You're minding your own business, scrolling the feed, liking pics of toddlers at the pumpkin patch, and suddenly there it is:

"I'm glad that illegals are facing consequences! Illegal immigration is ILLEGAL! I can't afford my doctor bills, why should I pay theirs?"

Oh. Hi, Aunt Linda.

[rebelmouse-image 19477283 dam="1" original_size="500x600" caption="GIF from "Cinderella."" expand=1]GIF from "Cinderella."


You know it's your job to collect her, right? (That's "collect" in casual vernacular meaning "make her stop" or "go pick her up and get her under control.") You're supposed to blow your ally whistle and snatch Aunt Linda so she can't do anymore harm.

But then this debate happens in your head:

She's wrong and she needs to know how wrong she is!

Whoa whoa whoa. She's from a different time.

Tell her off, right there on her Facebook page!

I don't want to offend her, though. And hey, everybody starts somewhere.

That's white supremacy talking! Unfriend her! No mercy!

Be kind — try to understand her point of view!









It's a tough call. You know you should deal with Aunt Linda. But how?

How do you wade through the swamp of warring voices in your head? How do you collect Aunt Linda?

Fear not: We're here to guide you through it. Stop chewing your fingernails, and let's get to work.

1. Know your goal.

First, let's redefine "collect."

It's not your job to save Aunt Linda's soul. It is your job to make her uncomfortable about casually demonizing immigrants on the internet.

When you collect folks, don't worry about being perfect. Your goal is to speak up, challenge racist ideas, make mistakes, learn from them, and keep going.

Think of yourself as a human Taboo buzzer when a friend, relative, or back-asswards stranger strays into unacceptable territory. It's not OK, Aunt Linda!

2. Be patient. Invest in the "half-wokes."

It takes time to help people empathize. Don't expect a sudden transformation.

Aunt Linda might not change today, but guess who else read her post? A whole crew of half-woke white people who see that her post was cruel and racist but also don't fully understand the politics of why. They have good intentions but have not yet learned that intentions don't really matter unless they act on them.

Invest your time and energy in those people. Some of them will get defensive and storm off. But others will grow. Remember that when you reply to Aunt Linda, those people are reading (and learning).

3. Get angry.

Yes. Aunt Linda has just said something really offensive. You get to be pissed off about that!

Anger is the appropriate emotional response to witnessing the systematic and interpersonal dehumanization, humiliation, and violence against other human beings.

4. But don't get too angry.

Boy oh boy, does it feels good to lay into a racist without mercy! The problem is that's not your anger.

You're angry with Aunt Linda on behalf of other people — the people of color she wants to deport who have to hear her say "all lives matter." And the madder you get, the better you feel. You are genuinely mad, but be honest:  You're also kind of impressed with yourself.

Recognize what exactly you're doing here. You're stealing anger rooted in someone else's suffering and harvesting its fruit to feed YOUR pride. If you're getting angry about other people's pain, then your anger had better be serving those people, not yourself. So yes, get angry. But never forget whose anger it is.

5. Hit the books.

The tools of your trade are facts, stats, knowledge, and more facts. Here's an example of a helpful response:

"Aunt Linda, it's a common assumption that undocumented immigrants drain public resources. But actually, most undocumented immigrants pay taxes and contribute to social security, are employed, and aren't even eligible for most social safety nets. Check out this article: 'Do Undocumented Immigrants Overuse Government Benefits?' Or this one: 'Immigration Myths Debunked.'"

Not only will you be rooting your argument in fact, but you'll also be sharing resources with those other conversation watchers who can turn around and share them with their Aunt Lindas, too.

Include a couple of salient details in your comment; don't just post a link as your entire response. And never forget to check your sources.

6. Assume everyone is capable of learning.

Many of us white allies make excuses for people who say racist things — "She's so sheltered" or "He grew up in the South." These excuses help you blame a person's racist actions on something else, effectively claiming they're irreversibly racist. Not only is that untrue, but it says something about you, too.

What you might not realize is that you're side-stepping and, worse, enabling. Don't get it twisted: Making excuses for racists turns you into an apologist.

Every person who can type something racist on the internet is also capable of typing something not racist on the internet. Stop inventing excuses for them.

7. Remember you're not anyone's hero.

Collecting people is highly visible and often dramatic. As these conversations get heated, responses get more poetic, powerful, visceral, and staunch. Sometimes you'll type or say something transcendently awesome, and you'll feel like anchorman Ron Burgundy.

[rebelmouse-image 19477284 dam="1" original_size="460x248" caption="GIF from "Anchorman."" expand=1]GIF from "Anchorman."

When you catch yourself trying to get in the spotlight, stop.

"It's obvious to everyone, it creates aggravating extra work for the people of color you want to help, and it's a transparent bid for everyone to recognize that you are one of the good ones," explains Mia McKenzie of Black Girl Dangerous.

Stay focused. Your job isn't to show off how great an ally you are; it's to show Aunt Linda that what she said was wrong and to protect the people she's hurting.

Along those lines, if you're ever in that conversation with Aunt Linda and your friend Ana hops on to offer her perspective as a daughter of immigrants, your job just changed. Your turn to talk has ended; you are now the "liker" of everything Ana says and the bodyguard who protects Ana's space to speak.

Remember, you are not the hero, and this isn't about you. Stay focused.

8. Be brave, and don't give up.

If you're doing this right, Aunt Linda will get mad at you, you will lose friends, and you will get a reputation for being an evangelical anti-racist. But if you are as anti-racist as you like to think you are, then you won't be scared of the consequences of speaking up about it.

You still have it easier than people of color because you still get to choose when and where you engage in conversations about race. If you're tired, imagine how exhausted people of color must be. If you feel hopeless, keep going as if you had no other choice because the people you're fighting for do not.

Show up. Speak up. Go collect your racist aunt. That's what integrity looks like.

This story was originally published on Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

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Photo by TR on Unsplash

Companies and organizations are on the side of their employees in light of stricter abortion laws.

The leak from the Supreme Court about overturning Roe v. Wade caused many people with uteruses to go into a tailspin. People began scheduling appointments for long-term birth control. Some opted for permanent birth control. Others stocked up on Plan B or called in preemptive prescriptions for the abortion pill mifepristone. In addition to making tangible plans for what the future might hold in some of these trigger states, people took to the streets to make their voices heard. Protests were held across America against the proposed overturning of Roe v. Wade, which protects people’s right to abortion under the 14th Amendment.

People are also organizing over social media. They’re helping locate nonprofits that will help cover the cost of travel from a restricted state to states where abortion will remain legal. Secret Facebook groups are popping up to help arrange transportation and accommodations for those who need access to safe reproductive care. People are coming together in ways you see in movies, all in an effort to prevent inevitable deaths that would occur if people attempt home abortions. It’s both heartwarming and heart-wrenching that this is something that needs to be done at all. It doesn’t stop with determined activists and housewives across the country, this fiery spirit has reached corporations as well.

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That first car is a rite of passage into adulthood. Specifically, the hard-earned lesson of expectations versus reality. Though some of us are blessed with Teslas at 17, most teenagers receive a car that’s been … let’s say previously loved. And that’s probably a good thing, considering nearly half of first-year drivers end up in wrecks. Might as well get the dings on the lemon, right?

Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

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