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Editor’s Letter: October 2022  

Published on October 1, 2022

Toast magazine editor-in-chief Silvia Pikal

In September 2022, we announced our new focus for toast: positive news about inspiring people. Last month, we published stories about people who used their voice, their platform, and their talents to make a positive difference in the world. Here are just a few examples that stuck in our minds:  

In 2016, Mohamed Malim was haunted by images on the nightly news of life jackets abandoned on beaches in Greece, left behind by Syrian refugees after crossing the Mediterranean Sea. He wondered what could be done with them. He came up with the idea of turning the life jackets into handmade bracelets, with a portion of the proceeds supporting refugees. He founded Epimonia fashion label, and today their team has upcycled more than 500 life jackets from their headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota and donated more than $45,000 USD to help refugees since 2018.    

High school English teacher Nia-Tayler Clark’s world changed when a student — who didn’t see themselves reflected in the pages of books at the library, or at home, or at school — said, “I don’t read, miss… I’m Black.” Clark was determined to change that student’s reality, and make sure no other teacher would be “faced with a burden that heavy.” She launched BlackLit, a subscription box that highlights Black authors. In August 2022, she opened a bookstore in Dallas, Texas with the same mission, with plans to expand the business to increase representation in literature across the United States.   

Sandy Struss has been living with type 1 diabetes for over 30 years. Very early on, she turned her health challenges into an opportunity to empower others. Struss used her voice for good, advocating for others in the diabetes community and sharing positive stories about living with the illness. She’s now battling cancer. With strength, resilience and an optimistic outlook, she’s tackling the challenge head-on — one day at a time. “My life purpose, as I’ve defined it for myself, is inspiring others to live inspired lives, and role modeling that every day,” she says. “It’s not what you say you’re going to do, it’s what you actually do and how you act every day that matters — even when people aren’t watching. There are no guarantees in life, so don’t have any regrets. Live in such a way that you’re proud of who you’ve been.” 

Sandy Struss’ story resonated most with readers from our September line-up. It’s a powerful reminder that we’re all inspired by everyday heroes doing good in the world.   

To celebrate awesome people in our communities, we’ll be launching a contest in November 2022, where you can nominate the person in your community you think deserves recognition! Stay tuned. 

In the meantime, we’ll continue to cover celebrities, athletes, influencers, activists, artists and everyday heroes who inspire us to do better, feel better, think better. 

Since it’s October, in honor of spooky season we’ll also have a “cool job” series, highlighting tarot readers, urban witches and psychics.  

Finally, please let us know what news and stories you like to read and would love to see on toast. We love hearing from you. DM us on social or email us anytime

Cheers, 

Silvia Pikal 

President/Editor-in-Chief  

toast   

Lead image credit: Photo by Derek Mange.

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The Author
Silvia Pikal is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Alberta. She loves following her curiosity wherever it takes her, telling stories about the making of a ghost opera or the latest developments in health care. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in dozens of magazines, a short story anthology and most notably, on Blindman Brewing beer cans. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s going on adventures with her husband, Derek, and their spunky rescue dog, Mala.