Houston's mayor sent a blunt message of support to undocumented immigrants fleeing Harvey.
A truck driver estimates the depth of the water surrounding him near an abandoned truck. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images.

With President Donald Trump's immigration crackdown looming and Hurricane Harvey's devastating effects still unaccounted for, many undocumented Houstonians were left to wonder if it was safe to leave their homes and seek help during the storm.

But Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is also a lawyer, is standing up for his city's undocumented residents.

At a press conference on Aug. 28, 2017, he offered an unambiguous show of support.


"If you need help and someone comes and they require help, and then for some reason, then somebody tries to deport them, I will represent them myself, OK?" Turner said.

The mayor, who is a member of the State Bar of Texas, stood by his controversial decision not to issue an evacuation order for the city. He urged residents to seek help regardless of their immigration status. "I and others will be the first ones to stand up with you," he said.

An estimated 575,000 undocumented immigrants live in the Houston metropolitan area.

During 2008's Hurricane Ike, the last major hurricane to hit Texas, federal officials de-emphasized immigration enforcement in their communication to the public.

Airmen assess the damage after Ike. Photo by Paul Flipse/US Air Force via Getty Images.

"We're not going to be bogging people down with checks or doing things to delay the rapid movement of people out of the zone of danger," Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security secretary at the time, said.

In sharp contrast, the Texas Tribune reported on Aug. 24 that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) checkpoints would remain open during Harvey, prompting fears that undocumented residents of the city could be apprehended while trying to evacuate.

The following day, the agency clarified that the checkpoints would "close as state highways close" but that those outside the hurricane's range would remain open during the storm. In a joint statement, CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced they would be suspending enforcement operations at evacuation sites, shelters, and food banks.

As rumors swirl about immigration enforcement, at least Houston's city government is working to calm anxious residents enough to request the services they need.

"We want you to call," Turner said in the press conference. "There is absolutely no reason why anyone should not call."

A mayor shouldn't have to stand up and offer legal services just so his city's residents can get help in a life-threatening crisis. But it's good to see he's willing to do whatever it takes to bring people to safety.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.