.

"Keep fighting girls! You'll make a difference," one friend wrote.

"Thank you for sharing this. May you stay safe and warm where you want to be," added another.

"I admire your strength, Belen! You're undocumented, unafraid, and here to stay," Facebooker Isabella Michaele posted. "We sure as hell have got your back."



Many of the most moving messages were sent directly to Sisa through private message.

This is what makes it all worth it. This is the reason to keep going everyday, fighting & standing together. The love makes me tear up, thank you ❤ #HereToStay #WePayTaxesToo

Posted by Belén Sisa on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"This is what makes it all worth it," she wrote in a follow-up post. "This is the reason to keep going every day, fighting & standing together."

There will always be people with a warped understanding of the American dream.

People who think the pursuit of happiness is a right that belongs only to a select few, or who can't view the success of others without wondering what it might cost them.

If Sisa's story shows us anything (besides the fact that a 23-year-old immigrant is willing to endure insults and threats of violence by releasing her tax information, while our president refuses to do so), it's that the believers will always be louder.

And that — far off as it may seem sometimes — the America most of us are dreaming of is still within reach.

Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less

Lately, Twitter has been a rough place for famous Chrises. First Evans had his day on the trending side bar, and now it's Pratt's turn. With the way things are going, we cringe for what's in store for Hemsworth.

Earlier this week, Warrior Nun writer Amy Berg posted a photo on Twitter of four famous Chrises - Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, and Chris Pratt. "One has to go," Berg captioned the photo.

Pratt started trending as he was quickly dubbed the "worst Chris." And things just got worse from there. Until some real-life heroes stepped in and tried to address the situation, defending their co-star and friend.


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

Keep Reading Show less

A photo of Joe Biden hugging and kissing his only living son, Hunter, is circulating after Newsmax TV host John Cardillo shared it on Twitter with the caption, "Does this look like an appropriate father/son interaction to you?"

The question is clearly meant to be a dig at Biden, whose well-documented life in politics includes many examples of both his deep love for his family and his physical expressions of affection. While his opponents have cherry-picked photos to try to paint him as "creepy," those who know him well—and who are in some of those viral images—defend Biden's expressions of affection as those of a close friend and grandfatherly figure. (And in fact, at least one photo of Biden holding and kissing a child's face was of him and his grandson at his son Beau's funeral, taken as a still shot from this video.)

Everyone has their own level of comfort with physical space and everyone's line of what's appropriate when it comes to physical affection are different, but some accusations of inappropriateness are just...sad. And this photo with this caption is one of those cases.

Keep Reading Show less