Gerrymandering is a funny word, isn't it? Did you know that it's actually a mashup of the name "Gerry" and the word "salamander"? Apparently, in 1812, Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry had a new voting district drawn that seemed to favor his party. On a map, the district looked like a salamander, and a Boston paper published it with the title The GerryMander.

That tidbit of absurdity seems rather tame compared to an entire alphabet made from redrawn voting districts a century later, and yet here we are. God bless America.

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At 22 and 24, Mohammad and Hasti Amini are in the prime of their young adult lives—a time when those who haven't been forced to flee deadly conflict are launching careers and making plans for the future. The Aminis escaped from Afghanistan to Indonesia with their mother and two other siblings five years ago, after their oldest brother was killed by the Taliban and their grief-stricken father died of a heart attack.

Now, they are stuck in a country where they have no legal status or protections. They can't legally work, can't get a degree—they can't even open a bank account. Since Indonesia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, it is under no obligation to care for refugees. The Aminis had only planned to stop briefly in Jakarta on their way to a safe third country that resettles refugees. But for five years, their hopes have been dashed again and again, as wealthy nations like the U.S. and Australia continue to severely limit the number of refugees they will welcome.

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When Aimee Allison was 14, her mother took her to see civil rights leader Jesse Jackson speak — and something changed in her.

Growing up black and biracial in a predominantly white community, Allison regularly experienced incidents of racism. And while she worked hard in school and wanted to someday attend college, it was hard to imagine herself as a leader. After all, she hadn't seen anyone in government who looked like her.

But listening to Jackson changed her whole idea of what her future could entail.

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