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 March’s most need-in-the-news-worthy stories:
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA —Prompted largely by February’s mass shooting at Parkland High School in Florida, students and activists around the country marched to end gun violence. Protests have renewed a nationwide debate on the role of guns in society, police violence, and the priority of ending violence in cities and suburbs, alike. Meanwhile, a string of package bombs killed and injured a number of people in the Austin, Texas, area, and six months after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, people there are still suffering.
BRAZIL — Tens of thousands of Brazilians protested the murder of Rio councilwoman, Marielle Franco.
SPAIN — Protesters clashed with police in Barcelona in the wake of the arrest in Germany of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.
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:
CALIFORNIA — An anonymous Jewish woman helped shelter two undocumented immigrants from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
TREBES (France) — Police Col. Arnaud Beltrame exchanged himself for a female hostage during a standoff with an extremist gunman and was subsequently killed
RAMALLAH (West Bank) — According to a recent study, non-violent social movements that welcome women into leadership are more likely to meet their goals. Naila Ayyash and Iltizam Morrar are living proof.
COLUMBIA (Missouri) — Read this heartfelt lament at the toll cancer has and is taking on the families of special Missouri Tigers’ fans.
MINNEAPOLIS (Minnesota) — Cathy Heying helps low-income customers through her non-profit auto repair garage.
SAN JUAN (Puerto Rico) — Some U.S. college students went to Puerto Rico for Spring Break — to help rebuild, not to relax.
GREENWOOD VILLAGE (Colorado) — Two local high school students, Isani Singh and Abilash Prabhakaran, became two of 40 nationwide finalists in a “science search,” thanks to their research on cancer drugs.
CHARLOTTE (North Carolina) — Some analysts said it would never happen. But in what can arguably be called the biggest upset in a college basketball history, 16-seed University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) crushed 1-seed (and No.1 overall seed) Maryland in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
- Thoughts and stories worth reflection:
1930s REPATRIATION — I consider myself a student of American history, but I had never before heard of the sad and tragic and unjust chapter in which the United States “deported” more than 1 million people of Mexican descent during the 1930s “Depression” in order to make more room for white Americans to get jobs. Many of those 1 million people, perhaps up to 60 percent, were American citizens.
ENDING HOMELESSNESS — How Finland purposed to END, not manage homelessness.
REMEMBERING MY LAI — This month marked the 50th anniversary of the massacre of 500 civilians by U.S. troops at My Lai, Vietnam.
ANOTHER POTENTIAL FIRST? — 2018 could mark a new political milestone, the first-ever female Native American congresswoman.
SCRAPPING BY — Check out the trailer for an important new documentary about a man who is homeless.
STEALING THE RICHES OF AFRICA? — Is the West (still) contributing to the theft of Africa’s resources?
NIMBY IN LAKEWOOD — A recent incarnation of “Not In My BackYard” (NIMBY).