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Democracy

'Court watchers' are showing up at trials across the country to look out for the most vulnerable

A nationwide group of 30 independent court watch organizations has come together to create a network to ensure justice is served in America’s courtrooms.

court watching, fiona apple, justice

A court watcher observing a trial via Zoom.

A nationwide group of 30 independent court watch organizations has come together to create a network to ensure justice is served in America’s courtrooms. The National Courtwatch Network is working to expand court watching so that more people in power are held accountable.

The job of a court watcher is simple: Observe the proceedings to ensure justice is served. People can do this by showing up in a courtroom or observing online.

At a time when a growing number of Americans are waking up to systemic social injustice, court watching is a way that ordinary citizens can make a significant impact in the heart of where injustice often takes place. For those who are new to court watching, the organization provides training.


The organization believes that with a watchful eye on the system, prosecutors and judges will be less likely to impose unaffordable fines, conceal police misconduct, hurt desperate families and ignore physical and mental health issues faced by defendants.

“Every day, thousands of people go through court hearings alone, as if in a national assembly line of injustice,” the National Courtwatch Network says on its website. "This leaves a devastating impact on individuals and communities, who are disproportionately Black and brown and low-income.”

The organization has a celebrity to help promote its message, singer-songwriter and court watcher Fiona Apple, who wrote the music for “The Court Watchers” video. “Court watching is really the gateway to a better community, a better world, because it will make you care,” Apple told The Washington Post. “It makes you care about people you don’t know. And we need more of that. We really need more of that.”

Community

Decluttering top of mind for 2024? This Facebook group can help

This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

With the new year comes plenty of resolutions we all vow to keep up with the best of intentions. But by February 1, our resolve has often waned as life gets in the way and things go back to how they were. What we all need a little more of is motivation.

When we participate in something collectively, it’s easier to meet goals and maintain the enthusiasm to get things done. While the support of a friend or two is great, imagine having the power of an entire online community cheering you on and offering advice along the way.

This is where the Daily Decluttering Challenge Facebook group comes in. This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

“By building a network of people who can support and encourage you along the way, you can make progress towards your goals faster and more effectively. Remember, no one achieves success alone, and having a strong support system can make the difference in a goal set versus a goal achieved,” says Kristin Burke, a goal achievement coach.

In addition to tips for tidying up around the house, members share advice on how to tackle one thing at a time, where to donate excess items, and what they do to exercise more willpower to avoid buying new things.

For anyone hoping to declutter their lives in the new year, this Facebook group has the perfect challenge to get you started.

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The generational caption debate is a big deal.

If you’re a Gen Xer or older, one surprising habit the younger generations developed is their love of subtitles or closed-captioning while watching TV. To older generations, closed-captioning was only for grandparents, the hearing impaired, or when watching the news in a restaurant or gym.

But these days, studies show that Millenials and Gen Z are big fans of captions and regularly turn them on when watching their favorite streaming platforms. A recent study found that more than half of Gen Z and Millenials prefer captions on when watching television.

It’s believed that their preference for subtitles stems from the ubiquity of captioning on social media sites such as TikTok or Instagram.

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Education

PhD student shares her plan for a 'no buy year' that could save her thousands

Small tweaks like this could help almost anyone get closer to their financial goals.

Many people find a no-buy year to be extremely helpful for their financial goals.

Everyone wants to save money. But with continuously rising costs, virtually no one knows how to make those lofty “10K in savings by 2025!” aspirations really happen.

One thing’s for sure—without some kind of plan, they most assuredly won’t happen. Which is why PhD student Mae Westrap created a detailed list of actions to make 2024 a “no-buy year."

For those who don’t know, a “no-buy year” is a self-imposed set of rules when it comes to extraneous spending. Though everyone’s “no-buy year” might look a little different, the general rule of thumb is to avoid unnecessary items or impulse purchases. That extra money can then go towards debt, savings, a larger, a more meaningful purchase, whatehaveyou.
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Strikers, Ludlow Tent Colony, 1914.

The early 1900s were a time of great social upheaval in our country. During the years leading up to the Ludlow Massacre, miners all around the country looking to make a better life for themselves and their families set up picket lines, organized massive parades and rallies, and even took up arms. Some died.

It's always worth considering why history like this was never taught in school before. Could it be that the powers that be would rather keep this kind of thing under wraps?

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Miss Smith has some thoughts about water bottles in school.

Americans' attitudes about water have changed over the past 30 years. In the past, a common phrase on the athletic field was, “Don’t drink too much water, you’ll get a cramp,” and the only people with water bottles were hippies.

Now, people everywhere walk around with large water bottles, sometimes up to 64oz, attached to themselves like purses. It’s like people leave the house with the sincere belief that they will not be able to find potable water for the next 3 weeks.

The hydration craze has also meant that water bottles have become trendy status symbols and markers of personal identity. Are you more of a Yeti person or a Stanley?

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Woman tries to discover 90s working moms' secret to balance

Being a mom is often a thankless job but it's also one that feels nearly impossible to do while still maintaining balance in other aspects of life. This is especially true for moms that also work outside the home.

They're somehow fitting in 40+ hours a week at an 8 to 5 while also keeping up with appointments, activities, special events, groceries and housekeeping. Then there's the matter of fitting in time with your partner if you have one while also finding time for your friends and yourself.

There just simply don't seem to be enough hours in the day for working moms to do all that is expected of them. But many working moms grew up with working moms who somehow seemed to have this work-life balance thing all figured out. One mom took to the internet to demand to know the secret that moms from the 80s and 90s are keeping around this common struggle.

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@ashleyteacozy/TikTok

Every generation has it's own flavor of fun

The coming of age era known as your twenties are a time for experimentation, branching out, learning about different aspects of yourself, and of course, having stupid fun.

Of course, every generation's definition of fun varies. Just what might Gen Zers, those who navigated their teenhood through TikTok and basically came of drinking age during a global pandemic, do to elicit feelings of fun?

Thirty-two year old (read: millennial) Ashley Tea wondered this very thing. In a video that went viral on TikTok, she shared "I genuinely think millennials got to have a way better time than Gen Z does."
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