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Anticipating tough conversations with your relatives? This hotline has your back.

Showing Up for Racial Justice took inspiration from the Butterball hotline.

Anticipating tough conversations with your relatives? This hotline has your back.
Thanksgiving is a time of family, love — and difficult conversations. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

If you need help with your Thanksgiving turkey, there's a hotline for that. Now there's one for your Thanksgiving dinner conversation, too.

That's the idea behind Showing Up for Racial Justice's Holiday Mobile Hotline, now in its second year. Created for white Americans who want to help fight for a more racially just society, SURJ's hotline is a great resource to have handy for potentially awkward race-related dinner-table conversations during upcoming holidays.

"We thought it up last year after hearing so many white folks really freaking out about seeing family after Trump was elected," explains SURJ co-director Heather Cronk in an e-mail. "The original idea was built on the Butterball hotline — the service provided by Butterball turkey each Thanksgiving to help folks get answers to their turkey-cooking questions."


You simply text "SOS" to 82623, and SURJ will forward some key talking points that might come up in conversation.

The goal isn't to treat this as some sort of ideological battle to be won against a sworn enemy (these are your family members, after all) but to provide you with the tools necessary to keep conversation productive by asking a question. Once you text the number, you'll be prompted with a menu of topics ranging from immigration to sexual assault.

For example, if you select the topic "Trump isn't racist," SURJ will reply with a question you can ask your relative: "That's confusing to me because I've heard Trump say things about people of color that sound racist, and he has surrounded himself with people who are racist. Are there things he's said that you disagree with?"

The whole process is quick and simple enough that you can easily just send a text during a bathroom break or under the table during a lull in the conversation.

As hard and as awkward as these conversations can be, it's important we don't shy away from them. Silence is a statement of its own.

If you have a legitimate reason to fear your family — maybe you're LGBTQ in an unaccepting household or the survivor of violence — it's totally understandable if you sit quietly and avoid rocking the boat. There's no shame in that. If that doesn't describe you, however, and you feel comfortable doing so, consider leaning into these discussions.

"Often, white folks avoid tough conversations with family in order to preserve relationships or avoid controversy — but to do so also contributes to the silence that allows white supremacy to thrive," Cronk writes. "White silence is what contributes to and excuses white supremacist violence — and even conversations as informal as dinner table banter are really important mechanisms to end white silence."

Following up on our earlier holiday hotline post, our holiday placemat has also been updated to focus on Indigenous...

Posted by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) on Monday, November 20, 2017

It's OK if you don't change any minds at the dinner table. Just try to plant the seed of an idea.

Will some of these conversations be inconvenient and awkward? Absolutely, but the payoff can be well worth the trouble. Maybe that uncle who thinks undocumented immigrants are a drain on the economy (they're not) will leave the dinner table with not just a full belly but a fresh perspective on what it means to be American. Maybe that aunt who thinks victims of police violence wouldn't get shot if they just complied with orders (they often do comply) will enjoy a bit of nuance with her pumpkin pie.

No matter what, it's important to remember that this isn't some sort of battle that can be won by bludgeoning your relatives with a string of confrontational facts. You probably won't cause anyone to do a 180-degree turn on their beliefs. But with a little bit of care, you can help plant a few new ideas along the way.

For more information about Showing Up for Racial Justice's Holiday Mobile Hotline, as well as links to its annual Thanksgiving discussion guide and printable placemat, visit their website.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


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