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Identity

A town defunded its library for having LGBTQ books, so people donated $90K to keep it open

The news of the library’s impending closure inspired a response from people who support the LGBTQ community.

patmos library, lgbtq jonestown township, defund library

The Patmos Library in Jamestown Township.

If you don’t like a TV show, change the channel. If you don’t like a song, change the radio station. If you don’t want to read a book, don’t read it. If you don’t want your children to do something, tell them what to avoid.

Makes sense, right? Not to the majority of voters in Jamestown Township in western Michigan. On August 3, they rejected a millage to fund their local library to protest its inclusion of LGBTQ-themed books. A millage is what some municipalities use to calculate property taxes.

The voters rejected the millage by 62% to 37%. The vote gutted the library's operating budget in 2023 by 84%. Larry Walton, the library board president, told Bridge Michigan that without the funding the library will close late next year.


via Patmos Library/Facebook

The library became the center of controversy for carrying “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” in the adult graphic novel section. After protests, it was removed from the shelves and put behind the counter.

A review on publisher Simon and Schuster's website says that the book, written by Maia Kobabe, is “a great resource for those who identify as nonbinary or asexual as well as for those who know someone who identifies that way and wish to better understand."

But conservative activists in Jamestown Township accused the library of indoctrinating local children by having the book on the shelves. There were also complaints about a book called “Spinning” about a teen girl's attraction to other girls and “Kiss Number 8,” a graphic novel with similar LGBTQ themes.

“They are trying to groom our children to believe that it’s OK to have these sinful desires,” Amanda Ensing, a member of the group Jamestown Conservatives, said of library officials, Bridge Michigan reported. “It’s not a political issue, it’s a Biblical issue.”

If you don’t like the library's books, why not tell your kids not to go there? Problem solved.

Did the people who supported closing the library consider the fact that by closing it they weren’t just eliminating access to a few books on LGBTQ issues but countless topics and stories that they may support?

The news of the library’s impending closure inspired a backlash by people who support the LGBTQ community and reading. More than $90,000 has been raised through two GoFundMe campaigns.

Jamestown resident Jesse Dillman has raised $87,000 for the cause through his campaign that has a goal of $200,000, the amount needed to keep the library open for the good part of a year.

via Patmos Library/Facebook

“The Patmos Library in Jamestown is a core part of the community fabric,” he wrote on his GoFundMe page. "I firmly believe most residents here don't share these views and desire to continue funding our local library. Funds raised here will be donated to the Patmos Library so that we can keep it open long enough to consolidate community support for our library millage."

Michelle Barrows has raised nearly $5,000 on her page.

“I was very disheartened that the majority of this community believes in defunding the library because it has books with subjects they don't like or understand,” Barrows wrote on her GoFundMe page. “If you don't like the book, don't check it out! Books don't make people gay. Books DO provide understanding, teach tolerance, and love of differences.”

"I hope you get to your goal, but it is a very very sad day when a public library has to get funded this way due to extreme views of a minority wishing to impose their will on others. Keep on reading!" GoFundMe donor Nancy Stryker wrote.

The people of Jamestown’s decision to punish themselves and their community by shutting down the library over a few books they disagree with is a sad display of irrational political and religious outrage. Banning books has a long history of being connected to oppressive political regimes and is antithetical to living in a society that values freedom of speech.

But it is heartening to see that people from across the world have stood up and donated money to help keep the library alive. Perhaps those who voted to shut it down will hand back their library cards.


Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Can he be the father?

The presumed father of a newborn baby was skeptical of his paternity after the baby girl was born with blonde hair and blue eyes. He and his wife of two years have brown hair and brown eyes, so he thought there was no chance it was his child.

The wife reassured her husband that they could have a blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby and that, quite often, a baby’s hair and eye color can change over time.

But the husband “freaked out at this and refused to listen,” the wife wrote in a viral post on Reddit’s AITA page. Instead, he “demanded a paternity test and threatened to divorce me if I didn’t comply, so I did.”

The man was so confident that after the baby was born, he moved into his mother’s house while he awaited the results of the DNA test. The wife stayed home with the baby and was helped through the first few weeks by her sister.


To make things worse, the wife’s mother-in-law began to make threats. “My MIL called and informed me that if the paternity test revealed that the child wasn’t his, she would do anything within her power to make sure that I was ‘taken to the cleaners’ during the divorce,” the mom shared on Reddit.

Finally, three weeks after the child was born, the DNA test results arrived and the husband came home to read them with his wife. “I was on the couch in the living room, so he sat next to me and we started to read the results,” she wrote. “They showed that he was the father and my husband had this shocked, kinda mortified look on his face with his eyes wide as he stared at it.”

dad dna test, paternity test, you are the father

A man is shocked to learn that he is the father.

via Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

The wife said, “I told you so,” and laughed in his face. In the post, the wife also notes she has “zero history” of cheating.

Although it is rare for two people with brown eyes and brown hair to have a blue-eyed, blonde-haired baby, it is entirely possible. According to Verywell Health, there is a 19% chance that a couple with brown eyes can have a blue-eyed baby. And, as the wife noted earlier, a baby’s eye color can change over its first year of life.

Further, two people with brown hair can have a blonde-haired child if both parents carry the recessive gene for blonde hair. The blonde hair may darken over time as well.

dna, dna strand, dna test

A strand of DNA

via Warren Umoh/Pexels

If the father had done a quick Google search on the topic, he would have quickly realized that there was a very strong case that he was the father and the drama could have stopped before any damage was done to the marriage.

The positive part of this story is that the wife’s post on Reddit earned her a ton of support from people who thought her husband’s antics were utterly inappropriate. The support probably also helped to put her husband's wild antics into perspective while she determined their future. The wife felt bad about laughing at her husband, but most people thought it was appropriate, given her husband's behavior.

“Not only doesn’t he have a basic grasp of genetics, he threw a tantrum and left you immediately after having the baby to struggle alone for almost a month,” CrystalQueen3000 commented. “He’s lucky all you did was laugh in his face.”

A lot of commenters thought that the woman should leave her husband for accusing her of cheating and leaving her alone with the child.

“Honestly, if my husband left me for weeks after giving birth due to a faint assumption like this, I would be done. I can't be together with someone who abandoned me when I needed them desperately,” Matakakiba wrote.


This article originally appeared on 1.5.24

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Image from YouTube video.

What is your biggest regret?

"Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh."

—Henry David Thoreau

No one escapes this world without a regret or two.

Time and time again, when we hear the final regrets of the dying, they're not about wishing they'd made money or worked more hours.

They're almost always about wishing they had the self-confidence to pursue their dreams or the time to stay in touch with loved ones.

community, culture, honesty, collaboration, art

Here are some thoughts on the subject.

Image from YouTube video.

Recently, A Plus in partnership with Strayer University's Ideal Year Initiative, put up a chalkboard on a New York City street and asked passersby to write down their biggest regrets. The people who wrote on the blackboard were from different walks of life, but their regrets were alarmingly similar.

Watch the full video below:

This article first appeared on 9.16.17

Image by sasint/Canva

Surgeons prepared to separate 3-year-old conjoined twins in Brazil using virtual reality.

The things human beings have figured out how to do boggles the mind sometimes, especially in the realm of medicine.

It wasn't terribly long ago that people with a severe injury had to liquor up, bite a stick, have a body part sewn up or sawed off and hope for the best. (Sorry for the visual, but it's true.) The discoveries of antibiotics and anesthesia alone have completely revolutionized human existence, but we've gone well beyond that with what our best surgeons can accomplish.

Surgeries can range from fairly simple to incredibly complex, but few surgeries are more complicated than separating conjoined twins with combined major organs. That's why the recent surgical separation of conjoined twin boys with fused brains in Brazil is so incredible.



The twins, Bernardo and Arthur Lima, are almost 4 years old and have never seen one another's face. They've spent their lives conjoined at the top of their heads, facing opposite directions. Born as craniopagus twins (joined at the cranium), their brains were also fused together, making their separation extremely complex. According to the BBC, they've been cared for at the Instituto Estadual do Cérebro Paulo Niemeyer (Paulo Niemeyer State Brain Institute) in Rio de Janeiro for the past two and a half years.

Surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani is the founder of medical charity Gemini Untwined, which funded the surgery. He helped lead the team of nearly 100 medical workers who worked for months to prepare for the boys' separation, which was one of the most complicated of its kind.

Jeelani told the BBC that it was the first time surgeons in separate countries practiced by operating in the same "virtual reality room" together, wearing VR headsets.

"It's just wonderful," he said. "It's really great to see the anatomy and do the surgery before you actually put the children at any risk. You can’t imagine how reassuring this is for the surgeons. To do it in virtual reality was just really man-on-Mars stuff."

Watch Jeelani explain how they prepared for the procedure:

Prior attempts to separate the twins had been unsuccessful, making the surgery even more challenging due to scar tissue. However, after multiple surgeries that took more than 33 hours collectively, the boys were successfully separated in June.

“It was without a doubt the most complex surgery of my career,” said neurosurgeon Gabriel Mufarrej of the Paulo Niemeyer State Brain Institute, according to EuroNews. “At the beginning, nobody thought they would survive. It is already historic that both of them could be saved."

Jeelani told the BBC that the boys' heart rates and blood pressure were "through the roof" for four days after the surgery—until they were reunited and touched hands.

According to Reuters, Bernardo and Arthur are the oldest twins with fused brains to be successfully separated. They will spend the next six months in rehabilitation.

Congratulations to the Lima family and to the global team that combined dedication, perseverance and the miracle of modern technology to create a brighter future for these young boys.


This article originally appeared on 08.04.22

An English doctor named Edward Jenner took incredible risks to try to rid his world of smallpox. Because of his efforts and the efforts of scientists like him, the only thing between deadly diseases like the ones below and extinction are people who refuse to vaccinate their kids. Don't be that parent.

Unfortunately, because of the misinformation from the anti-vaccination movement, some of these diseases have trended up in a really bad way over the past several years.



Wellness involves a lot of personal choices and the tradeoff between personal liberty and shared public good.

Measles is the starkest example. There were about 61 cases of measles in all of 2012, but in just the first seven months of 2014, there have been nearly 600.

As this chart shows, vaccinations are not like taxes rates or even freedom of speech. The impact of one's personal health choices can have a significant impact on the population around them, in their communities and even on a national level. It makes that trade-off all the more complicated and one not easily distilled into one convenient political or religious ideology.

Obviously, the topic of vaccinations has become immensely more complicated since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020. But history teaches us valuable lessons and information is power. No matter how you feel about vaccines today, this chart is a reminder that medical science can be used for incredible good. Without breakthrough vaccinations in the past, many of us would likely not be here to have the debate about our personal choices now and into the future.


This article originally appeared on 11.21.14 and this infographic is based on data from 2012.

All images by Rebecca Cohen, used with permission.

Here’s a thought.

Self proclaimed feminist killjoy Rebecca Cohen is a cartoonist based in Berkeley, California.

Here’s what she has to say about her role as an artist taken from her Patreon page.


She says:

"In these trying times, the world needs a hero to resist the forces of tyranny.

That hero is definitely not me.


I just draw funny pictures and like to share my opinions. I'm Rebecca, also known as @gynostar."

Enjoy one of her comics below.

friends, discrimination, hurtful words

An all to common exchange.

All images by Rebecca Cohen, used with permission.

comics, jokes Rebecca Cohen

It’s only words.

All images by Rebecca Cohen, used with permission.

power of words, conversation, hostile environments

Simple jokes contain implicit ideas.

All images by Rebecca Cohen, used with permission.

equality, community, inclusive

Discussing the impact of words.

All images by Rebecca Cohen, used with permission.

This article originally appeared on 10.19.16