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Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media


Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories from the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. The inspiring news story summaries most recently posted here are listed first. You can explore the same list with the most inspiring stories listed first. See also a concise list providing headlines and links to a number of highly inspiring stories. May these articles inspire us to find ever more ways to love and support each other and all around us to be the very best we can be.


Note: This comprehensive list of inspiring news stories is usually updated once a week. See also a full index to revealing excerpts of key news articles on several dozen engaging topics.

Peter Sharp - Reminding Humanity Of Our Common Connection
2015-06-03, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/1064/peter-sharp-reminding-humanity-of-our-com...

Peter Sharp of Liberators International ... has created impromptu dance parties in the Perth CBD, he’s shocked shoppers by dancing through aisles at the supermarket and, most recently, he challenged notions of racism by staging an act in which a blindfolded Aboriginal girl stood on the beach with a sign asking for free hugs – and received them. In Spain, Pete would wander the streets of Barcelona. "Spain [had] just been smashed by the economic crisis. There’s so much negativity, uncertainty for the future. I thought what we could do is create positive actions in a public space that prove to people that we don’t need to feel this despair." Pete grabbed a bunch of his mates ... and welcomed a busload of tourists arriving in Barcelona as if they were celebrities. Next ... they started approaching people with biscuits and saying “How could you pay for this cookie without money?” At first confused, people soon started getting creative. Someone started singing opera for a cookie, others danced in the street. “It’s just astounding how much creativity is out there – every single moment of every single day if you create the platform for that to be expressed,” Pete says. If people were so willing to connect, to share love and joy when given the opportunity, perhaps there was no need for the distrust that permeates modern society. Perhaps, Pete pondered, we could rewire our brains to trust others, to connect with strangers, to spread love and kindness.

Note: Watch videos of Sharp's playful, inspiring work in action at the link above.


U.N. Reports About 200 Million Fewer Hungry People Than in 1990
2015-05-27, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/28/world/united-nations-reports-global-hunger-...

The number of hungry people globally has declined from about one billion 25 years ago to about 795 million today, or about one person out of every nine, despite a surge in population growth, the United Nations reported Wednesday. In developing regions, the number of hungry people has fallen to 780 million today, or 12.9 percent of the population, from 991 million 25 years ago, or 23.3 percent of the population at the time. Despite the finding that nearly 800 million people in the world remain hungry, the report described the progress made as a significant achievement. It said that 72 of the 129 nations monitored by the Food and Agriculture Organization had achieved the target under the so-called Millennium Development Goals of halving the percentages of hungry people in their populations and that developing regions had missed the target by only a small margin. The Millennium Development Goals are a set of eight international objectives, including hunger eradication, established by the United Nations in 2000. “The near-achievement of the M.D.G. hunger targets shows us that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime,” said José Graziano da Silva, the director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization. Progress was most pronounced in East Asia, Southeast and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. But the report also illustrated failures, especially in parts of Africa, where ... “extreme weather events, natural disasters, political instability and civil strife have all impeded progress.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Kay Eva - Saving lives in Cambodia
2015-05-17, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/1041/kay-eva-saving-lives-in-cambodia-inspired...

Kay Eva was travelling through rural Cambodia ... with a group handing out supplies to those in need when they approached a devastatingly poor family. They were there to deliver powdered milk for the family’s new baby. But the baby was missing. It had been sold the day before for $20 – a desperate act to raise money to feed the rest of the family. The news hit Kay like a punch to the stomach. Horrified, this mother of three knew she had to act. Fast forward 11 years and Kay has launched a thriving charity, Stitches of Hope, which operates a sewing centre to train women and help them find work, a children’s home for under-privileged kids, a community centre and a school. “It wasn’t even about helping with basics like education and health,” Kay says. “Basically, [getting some income] meant they didn’t have to sell their children into sex trafficking, or [to be] cleaners for the wealthy. It enabled women to obtain the skills to get a job. The Stitches of Hope Sewing Centre [is] a permanent institution that teaches women to sew, accommodates and feeds them, pays them a wage to fulfill factory orders, and encourages them to set up their own sewing businesses. In 2008, Stitches of Hope launched a children’s home which today houses 24 children cared for by live-in Cambodian couples. Those entrenched in poverty are too busy surviving the day to ponder how to escape its cruel clutches. With this in mind ... Stitches of Hope launched a community centre and school which now teaches more than 80 children.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Denmark Aims for 100 Percent Renewable Energy
2014-11-20, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/science/earth/denmark-aims-for-100-percent-...

Denmark, a tiny country on the northern fringe of Europe, is pursuing the world’s most ambitious policy against climate change. It aims to end the burning of fossil fuels in any form by 2050 — not just in electricity production, as some other countries hope to do, but in transportation as well. Lest anyone consider such a sweeping transition to be impossible in principle, the Danes beg to differ. They essentially invented the modern wind-power industry, and have pursued it more avidly than any country. They are above 40 percent renewable power on their electric grid, aiming toward 50 percent by 2020. The political consensus here to keep pushing is all but unanimous. The trouble, if it can be called that, is that renewable power sources like wind and solar cost nothing to run, once installed. That is potentially a huge benefit in the long run. But [it] can render conventional power plants, operating on gas or coal or uranium, uneconomical to run. Yet those plants are needed to supply backup power for times when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining. So the trick now is to get the market redesign right. If Denmark can figure out a proper design for the electric market, it has another big task to meet its 2050 goal: squeezing the fossil fuels out of transportation.

Note: Denmark is consistently setting world records for wind power, which is now cheaper than fossil fuels there.


Hogwarts-inspired middle school in the heart of Atlanta
2015-03-15, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ron-clark-academy-atlanta-sets-success-confidence...

Math and history are just some of the subjects at the Ron Clark Academy. The Atlanta middle school teaches everything from eye contact to the value of friendly competition - a method that makes kids want to attend class. "It is a place that's about passion, energy," co-founder Ron Clark said. "I wanted to create a school where you could feel the spirit, wanted kids to walk into this school and say, 'I love coming here.'" The building is a 50,000 square foot warehouse ... transformed into the sort of place J.K. Rowling dreamed up for "Harry Potter." Every classroom has an elaborate theme - there's a dragon and a two-story bungee jump and all 112 kids have to be "slide-certified" - a symbol they've signed on for something different. "I love Hogwarts and 'Harry Potter' and the kids do too and so we wanted to bring that book to life and that feeling to life for these kids," Clark said. But there's a rigor to the magic, a drive to thrive. Clark has 55 rules, a code of conduct that covers shaking hands, maintaining eye contact and answering questions in complete sentences. Clark sets the bar high and holds his kids accountable. For Clark, his aim is for his students to walk into the world without any sense of fear. "I want them to go out into this world and to know, 'I am confident because I have the ability, I can achieve this.' I want kids to leave here and go for it and make an impact," he said. At the Ron Clark Academy, they go for it every day, like no other school in America.

Note: Watch this amazing clip of this most untraditional, yet successful school.


Pope Francis Explains To Children How War Profiteers Never Want Peace
2015-05-12, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/12/pope-francis-weapons-war_n_7266688.html

Pope Francis did not mince words when he told a group of children gathered at the Vatican that some people will never want peace because they profit off of war. "Some powerful people earn their living off making weapons," the pope said, in a translation provided by Rome Reports. "For this reason, many people do not want peace." He also called the weapons business an "industry of death," according to Catholic Herald. The pontiff spoke in front of roughly 7,000 children at the Vatican on Monday, in a visit sponsored by the Fabbrica della pace (“Peace Factory”), a non-governmental organization that operates educational programming in primary schools with the purpose of promoting cross-cultural understanding. “Whenever we do something together, something good, something beautiful, everyone changes," he said. "This does us good." The pope's strong words against the weapons industry echo the pontiff's earlier anti-war statements. On December 7, 2014 Pope Francis sent a letter to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, stating, "Nuclear weapons are a global problem, affecting all nations, and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home." "Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations," he continued. "To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty."

Note: Go Pope Francis! Watch the beautiful video of this event at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Pope Francis’ Latest Mission: Stopping Nuclear Weapons
2015-04-10, Time
http://time.com/3817021/pope-francis-nuclear-disarmament/

The Vatican has long opposed nuclear weapons, but Pope Francis is making the cause one of the top diplomatic priorities of his two-year-old papacy. In December, the Vatican submitted a paper calling for total nuclear disarmament to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. In January, Pope Francis touted nuclear disarmament as a major goal alongside climate change. “Pope Francis has recently pushed the moral argument against nuclear weapons to a new level, not only against their use but also against their possession,” Archbishop Bernedito Auza, the Holy See’s Ambassador to the U.N., says. “Today there is no more argument, not even the argument of deterrence used during the Cold War, that could ‘minimally morally justify’ the possession of nuclear weapons. The ‘peace of a sort’ that is supposed to justify nuclear deterrence is specious and illusory.” For Francis ... inequality and nuclear power are interwoven. “Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations,” Pope Francis wrote to the Vienna Humanitarian Conference in December. “To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty. When these resources are squandered, the poor and the weak living on the margins of society pay the price.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Meet the American Couple Saving Thousands Trying to Get to Europe
2014-12-22, Time
http://time.com/3639877/christopher-catrambone-migrants-rescue-europe/

Christopher Catrambone and his wife have spent $7.5 million of their own money rescuing migrants. In the summer of 2014, Catrambone and his wife Regina channelled [their] empathy – and $7.5m of the family’s personal wealth – into an extraordinary mission to launch the world’s first private search and rescue operation. The aim of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) was to locate the flimsy vessels overloaded with men, woman and children [in the Mediterranean Sea] trying to reach sanctuary in Europe, and save the lives of the passengers if they were in danger. “We’re not here to save the world, we’re here to help people who are in desperate need,” says Catrambone. “We leveraged nearly 50% of our savings on this project because it was that important to us.” Now they are appealing for the public’s help to keep the operation going. Global conflicts have forced record numbers of people on perilous voyages to Europe, but rich nations have scaled back operations to save them – a situation Catrambone finds astonishing. During their [first] 60 days in international waters, MOAS assisted nearly 3,000 people in jeopardy at sea. While an impressive figure, that’s still just a small proportion of the 207,000 people the U.N. refugee agency estimates set sail on clandestine voyages in the Mediterranean this year. That figure dwarfs the previous record of 70,000 people who attempted the voyage in 2011, after the Arab Spring sent the first wave of asylum-seekers towards Europe.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


FTC Unveils New Website to Help Victims of ID Theft Recover
2015-05-15, WSPA (North Carolina CBS affiliate)
http://www.wspa.com/story/29078081/ftc-unveils-new-website-to-help-victims-of...

There's now a new way you can report and recover from identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission is unveiling a new website to keep your identity safe. It tells victims what steps to take in the moments after identity theft happens. You can see detailed advice and checklists at www.identitytheft.gov. The site also helps you check to see if you've been a victim of identity theft without knowing it. Federal officials said they created the site after receiving more than 300,000 complaints from id theft victims in 2014. A Spanish version of the site is also available at RobodeIdentidad.gov. The new website provides an interactive checklist that walks people through the recovery process and helps them understand which recovery steps should be taken upon learning their identity has been stolen. It also provides sample letters and other helpful resources. In addition, the site offers specialized tips for specific forms of identity theft, including tax-related and medical identity theft. The site also has advice for people who have been notified that their personal information was exposed in a data breach. Identity theft has been the top consumer complaint reported to the FTC for the past 15 years, and in 2014, the Commission received more than 330,000 complaints from consumers who were victims of identity theft.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Horse whisperer Monty Roberts aids veterans and others who face traumas
2015-04-02, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2015/0402/Horse-whisperer-...

Monty Roberts is taking his message of nonviolent communication and developing trust to military veterans, military police, and incarcerated youths with post-traumatic stress disorder. “The key is to speak the horse’s language, which is gesture,” he says. He has demonstrated an uncanny ability to “speak” this language, eliminating the centuries-long practice of “breaking a horse” with traditional methods. Roberts is considered the original horse whisperer ... spending a lifetime refining his system, teaching it globally through books, videos, TV shows, demonstration tours, and his own Equestrian Academy. At an evening at his ranch titled “Night of Inspiration,” Roberts told of overcoming an abusive father and the prickly resistance of the traditional equestrian community to become arguably the top horse trainer in the world. Now he is morphing into the role of advocate for the healing power of horses. Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of the Military Channel, summed up the results after about 400 people attended a clinic: “The impressive, unique work that Monty Roberts has pioneered, using untrained horses as a therapeutic tool for veterans who are trying to work through anger and depression, is absolutely inspiring.” Brigitte von Rechenberg, a professor of veterinary medicine, [said] “There is trust and respect; there is no winner and no loser. Monty’s methods leave the horse his dignity. These concepts cause happiness to reach your soul.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Cowgirl uses horses to motivate at-risk kids
2014-12-17, CNN News
http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/07/us/cnnheroes-kelly/index.html

"It's tough growing up here," said Wright of his low-income neighborhood in Hartford, Connecticut. "I was walking around with a lot on my shoulders," he said. "I couldn't handle it. I didn't care about life anymore." But all that started to change when Wright met Patricia Kelly. A former U.S. Marine and an equestrian, [she] took Wright under her wing and helped him find hope in an unlikely place: on a horse. For the last 30 years, Kelly has helped children in Hartford stay on the right track through her nonprofit, Ebony Horsewomen. The program offers horseback riding lessons and teaches animal science to more than 300 young people a year. "We use horses as a hook to create pride, esteem and healing," said Kelly, 66. Connecticut ... has one of the nation's largest income gaps between rich and poor. Kelly ... witnessed the effects of that inequality. "It is a divided city; the children in the poorer neighborhoods have less resources," Kelly said. "When you teach a child to ride a horse, they learn they are the center of their environment," said Kelly, whose program reaches children from age 5 to 19. "Once they make that connection, they can change what happens in school, at home and in the community." In the case of young men like Wright, the nonprofit has been a critical part of their development. "I can't tell you where I would be without this program. It changed my life. It's helped me set goals for myself," said Wright, who has dreams of becoming an equine blacksmith and dentist.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Sabotage Conviction Overturned Against Nun, Fellow Activists
2015-05-08, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/sabotage-conviction-overturned-nun-fellow-...

An 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who splashed blood on the walls of a bunker holding weapons-grade uranium — exposing vulnerabilities in the nation's nuclear security — were wrongly convicted of sabotage, an appeals court ruled Friday. At issue was whether Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed injured national security when they cut through several fences to break into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge in July 2012. A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that they did not. Once there, the trio had hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: "They will beat their swords into ploughshares." "If a defendant blew up a building used to manufacture components for nuclear weapons ... the government surely could demonstrate an adverse effect on the nation's ability to attack or defend," the opinion says. "But vague platitudes about a facility's 'crucial role in the national defense' are not enough to convict a defendant of sabotage." Rice wrote in a letter to The Associated Press in March that "the important message of the appeal is the illegality of nuclear weapons, which are sabotaging the planet."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


'I Can See, Mommy': Witness The Moment Two Blind Sisters See The World For First Time
2014-09-08, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/08/blind-sisters-see-first-time-202020_...

Sonia and Anita, two sisters living in rural India, were both born blind. A simple surgery, costing about $300, could have restored their sight long ago; but their parents, who earn 17 cents an hour planting and harvesting rice by hand, could barely make ends meet. Thanks to the efforts of 20/20/20, a nonprofit working to restore vision to blind children and adults in some of the world’s poorest countries, Sonia and Anita were able to undergo that simple surgery on their eyes. When the bandages came off, they saw the world around them for the very first time, and it was captured in a video detailing the sisters’ story. Sonia, 12, is said to have gasped as she opened her eyes and blinked into the sunlight for the first time. Her 6-year-old sister, holding her mother close, reportedly declared, “I can see, Mommy.” According to 20/20/20, the 15-minute “miracle” surgery, which the sisters both underwent, involves a surgeon removing the defective lens that causes blindness and replacing it with an artificial lens. The procedure could restore the eyesight of half the blind children and adults in the world, the nonprofit says. “The only problem is, for the poorest people in the world, who live on $1 a day, they could never afford to pay for a $300 surgery. So they will remain blind for the rest of their lives –- unless someone helps them,” 20/20/20 writes on its website.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Why are older Danish women so happy?
2015-05-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/03/europe-happiness-danish-women-pe...

Eva Kerner, 71, a former secretary, has been retired since 2006 and goes to the gym twice a week ... attends concerts, visits museums, travels extensively, sings in a choir and is a prolific seamstress. “It’s a nice life,” Kerner tells me. “Being so active keeps you young. I’m very happy.” She’s not alone. A study claims that retired Danish women are the most content in Europe, with those aged 65-74 scoring 8.6 out of 10 on the happiness scale – something experts suggest is partly down to the perspective that comes with age. But it’s not just being over 65, female and busy that guarantees you a retirement of pure revelry. There’s something about the experience of “living Danishly” that also helps. “Denmark is a country that takes care of its citizens,” says retired associate professor Jette Eiberg, 71, from Copenhagen. “I feel very lucky to be here and I’m really grateful” – something else that has been proven to boost happiness levels. Sky-high taxes ... have the happy side effect of making Danes more content. Denmark has the lowest income inequality among all the OECD countries and studies show that living in neighbourhoods where most people earn about the same can make you happier. And because Denmark has one of the shortest working weeks at just 37 hours, Danes have plenty of time to foster friendships and extracurricular interests throughout their careers to see them through retirement.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Audi creates green 'e-diesel fuel of the future' using just carbon dioxide and water
2015-04-27, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/audi-creates-green-e-diesel-fuel-future-using-just-c...

German car manufacturer Audi says it has created the "fuel of the future" made solely from water, carbon dioxide and renewable sources. The synthetic "e-diesel" was made following a commissioning phase of just four months at a plant in Dresden, Germany. Unlike regular diesel, the clear fuel does not contain any sulphur or fossil oil, while it has an overall energy efficiency of around 70%. Creation of the fuel, which Audi and Sunfire are calling blue crude, first requires heating water to 800C (1,472F) to trigger a high temperature electrolysis to break down the steam to hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen then reacts with the CO2 in synthesis reactors, again under pressure and at a high temperature. The reaction product is a ... synthetic fuel, which is free from sulphur and aromatic hydrocarbons, [that] is suitable for mixing with fossil diesel or being used as a fuel in its own right. Reiner Mangold, head of sustainable product development at Audi, said: "In developing Audi e-diesel we are promoting another fuel based on CO2 that will allow long-distance mobility with virtually no impact on the climate."

Note: Read exciting news from major media sources on other amazing new energy breakthroughs. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Real Junk Food Project: The Leeds cafe that has fed 10,000 people, using 20 tonnes of unwanted food – and started a worldwide movement
2014-12-16, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/real-junk-food-project-the-lee...

Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project, in Armley, Leeds, feeds his punters on goods that would otherwise have been thrown away by supermarkets, independent grocers and food banks. The 29-year-old trained chef cooks up stews, casseroles, soups and cakes with the unwanted food, charging [based on] a “pay as you feel” policy - allowing punters to pay what they feel they can, and if that is nothing, they can help with the washing up. In just 10 months he has fed 10,000 people on 20 tonnes of unwanted food, raising over Ł30,000. The cafe ... has inspired 47 other "pay as you feel" cafes to spring in the past few months. But Mr Smith says The Real Junk Food Project ... is about more than simply feeding those who might otherwise go hungry. "It is bringing people from different demographics together [in a way] that doesn't involve money. People are opening Junk Food Projects because they have had enough of what is going on in society and care about what is happening to other human beings," he said. The publication of an all-party report into Hunger in Britain last week revealed 4m people in the UK were at risk of going hungry, while 3.5m adults could not afford to feed themselves properly. Britain experienced the highest rate of food inflation in the world the report said, rising 47% since 2003, compared with 30.4% in the United States, 22.1% in Germany and 16.7% in France.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Love thy neighbor: Son's killer moves next door
2011-06-08, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/love-thy-neighbor-sons-killer-moves-next-door/

In February 1993, Mary's son, Laramiun Byrd, was shot to death. He was 20, and Mary's only child. The killer was a 16-year-old kid named Oshea Israel. Mary wanted justice. "He was an animal. He deserved to be caged." And he was. Tried as an adult and sentenced to 25 and a half years -- Oshea served 17 before being recently released. He now lives back in the old neighborhood - next door to Mary. How a convicted murder ended-up living a door jamb away from his victim's mother is a story, not of horrible misfortune, as you might expect - but of remarkable mercy. A few years ago Mary asked if she could meet Oshea at Minnesota's Stillwater state prison. As a devout Christian, she felt compelled to see if there was some way, if somehow, she could forgive her son's killer. Oshea says they met regularly after that. When he got out, she introduced him to her landlord - who with Mary's blessing, invited Oshea to move into the building. Today they don't just live close - they are close. Mary was able to forgive. "Unforgiveness is like cancer," Mary says. "It will eat you from the inside out. It's not about that other person, me forgiving him does not diminish what he's done. Yes, he murdered my son - but the forgiveness is for me. It's for me." For Oshea, it hasn't been that easy. "I haven't totally forgiven myself yet, I'm learning to forgive myself." To that end, Oshea is now ... singing the praises of God and forgiveness at prisons, churches - to large audiences everywhere.

Note: Watch a beautiful, moving video by the founder of StoryCorps, which led to this story.


After Years Of Hiding, 'Walking In Love' As Transgender
2013-05-03, NPR
http://www.npr.org/2013/05/03/180628239/after-years-of-hiding-walking-in-love...

Growing up in a rough housing project on Chicago's South Side during the early 1960s, Alexis Martinez had to hide that she was transgender. "When I came out to my mom that I was transgender, I think I was 13 or 14," Alexis says. "And she called the police. And I always remember that when the police showed up, they just laughed and told her, 'You've got a fag for a son, and there's nothing we can do about it. So, I went as macho as I could be, to mask what I really was underneath," explains Alexis, now 62. One day, [Alexis' daughter] Lesley discovered some of her father's female clothes. "It was a big to-do," Lesley says. "It was sort of, you know, my uncovering the secret." Alexis knew trying to cover up that she was transgender would mean a loss of trust with her daughter — so she told. "I was really torn between being a female role model and a dad," Alexis says. "And so, I said to myself, 'OK, well be the best parent. Whatever it takes, however I do it, you have to look out for your baby.' But one of the most difficult things for me was, I was always afraid that I wouldn't be allowed to be in my granddaughters' lives." She needn't have worried. Lesley and her husband's acceptance, Alexis says, "blew that completely out of the water. To Alexis, the openness with which her family can talk about her gender identity "is a miracle," she says. "Now I walk in love, and I try to live that way every day."

Note: Watch a beautiful, moving video by the founder of StoryCorps, which led to this story.


Leadership for Collective Wisdom
2015-04-29, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/1019/leadership-for-collective-wisdom-alan-bri...

Five conditions for the emergence of collective wisdom: 1. Deep Listening. Listening with an intention that the other person feels heard and seen; creating the conditions and presence for the other to more fully come into their own highest being. 2. Suspend Certainty. Capacity to suspend what we think is right, correct, or proper for a period of time, allowing other ways of knowing and other people to contribute to an expanded understanding. 3. See Whole Systems. Seek diverse perspective. Remain alert to the intrinsic interdependence of one's own group, other groups, larger collectives, and our shared Earth. 4. Gather for Group Emergence. Cultivate parallel ways of knowing - intuition, intellect, somatic awareness, respect for ancestral knowledge, regard for nature and physical space. Create safe spaces for dialogue. Maintain respect for others, for relationships, for human decency. Attend to the emotions arising within yourself and others. 5. Trust in the Extraordinary. Trust in what can emerge above and beyond your current understanding. Welcome all that is arising. Resist being constrained by the limitations of normative values or other's expectations. Recognize the power of synchronicity and meaningful coincidence to shape choices and inspire awe and action.

Note: The above was written by Alan Briskin, co-author of The Power of Collective Wisdom.


Tyson to End Use of Human Antibiotics in Its Chickens by 2017
2015-04-28, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/29/business/tyson-to-end-use-of-human-antibiot...

Tyson Foods, one of the country’s largest meat producers, said on Tuesday that it planned to eliminate the use of human antibiotics in its chicken production by 2017. The company had been working toward that goal for some time, ceasing the use of antibiotics in its hatcheries last year and adopting feed free of antibiotics this year. Then McDonald’s, the sprawling restaurant chain that is one of Tyson’s biggest customers, said in March that it planned over the next two years to rid its supply chains of chicken treated with antibiotics important to human medicine. At that time, health advocates and investment analysts predicted Tyson would take the final steps to eliminate the drugs from its chicken production. The company said in a news release that it would begin meeting with groups of farmers who produce pork, turkey and beef for Tyson under contract to come up with a plan for eliminating antibiotic use in their programs. “Antibiotic-resistant infections are a global health concern,” said Donnie Smith, president and chief executive of Tyson Foods, in a statement. Perdue, another large chicken producer, said last fall that it had eliminated human antibiotics from its hatcheries, the last step in a long process to reduce its reliance on such drugs. It still uses antibiotics that are not used in human medicine, as will Tyson.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


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