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These people 'came out' to their friends as undocumented. It was just as scary as if they were gay.

Telling people you go to school with or work with that you're undocumented has to be a pretty scary moment. But it can also open some eyes. And hearts.

These people 'came out' to their friends as undocumented. It was just as scary as if they were gay.
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Open Society Foundations
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People like Pablo, and Itzel, and Ireri, and Blanca. And some others. They were silent about who they really were — until the day they decided to be silent no longer.

A common refrain: “My parents always told me never to tell anybody that I was undocumented."


Whether it was when they were offered a new job or needed to get a driver's license, or they just got tired of hiding after so many years, there came a time.

As one teacher who had a job for her student said, "I can't believe that, you know, somebody who has so much potential ... is not given an opportunity to get papers."

Ultimately, it's about owning their narrative rather than being afraid of it.

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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.