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A Florida student turned state's controversial new law into a viral lesson on the Stonewall riots

Stonewall Inn, West Village.

One thing that screams amazing is Gen Z kids and the empowerment they exude. Whether it’s organizing protests or demanding to be taken seriously as their true selves, they can be truly awe-inspiring. Teens in the '90s perfected the eye roll and developed a “Clueless” croak, but teens and young adults of today seem to be activists from birth. Bucking the system that attempts to put them in a box or quiet their voices, today’s youth are in a league of their own, and it’s something to take in.

Will Larkins is one of those precocious Gen Zers that is breaking the mold on what society deems appropriate for teens to do. He's a junior at Winter Park High School in Winter Park, Florida, and has been making his presence known through his LGBTQ+ activism. He is the president and co-founder of his school’s Queer Student Union. On March 7, he led a walkout of more than 500 students in protest of Florida's proposed "Don't Say Gay" bill. Larkins, who uses they/him pronouns, posted a video to his Twitter account showing him teaching a history lesson on the Stonewall riots, which occurred in 1969. His history class was covering history spanning the 1960s and '70s, and he asked permission to include this bit of LGBTQ+ history that many people don’t learn about in school.


After his history teacher gave him the go-ahead, Larkins got to work. The teen created a PowerPoint presentation that centered around educating his fellow students about the history of LGBTQ+ and the fight for civil rights. When he arrived to class that day, he donned a red tea-length fitted dress, a fur cropped jacket and a beautiful double strand of pearls. The students in class appear to be engaged in his presentation on the historic events.

The Stonewall riots were a series of uprisings in New York City following a raid on a local gay bar that resulted in a lesbian being knocked unconscious as she was being put into a police car. The onlookers were horrified and began to throw things at the officer who had injured the woman as he was putting her into the police car. When Larkins asked his teacher if the class would be covering Stonewall during their lesson, his teacher had not heard of the event, which prompted the presentation.

After Larkins posted a short clip of him presenting on the riots, some commenters were confused at why he decided to wear a dress, but the answer was simple. Because he wanted to. Larkins often dresses in clothes that would be deemed feminine by societal standards, but he doesn’t let that stop him. The presentation went viral, and has been viewed more than 457, 000 times.

While Larkins may still be in high school, his activism and courage to stand up for what he believes in will take him far. He's already looking toward the future by helping eligible Gen Zers register to vote in time for the primaries. This kid is going places, and he’ll look fabulous doing it.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

Joy

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Grab your boost of serotonin here.

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Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Holy moly—it's fall, y'all!

As pumpkin spice swoops in and we start unpacking our cozy sweaters and cute boots, we can practically taste the seasonal change in the air. Fall is filled with so many small joys—the fresh, crisp smell of apples, the beauty of the leaves as they shift from greens to yellows, oranges and reds, the way the world gets wrapped in a warm glow even as the air grows cooler.

Part of what makes the beauty of fall unique is that it's fleeting. Mother Nature puts on a vibrant show as she sheds what no longer serves her, inviting us to revel in her purposeful self-destruction. It's a gorgeous example of not only embracing change, but celebrating it.

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This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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