Marsha P. Johnson Made the First Pride a Riot

Marsha P. Johnson

On her birthday, August 24, we honor the art and activism of Marsha P. Johnson. In my lifetime, I’m happy to have seen the landmark civil rights case of Obergefell v. Hodges conclude with the decision to legalize same-sex marriage. I’m grateful to live in a world that sees thousands of pride events throughout the year. While those are reasons to celebrate, I’m disheartened to also live in a decade when 49 members of my community were gunned down very near queer clubs I frequent myself. The 2016 Pulse attack serves as merely a punctuation mark in a long history of violence against the LGBTQ+ community worldwide. To use a modern example, in Chechnya today hundreds of gay men will die at the hands of their government and families, a mirror image of the days of Nazi Germany when members of the LGBTQ+ community were driven from their homes to        …read more

Why Do Institutions Fail to Report Child Abuse?

Child abuse often goes unreported, leaving more children vulnerable. In January of 2018, Dr. Larry Nassar, disgraced team physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for decades of abuse of gymnasts under his care. Nassar assaulted 265 girls, the youngest of whom was only six years old at the time of the abuse. People around the world reacted with horror when the investigations into Nassar’s crimes revealed that many adults knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it. Rather than helping the victims, these witnesses pressured them to stay silent, or tried to convince them that the abuse hadn’t happened. Twenty-one years ago, at the age of 16, Larissa Boyce thought she was living her dream. She was a young gymnast training at MSU with one of her idols, gymnastics legend Kathie Klages. When Nassar assaulted Boyce during        …read more

27 Malala Yousafzai Quotes to Empower You to Raise Your Voice

Malala Yousafzai

On Malala Yousafzai’s 21st birthday, read the young activist’s most inspiring quotes. There aren’t too many recognition days dedicated to college students — but Malala Yousafzai is hardly your average young adult. The UN has designated July 12, which is Yousafzai’s birthday, Malala Day in honor of the young woman who has been a prominent activist for female education since her early teens. Yousafzai’s humanitarian work came at a near-fatal cost. At age 11, inspired by her father’s activism, she began writing about life in her native Swat Valley, Pakistan, under the new rule of the Taliban. Knowing she was endangering her young life, she began publicly advocating for girls’ education. The Taliban retaliated on October 9, 2012, targeting then-15-year-old Yousafzai on a bus that was taking her and two other girls to school exams. The assassination attempt left Yousafzai critically injured with a gunshot wound to the head. A Taliban        …read more

Missing Children: Learn the Risks and How to Help Bring Kids Home

missing children

Learn the most common reasons children go missing and how to help bring them to safety. National Missing Children’s Day is May 25. Almost exactly four years ago, on a sunny June day in a beautiful Atlantic beach town, I thought my life was ending. My son, Raymond, who was just a few weeks from his third birthday, disappeared on a crowded boardwalk. We’d just gotten off the Jolly Trolley at the boardwalk — Raymond, his two older sisters, my husband and I. For less than a minute, my husband and I took our eyes off the kids while we discussed where we wanted to eat dinner. Less than a minute. How many times have you taken your eyes off your child in a public place for a few seconds? You dig through your purse at the grocery store. You text your spouse. You crane your neck, searching for the        …read more

Fostering Hope: Rising above Adversity in the Child Welfare System

foster, Child Welfare System

In honor of National Foster Care Month, get to know a former foster child now studying for her doctorate to help kids in the Child Welfare System. National Foster Care Month was first established by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Since the creation of National Foster Care Month, it has been designated as a time to acknowledge the hard work of the individuals, organizations and communities pulling together to improve the lives of America’s most vulnerable children. Those unfamiliar with the foster care system or the Child Welfare System as a whole might associate it with unfit parents and poor outcomes. However, while it’s true that the foster care system has a way to go in terms of ensuring the safety and stability of young people, there are successful outcomes to applaud too. Below is an overview of the Child Welfare System, which at times may seem downright depressing, if        …read more

Olympic Gold Medalist Monica Puig Leads Puerto Rico Recovery Efforts

Puerto Rico recovery efforts

Off the tennis court, Puig is focused on helping Puerto Rico recovery efforts. Tennis player Monica Puig currently resides in Miami, but her heart is in her place of birth: the island of Puerto Rico. At the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Puig became the first athlete to win a gold medal representing Puerto Rico. Just over a year after Puig’s historic win, Hurricane Maria devastated the island and Puig swiftly took action to help those affected by the tragedy. Accompanied by Maria Sharapova, Puig traveled to Puerto Rico in October to deliver supplies and hope to the island’s residents. “My mother always told me God put me in this world for a reason,” Puig said at the time of her visit. “I think the reason is to help Puerto Rico and give hope to people who have lost everything. In this moment, that’s what we need.” Puig also set up        …read more

How to Make a Difference on World Health Day

World Health Day

Half the world’s population doesn’t have access to health care. Here’s how to help on World Health Day and every day. April 7 is World Health Day, and this year’s cause is access to health care for everyone. According to statistics gathered by the World Health Organization, half the world’s population currently doesn’t have access to health care — and a staggering 100 million people have been forced into poverty due to health care costs. Lack of access to health care affects the most vulnerable populations, both in the U.S. and abroad. I spoke to four medical experts about their biggest areas of concern — and what we can do to help on World Health Day and every other day of the year. Lack of Access to Health Care Is a Multilayered Issue When we hear the phrase “lack of access to health care,” many of us immediately think of people        …read more

World Water Day Draws Attention to Our Most Valuable Resource

World Water Day

In honor of World Water Day, learn how to help preserve safe water for future generations. Although March 22 may not ring a bell as a significant date of celebration, it happens to impact every human on the planet: World Water Day. As part of the United Nations and Sustainable Development Goal 6, World Water Day focuses on “access to safe water and sanitation and sound management of freshwater ecosystems...essential to human health and to environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.” World Water Day 2018 explores nature’s models of sustainability to ensure future water safety. Knowledge Is Power While entire societies, government departments and environmental groups are dedicated to protecting the state of water, the average consumer in developed countries might view water as an infinite resource. Most houses are equipped with faucets that open and release clean water. In grocery stores, shelves are full of clean bottled drinking water. Yet        …read more

Inside Jane Goodall’s Tireless Fight to Save the Environment

Jane Goodall documentary

Jane Goodall explains why she still has hope the environment can be saved, and why we all need to be active participants. Renowned primatologist, anthropologist, activist and feminist icon Dr. Jane Goodall is now 83 years old, but to say that age hasn’t slowed her down would be the understatement of the century. Goodall spends approximately 300 days each year traveling all over the globe, keeping up a steady schedule of speaking engagements that educate people about threats to the environment and the steps we can take to be part of the solution. On March 12 the documentary Jane premieres on National Geographic. Drawing from over 100 hours of footage that had been forgotten for decades, the documentary brings viewers back to the very beginning of Goodall’s career. She arrived in Gombe, Tanzania, in 1960 at the age of 26, with no formal scientific training or education. But what Goodall        …read more

Kicking Ass & Taking Names: The Strength & Spirit of Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly, International Women's Day

On International Women’s Day, the world remembers breakers of glass ceilings throughout history. Among them: the bold journalist Nellie Bly. Each International Women’s Day, the world celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. One woman who made great strides toward equality is known to the world as Nellie Bly. The year is 1885, and a woman’s place is in the home, says Erasmus Wilson in his Pittsburgh Dispatch article “What Girls Are Good For.” Chastising women for seeking an education and career, he calls the working woman a “monstrosity.” That doesn’t sit well with 21-year-old Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, a single, working woman of little means. Demonstrating her intelligence and grit, she lets the newspaper’s editor, George Madden, know in an angry letter signed Lonely Orphan Girl. He’s impressed and offers her a job. Cochrane, taking the pen name Nellie Bly, accepts, but she won’t settle for “women’s        …read more