+
peace dot project, crime dot peace dot

A photo of the Peace Dots Project in a live installment next to one of the submitted stories.

Sometimes, all it takes is one story of kindness to make the world seem like a less cold, uncaring place. At Upworthy, we know that now more than ever, it’s vital to highlight the goodness of humanity so that we are reminded of what’s possible. That’s why when we heard about an artist in Buffalo, New York, who used creativity to shift perspectives in a unique and thought-provoking way, we knew we had to share.

Local news outlet WKBW TV first reported the work of social practice artist Saira Siddiqui, who returned to her home city of Buffalo in 2019 to create the Peace Dots Project. The campaign encourages people to submit stories of “random acts of kindness, peace offerings, conflict resolution, or any action that creates hope and makes a positive impact, whether it be an act personally experienced or one witnessed from afar.” These stories get collected and become "peace dots" that go up on a map of the city, replacing the dots that typically only track crime scenes.

"It allows people to think about positive framing, rather than thinking about the traditional negative framing. That's so prevalent right now,” Siddiqui told WKBW.


Many refer to Buffalo as the “City of Good Neighbors." This was a nickname earned because of Buffalo’s history of welcoming immigrant and migrant communities and their diverse array of cultures. However, the noble label has come into question in recent years, especially because some neighborhoods aren’t so good for all their neighbors. White homeownership is more than double that of Blacks and Hispanics, according to a study in 2018. That same study showed that, on average, white households also had around double the annual income of Black and Latino ones. In 2021, an article by professors Timothy F. Murphy and Henry Louis Taylor Jr. revealed that Black Buffalonians are far more likely to have serious, chronic (yet preventable) diseases than whites who lived in the area.

It’s staggering statistics like this that inspired Siddiqui to imagine a different narrative. She told WKBW, "We are always mapping data. We are taking hard data about crime, health and wealth disparities. One day, I thought, 'why are we mapping these disparities? Where are all the peace dots at?'"


Though the project started in the Buffalo area, submissions are accepted from around the globe. And on the Peace Dots Project's website, you’ll see a map filled with peace dots from many different areas. Stories are being collected through 2022.

Submitting your own story is pretty simple. The only information that’s mandatory is the random act of kindness or peace offering. Everything else—name, location, date—is completely optional. There’s even a spot where folks can get a bit creative and reflect on what color and emotion comes to mind when thinking about the memory.

Here are a few examples from the project’s Instagram page:

Capturing these day-to-day moments helps communities come together to actively change negative narratives. The stories we share are important—they help shape our identity. Through art and interaction, Siddiqui has found an inspiring way to remind people of the power they have, simply by focusing on positivity.

Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

Some cries for help can be hard to discern.

“I’m fine.”

How easily these two words slip from our mouths, often when nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes, it feels safer to hide our true feelings, lest someone make a judgment or have a negative reaction. Other times, it’s a social rule instilled in childhood, perhaps even through punishment. Or maybe denying is the only way to combat overwhelm—if we ignore it all long enough, things will eventually get better anyway.

At the end of the day … it’s all about avoiding further pain, isn’t it?

But this denial can lead to even more suffering—not only emotionally, but physically as well. Everything from stiff muscles, to migraines, to digestive issues can stem from suppressing emotions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Stowaway cat hid in a camper to go on family vacation and captured hearts along her journey

Delilah the cat was a hit at the biggest air show in the country.

The EAA AirVenture air show.

According to a series of Facebook posts, the Scholten family embarked on a 1200-mile journey from St. Albans, Maine, to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on July 22 to see the legendary EAA AirVenture air show. Known as the “World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration,” the weeklong event attracts over 500,000 people to see more than 10,000 aircraft.

News Center Maine reports that 15 hours and 900 miles down the road, in Toledo, Ohio, the family stopped for a routine pit stop and got an incredible shock. Their cat Delilah had secretly hitched along for the ride in the family camper.

"I open the door, and there's Delilah," Andrea Scholten told News Center Maine. "I just screamed 'Delilah!' and my husband and the kids were like 'Delilah!'”

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

How breastfeeding actually works is seriously awe-inspiring

Let's take a moment to marvel at this miraculous process.

A viral video shows what's happening beneath the surface when a baby breastfeeds.

Let me start by saying I don't care whether you breastfeed or not. Everyone's circumstances are different, no one needs to explain why they did or didn't breastfeed their babies and we'd all be better off with far fewer judgments across the baby-feeding spectrum.

With that disclaimer out of the way, can we at least all agree that breastfeeding is freaking awesome?

I mean, the whole biological process of growing an entire human practically from scratch is mind-blowing all by itself. But the fact that our bodies then create food to feed that human, with a whole system for how and when that food gets made and released, is just so cool.

Keep ReadingShow less