Need in the News / Vol. V, Issue 5

Each month, I summarize local, national and international “stories of need” from local, national and international news sites, blogs, press releases and editorials. The following are some of May’s most need-in-the-news-worthy stories:

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — Many Puerto Ricans are still suffering from the effects of last fall’s Hurricane Maria…Almost half of U.S. families can’t afford to pay for basic needs…The current administration moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem…Gun reform protesters took their cause to the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Dallas.

NIGERIA — “Bandit” killed 51 villagers from Gwaska in Northern Nigeria. Some of the bodies were mutilated.

BOSNIA — This month marked the 26th anniversary of the massacre of 3,200 Bosnian Muslims.

ISRAEL & PALESTINEScores of Palestinians in Gaza were killed by the Israeli military while protesting the official move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

BASQUE REGION OF SPAIN — The infamous Basque group ETA, founded in 1959, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, means Basque Homeland and Freedom, officially disbanded.

More than 600 people held a “counter-protest” to a planned-but-not-implemented protest in Broomfield, Colo., by members of the Westboro Baptist Church. I’m proud to have been one of them. (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:

PHILADELPHIA (Pennsylvania) — After a widely reported incident in which they were unjustly removed from a Starbucks because of their race, Rashon Nelson and Dante Robinson settled with the City of Philadelphia for $1 each, and asked the city to fund $200,000 for a grant program for high school students.

DENVER (Colorado) — The Regional Transportation District (RTD) recently lowered fares for low-income Denver high school students.

CALIFORNIA — These California prison inmates operate a hospice service for fellow inmates suffering from terminal illnesses.

GOLDSBORO (North Carolina) and U.S. nationwideThe Rev. William Barber is a nationwide leader and mobilizer of what some are calling the “Poor People’s Campaign.”

AUSCHWITZ (Poland)Vilma Grunwald wrote a final letter to her husband just before being gassed to death in the infamous Auschwitz death camp. It survives today.

COLORADO SPRINGS (Colorado) — The Air Force Academy and University of New Mexico baseball teams conspired to allow a four-year old cancer patient to hit an inside-the-park homerun.

MILTON (Mass.) — A group of senior housing residents spend some of their time crocheting sleeping mats for people who are homeless.

MONTECITO (California) — More than 2,000 volunteers are still helping residents dig mud out of their houses in the wake of a devastating January mudslide.

Thoughts and stories worth reflection:

(INDIGENOUS) STUDENTS (UN-)WELCOME — Campus police questioned two Mohawk brothers and prospective students from New Mexico after a parent on their same tour called police because they were too “quiet.” 

NO ROOM AT THE BORDERThese migrants are seeking asylum at the U.S. border.

SLAVEHOLDER RELIGION — How fully has American Christianity been influenced by “slaveholder religion“?

JUST FORGIVE? — How long should a woman remain in a broken marriage?

A LEGACY WORTH REVISITING — The life and legacy of theologian James H. Cone.

NUCLEAR FALLOUT — Why did Larry Snodgrass, a former, 27-year employee of Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production plant, came down with Chronic Beryllium Disease?

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