More

A mom needed a Christmas miracle, and Eddie Vedder delivered.

Like this family, 1 in 3 children are growing up in low-income households.

A mom needed a Christmas miracle, and Eddie Vedder delivered.

Facing eviction and the prospect of not being able to give her children the Christmas she felt they deserved, Tyshika Britten took to Craigslist hoping for a miracle.

“I am a mother of six, 5 boys and 1 baby girl,” she wrote on Craigslist. The 35-year-old hair stylist worried her children would wake up on Christmas morning to disappointment. "I'm trying my best. I pray every day and now I'm begging for help. I know it's not about the gifts, but they are kids! I'm such a failure right now. ... Please help me."

Help came in the form of Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder.

On Dec. 20, the Washington Post featured Britten's story as part of a wider-ranging article on the struggles facing poor and working-class families around the country. That same day, Vedder and his bandmates were named to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's class of 2017 alongside the likes of Joan Baez, Journey, and Electric Light Orchestra.


After hearing about what Britten was going through, Vedder decided to send a check for $10,000 to her family. Others joined in, as well, sending the family a Playstation 4 and a tablet, among other things.

Eddie Vedder at a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images.

In Britten's plea for help, Vedder saw echoes of his own childhood.

"I was just so moved by the story and what this mother did for her children," Vedder told the Washington Post, recalling Christmases in which he received used and sometimes broken toys as a child. "I thought those kids must be so proud of their mother for reaching out. That takes a lot of courage."

Working families shouldn't have to struggle to afford the basics, especially over the holidays, and yet more than 1 in 3 children are growing up in low-income households.

Eddie Vedder saved the day for Tyshika Britten, but the problem goes much deeper than one family's Christmas. Vedder himself referred to the gift as a "tourniquet" to help one family through what is hopefully a short-lived rough patch, but poverty is a complex, wide-ranging issue affecting the lives of millions nationwide.

Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images.

Last year, rapper 2 Chainz engaged in a similar act of generosity, bringing Christmas to one family by paying their rent for an entire year. These acts of good faith and charity are heartwarming, but they're also just temporary.

We may not all be rock stars, but there are surely things we can do to help out those less fortunate this holiday season.

There are thousands of families in need. Why would Vedder choose this family? Because they reminded him of his own family's struggles years ago, their story moved him powerfully to act.

It's easy to turn off stories of poverty when they feel far away from our lives — but when we can see ourselves in the shoes of those who are less fortunate, it's easy to do something. Our similarities may not always be glaringly obvious, but if we look hard enough, those stories aren't so far away from our own.

True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

We've heard from U.S. intelligence officials for at least four years that other countries are engaging in disinformation campaigns designed to destabilize the U.S. and interfere with our elections. According to a recent New York Times article, there is ample evidence of Russia attempting to push American voters away from Joe Biden and toward Donald Trump via the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency, which has created a network of fake user accounts and a website that billed itself as a "global news organization."

The problem isn't just that such disinformation campaigns exist. It's that they get picked up and shared by real people who don't know they're spreading propaganda from Russian state actors. And it's not just pro-Trump content that comes from these accounts. Some fake accounts push far-left propaganda and disinformation in order to skew perceptions of Biden. Sometimes they even share uplifting content to draw people in, while peppering their feeds with fake news or political propaganda.

Most of us read comments and responses on social media, and many of us engage in discussions as well. But how do we know if what we're reading or who we're engaging with is legitimate? It's become vogue to call people who seem to be pushing a certain agenda a "bot," and sometimes that's accurate. What about the accounts that have a real person behind them—a real person who is being paid to publish and push misinformation, conspiracy theories, or far-left or far-right content?

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via msleja / TikTok

In 2019, the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada instituted a policy that forbids teachers from participating in "partisan political activities" during school hours. The policy states that "any signage that is displayed on District property that is, or becomes, political in nature must be removed or covered."

The new policy is based on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 Janus decision that limits public employees' First Amendment protections for speech while performing their official duties.

This new policy caused a bit of confusion with Jennifer Leja, a 7th and 8th-grade teacher in the district. She wondered if, as a bisexual woman, the new policy forbids her from discussing her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less

Editor's Note: This story will be updated as events are developing.

A grand jury in Jefferson County, Kentucky has formally charged a former Louisville police officer with with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for his conduct in the shooting that killed Breonna Taylor. According to the Washington Post, the jury said Brett Hankison "wantonly and blindly" shot 10 times into the apartment where Taylor was sleeping. Under the current charges, Hankison faces up to 5 years in prison.

In responding to the charges, Kentucky's Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the grand jury ruled the other officers in the incident -- Sgt. John Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove -- acted accordingly. Cameron urged calm in response to the charge, noting that "peaceful protests are your right as an American citizens," and that many people would be "disappointed" both that the other officers were not charged and some offended that Hankison was charged at all. However, saying acts of "revenge" were not warranted, Cameron said his department's own role is to enforce the law: "It isn't the quest for revenge, it's the quest for truth," adding that he hopes to be part of "the healing process."


Keep Reading Show less