It's official: Science says naps are the greatest thing on Earth. But are you napping correctly?
In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.
"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.
"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."
Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.
"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."
Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.
"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."
"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."
This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.
"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."
What helped them during this time was having the support of others.
"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.
"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."
"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.
Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.
"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."
So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.
"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.
In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.
While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.
For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.
"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."
To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!
Nobody wants to work anymore? Tell that to Joey Holz, the Florida man who applied to 60 entry-level jobs, only to receive one interview. Perhaps all of the problems facing the American labor market are, in fact, not due to widespread "laziness." Go figure.
Odds are you've seen a sign outside a place of business, lamenting a loss of employees. If not in real life, perhaps you've caught a quick glimpse on the internet. It's pretty widespread at this point. There's even a Facebook group titled "No one wants to work," where short-staffed employers could meme out their frustrations.
Sonic in Albuquerque says “No one wants to work anymore." pic.twitter.com/CR128n60mM
— Patrick Hayes (@ABC15Patrick) April 14, 2021
In an interview with Insider, former food-service worker and charter-boat crewman Joey Holz recalled hearing one business owner's labor shortage complaint, saying he "went on this rant about how he can't find help and he can't keep anybody in his medical facility because they all quit over the stimulus checks."
Holz continued, "And I'm like, 'Your medical professionals quit over $1,200 checks? That's weird.'"
Weird indeed, considering that even after the end of federal unemployment benefits, there hasn't been a surge in employment. Holz told Insider "If this extra money that everyone's supposedly living off of stopped in June and it's now September, obviously, that's not what's stopping them," he said.
Holz decided to inquire/investigate further. He started applying for jobs himself, starting with restaurants, which had been more outspoken about their staffing obstacles. The rule was to only apply for roles he actually qualified for. He told Insider "I didn't apply for anything that required a degree. I didn't apply for anything that said 'must have six months experience in this thing.'"
Describing the common job qualifications, Joey noted that "some jobs wanted a high-school diploma … some wanted retail experience … most of them either said 'willing to train' or 'minimum experience.'" In terms of the pay, "none of them were over $12 an hour."
In an amazing show of his administrative skills, Holz even tracked his process in a spreadsheet. The results? Pretty abysmal. Out of 28 job applications, he received only nine email responses. But hey, that led to one interview! Oh boy, here comes the big turnaround.
Holz went to interview for a full-time site cleanup position with a construction company. Where the hourly rate was advertised as $10, the company instead tried to negotiate that down to $8.65. And instead of full time, they offered part time until Holz gained seniority.
By the end of his experiment, Holz had sent out 60 applications and subsequently received 16 email responses, four follow-up phone calls, and the one interview with a company that misadvertised its hourly rate. He shared a pie chart showing that 70% of his efforts received no reply.
Joey Holz sent out 60 applications, received 16 email responses, 4 follow-up phone calls, and one solitary interview, and shared a pie chart showing his results. Joey Holz decided to test their claims, submitting 2 applications/day in Sept https://t.co/acxBZSDezv via @YahooNews pic.twitter.com/CXNENrobLc
— Silver Eagle (@SandDollar04) October 19, 2021
So, is this really a case of entitled generations waiting for government handouts? The chart suggests otherwise. Holz has a clear stance on the subject. In a Facebook post that went viral on Twitter and Reddit, he wrote, "58 applications says y'all aren't desperate for workers, you just miss your slaves."
Seems like Joey has hit the nail on the head. People aren't laying back, they're fed up. Fed up with toxic work environments and unlivable wages, to the point of "rage quitting" and starting anti-work subreddits lambasting the terrible bedside manner of most bosses.
Like this bartender, who wasn't a "team player" for drinking on his night off.
r/antiwork thread on TwitterTwitter
Or this worker who–despite being the top performer–received a complaint from his boss about not standing on a broken foot.
r/antiwork thread on TwitterTwitter
No amount of sloth-blasting rhetoric is going to change the fact that a systematic change, one that actually causes the workplace to thrive and promote well-being, needs to be made. And as Holz told Insider, his story is "familiar to many." Maybe this isn't an act of apathy and more like a cry for help.
When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.
Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.
"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."
Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."
That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."