Restaurant owner whose building burned says justice for George Floyd must come first

As the world watches the civil unrest in Minneapolis over the police killing of George Floyd, questions about the nature of protesting abound. Most of us agree that protests must remain peaceful, which begs the question of what to do when law enforcement fires tear gas and uses rubber bullets against unarmed protesters. Most of us don't condone rioting and the destruction of property, which begs the question of why we celebrate events like the Boston Tea Party as justified acts of rebellion against tyranny.

The truth is that these questions aren't simple, and neither are the answers.

We know that people are angry and frustrated over injustice. We know that people complain even when protests are peaceful. And we know that innocent people get caught in the crossfire when unrest flares into destruction.

One Minneapolis restaurant owner who has weighed in on this topic is receiving a wave of support from community members. Ruhel Islam, owner of the Gandhi Mahal Indian restaurant, shared a call for justice in a Facebook post shared by his daughter. The post read:


Hello everyone!
Thank you to everyone for checking in. Sadly Gandhi Mahal has caught fire and has been damaged. We won't loose hope though, I am so greatful for our neighbors who did their best to stand guard and protect Gandhi Mahal, Youre efforts won't go unrecognized. Don't worry about us, we will rebuild and we will recover. This is Hafsa, Ruhel's daughter writing, as I am sitting next to my dad watching the news, I hear him say on the phone; " let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail". Gandhi Mahal May have felt the flames last night, but our firey drive to help protect and stand with our community will never die! Peace be with everyone. #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd
#BLM

The post has received a wave of support from community members as well as people across the nation. Hundreds of commenters have offered to help them rebuild and expressed gratitude for their compassionate response.

"I have been in despair all week and reading this was the first thing that has brought me some sense of joy and hope. I cried happy tears, tears of being seen, tears of solidarity reading this. This is what people over property looks like in action. This is what solidarity looks like. When you reopen, I promise I will be there to support."

"This is absolutely the best response. Buildings can be rebuilt. Businesses are insured. George Floyd can't be brought back to life. Thank you for this."

"I love you even more. I was just crying about the loss of this beautiful space. And you helped me feel better. We will be there with you as you rebuild."

"The amazing food at your restaurant is only rivaled by the amazing hearts you possess. Thank you for being leaders, for being strong humans, and for being a vital part of the fabric of our city!"

"Hafsa, thank you for sharing this and for the sacrifice your family has made in pursuit of justice. I am am an attorney at Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis and I focus on construction and real estate matters. Please let me know if there is something I can do to help you and your family's business on a pro bono basis. Seriously, I'm here for you!!"

No one wants to see their business and livelihood destroyed, and it's heartening to see that neighbors did try to help protect the restaurant. At the same time, so many are expressing appreciation for how this family is keeping the bigger picture in mind as they share their thoughts on what they've experienced—being real about the damage done, but focusing their energies on the calls for justice that lie at the heart of the chaos.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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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."