More

These 11 images show just how to respond when a hate group tries to set up shop near your home.

Even though some think of the KKK as a secret, underground organization, they're not. Especially not in the Ozarks. Residents of the region are speaking up. In amazing ways.

These 11 images show just how to respond when a hate group tries to set up shop near your home.

What would you do if the KKK decided not just to put its headquarters near your house, but start a youth camp to train young people "to be a voice of racial redemption"?

This happened in July 2015 in Harrison, Arkansas.


You might be a little annoyed, right?

When Rachel Luster, a librarian, community organizer, and arts and community advocate in the Ozark region, saw this headline on Raw Story, it got real: "Klan camp: KKK developing 'a mighty army' of white nationalists at five day training in July."

A lifetime Ozarker, she was more than annoyed. She was ready to act.

"I had this visceral reaction and I didn't know what I was going to do, but as a human being and as an Ozarker, I had to do something about this."
— Rachel Luster

She spoke with members of community organizations across the South, including Black Lives Matter activists who were protesting Klan rallies in Charleston, South Carolina in the wake of the removal of the Confederate flag.

The #NotMyOzarks campaign was born.

A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on

That's Rachel up there with her adorable family!

It's a pretty typical hashtag campaign, using the hashtags #NotMyOzarks and #RuralNotRacist to spread their message of love.

Looking at all the images, you see a picture of rural America that you just don't see elsewhere.

#NotmyOzarks #NotmyRural #LoveNotHate #BlackLivesMatter
A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on


I spoke at length with Rachel on the phone, and she had some important things to say about the culture of silence among rural folks when it comes to race, as well as the need to break that chain.

"We grow up and we're taught ... it's not polite to talk about race or politics or anything like that, and it's also not polite to judge somebody by what color they are or 'who their momma is.'"
— Rachel Luster

A heartwarming quote from "To Kill a Mockingbird," drawn on a piece of paper in the shape of Arkansas. Image via Not My Ozarks Facebook.

Rachel continued:

"We don't really talk about things. But for me in particular ... I just feel like the only way it can get better is if we open [ourselves] up to this conversation — even if it's uncomfortable, even if it is awkward."


A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on
MO Love, Y'all! #NotmyOzarks #NotmyRural #LoveNotHate
A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on

Cool Missouri farmer guy, keeping it real. MO LOVE.

Thanks to the power of the Internet, people in the Ozarks are pushing back against racism.

The #NotMyOzarks campaign has over 2,000 Facebook Likes, and the number of participants is growing.

A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on
A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on
A photo posted by NotmyOzarks (@notmyozarks) on
A photo posted by Kally Sue (@kali_su) on

Communities that were once living in isolation to come together to stand in solidarity. That makes me happy.

If you want to join them in their message of love, take a photo of your family and post it using the hashtag #RuralNotRacist and #NotMyOzarks. Or just follow them on Facebook. In the few days I've known about this group, they've gotten hundreds of new Likes.

It's beautiful to watch love surmount hate.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
Canva

I got married and started working in my early 20s, and for more than two decades I always had employer-provided health insurance. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka "Obamacare")was passed, I didn't give it a whole lot of thought. I was glad it helped others, but I just assumed my husband or I would always be employed and wouldn't need it.

Then, last summer, we found ourselves in an unexpected scenario. I was working as a freelance writer with regular contract work and my husband left his job to manage our short-term rentals and do part-time contracting work. We both had incomes, but for the first time, no employer-provided insurance. His previous employer offered COBRA coverage, of course, but it was crazy expensive. It made far more sense to go straight to the ACA Marketplace, since that's what we'd have done once COBRA ran out anyway.

The process of getting our ACA healthcare plan set up was a nightmare, but I'm so very thankful for it.

Let me start by saying I live in a state that is friendly to the ACA and that adopted and implemented the Medicaid expansion. I am also a college-educated and a native English speaker with plenty of adult paperwork experience. But the process of getting set up on my state's marketplace was the most confusing, frustrating experience I've ever had signing up for anything, ever.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less
via Lorie Shaull / Flickr

The epidemic of violence against Indigenous women in America is one of the country's most disturbing trends. A major reason it persists is because it's rarely discussed outside of the native community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women under age 19.

Women who live on some reservations face rates of violence that are as much as ten times higher than the national average.

Keep Reading Show less