Misc.

More of the Story

Yes! Impact

Economies Issue

80 more backyard houses for the homeless

Winter 2017

In our winter issue, Valerie Schloredt wrote about people in Seattle who are saying, “Yes, In My Backyard” and welcoming homeless people into their communities. When that article was published, the BLOCK project was in the process of building the first tiny house in Kim Sherman and Dan Tenenbaum’s backyard for Robert, who had been homeless for nearly 10 years. There are now over 80 families lined up to house a homeless person in their backyard. “Things are just rocketing forward,” says architect Rex Hohlbein, who started Facing Homelessness and the BLOCK project.

Decolonizing our bodies and thoughts

On the website

Ayu Sutriasa, web production and social media assistant for YES!, wrote “How to Decolonize the Way You Think About Your Body,” which sparked a lively discussion on social media. The article discussed generational trauma that people of color face and how this contributes to eating disorders that are oftentimes overlooked.

One reader wrote: “This is my second year teaching fifth grade and I would like to promote a body-positive community in our classroom and create space for conversation. Your article reiterated how important it is do this in an inclusive manner. As a white educator, I have a lot of learning to do around decolonizing bodies, and I am still working on my own body-positive thinking. I want to try my best to best serve my students so that they can have a positive relationship with their bodies and to celebrate what their bodies can already do.”

An impact on national conversations

On the website

The Media Consortium Metrics Project conducted a study of small, independent journalism outlets, including YES!, to see how they influence the national conversation. Researchers found that stories published by small publications can boost Twitter traffic on topics such as race or climate by 63 percent. The study included, among others, Truthout, In These Times, The Nation, The Progressive, Ms. Magazine, and YES! Magazine.

“Journalists, even at small papers, appear to have quite a substantial power to affect the national conversation about politics and policy,” says Gary King, the research paper’s lead author and the director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. The study was covered in the New York Times, LA Times, Boston Globe, Buzzfeed, and many more.

“I needed every word like air.”

What readers say

A reader called to tell us that she loved the Winter 2018 issue of YES!

“The points were solid all the way through the articles. Or maybe it was the themes of the articles that all pierced my heart, in a good way, from end to beginning and from beginning to end,” says high school English teacher Rebecca Kilpatrick, who also explained that she reads stories from end to beginning. “When the end is good, I read the whole thing. And I read all of the articles. All of them. Because I needed them. I needed every word like air.”

She particularly noted the article “Shop Here Not There: Science Says Reducing Inequality Is Almost that Simple” by senior editor Chris Winters. “I love reading about ideas that others are working on because I get burned out not knowing what everyone else is doing, and this is a huge relief that I get from YES! I learn I am not alone with my worries and concerns. It is better than a mirror that shows me myself — it shows me my ideal community or the community of ideas, or both.”

Send your updates and responses to editors@yesmagazine.org
Winning Essay

Escaping the “Other”

Adithi Ramakrishnan

On a cold Friday evening, my family stumbled into a local Italian restaurant. Sandwiched between my grandparents, I squeezed their hands tightly as we piled into a narrow booth. Their visit from India was drawing to a close, but I intended to make the most of every last minute. We passed laminated menus to each other and began laughing, talking, and deliberating. As I pointed out my personal favorites to my grandmother in our native language, she tugged at the chunni of her traditional Indian salwar kameez. Something at the table beside us caught my eye. I quickly turned away. Maybe I’d misunderstood. Then, I snuck a second, more apprehensive look. My stomach lurched.

An elderly white couple was dining at the table next to ours. The wife’s eyes were fixed on her menu, but her husband’s were fixed on us. His eyebrows curved downward in a cold, steely glare. I looked away again, a sick feeling building in my chest. But every time my gaze wandered, it met his icy stare, and my insides turned over.

For the rest of the evening, I switched to English.

In that dinner trip, I felt something I’d experienced only in doses before: the feeling of being the other. I don’t fit into an easily categorized box. I’m still trying to navigate the narrow path between Indian and American, and I’m the furthest thing from an old white male. But just because I’m not the model portrait of a 1950s American doesn’t mean I can’t repaint that image in the 21st century.

“Standing up against injustice” is a broad statement, but represents something very specific: inclusion and acceptance. We have to stop sorting people into the “other” category — we have to not only recognize the humanity in each other, but also be willing to fight for it. It’s a simple change in perspective that can have immediate implications. Tracy Matsue Loeffelholz refers to it in her article “What Japanese Internment Taught Us About Standing Up for Our Neighbors” as an appeal to raise our voices to support those around us — not merely to show support, but also to protest unfair treatment.

But what about me? What happens when I’m the target of raised eyebrows and consistent “random” searches at the airport, while white passengers walk by unnoticed?

It has taken me time to define my version of protesting injustice, and I will likely reshape my definition in the future. For now, dissension means living my culture as boldly and loudly as possible. It means stringing lights through the shrubbery outside our house and lighting sparklers in the driveway that illuminate our cul-de-sac on Diwali, the annual Hindu festival of light. It means getting up 30 minutes early to pin my dupatta and come to school in my brightest, most vibrant traditional clothing for International Day. It means making quips to my family in Tamil when we’re in public. To me, standing up for my culture is normalizing diversity while letting my Indian and American roots shine.

Loeffelholz says that “public opinion affects political will, and political will makes a difference.” I wholeheartedly agree. If we as Americans present a united front — one that includes people of all races, genders, and sexualities — labeling each other not as other, but as together, it becomes much harder to tear us apart. The next time I catch an unfriendly stare in a public place, I won’t turn away.

I’ll start a conversation — not with “How could you?” but “How are you?”

The YES! National Student Writing Competition is part of the “YES! for Teachers” program, bringing classroom resources on justice and sustainability to schools editors@yesmagazine.org or mail to ­284 Madrona Way NE, Suite 116, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110.
Read more student essays: yesmagazine.org/for-teachers. You can help YES! reach young people: yesmagazine.org/donate
Issue Contributors

The Decolonize Issue

Kyle Powys Whyte

Kyle Powys Whyte White Allies, Let’s Be Honest

Whyte is the Timnick Chair in the Humanities, associate professor of philosophy, and associate professor of community sustainability at Michigan State University. His research addresses moral and political issues concerning climate policy and Indigenous peoples, the ethics of cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and science organizations, and problems of Indigenous justice in public and academic discussions of food sovereignty, environmental justice, and the anthropocene. He is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

Jenni Monet

Jenni Monet What Standing Rock Gave the World

Monet is an award-winning journalist and member of the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico. “In the year since the camps were razed at Standing Rock, I’ve had the fortune to travel near and far, growing an awareness for the potency of Lakota resistance in the Indigenous world. From Aotearoa to Zimbabwe, the fire ignited at Standing Rock now burns in so many places we may never realize, but the struggle is alive and fiercely unified. These words are to all who shared with me their story of strength and resilience in the continued struggle for Indigenous land and life. Dawa’eh (Thank You).”

Craig Santos Perez

Craig Santos Perez Poem: SPAM’s Carbon Footprint II

Perez is a native Chamorro poet from the Pacific Island of Guam. He is the author of four books of poetry and has received the PEN Center USA literary award, American Book Award, and Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco and a Ph.D. in ethnic studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, he works as an associate professor in the English department at the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa, where he teaches Pacific literature and eco-poetry.

From the Executive Director

Dear readers,

Christine Hanna

Each spring, we take the opportunity to thank the people who made it possible for you to hold and read this very magazine, whether it’s your first issue or your 85th. In 2017, a record-breaking 8,219 donors made a gift to keep YES! stories coming every day online, and every quarter in print. Space prevents us from listing all of our donors. But whether your name is here or not, please know that you have our heart-felt thanks. You are the heroes of YES! for giving inspiration and courage to millions of readers as together we chart a path toward a world that works for all.

Christine Hanna

Christine Hanna, Executive Director

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