Need in the News / Vol. V, Issue 2

For the last seven 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 February’s most need-in-the-news-worthy stories:

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA“Parkland” Florida joined the American lexicon of mass shootings alongside other infamous one word names like “Columbine” and “Newtown,” when a young man entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 students and staff with an AR-15.

HAITI — The British nongovernmental organization Oxfam came under fire due to allegations of the use of prostitutes by senior staff.

KASHMIR — Residents hunkered down as another round of fighting between Pakistan and India closed schools and caused people to seek shelter.

ISRAEL — The Israeli government announced its plans to offer 38,000 asylum seekers currently in the country to choose between prison and deportation.

POLAND — A new domestic law denies Poland’s part in the Holocaust, and Poland’s Jews fear its repercussions.

SYRIA — Hundreds of civilians were killed in bombings of the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus.

REFUGEE CRISIS — A migrant boat capsized off the coast of Libya killing up to 90 people, mostly from Pakistan.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO Civil war is once again decimating the land and the people of Congo.

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:

NEW ORLEANS (LOUISIANA)Jackie Wallace played in the Super Bowl, but later ended up on sleeping on the street. Recently, he told his story.

PYEONGCHANG (SOUTH KOREA) — Although she won “only” a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics, Lindsey Vonn is indisputably one of the best skiers ever.

MILWAUKEE (Wisconsin)Officer Jason Schneider and his father helped a woman find her lost wedding ring in the middle of a pile of snow.

PARKLAND (Florida) — Student survivors of the mass shooting at their high school have moved to the forefront of the U.S. gun control debate.

CAMBRIDGE (Massachusetts) — Harvard University named Philip J. Deloria its first-ever tenured professor of Native American studies.

MEMPHIS (TENNESSEE)The Rev. William Barber revived Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s national “Poor People’s Campaign,” calling for six weeks of direct action around the country.

TANCITARO (Mexico) The farming town of Tancitaro in Western Michoacán is flourishing after kicking out the drug cartel and calling for no more “blood avocados.

Thoughts and stories worth reflection:

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES — In today’s polarized society is it still possible to love our enemies? Yes, it is, and it’s not only possible, but necessary!

FOOD BOXES NOT SO HEALTHY — When food aid hurts more than it helps.

THAT OL’ TIME REVIVAL — Shane Claiborne and other Christian leaders are planning a “revival” for April in Lynchburg, Va., to protest “toxic evangelicalism.”

NAMING THE BIKINI — Did you know the “bikini” swimsuit is named for nuclear testing in the Pacific’s Marshall Islands?

WHAT NOW? — When Arapahoe House closed, treatment options narrowed for people struggling with drug addiction in the Metro Denver area.

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