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Trump says undocumented immigrants are dangerous. This congressman has a great response.

Rep. Jared Polis is shining a light on Trump's attack on immigrants.

Trump says undocumented immigrants are dangerous. This congressman has a great response.

When President Donald Trump announced a plan to publicize crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, members of the audience gasped in surprise and disappointment.

The program is called the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement office (VOICE), and its goal, as outlined by Trump during his February address to a joint session of Congress, is to study "the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States" and publicize crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/Getty Images.


Critics worry — and rightfully so — that the program will create a false impression that immigrants are prone to violent crime, a popular misconception that has been consistently debunked. A recent study found that immigrants — undocumented or not — commit crimes at a lower rate than natural-born citizens. They also contribute a lot to the U.S. economy.

In response, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) launched a similar database with the idea to counter Trump's narrative by telling positive stories about immigrants.

While something needs to be done about our current immigration system, trying to sway public fear by smearing undocumented immigrants as violent (false), job-stealing (false) freeloaders (false, false, false) is a disingenuous way of going about it.

Facts matter, and that's what Polis hopes to demonstrate with his new Saved by American Immigrants National Taskforce (SAINT). In a press release, Polis explained that the purpose of SAINT is "to collect stories of immigrants — both documented and undocumented — who have positively contributed to U.S. society through heroic or lifesaving acts."

Polis speaks during a 2011 press conference. Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images.

In announcing the task force to the House of Representatives, Polis highlighted three examples of stories SAINT will focus on.

There's the story of Antonio Diaz Chacon, an undocumented immigrant who saved a 6-year-old girl from a child abductor in 2011. In 2007, Jesus Manuel Cordova was crossing the Mexico/U.S. border when he found and saved a 9-year-old boy lost alone in the desert. Also in 2007, Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, an undocumented immigrant living in Baltimore, became a world-renowned brain surgeon.

The creation of Polis' task force simply shines a light on Trump's unfair characterization of immigrants as a whole, providing more than one narrative of immigrants' contributions to America. Polis' goal, as he's made clear over the past several years, is to find a comprehensive immigration reform program that works for all Americans, regardless of where they were born.

You can watch Polis announce SAINT in the video below and read more about the program on his website.

Several years ago, you wouldn't have known what QAnon was unless you spent a lot of time reading through comments on Twitter or frequented internet chat rooms. Now, with prominent Q adherents making headlines for storming the U.S. Capitol and elements of the QAnon worldview spilling into mainstream politics, the conspiracy theory/doomsday cult has become a household topic of conversation.

Many of us have watched helplessly as friends and family members fall down the rabbit hole, spewing strange ideas about Democrats and celebrities being pedophiles who torture children while Donald Trump leads a behind-the-scenes roundup of these evil Deep State actors. Perfectly intelligent people can be susceptible to conspiracy theories, no matter how insane, which makes it all the more frustrating.

A person who was a true believer in QAnon mythology (which you can read more about here) recently participated in an "Ask Me Anything" thread on Reddit, and what they shared about their experiences was eye-opening. The writer's Reddit handle is "diceblue," but for simplicity's sake we'll call them "DB."

DB explained that they weren't new to conspiracy theories when QAnon came on the scene. "I had been DEEP into conspiracy for about 8 years," they wrote. "Had very recently been down the ufo paranormal rabbit hole so when Q really took off midterm for trump I 'did my research' and fell right into it."

DB says they were a true believer until a couple of years ago when they had an experience that snapped them out 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.

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Two weeks ago, we watched a pro-Trump mob storm the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the results of a U.S. election and keep Donald Trump in power. And among those insurrectionists were well-known adherents of QAnon, nearly every image of the crowd shows people wearing Q gear or carrying Q flags, and some of the more frightening elements we saw tie directly into QAnon beliefs.

Since hints of it first started showing up in social media comments several years ago, I've been intrigued—and endlessly frustrated—by the phenomenon of QAnon. At first, it was just a few fringey whacko conspiracy theorists I could easily roll my eyes at and ignore, but as I started seeing elements of it show up more and more frequently from more and more people, alarm bells started ringing.

Holy crap, there are a lot of people who actually believe this stuff.

Eventually, it got personal. A QAnon adherent on Twitter kept commenting on my tweets, pushing bizarro Q ideas on many of my posts. The account didn't use a real name, but the profile was classic QAnon, complete with the #WWG1WGA. ("Where we go one, we go all"—a QAnon rallying cry.) I thought it might be a bot, so I blocked them. Later, I discovered that it was actually one of my own extended family members.

Holy crap, I actually know people who actually believe this stuff.

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Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

However, we seem to be on different pages as to what sucks most about it. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our friends and loved ones for so long. Some of us have lost friends and family to the virus, while others are dealing with ongoing health effects of their own illness. Millions are struggling with job loss and financial stress due to businesses being closed. Parents are drowning, dealing with their kids' online schooling and lack of in-person social interactions on top of their own work logistics. Most of us hate wearing masks (even if we do so diligently), and the vast majority of us are just tired of having to think about and deal with everything the pandemic entails.

Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

It's not that those mental health challenges aren't real. They most definitely are. But when we focus exclusively on the mental health impact of lockdowns, we miss the fact that there are also significant mental health struggles on the other side of those arguments.

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