These 6 orgs are making sure freedom and justice are for all Americans.

Independence Day is an important day in the United States.

In 1776, the Continental Congress declared the 13 American colonies were no longer a part of the British Empire and would be recognized as a new nation — thus asserting independence from British rule. This action led to the creation of the U.S. Constitution over a decade later.

But for years, the rights our independent nation promised only applied to certain people.

Black Americans, women, immigrants, people with disabilities, and many other communities didn't get to experience the same freedoms. Instead, to varying degrees, they experienced persecution.


With the passage of several Constitutional amendments — such as those that granted black Americans citizenship, women the right to vote, etc. — the U.S. made steps toward equality for all. But, progress is an ongoing journey. While our nation has improved in many ways, black and Latino citizens still experience disproportionate rates of poverty; gun violence has decimated communities of color, schoolrooms, and churches; and LGBTQ citizens still face high rates of discrimination.

Thankfully, Americans are a fighting bunch. Citizens across the country continue to raise their voices for the rights of all Americans. Here are six organizations fighting tirelessly to ensure that rights to freedom and justice truly do apply to all citizens:

1. RAICES

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images. Illustration by Tatiana Cardenas.

RAICES is a nonprofit that provides free and low-cost legal services to immigrants. The Texas-based organization has been doing great work to support immigrants since 1986, and they're now the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas. After a Facebook fundraiser for the organization went viral and amassed more than $13 million, RAICES has been able to increase its ability to help separated families locate one another. Their dedication to reuniting families and ensuring that immigrants are afforded the human rights they deserve serves as a true example of fighting for liberty and justice for all. You can support RAICES here.

2. Color of Change

Photo courtesy of Color of Change. Illustration by Tatiana Cardenas.

Color of Change is one of the largest racial justice organizations in the U.S. Operating online, it strives to make the government and large corporations more knowledgeable about how to create safe and equitable environments for black Americans. Striving to ensure black Americans enjoy the same freedoms afforded to them by the Constitution, the organization continues to successfully fight for economic, criminal, and media justice as well as be an amplified power and voice for people of color. You can support Color of Change here.

3. Easterseals

Photo courtesy of Easterseals. Illustration by Tatiana Cardenas.

Americans living with disabilities have made huge strides thanks to organizations like Easterseals leading the way. Easterseals works to provide support to citizens with various disabilities. Their work contributes to a growing mission to ensure that all Americans enjoy accessible spaces and the same freedoms and respect. You can support Easterseals here.

4. Planned Parenthood

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images. Illustration by Tatiana Cardenas.

Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive health services, such as mammograms, birth control, and reproductive and sexual health care, to millions of women around the world. Recently, the organization has been under increased attack from the far right and Christian extremists. In spite of threats from the current administration to decrease funding and growing discrimination, citizens and celebrities have banded together to keep the vital organization flourishing and able to provide health care and services. You can support Planned Parenthood here.

5. Lambda Legal

Photo courtesy of Lambda Legal. Illustration by Tatiana Cardenas.

LGBTQ Americans certainly weren't mentioned in text when the Founding Fathers were imagining what a free nation for all would look like. Lambda Legal has spent years fighting for equal rights and safer environments for LGBTQ people and queer expression. But, in light of recent rollbacks to policy in place to protect queer citizens, that work is really just beginning.

Lambda Legal communications director Jonathan Adams writes, "We have seen in their continued attacks on heath care an issue of grave concern to millions of Americans today. We the people — all of us — must stand together at this time to protect our shared rights and freedoms." Adams highlights how the current administration is "actively working to divide us by attacking children, immigrants, people of color, trans and queer individuals, Muslims, and other groups they seek to marginalize. Their continued focus on polarizing us is taking a toll on the fundamentals of this great nation, those being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Lambda Legal's efforts to fight for queer citizens is more important than ever, and it is near the truth of our county's declared ideology. You can support Lambda Legal here.

6. Everytown for Gun Safety

Photo courtesy of Everytown for Gun Safety. Illustration by Tatiana Cardenas.

Founded in 2014, Everytown for Gun Safety combined two orgs — Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America — with a shared goal for comprehensive gun safety laws. "In order for all Americans to feel and be free, it's imperative that we feel safe to be who we are in our communities — whether that's in a place of worship, at a concert or at school or a college campus," wrote Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action.

Watts continued, "We must do everything in our power  to make our communities safer and that means doing more to protect marginalized communities from gun violence. ... The fight for gun violence prevention is also a fight for equality." You can support Everytown for Gun Safety here.

The promise of America — that freedom and justice exists for all — is a beautiful example of how democracy should work. But that promise can become meaningless if we fail to ensure that those freedoms extend to everyone for a safe and equitable society. These six organizations — and many more — are doing the work to make sure that the sentiments our country was founded on extend to all citizens.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.