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The average American is one medical accident away from being destroyed financially. These bill collectors woke up to the brutality of their industry - and are using their insider knowledge to save strangers from hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.

Jerry Ashton was a debt collector working on Wall Street when the Occupy Wall Street movement started. He became interested, and eventually partnered with them and his friend Craig Antico to help abolish strangers’ medical debts as part of their “Rolling Jubilee” fundraising campaign. Using their insider knowledge of the debt collections business, they were able to help buy medical debts for pennies on the dollar and then forgive them. After Occupy moved in a different direction, John Oliver did a show highlighting their work, and Jerry and Craig gained fresh momentum. Together they have now eliminated nearly $600 million in medical debts.

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Catalysts
Can Friendship Keep At-Risk Youth Off the Streets?
UTEC an organization that is helping young people overcome poverty, gang involvement, and unemployment.
Catalysts
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.
By Linda Wang

Carlos felt addicted to the thrill of crime at a young age. Today, he yields a different, positive influence on the streets with UTEC.

Catalysts
OGU: Original Gangsters United Ending Gang Violence
Can Former Bloods and Crips Unite to Break the Cycle of Violence?
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Catalysts
OGU: Original Gangsters United Ending Gang Violence
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What do you get when former Bloods and Crips gang leaders come together? Original Gangsters United, a pathway to ending gang opposition, promoting peace, and saving younger generations from senseless violence. Antong Lucky is a former Bloods gang leader in Dallas, Texas. Like most children, Antong never aspired to be a part of a gang or to end up in prison. But sadly, many communities affected by peer pressure and gang violence leave kids with no choice. When Antong left prison, he began working to bring opposing Dallas gang leaders together to put an end to gang violence. And it worked.

Catalysts
Stopping Gang Violence with Love
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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.
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“Society gave up on us” - but this community didn’t. Meet UTEC, the organization breaking the cycle of recidivism by helping hardened previously imprisoned gang members walk a better path in Lowell, Massachusetts. UTEC - or United Teen Equality Center - is a non-profit dedicated to stopping gang violence. Obviously, it’s not easy - in Lowell, MA there are over 25 gangs operating, and many gang members have been in prison...

Inspiring
These Hero Pups Are Helping Veterans and Prisoners Heal
These Hero Pups Are Helping Veterans and Prisoners Heal
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Inspiring
These Hero Pups Are Helping Veterans and Prisoners Heal
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Can a New Breed of Prosecutor Reform Our Broken System?
Can a New Breed of Prosecutor Reform Our Broken System?
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Can a New Breed of Prosecutor Reform Our Broken System?
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Emily Bazelon's new book Charged: The New Movement To Transform American Prosecution And End Mass Incarceration is an incredible tour de force that guides readers through America's broken criminal justice system through the eyes of two young people as they go through the system. The book reveals the breathtaking amount of power prosecutors wield in our modern legal system and highlights the ways that some reform-minded...

Dispatches
Air Travel Could Be Stopping the Next Plague
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Dispatches
Air Travel Could Be Stopping the Next Plague
Our hyper-connected world might be protecting us against devastating plagues.

Our hyper-connected world might be protecting us against devastating plagues.

Coffin-Building Club Helps Seniors Face Death and Enjoy Life
Coffin-Building Club Helps Seniors Face Death and Enjoy Life
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Coffin-Building Club Helps Seniors Face Death and Enjoy Life
These seniors are tackling the stigma around death by decorating their own coffins.
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Most people are afraid to even talk about death, but New Zealand’s Kiwi Coffin Club is facing it head on. Founded by Katie Williams, a former midwife and hospice nurse, members build and then decorate their own customized coffins as a way of celebrating their lives and highlighting their unique personalities. "Death's pretty natural, you know," says Williams. "It shouldn't be a frightening sort of situation. It's part of...

Wrong
Did Rats Start the Drug War?
Did Rats Start the Drug War?
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Wrong
Did Rats Start the Drug War?
Much of our shared understanding about drugs and addiction came from a series of studies done in the 1950s and 60s...
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Much of our shared understanding about drugs and addiction came from a series of studies done in the 1950s and 60s on lab rats. But a skeptical researcher has designed his own study that involves, well... essentially an amusement park for rats, and the surprising results may show that everything we think we know about addiction is all… wrong.

Culture
This Week in Ideas: Reasons to Feel Good About Humanity
This Week in Ideas: Reasons to Feel Good About Humanity
Culture
This Week in Ideas: Reasons to Feel Good About Humanity
A paralyzed woman runs a half marathon in an exoskeleton, Sri Lanka defeats malaria, incomes are rising. Here's...
By Mike Riggs

A paralyzed woman runs a half marathon in an exoskeleton, Sri Lanka defeats malaria, incomes are rising. Here's some good news since most of what we hear is just the bad.