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upworthy
Family

Single dad becomes stand-in mom for his adopted daughter by wearing a dress

A heartwarming video shows a sweet dad making sure his daughter doesn't feel left out of a Mother's Day school event.

mother's day, thailand,

He's rocking it.

Mother’s Day is celebrated a little differently in Thailand than it is in America. For one thing, it falls on Aug 12th each year instead of the second Sunday of May. People also usually have the day off from work, and schools will host a special Mother’s Day ceremony for students to kneel before their moms to give them jasmine flowers and share their love, respect, appreciation…all the warm and fuzzy things.

However, as one can imagine, these events might feel bittersweet for those students who for various reasons can’t have their mom show up.

This was nearly the fate for a young student named Nong Cream, a girl who had been adopted by a single man named Joe Lookphonbodee, according to Bangkok Biz News.


But not only did Lookphonbodee show up for his daughter, he came completely dressed for the role.

A heartwarming video posted to TikTok shows Lookphonbodee appear in a wig and dress, completely surprising Cream. As soon as she sees her “father-mother,” she leaps into his arms, all smiles.

@joey_kp

"แม่" ฉันก็เป็นให้แกได้555

♬ เป็นทุกอย่าง - Room 39

Lookphonbodee told Bangkok Biz News that he had no regrets doing this gesture for his daughter, knowing the most important thing was for her to not feel left out.

“Personally, I'm not ashamed because I love my child," he said.

As for Cream, there was no embarrassment felt, only gratitude.

“This year's Mother's Day, I want to say I love my father,” she said. “Thank you, Father, for raising me and making me happy. This life doesn't feel like a lack of anything.”

Here's to the dads who know the importance of truly being there for their kids. It makes a world of difference.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Education

A boy told his teacher she can't understand him because she's white. Her response is on point.

'Be the teacher America's children of color deserve, because we, the teachers, are responsible for instilling empathy and understanding in the hearts of all kids. We are responsible for the future of this country.'

Photo by John Pike. Used with permission.

Emily E. Smith is no ordinary teacher.



Fifth-grade teacher Emily E. Smith is not your ordinary teacher.

She founded The Hive Society — a classroom that's all about inspiring children to learn more about their world ... and themselves — by interacting with literature and current events. Students watch TED talks, read Rolling Stone, and analyze infographics. She even has a long-distance running club to encourage students to take care of their minds and bodies.

Smith is such an awesome teacher, in fact, that she recently received the 2015 Donald H. Graves Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing.


It had always been her dream to work with children in urban areas, so when Smith started teaching, she hit the ground running. She had her students making podcasts, and they had in-depth discussions about their readings on a cozy carpet.

But in her acceptance speech for her award, she made it clear that it took a turning point in her career before she really got it:

"Things changed for me the day when, during a classroom discussion, one of my kids bluntly told me I "couldn't understand because I was a white lady." I had to agree with him. I sat there and tried to speak openly about how I could never fully understand and went home and cried, because my children knew about white privilege before I did. The closest I could ever come was empathy."

Smith knew that just acknowledging her white privilege wasn't enough.

She wanted to move beyond just empathy and find a way to take some real action that would make a difference for her students.

She kept the same innovative and engaging teaching methods, but she totally revamped her curriculum to include works by people who looked like her students. She also carved out more time to discuss issues that her students were facing, such as xenophobia and racism.

And that effort? Absolutely worth it.

As she said in her acceptance speech:

"We studied the works of Sandra Cisneros, Pam Munoz Ryan, and Gary Soto, with the intertwined Spanish language and Latino culture — so fluent and deep in the memories of my kids that I saw light in their eyes I had never seen before."

The changes Smith made in her classroom make a whole lot of sense. And they're easy enough for teachers everywhere to make:

— They studied the work of historical Latino figures, with some of the original Spanish language included. Many children of color are growing up in bilingual households. In 2007, 55.4 million Americans 5 years of age and older spoke a language other than English at home.

— They analyzed the vision of America that great writers of color sought to create. And her students realized that our country still isn't quite living up to its ideals. Despite progress toward racial equality with the end of laws that enforced slavery or segregation, we still have a long way to go. Black people still fare worse than white people when it comes to things like wealth, unfair arrests, and health.

— They read excerpts from contemporary writers of color, like Ta-Nehisi Coates who writes about race. Her students are reading and learning from a diverse group of writers. No small thing when they live in a society that overwhelmingly gives more attention to white male writers (and where the number of employees of color in the newspaper industry stagnates at a paltry 12%).

— They read about the Syrian crisis, and many students wrote about journeys across the border in their family history for class. The opportunity particularly struck one student; the assignment touched him so much that he cried. He never had a teacher honor the journey his family made. And he was proud of his heritage for the first time ever. "One child cried," Smith shared, "and told me he never had a teacher who honored the journey his family took to the United States. He told me he was not ashamed anymore, but instead proud of the sacrifice his parents made for him."

Opportunities like this will only increase as the number of children from immigrant families is steadily increasing. As of 2013, almost 17.4 million children under 18 have at least one immigrant parent.

Smith now identifies not just as an English teacher, but as a social justice teacher.

ethnicity, responsibility, empathy

Teaching in a racially and ethnically diverse world.

Photo by John Pike. Used with permission.

Smith's successful shift in her teaching is an example for teachers everywhere, especially as our schools become increasingly ethnically and racially diverse. About 80% of American teachers are white. But as of last year, the majority of K-12 students in public schools are now children of color.

As America's demographics change, we need to work on creating work that reflects the experiences that our students relate to. And a more diverse curriculum isn't just important for students of color. It's vital for everyone.

As Smith put it, "We, the teachers, are responsible for instilling empathy and understanding in the hearts of all kids. We are responsible for the future of this country."


This article originally appeared on 12.07.15

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Pop Culture

Man's seemingly obvious 'dishwasher hack' is blowing everyone's minds

One man’s observation about his dishwasher may change the way you do dishes forever.

Mike McLoughlan realized something very important about his dishwasher.

No one likes doing the dishes, but the tedious chore is made much easier when using a dishwasher. However, an alarming amount of people have reported that their dishwashers can actually make the job harder because they don't properly fit their dishes.

And that's where Twitter user Mike McLoughlin (@zuroph) comes in.

Back in January, McLoughlin made an observation about his dishwasher that would change the way he does dishes forever. For a decade, the Irishman thought that the bottom rack of his washer simply was too small for his large dinner plates. Then he made an amazing discovery:


The tweet went totally viral, and was shared over 14,000 times. He even tweeted a picture to show just how much he could fit in the dishwasher now that he knows the racks are adjustable:

The "hack" (is it still called a hack if the appliance is doing what it is supposed to be doing?) blew people's minds:

But other people were basically like, "Seriously, dude?"

While a group of others tried to one-up McLoughlin with stories of their own:


Okay, go on and check your own dishwasher. You know you want to.


This article first appeared on 8.16.18.

popular

Men are asked what secrets they keep from their spouses, and the answers are surprising

A rare glimpse of what actually gets bottled up inside.

two men smiling near trees

Men sometimes get labeled as the gender more likely to keep secrets for selfish, manipulative purposes. But just as often, men might keep certain things to themselves due to the effects of gender norms: wanting to hide insecurities to appear strong for their families, hoping to shield their partners from hurt, not feeling safe to show emotion, and so on.

Reddit user Teen_dream91 recently asked: “What, if anything, are you unable or unwilling to share fully openly and honestly about yourself with your spouse?” and the answers are a prime example of this.

These long kept secrets—some hilarious, others heartbreaking—a rare candid glimpse into exactly what many men feel compelled to keep bottled up inside.

Check them out below:


“I keep the ceiling fan on at night because she farts in her sleep and it's so bad it wakes me up.” JackassWhisperer

"When I go grocery shopping, i often buy a fresh rotisserie chicken thigh for myself, and wolf it down on a parkbench on my way home like a homeless caveman. I have no idea why, but it's my little me-time ritual." -Sternsson

"My self-doubt is something I conceal. I strive to be her rock and revealing my vulnerabilities seems counterproductive." -AdhesivenessGlass978

"When she asks to go out with her girlfriends or away on an overnight with some friends, she thinks I’m upset I’m not included. In reality, I’m praising the lord for a day or two alone."Bobo_Baggins03x

men's health

A man sitting on the couch, alone.

Photo credit: Canva

"While I love my spouse deeply, I struggle to fully share my childhood traumas. The memories are painful and sometimes I feel like shielding her from that darkness."Slight_Policy3133

"My child (18 months) is legitimately well behaved, compliant, and enjoyable to be around when she’s not in the home and it’s just he and I. When she’s around he’s combative, whiney, rude, and a little terror."D00deitstyler


"Deep down, I really just want to be lazy.I don’t want to go to work, or cook that much, or change the bedding every week, or find part time income streams… Like, in my heart, I just want to lounge about, get a bit drunk and read books or watch youtube videos. I do as much as possible so that she’s comfortable and happy but don’t want to admit that I don’t really WANT to do anything useful."
-LeutzschAKS

"The sheer amount of stress I'm under. I do share, but I can't articulate how bad it is." -Herald_of_dooom

“Sometimes the things she says to me in arguments break my heart.” -justVinnyZee

men's psychology

A woman looking at a man with his eyes closed.

Photo credit: Canva

"I served in Iraq and lost my leg. As a result I have severe PTSD…A couple of years after I got out I met my wife. She is an Iraqi Lady and has helped me through the best and worst times. She's given me beautiful children and a reason to carry on. However…her parents moved from Iraq before she was born. Every time I go to her parents house or there is a wedding on her side of the family I attend whilst suffering in silence. Sweaty palms, heart palpitations, shredding feeling where my leg was etc. It drove me to be extremely disrespectful by secretly carrying a hip flask with spirits and cocaine in as it just took the edge off and made it all manageable. Her parents are extremely religious and alcohol and drugs of any kind are heavily frowned upon and banned from the house.The worst is going to her parents house as so much of the decorations reminds me of the house I got dragged into after stepping on an IED. I keep this hidden because what can I do? Make her choose between family and me? Absolutely not. Prevent my kids from having grandparents and extended family? Absolutely not. My mental health and my foolish decisions at 16 are not going to be any form of potential wedge." -Greenlid_42

"That I sometimes buy $20 scratchers when I do the shopping and occasionally throw $60 at large Powerball/MegaMillions jackpots even tho I publicly say 'lotteries are a tax on people who are bad at math.' I do this because I like to dream of a day we don’t have to work and we can follow our passions." -wembley

"The fact that she wont let me put any of my hobby stuff (mostly miniatures and random knickknacks) in our shared spaces without it being in an approved location, meanwhile the entire house is her canvas for her aesthetic. Makes me feel really lonely and small sometimes and like she doesn't care. It's been a topic of conversation, she just doesn't get that delegating me a tiny shelf in her curio isn't the same as letting me actually decorate some." -Kimblethedwarf

“That she is bad at taking criticism, even about the most minor of things. And even saying so is itself a form of criticism she cannot handle. And this has very much hindered our ability to talk to each other.”Aechzen

men's health

A black-and-white photo of a mane and woman looking in opposite directions.

Photo credit: Canva

"I keep my regrets from her. I worry she’ll think less of me if she knew all my past mistakes."Suspicious-Factor362

“Literally anything that isn't within the realm of her personal interests. Otherwise, she makes it clear that she's not really interested in what interests me. Sometimes I do, because I can't keep everything to myself forever, but it just feels like I'm a child bothering their parents talking about how cool their toys are.” ChefBillyGoat

“I’m scared of not being able to provide a half decent life for her and my kids. Life’s getting so expensive and challenging.”Arent_they_all

men's psychology

A man in a suit with his head in his hands

Photo credit: Canva

"Sometimes, the food she cooks isn't great. I will never tell her this because she goes out of her way to cook, and I'm not ungrateful. I can live with bad food that night over her getting upset." -CaptainAwesome0912

"That if I speak to her the same way she speaks to me she would probably spend her whole day in tears. It’s definitely a case of “familiarity breeds contempt” as she does not speak to any of her friends like this (who come over to help with furniture moving, for example), and occasionally it comes out with her family, but the unfettered torrent of complaints and abuse is reserved only for me, regardless of what I do. It’s like she looks for imperfections and mistakes just to point them out." -MusicusTitanicus

“How sad I am that my life isn't a grand adventure but a series of choices i made in order to be able to form and provide for a family…I know there's adventure and excitement to be had still, but I wanted to continue my family line. And dearly love my family. Anything available in that vein will come at cost to my wife and children. So I'm stuck playing rise through the ranks, build the better mouse trap and look good to the suites for another raise or step up the ladder. It's going well, but as it goes well it feels more hollow. I could become head honcho, or start my own enterprise and find massive success, it'd still all been to just provide. Collecting wealth is such a boring pursuit, I hate our society.”BodyRevolutionary167

men's health

A man with a beard looking out a window.

Photo credit: Canva

"I let the kids play Roblox beyond their allowed time." -chelhydra

"She's always in the way. If she's in the kitchen when I'm cooking, she's always standing in front of the next place I need to be. If I'm working outside, she's always in the next place I'm going to go. If I'm fixing something, she's always standing right in front of whatever I'm going to be working on next. If I'm trying to leave a room, she's always in the doorway. I realize she wants to spend time with me, but I really wish she'd just get out of the way when I'm doing something." -Lonecoon

"That when I’m not with her, I put ketchup on my hot dogs." -bipolarcyclops

men's psychology

Someone putting ketchup on a hot dog.

Photo credit: Canva

Marcos Alberti's "3 Glasses" project began with a joke and a few drinks with his friends.

The photo project originally depicted Alberti's friends drinking, first immediately after work and then after one, two, and three glasses of wine.

But after Imgur user minabear circulated the story, "3 Glasses" became more than just a joke. In fact, it went viral, garnering more than 1 million views and nearly 1,800 comments in its first week. So Alberti started taking more pictures and not just of his friends.



"The first picture was taken right away when our guests (had) just arrived at the studio in order to capture the stress and the fatigue after a full day after working all day long and from also facing rush hour traffic to get here," Alberti explained on his website. "Only then fun time and my project could begin. At the end of every glass of wine, a snapshot, nothing fancy, a face and a wall, 3 times."

Why was the series so popular? Anyone who has ever had a long day at work and needed to "wine" down will quickly see why.

Take a look:

Photos of person after drinking glasses of win

All photos by Marcos Alberti, used with permission.

assets.rebelmouse.io

Photos of person after drinking glasses of win

assets.rebelmouse.io

This article originally appeared on 11.19.16

Identity

6 beautiful drawings by LGBTQ inmates that illustrate life in prison

Their artwork shows their strength, resilience, and talent.

"Acceptance" by Stevie S.


Tatiana von Furstenberg laid out more than 4,000 works of art on the floor of her apartment and was immediately struck by what she saw.

The pieces of artwork were submitted from various prisons across the country in hopes of being featured in "On the Inside," an exhibition of artwork by currently incarcerated LGBTQ inmates, curated by von Furstenberg and Black and Pink, a nonprofit organization that supports the LGBTQ community behind bars. The exhibit was held at the Abrons Arts Center in Manhattan toward the end of 2016.

"I put all the submissions on the floor and I saw that there were all these loving ones, these signs of affection, all of these two-spirit expressions of gender identity, and fairies and mermaids," von Furstenberg said.


She noticed the recurring topics throughout the works of different artists — eye contact, desire, fighting back, alienation, and longing — and these shared struggles became the themes of the art exhibition.

"These artists feel really forgotten. They really did not think that anybody cared for them. And so for them to have a show in New York and to hear what the responses have been is huge, it's very uplifting," she said.

Plenty of people turn to art as a means of escape. But for the artists involved in On the Inside, the act of making art also put them at risk.

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people are incarcerated at twice the rate of heterosexuals, and trans people are three times as likely to end up behind bars than cisgender people. During incarceration, they're also much more vulnerable than non-LGBTQ inmates to violence, sexual assault, and unusual punishments such as solitary confinement.

Not every prison makes art supplies readily available, either, which means that some of the artists who submitted to "On the Inside" had to find ways to make their work from contraband materials, such as envelopes and ink tubes. And of course, by drawing provocative images about their identities, they also risked being outed and threatened by other inmates around them.

But sometimes, the act of self-expression is worth that risk. Here are some of the remarkable examples of that from the exhibition.

(Content warning: some of the images include nudity.)

1."A Self Portrait" by B. Tony.

inmates, jail, sketching

“A Self Portrait” by B. Tony

2. "Rihanna" by Gabriel S.

relationships, identity, rehabilitation

“Rihanna” by Gabriel S.

"Rihanna is who I got the most pictures of," von Furstenburg said. "I think it's because she is relatable in both her strength and her vulnerability. She's real.”

3. "Acceptance" by Stevie S.

body art, tattoo, mental health

"Acceptance" by Stevie S.

"This series is sexy and loving and domestic," von Furstenberg said about these two portraits by Stevie S. "A different look at family values/family portrait.”

4. "Michael Jackson" by Jeremy M.

celebrity, art, paintings

“Michael Jackson” by Jeremy M.

assets.rebelmouse.io

This was another one of von Furstenberg's favorites, because of the way it depicts a struggle with identity. "[MJ] was different, he was such a unique being that struggled so much with his identity and his body image the way a lot of our artists, especially our trans artists, are struggling behind bars," she said.

5. "Unknown" by Tiffany W.

pixies, fairie, fantasy

“Unknown” by Tiffany W.

6. "Genotype" and "Life Study," by J.S.

anatomy, Michaelangelo, nudes

“Genotype” and “Life Study” by J.S.

"This is the Michelangelo of the group," von Furstenberg said. "To be able to draw this with pencil and basic prison lighting is astounding. One of the best drawings I've ever seen in my life.”

When the exhibition opened to the public on Nov. 4, 2016, visitors even had the chance to share their thoughts with the artists.

The exhibit included an interactive feature that allowed people to text their comments and responses to the artist, which von Furstenberg then converted to physical paper and mailed to inmates.

Some of the messages included:

"I have had many long looks in the mirror like in your piece the beauty within us. I'm glad you can see your beautiful self smiling out. I see her too. Thank you."
"I am so wowed by your talent. You used paper, kool aid and an inhaler to draw a masterpiece. I feel lucky to have been able to see your work, and I know that other New Yorkers will feel the same. Keep creating."
"I've dreamed the same dreams. The barriers in your way are wrong. We will tear them down some day. Stay strong Dear."

Many people were also surprised at how good the artwork was — but they shouldn't have been.

Just because someone's spent time in prison doesn't mean they can't be a good person — or a talented artist. They're also being compensated for their artwork. While business transactions with incarcerated people are technically illegal, $50 donations have been made to each artist's commissary accounts to help them purchase food and other supplies.

"We're led to believe that people behind bars are dangerous, that we're safer without them, but it's not true," von Furstenberg said. "The fact that anybody would assume that [the art] would be anything less than phenomenal shows that there's this hierarchy: The artist is up on this pedestal, and other people marginalized people are looked down upon.”

Art has always been about connecting people. And for these incarcerated LGBTQ artists, that human connection is more important than ever.

Perhaps the only thing harder than being in prison is trying to integrate back into society — something that most LGBTQ people struggle with anyway. These are people who have already had difficulty expressing who they are on the inside and who are now hidden away from the world behind walls.

On the Inside's art show provided them a unique opportunity to have their voices heard — and hopefully, their individual messages are loud enough to resonate when they're on the outside too.


This article originally appeared on 11.14.16