Sharing these stories from Care2 Cause bloggers has inspired me. Their posts were all testaments to the human spirit. Faced with adversity, the people in these stories stood tall, reminding us the world needs the contributions every one of us can make.
Day 1 we revisited a clever talking-animal video by Andrew Grantham, who uses his talents to create popular, short films that raise funds for the Nova Scotia SPCA. We were reminded that Muslim-Americans are the most optimistic religious group in America, in spite of discrimination and stereotyping. And we went back to Jocelyn Lam, the fifth grader who donated all of her savings, some $300, to try to save teachers from lay-offs.
Day 2 reminded us of the power the Care2 community has to influence policy, in this case the crucial donation that kick-started a New Hampshire trail project. Another story celebrated Max Hamburger, a Swedish burger restaurant that encourages customers to eat less meat. The third offered a chance to remember the Solar Sisters, an amazing, low-tech, high-impact project bringing light and hope to rural Africa.
Day 3 started with a post from Occupy Wall Street, where the young protestors showed ingenuity and creativity. The second story reminded us there is an increasing body of research that shows the tremendous power of self-compassion. The third took us again to the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to three incredible women.
So here we are at Day 4 and the last four stories, from the last four Care2 Causes topics. They are four of my favorites, though I confess I have felt that about the first nine as well.
May 2012 bring us many more stories to lift our hearts, spur us to action and remind us never to lose hope.
When the Iowa House was debating the future of same-sex unions in the state, a 19-year-old University of Iowa student spoke eloquently. Zach Wahls’ mothers married in 2009, when Iowa became one of only five states to allow such couples to wed.
Wahls challenged legislators not to make a move that would potentially amend the constitution to codify discrimination. He was self-assured and articulate. He reminded legislators that what makes a family “is the love that binds us.” He went on to challenge them to understand that by voting in favor of the amendment, “You are telling Iowans that some among you are second-class citizens who do not have the right to marry the person you love.”
Wahls was interviewed by numerous media outlets. Watching him and listening to him, it’s hard to understand how anyone could think the composition of his family damaged him. Research supports what he had to say. Children of same-sex families thrive, as does any child surrounded by love. The video below has been viewed more than 2 million times.
In yet another example of the Alice-in-Wonderland world of the banking system, a Deutsche Bank branch in Atlanta allowed the grandson of 103-year-old Elvinia Hall to take out a loan on her house without her consent. That bumped the monthly mortgage payment out of reach for her and her 83-year-old daughter.
Fulton County sheriff’s deputies showed up to evict them. They saw how aged and fragile the two women were and refused to carry out the eviction. The stress put Lee’s daughter into the hospital, but foreclosure was at least delayed.
That’s when the Care2 community swung into action. More than 33,000 of you signed a petition asking Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Chase to allow Hall to remain in her home of 53 years.
Thanks to you, Chase Bank backed down and promised to work out a resolution that would allow the family to keep their home.
It’s hard enough to lose a home to a tornado, but it is the photographs, the letters, the legal documents and all the irreplaceable memorabilia of a life whose loss cuts most deeply. So one of the heartening stories of 2011 was a Facebook page set up to return “Pictures and Documents found after the April 27, 2011 Tornadoes.”
Set up in the aftermath of the tornadoes that devastated Alabama and other parts of the South, the Facebook page was created by Patty Bullion. As the tornado passed over her house in Lester, Alabama, it left a trail of scattered photographs. Moved by the faces of strangers, she posted the pictures to Facebook. Others uploaded images they found, along with scans of documents, letters and other mementos. Many treasures found their way back to grieving families.
Bullion recently posted a note saying she was going to close down the site at the end of January, but fans are encouraging her to leave it up. People are still discovering it, so there is still hope more of the photographs and documents will find their way back to the families who lost them.
Take a look at the photographs of so many stories waiting to be told. Maybe one of them belongs to you.
Just as the women did in the Greek play by Aristophanes, the women of Dado village in southern Philippines put an end to war by withholding sex. In both cases, one in 411 BC, the other in 2011, one woman took the lead. In Greece it was Lysistrata. On the violence-plagued island of Mindanao, it was Hasna Kandatu.
The separatist rebellion had kept things stirred up since the 1970s. In 2008, about 100,000 had to flee the fighting. Dado village was among those devastated. The UN Refugee Agency provided them with fishing boats, nets, a landing site and sewing machines.
Unfortunately, the only road to a market for their goods was blocked by barbed wire barricades and armed rebels. So the women of the sewing cooperative, led by Hasna Kandatu, gave the men an ultimatum. If they continued to fight, the women would withhold sex.
Hasna Kandatu’s husband went to the two villages. He told them continued fighting would damage the economy and his marriage. Sex was a powerful incentive. Within a week, peace was restored, the road reopened, and Dado village could get on with the rebuilding.
That’s the last of our 13 good-news stories, but there are so many more. I’d like to give the final words to Care2 Causes guest blogger Sarah Gough, Executive Director of Play for Peace. In A Lesson in Resilience, she wrote:
The beauty, the strength and the courage that is flourishing in this world is humbling. When we only read about war, hate crimes and violence, sometimes we just need a reminder that good is also part of our reality.
May good be the largest part of all our realities in 2012.