Good News This Week: June 10, 2023 - Chalk, Policing, & Girls' Education

A photo collage of a young girl posing, chalk art drawn on the sidewalk, a paper cup with a brochure and pen, a coin, and a small class of women

Every day the Good Good Good team collects the best good news in the world and shares it with our community. Here are the highlights for this week!

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The Best Positive News We’re Celebrating This Week —

A Pan-African organization is working to educate and provide a support system for 5 million girls by 2030

Based on what we hear about it, girls’ education is something of a cure-all for solving some of the world’s most urgent issues ​​— and that’s true, but it goes a bit deeper. The systems around them need adjusting to support their continued success beyond graduation.

And CAMFED is doing that radical reshaping. It starts with a model that gives young women a comprehensive support system, including financial and material support, as well as holistic coaching — right in their school communities.

CAMFED then goes a step further: enabling the transition into work opportunities, through mentorship and a robust alumni network, which today has over 250,000 members.

Why is this good news? CAMFED recently received monumental funding from The Audacious Project at TED, which will ultimately lead to the educational success of 5 million girls across Africa.

Read more

Diverting calls from police to a crisis response team, San Francisco reduced the number of unhoused people by 15%

From 2019 to 2011, San Francisco reduced the number of people experiencing homelessness by 15% thanks at least in part to its Street Crisis Response Team. Now, it’s expanding that team and investing even more in diverting calls from police to experts trained in crisis response.

Currently, the city has a team of around 853 “first responders” who step in where the police might otherwise. And now, about 25 of the most experienced team members will be part of a one-year pilot program called HEART, Homeless Engagement Assistance Response Team.

In expanding its efforts, the city hopes to reduce the number of unhoused folks by 50% in the next five years.

It’s incredibly encouraging to see more and more cities not only successfully implementing alternatives to policing in responding to the needs of all members of a community — but investing more in them when they see them working! And we’ll keep celebrating it until every city has this kind of support.

→ ​​Read more

International activists are fighting street harassment and gender-based violence with chalk art

In 2016, Sophie Sandberg began chalking the sidewalks of New York City with phrases and quotes that had been hollered at folks on the street — otherwise known as catcalls.

All entries in the library of catcalls are submitted from followers and community members, and Sandberg chalks them, word for — often gross and explicit — word, at the location where they were said.

Quickly, her artistry spiraled into a full-on movement: Chalk Back. This youth-led grassroots international organization is now the hub of street harassment stories from around the globe.

Why is this good news? Street harassment often leads to further violence and harm against marginalized communities. In fact, a study found that nearly 25% of women who were catcalled said the verbal harassment led to inappropriate touching, and 20% said it led to being followed by the harasser, whether their words were confronted or ignored.

By displaying these catcalls in public spaces, onlookers are forced to confront these daily threats.

→ ​​Read more

Instead of police, a Brooklyn neighborhood had residents respond to all 911 calls for five days

A bold experiment is happening on a two-block stretch of the Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn: letting residents, not police, respond to low-level street crimes. A few times a year, all 911 calls are redirected to Brownsville In Violence Out workers.

And in something of a role reversal, police officers in plain clothes shadow the workers as they respond. While they can’t make arrests, the civilians have helped folks turn in illegal guns, prevented shoplifting and robbery, and more.

It’s part of the larger Brownsville Safety Alliance, which includes neighborhood and city groups, police officers, and the county district attorney’s office who share a mission: to ensure fewer people are arrested and wrapped up in the criminal justice system. And the experiment could help redefine policing in the whole city.

Why is this good news? As we uncover more and more of the ways the system of policing is broken in America, cities are implementing alternative approaches to crime prevention — from gun violence prevention to responding to things that aren’t crimes at all, from homelessness to mental health crises.

This is especially good news for marginalized communities that have long been the target of excessive police presence — and police violence.

Read more

Thousands of fans rallied to buy a ‘Crash Course Coin’ to bring free educational content to millions

If you've been in high school or college in the last decade, there's a good chance you've been educated by a video created by John or Hank Green. Made by the Greens’ production company, Complexly, most of the company’s 14.7 million subscribers are tuning in for its flagship production: Crash Course.

The videos are 100% free to millions across the globe, and its offerings are growing by the year. But high-quality curriculum and content come at a cost — and the Greens are dedicated to ensuring that cost does not fall on the shoulders of those who most need access to free educational materials.

So, how do they get funded? The Crash Course Coin. The annual collector's item essentially represents a donation that comes from folks who can pay for the program — so that everyone else can access it for free. And thousands of generous and enthusiastic fan base have already nearly sold out every single one of this year’s coins.

Why is this good news? As Hank explains, top-down approaches tend to charge a lot of money and have a lot of profit, while not necessarily creating things with the “end user” — students and teachers — in mind. Conversely, businesses like Complexly, tend to keep costs low and focus entirely on actual students and teachers, spending a majority of their budget on creating the product.

Read more

Thanks to equitable contraceptive care, unplanned pregnancies decreased by 25% in Delaware

Between hurdles with private insurance companies, long waitlists to see an OB-GYN, astronomical prices for folks without coverage, or even having trouble finding the right form of contraception, it is no easy feat to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

And Mark Edwards realized that an unplanned pregnancy wasn’t the result of the irresponsibility of young people; it was from inequitable access to the full range of contraceptive methods.

So, in 2014 he co-founded Upstream USA to provide patient-centered contraceptive care right in primary care systems. Upstream provides high-quality training and technical assistance to healthcare providers, allowing them to provide patients with all the information they need to make contraceptive decisions that work best for them.

This approach has seen great results: between 2014 and 2017, unintended pregnancies dropped by 25% in Delaware, compared to 5% nationally.

Why is this good news? Unplanned pregnancies (which make up nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S.) have major, individual impacts: derailments of work or career goals, increased maternal and child health risks, further barriers to economic security, and even persecution or legal trouble for those who may pursue an abortion.

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Therapist Rae McDaniel is helping folks look at gender and sexuality from a lens of curiosity and compassion

Rae McDaniel is a nonbinary gender and sex therapist, author, speaker, and transgender diversity and inclusion educator. While studying (and “falling in love with”) psychology in college, they began to notice their friends really struggling with their identities, with coming out, and with relationships.

Intrigued by this intersection, McDaniel decided they wanted to become a therapist and work with the LGBTQ+ community, specifically trans and non-binary folks. Their studies and work focused on sex therapy, helping people have pleasure in their bodies, and “helping people have relationships that felt really good to them.”

And McDaniel has seen people (no matter how they identify) benefit from exploring gender with open curiosity.

She told us, “When people can just relax with gender and let themselves be curious about what feels good and what doesn't, without it having to be this big life-changing thing, necessarily, people just have a lot more freedom to exist and to be present in their lives.”

Read more from our conversation with Rae

More good news of the week —

A federal judge ruled that Tennessee’s law designed to place limits on drag shows is unconstitutional. The judge ruled that it was both “unconstitutionally vague and substantially overbroad” and encouraged “discriminatory enforcement.”

Burdened by the impact of mass shootings targeting young children, a gun shop owner in Georgia is closing his store. While all of his firearm sales were legal, Jon Waldman grew to the point of worrying that any of them could end up in the wrong hands.

Focusing on growing renewables, India won’t consider proposals for new coal plants for the next five years. Energy and environmental experts are celebrating the news from a country that is currently reliant on coal for around 75% of its electricity.

After last week’s devastating train crash in India, local residents came to help with food, water, and transportation to the hospital. At least 275 people were killed in the disaster, and it’s one of the deadliest train wrecks in the country’s history.

In a strong showing of community, more than 40,000 people attended Salt Lake City, Utah’s Pride Parade. One of the parade’s 16,000 participants said the way the community gathered together creates a sense of safety.

Australian researchers just made a major, world-first breakthrough in treating endometriosis. Endometriosis impacts one in nine women and girls in Australia, and the scientists say their findings could rapidly change health outcomes.

In partnership with the state’s first lady, Dolly Parton’s literacy program is now expanding to Montana. Through the Imagination Library program, kids in every zip code in the state up to five years old will have access to free books.

Delegates from 180 countries just took the first concrete step toward a legally binding treaty to regulate plastic. The agreement could put the world on a path to actually tackling the global plastic pollution problem as soon as 2025.

Three companies will pay more than $1 billion to settle “forever chemicals” contamination claims. The chemicals, known as PFAS, are ubiquitous in everyday items, don’t break down in the body or environment, and can cause serious health problems.

A federal judge temporarily blocked Florida’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors. The ruling will allow three transgender children to continue with their treatment while the judge hears a lawsuit challenging the law.

A butterfly that became extinct in Britain in 1925 has just returned to the countryside outside of London. While enthusiasts are celebrating the butterfly’s reappearance, they caution that it doesn’t necessarily mean the species has returned for good.

A world-first trial for a rare and devastating form of pediatric brain cancer just launched at Sydney Children's Hospital. The two current treatments for ependymoma are surgery and radiation therapy, and one in three children relapse.

Protecting voting rights, the U.S. Supreme Court just ruled that Alabama’s voting maps were unfair to Black residents. A welcome surprise from the court, the 5-4 ruling said the state needed another district where Black voters could elect the representative of their choice.

For the first time ever, scientists successfully sent space-based solar power back to Earth. The breakthrough from Caltech moves us closer to achieving the transformative potential of harnessing the power of the sun from space.

The Biden administration just ordered a 20-year ban on oil and gas drilling around a sacred tribal site in New Mexico. Hundreds of square miles will be withdrawn from further oil and gas production on the outskirts of Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

Article Details

June 10, 2023 5:00 AM
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