+
Most Shared

Her history was erased from her classes. Now she's making sure it won't happen again.

True
XQ

Family History Day is an amazing opportunity for kids to discuss their heritage with their classmates. Most of the time.  

Michelle Morales still chokes up when she thinks of how heartbroken she felt when she came to school eager to teach her class about her Puerto Rican ties to Taíno Native Americans and was met with opposition. Her teacher insisted that her ties to indigenous culture were not real.

"That sticks with me," Morales says, "because in that moment, a history that I should have been proud of was erased."


Watch her tell her story:

XQ Luminaries: Michelle Morales

It's so important for students to have teachers who look like them, understand their culture, and most importantly, believe in them.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"My culture, my history, was never taught," Morales says. And unfortunately, she’s not alone.

It's been said that history is written by the victors, and for minority students, that means their history is often not written at all. History textbooks focus on American history as told by white Anglo-Saxon men, leading kids of color to believe they have no place in the country's narrative.

Photo via Mivka Challenge, used with permission.

When kids don't see themselves reflected in American history, it becomes more difficult to picture themselves in America's future. To empower a diverse generation of future leaders, we need youth of color to be represented and included.

Morales is on a mission to make sure kids of color don't repeat her past experiences.

As the executive officer of Mikva Challenge in Chicago, Morales helps design and implement programs that get kids engaged in making social change early on.

Photo via Mivka Challenge, used with permission.

"Youth of color do not see themselves in the larger political structure and the larger narrative of the American story," she says. "We want youth to know that they are important to the change of our society."

Through Mikva, young people are given the opportunity to become civically engaged and see for themselves that they have the potential to make positive change.

Mikva teaches kids about policymaking, electoral engagement, and community problem-solving through hands-on projects. The program was founded as an all-volunteer civic engagement project and named after former White House counsel, judge, and U.S. congressman Abner Mikva and his activist wife Zoe.

Now, Mivka is a more than 6,000-student program, working to educate a generation of young people about their nation's politics.

Photo via Mivka Challenge, used with permission.

It not only prepares them for lives of civic engagement as adults, but it shows them that there's no need to wait until they're older to get started on projects they care about.

Mikva has already affected over 10,000 youth in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

But its message isn't limited to any geographical location. The "Mikva model," as it's called, "assumes that young people deserve a voice in our democratic process, and it challenges educators and public officials to invite, and meaningfully include, youth in civic decision-making."

Photo via XQ/Mikva Challenge.

That's an initiative that every organization can — and should — implement.

As for Morales, she's focused on making the future better for the kids who come after her. "I do this for them," she says. "I do this to make things better for them. I don’t want them to go through what I have gone through and what other people of color have gone through."

Learn more at XQSuperSchool.org.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Buffy Sainte-Marie shares what led to her openly breastfeeding on 'Sesame Street' in 1977

The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.

"Sesame Street" taught kids about life in addition to letters and numbers.

In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.

The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.

But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

Keep ReadingShow less

The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

Keep ReadingShow less