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 September’s most need-in-the-news-worthy stories:
YEMEN — Ongoing conflict between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi threatens five million children with starvation. Yes, five million. That is not a typo.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — The overall number of migrant children detained by the U.S. government has quintupled since last summer to the highest level ever recorded. The current administration reportedly has lost track of 1,500 detained children…Hurricane Florence threatened and eventually hit the eastern seaboard, especially in the Carolinas, prompting mass evacuations…Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee conducted hearings into allegations of sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and authorized an short FBI investigation into those claims.
FRANCE & ALGERIA — The French president, Emmanuel Macron, promised to open the archives on the subject of missing or disappeared Algerian and French citizens during the Algerian war for independence between 1954-1962, during which 1.4 million Algerians died.
INDONESIA — Hundreds of people died after a combined earthquake-tsunami hit two cities in Sulawesi province.
ETHIOPIA & ERITREA — The border between these two former East African adversaries opened for the first time in 20 years.
SYRIA — Confusion reigned in Idlib, where rebels continue to hold out as Syrian government forces close in, while allies on both sides work to broker ceasefires and establish demilitarized zones to protect thousands of civilians trapped by the fighting between the two sides.
CHURCH SCANDALS — Pope Francis summoned the heads of all Catholic bishops’ conferences worldwide for a summit on sexual abuse prevention. Scandal has not been limited to the Catholic Church, however, as evangelical Christian leaders, a Muslim academic, a retired Mormon missions president, and a Jewish religion instructor have been in the news within the last year for a catalogue of sexual indiscretions with vulnerable acquaintances.
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 handful I’ve heard about recently:
TROSLY-BREUIL (France) — Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche community, now a worldwide movement, reflected on life and current events on his 90th birthday. His Community and Growth is a classic of modern Christian community literature.
LEBANON — Bestselling author Khaled Hosseini’s latest book Sea Prayer chronicles the struggles of Syrian refugees to find a safe haven.
LUBBOCK (Texas) — Catharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, uses her scientific expertise and her evangelical faith to connect with doubters and colleagues, alike, on the topic of climate change.
FLINT (Michigan) — Kyle Kuzma of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers hopes to use his wealth and influence to help his hometown — Flint, Mich. — achieve long-term change for the better.
EAST JERUSALEM — Aziz Abu Sarah, a Palestinian man from East Jerusalem sued the Israeli government over a law that restricts residents of East Jerusalem from running for office because they are not considered Israeli citizens.
LONDON (England) — Art historian Alice Procter gives “Uncomfortable Art Tours” to highlight and confront false national histories related to Britain’s colonial past. (A woman after my own heart!)
GAZA — Karim Shah created a film to explore the power of poetry to non-violently resist Israeli occupation.
Thoughts and stories worth reflection:
SEEKING REAL JUSTICE — How might survivors of sexual assault find justice and peace when their abusers remain free?
MENTAL ILLNESS = JAIL? — According to Colorado Public Radio, almost 300 people with mental illnesses, most of whom face minor legal charges like trespassing, have spent months in jail pending their trials. This must change!
HOMELESS CAMP UP NORTH — Why do Native Americans make up the majority of the residents in the largest homeless camp in Minneapolis history?
WAIT, WHAT? — Like many others, I have a primal fear of sharks. I didn’t know, however, that humans kill 100 million sharks every year as compared to maybe a handful of people killed by shark attacks.