Watch hundreds of New Yorkers coming together in support of immigrant children.

Writer and comedian Baratunde Thurston received a text at 10:55 p.m. Minutes later, he was out the door and on his way to New York's LaGuardia Airport.

"Calling our #HeretoStay Network! Youth & children separated from their families are arriving at LGA airport right now! Still being transported by American Airlines!! Meet us at terminal B arrivals right now!" read the text, sent from immigration advocacy organization United We Dream.

Thurston threw on a pair of pants, grabbed his external phone charger and passport, and caught a ride share to the airport. "Realized I left my Sharpies at home and my driver was like, 'I'm a mom. I always have crayons. Will that help?'" he recounts. "So I brought some crayons."


Organizations like United We Dream, Make the Road, Jewish Action, T'ruah, and the ACLU were joined by hundreds of supporters to take a stand against family separation.

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump had responded to backlash over his administration's "zero tolerance" policy about undocumented immigrants caught crossing the border by issuing an executive order ostensibly designed to end the practice of separating families. With these now-unaccompanied children being flown into New York for a placement in facility, advocacy groups sprung into action.

For the next several hours, protesters held signs, greeted children, said chants, and sang songs.

"There are few things New Yorkers hate more than LaGuardia Airport," said Thurston the morning after the protests. "But one of those things is state-sanctioned child kidnapping. So it was beautiful to see hundreds of my fellow New Yorkers show up for immigrants and human rights last night."

On Twitter, he urged his more than 238,000 followers to "keep the direct actions coming."

Even if the practice of separating families comes to an end, Trump's executive order might not improve immigration policy.

Some even argue that it'll make things worse. His order ditches the idea of children and parents being held in separate detention facilities in favor of families being housed together in the same place. If child separation was inhumane, family internment isn't a vast improvement.

Our immigration system is broken, and as much as some supporters of Trump's policies might say the answer is simply for people to come to the U.S. through legal means (it should be noted that crossing the border in order to seek asylum is legal), it's harder than ever for people to do.

These problems go further back than just this one president. In May, the ACLU released a report cataloging abuses in immigration detention facilities dating back to 2009. Recent reports by investigative journalism organization Reveal found that a number of people within the immigration detention and shelter industry had backgrounds that included sexual assault and abuse. That group also reported on a lawsuit that alleges that some immigrant children being held were forcibly injected with psychiatric drugs to make them more docile.

These aren't new problems. They didn't start with Trump, and if nothing is done, they won't end with him, either.

We are live from NYC's LaGuardia Airport where Trump admin has sent immigrant children separated from their parents. We are here to witness where they are taking them. (Rafael Shimunov) sign up for call bit.ly/actionready

Posted by Working Families Party on Wednesday, June 20, 2018

It seems now more than any other time in recent history, people really are paying attention — and taking action.

Those who showed up at LaGuardia are evidence of that. And if that focus remains, systemic change of America's broke, cruel immigration system is possible.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

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What happens when you ask male action stars the questions female stars actually get?

Superhero Avengers Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson were doing their normal press junkett when Cosmo magazine flipped the script on them.

This article originally appeared on 04.24.15


Actresses often get asked dumb questions. Repeatedly.

Mind you, sometimes they get lucky and a reporter changes it up a bit. Like this reporter from Cosmo, who decided to turn the whole idea on its head and ask Mark all the questions Scarlett usually gets.

Mark was up to the challenge.

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