In 1 tweet, J.K. Rowling captured the media's hypocrisy in how it treats Syrian refugees.

J.K. Rowling is heartsick over how the thousands of Middle Eastern refugees flooding into Europe are being treated.


So when The Daily Express published an article about the major humanitarian crisis on the bottom of their front page, Rowling took them to task.

Specifically, for the prominent placement of a different story about a dog looking for a home.



Of course, Rowling wasn't suggesting that people shouldn't care about homeless dogs.

Photo via dudwnhahaha.

There are many unsheltered animals that need loving homes, and it's completely understandable — and admirable — to feel for them and want them to be safe.

And dogs are, without a doubt, very cute.

But the tweet reflects a growing frustration that, while one dog needing a home is sad, there are thousands of people who need homes — and not enough is being done about it.


Photo by Philippe Huguen/Getty Images.

Scenes like this one in Hungary, where thousands of refugees stuck on sweltering train cars were denied passage to Germany, and this one (warning, graphic images), where authorities found the body of a drowned toddler washed up on a Turkish beach, have become all-too-common across the continent.

There is hope, however. In some countries, people are taking matters into their own hands.

Photo by Andreas Tille.

According to a New York Times report, when the Icelandic government pledged to take in only 50 refugees in 2015, a group of Icelanders called on the government to permit 4,950 more to enter the country. They wrote on Facebook:

“Refugees are our future spouses, best friends, our next soul mate, the drummer in our children's band, our next colleague, Miss Iceland 2022, the carpenter who finally fixes our bathroom, the chef in the cafeteria, the fireman, the hacker and the television host. People who we'll never be able to say to: 'Your life is worth less than mine.'"

And some towns, like Goslar, Germany, have rolled out the welcome mat for new migrants.

Oliver Junk, mayor of Goslar, Germany. Photo by Nigel Treblin/Getty Images.

The mayor of Goslar believes the influx of new residents could be a huge boon for his region's economy and cultural life, and he has put out an open invitation for recent arrivals to settle there.

Hopefully, if more people like Rowling speak out, more people around the world will start opening their hearts and their communities to people in need.

We might not all have the same platform that Rowling has, but our combined voices can surely make a difference.

Syrian refugee children pose for a photo in Lebanon. Photo by Joseph Eid/Getty Images.

The Syrian migrants can't go back to where they came from. They need new homes and new lives, and it's up to us to help them.

In order to do that, we need to start seeing them not as refugees, but as our potential neighbors.

True

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.