Need in the News / Vol. IV, Issue 11

For the last six years or so, at the end of every month, I’ve summarized local, national and international “stories of need” from local, national and international news sites, blogs, press releases and editorials. The following are some of November’s most need-in-the-news-worthy stories:

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — A lone white gunman killed 26 people gathered on a Sunday in a tiny church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Another lone white gunman killed five people and wounded at least 10 more in California. Two people were wounded when a man accidentally shot himself and his wife at a discussion in church on church shootings.

MYANMAR — Many members of the Rohingya people remain in political and physical limbo in Bangladesh, while Nobel Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of titles due to her unwillingness to address the Rohingya.

YEMENAid agencies had to wait for Saudi approval to reach rebel ports with desperately needed supplies.

ZIMBABWE — Long-time president (some would say, dictator) Robert Mugabe finally resigned from office.

About 150 people, including member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations, gathered on Sunday, Nov. 26, at the Capitol building in Denver to remember the Sand Creek massacre. (Marrton Dormish)

At times, what gets lost in the concern and clamor over major local, national and international events and issues, are ordinary people, communities, businesses and other groups doing extraordinary things. Here are a few I’ve heard about recently:

BOSTON (Massachusetts) — A group of Catholic high school seniors held a funeral mass for John, their friend who was a veteran and happened to be homeless.

GOTTINGEN (Germany)Maria Goeppert-Mayer is one of only two women to win the Nobel Prize for physics.

DENVER (Colorado)Refugee teens from around the world have formed a special bond thanks to a nonprofit hangout.

North Korea/South Korea Border — As if it were straight from a movie set, this clip shows a North Korean soldier defecting.

PHILADELPHIA (Pennsylvania) — Johnny Bobbitt, a former firefighter and a Marine veteran who happened to be homeless, gave stranded motorist Kate McClure, 27, his last $20 to fill her gas tank. In gratitude, Kate started a GoFundMe campaign that has now raised more than $100,000 to help Johnny get back on his feet. Johnny apparently plans to “pay it forward” and share his newfound resources with other people who are homeless.

IsraelEliahu Pietruszka, 102, thought his entire family died during the Holocaust, but he recently learned a younger brother survived and was living in Russia.

ALL OVER AMERICA — These 10 amazing people are CNN’s Heroes for the year.

SAN DIEGO-TIJUANA Border — An American man and his Mexican fiancé got married at the “Door of Hope” gate on the U.S.-Mexico border. Apparently, love knows no borders, and, according to the bride, “the wall doesn’t exist.”

Stories worth reflection:

FORGOTTEN VETERANS — Is our society and our government doing enough to support war veterans suffering from PTSD?

A NEW AMERICA? — Ta-Nehisi Coates has some good ideas about imagining a new America.

HOUSING FIRST — This approach works in helping people who are homeless transition into housing.

URANIUM DEATHS? — Many Navajo have died of medical conditions linked to uranium contamination, allegedly as a result of more than 40 years of mining on their land.

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