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Want to Change the Status Quo? Let These Stories Inspire You

Across the country, nimble entrepreneurs and activists are turning out brilliant new twists on everything from neighborhood watch to graffiti to sewing circles. Here’s how they’re making it happen.

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American Journalism Project

Pocket has teamed up with the American Journalism Project to bring some of the best local journalism from across the country right to you—no matter where you live. Each month we’ll highlight deep dives into local stories with national impact—the kind of journalism that brings nuance and context to the major issues we face on a national scale. Read more about our partnership here and browse past collections to get your local fix.

The worlds of technology and business are constantly striving to disrupt and reinvent, often resulting in “upgrades” no one needs, or services built on the back of exploited workers. But across America, there’s a surge of creative overhauls, with citizens rethinking systems and norms that no longer serve their communities. That can look like the “Black Mr. Rogers” bringing peace and social-emotional learning to kids in Chicago—or non-profits tackling West Virginia’s unemployment crisis with a more holistic approach. And in Montana, it’s a graffiti artist taking on vandalism with... well, graffiti, but you’ll have to read more for the full story. When you zoom out, it’s easy to see how these local transformations build upon each other—and ultimately, hold the power to inspire others to look for the next opportunity to challenge the status quo in their own city.

American Journalism Project

The American Journalism Project (AJP) is the first venture philanthropy dedicated to local news. AJP makes grants to local nonprofit news organizations to build their revenue and business operations, partner with communities to launch new organizations, and mentor leaders as they grow and sustain their newsrooms. Learn more about the independent, community-driven nonprofit news organizations AJP supports.