Starlink turns on coverage over Iran to bypass censorship
Elon Musk's Starlink satellite internet is active over Iran, but the terminals to access it must make it inside the country.
Turning Appalachia’s contaminated creek water into art
Acid mine drainage turns thousands of creeks orange in Appalachia. True Pigments is pulling that pollution to create paint pigments.
Ukrainian artists turn to NFTs to tell their stories
A Kyiv gallerist and Puerto Rican art gallery are auctioning off NFTs of art created in conflict to support Ukrainian artists.
Behind the crypto hype is an ideology of social change
Unlike technology enthusiasts or crypto marketers, “true bitcoiners” didn’t talk about technology, but trust and corruption.
russian propaganda
Volunteers cold call Russians to tell them the truth about Ukraine
Volunteers are using phone calls, spam emails, and more to counter Russian propaganda and tell Russians the truth about the Ukraine war.
ukraine it army
International army of hackers joins Ukraine’s cyberwar
An estimated 400,000 volunteers have joined Ukraine’s IT army, helping the nation attack Russia from the digital realm.
anonymous russia
Anonymous hacks Russian TV, plays Ukraine war footage
Hacker collective Anonymous infiltrated Russia’s state-run media channels to broadcast Ukraine war footage.
ukraine drones
Ukrainian citizens are using personal drones to spy on Russian troops
Ukraine has called on local drone owners to help the military conduct reconnaissance missions in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
airbnbs in Ukraine
People are booking Airbnbs in Ukraine they’re never going to use
People are booking Airbnbs in Ukraine as a way to get money directly to hosts living in the nation, which is under attack by Russia.
DAO Ukraine
DAO raises millions of dollars in crypto to support Ukraine
A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) has raised $7 million in crypto for Ukraine, demonstrating a new model for charity and more.
Guy Fawkes mask is the symbol of the Anonymous Hackers collective
How the hacker group Anonymous waged a cyber war against Russia
Alongside Anonymous, large numbers of Ukrainian cyber professionals have volunteered to assist with Ukraine’s cyber defense.
DIY heater
Open-source DIY heater helps unsheltered stay warm in winter
A DIY heater that is safe to use in tents and costs just $7 to make is helping unsheltered people across the U.S. stay warm this winter.
rough sleepers
UK trials “NAPpads” to help rough sleepers survive the winter
A pilot project to combat homelessness could help rough sleepers not only survive this winter, but maybe even get off the streets for good.
free wifi
Free WiFi in apartment buildings helps close the digital divide
The EducationSuperHighway nonprofit plans to narrow the digital divide in America by deploying free WiFi networks in apartment buildings.
violence prevention
Philly Truce app aims to be the Uber of violence prevention
The violence prevention app Philly Truce connects people in personal conflicts with volunteer mediators trained to resolve them.
tiny houses for homeless
Nonprofit builds tiny houses for homeless people in backyards
Facing Homelessness builds tiny houses for homeless people in Seattle homeowners' backyards to address a shortage of affordable housing.
inclusive economy
How to build an inclusive economy
Our economy was designed to exclude and exploit people of color. These entrepreneurs are working to level the scales.
black owned businesses
Could Gen Z close the racial wealth gap through entrepreneurship?
This American city was ranked one of the worst for the success of black-owned businesses. Can these young entrepreneurs change that?
violence interrupters
“Violence interrupters” combat crime from lawn chairs
Groups of violence interrupters are spending time in dangerous neighborhoods so they can be present to defuse potentially violent situations.
former prisoners
Ex-felon helps former prisoners launch careers in tech
The Underdog Devs nonprofit helps former prisoners make the connections they need to secure jobs in the technology industry
All-civilian Inspiration4 mission is ready for launch (Updated)
When Inspiration4 launches on September 15, it'll mark a new era in space tourism as the first all-civilian mission to space.
Hurricane Ida victims
Furniture store gives Hurricane Ida victims a place to sleep
Houston furniture store owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale is letting Hurricane Ida victims displaced by the storm sleep in his showroom.
app for afghans
Crisis app for Afghans provides real-time updates on threats
Ehtesab, a crisis app for Afghans, uses crowdsourced data to provide real-time alerts to residents of Taliban-controlled Kabul.
help afghans
Your airline miles can help Afghans escape the Taliban
To help Afghans escape the Taliban, people have donated millions of airline miles to a nonprofit that secures flights for refugees.
afghan allies
Military vets lead “Digital Dunkirk” to evacuate Afghan allies
U.S. military vets are leading a “Digital Dunkirk” to help extract fellow citizens and Afghan allies from a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
Afghan refugees
Airbnb offers free temporary housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees (Updated)
Airbnb is providing 20,000 Afghan refugees with free temporary housing through its charitable nonprofit,
Beyond Sunday Service: How one Montgomery church is bringing health equity to their community
A grassroots approach to vaccine education is happening in the heart of the civil rights movement in Alabama. Does this church hold the key to overcoming medical mistrust?
leave afghanistan
GoFundMe to help people leave Afghanistan raises $6 million
A GoFundMe campaign has raised millions of dollars to help people leave Afghanistan in the wake of a Taliban takeover.
forever chemicals
Hemp plants pull toxic “forever chemicals” from soil
To rid an indigenous tribe’s land of toxic forever chemicals, scientists are having hemp plants pull the contaminants straight from the soil.
solitary gardens
Gardners and prisoners collaborate to create art
As a multidisciplinary artist and activist is creating "solitary gardens" in a collaborative effort between people in solitary confinement and volunteers on the "outside."
hong kong history
Museums are racing to save Hong Kong's history before it gets censored
A sweeping security law has Hong Kongers racing to digitize archives and artifacts, from Tiananmen Square to Telegram channels.
Stadium voting sites make voting safer. Here’s how to find them.
As the pandemic increases the risk of in-person voting, sports teams are converting their homes into arena and stadium voting sites.
Disaster Relief
Getting disaster relief to the people who need it most
Delphi analyzes property damage and poverty levels to identify the people most in need of disaster relief, helping organizations maximize their impact.
Police Misconduct
Your smartphone can help end police misconduct
There are now apps, websites, and phone shortcuts designed to help you not only document police misconduct, but also report and protect it.
Confederate Monuments
Cities remove Confederate monuments following George Floyd protests
City officials are removing Confederate monuments in Virginia, Alabama, and several other Southern states in response to the George Floyd protests.
George Floyd Protests
Where the George Floyd protests (and responses) have been peaceful
The George Floyd protests remained largely peaceful in these cities, with protestors and law enforcement occasionally even standing shoulder to shoulder.
George Floyd
Seeking justice for George Floyd
Articles, thought leaders, and organizations worth paying attention to following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minnesota.
Mothers in Prison
Fighting to get breast pumps to mothers in prison
Breastfeeding isn’t a right afforded to mothers in prison. One former inmate wants to change that.
criminal justice system
Crime survivors fight against harsh punishments. Here’s why.
A national group called the Alliance for Safety and Justice has set out to rethink America’s criminal justice system, with a focus on healing rather than punishment.
hong kong protest update
Inside Hong Kong's "resistance economy"
Hong Kong pro-democracy supporters are using protest strategies that go beyond the street, which may be crucial as police enforce social distancing.
Hong Kong protests in Animal Crossing
Hong Kong's virtual protests, tech giants joining forces to slow the spread of COVID-19, and more top stories in our weekly Progress Report.
coronavirus research
Hackers leak thousands of coronavirus research papers
Potentially life-saving medical research is often hidden behind expensive paywalls, limiting access for those in the developing world. So one modern-day Robin Hood illegally downloaded and shared over 5,000 coronavirus research papers on Reddit.
criminal justice reform
The formerly incarcerated fighting for criminal justice reform
These formerly incarcerated individuals are fighting to give people who’ve served their time a second chance by advocating for change in one of the country’s most notorious justice systems.
Minecraft players built a massive library for censored news
Minecrafts’s Uncensored Library is exploiting a loophole in surveillance technology to sneak the news past government censorship.
Frederick Douglass
Why do selfies matter? Ask Frederick Douglass
The great abolitionist, freedom fighter and orator, Frederick Douglass, used photography to smash racial stereotypes and reframe Black identity.
Bloods and Crips unite to steer kids away from gang violence
These former Bloods and Crips are coming together to spread peace on the streets and end the cycle of gang violence by mentoring local youth.
Chefs work together to end child hunger.
Chefs fight child hunger with No Kid Hungry
A group of culinary professionals in Chicago is volunteering their talents to end child hunger in the US, and some are going all the way to Capitol Hill.
UTEC an organization that is helping young people overcome poverty
Can friendship keep at-risk youth off the streets?
Carlos felt addicted to the thrill of crime at a young age. Today, he yields a different, positive influence on the streets with UTEC.
How Old Skool Café helped this teenager overcome adversity after trauma
After suffering a violent gang beating, Desiree Maldonado experienced major medical and emotional issues. She turned from a shy and nerdy 14-year-old kid to a hard and angry rebel. This is how one restaurant job changed her trajectory.
Old Skool Café provides an alternative to gangs and violence
As a former prison guard, Teresa Goines watched kids drift in and out of the justice system. Now she runs a jazz-themed eatery that hires at-risk youth and gives them a place to learn and grow.
mental health for chicago youth
Series | Catalysts
The mental health movement for Chicago’s inner city youth
A remarkable transformation is taking place in several inner-city Chicago schools, and it's resulting in fewer gangs, drugs, and homicides. Could this new model of group therapy be the cause, and is it scalable?
Series | Catalysts
Women supporting women to overcome the trauma of abuse
When domestic violence survivors share their stories, they feel empowered and find their voice. At Leap to Success, women have the opportunity to do both, forming a clear path to healing from the trauma of abuse.
This nonprofit gives bikes and people new life
Working Bikes has spent nearly two decades rescuing bicycles from the waste cycle to give people purpose, access to jobs, and independence.
Series | Catalysts
Investing in families to escape poverty
The greatest investment of all may be in people’s strengths and initiative. This nonprofit is doing just that, and it’s working.
The guardian angel for separated families
What happens to children of immigrants when their parents are deported out of the United States? This woman is stepping in, and is now the legal guardian of 1500 immigrant children. Watch now to see the incredible efforts of Nora Sandigo.
Transitional employment
This social enterprise is cleaning up Chicago one street at a time
This nonprofit is not only polishing the streets of Chicago, but providing a "clean slate" for its interns. Those with a criminal background, dealing with addiction recovery, or domestic violence, are welcome to take part in job training and counseling.
Chico MacMurtrie's art transcends the southern border
If all goes to plan, six robotic sculptures will arc across the border dividing El Paso and Ciudad Juárez in the fall of 2020.
Series | Catalysts
Can former Bloods and Crips unite to break the cycle of violence?
For the children of Dallas, these ex gang leaders may be their only chance.
The Crib: A place to call home
For young LGBTQ adults, this is the shelter that accepts many people that are too often turned away.
This Chicago urban farm grows opportunity, jobs
Growing Home’s organic urban farms use agriculture as a vehicle for providing job training for people with...
Series | Catalysts
Stopping gang violence with love
This nonprofit is doing the impossible - finding the 10% of gang members responsible for 90% of the crime, and leading them to successful, positive lives.
Giving homeless people something most of us take for granted
This one small thing can mean the difference between a spot in a shelter or sleeping on the streets, a job or no job, a place to eat or going without food.
Angels of debt
These ex-bill collectors got John Oliver's attention and started a movement. They're buying hundreds of millions of dollars worth of strangers' medical debt and erasing it.
Hope after prison
This former inmate is cleaning up his city and helping other ex-cons turn their lives around.
How to change the world
Olivia Leland, founder and CEO of Co-Impact, on how we should approach solving the world’s most complex problems.
How this non-profit weaves a family of support for struggling teens in Baltimore
“Everyone - no matter their age, race, or background - needs a network of supportive relationships to help them...
F*ck a false arrest: How to get out of jail free in NYC
Good Call NYC Fights Bad Policing With a Free Lawyer Hotline: 1-833-3-GOODCALL
A day in the life of a 'violence interruptor'
Freethink followed Andre T. Mitchell, the founder of Man Up!, and his violence interrupter team for a day in...
Should violence be treated as a disease?
Epidemiologist Dr. Gary Slutkin of Cure Violence says we need to treat violence as a disease and a public health...
The ride home from prison
The "Ride Home Program" sends drivers to pick up former inmates on their first day of freedom to help ensure a...
24 years for a crime he didn’t commit
When a prisoner serving a life sentence is suddenly found to be innocent, it often makes national news. But what happens after the cameras go away?
A mother’s wish for her son’s killer
DeVitta Briscoe never had a chance to request a lighter sentence for the man who shot her son.
Rising stars in criminal justice reform
These key players are working from outside the system to lead the criminal justice reform movement.
How to hold police accountable
The Invisible Institute is making Chicago police complaints easily available to the public—and is helping hold police accountable.
Freethink's 2019 Criminal Justice Week
Join us as we go inside the criminal justice reform movement for an up close look at the people trying to fix our broken system.
The fake disease that saved Rome's Jews
Dr. Giovanni Borromeo dreamed up a brilliant scheme that saved dozens of Jewish families in Rome from Nazi...
The fascinating story of how AIDS activism helped usher in a "Right to Try" laws
Should terminally ill patients be allowed to try experimental procedures? Hear the amazing, true story of the AIDS...