Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Inspiration from Positive Actions in 2016

The following 10 Inspiring Moments from 2016 are an edited (for length) version of a post in the Greater Good in Action 

Veterans ask Native Americans for forgiveness
The Standing Rock pipeline battle pitted Native-American tribes against corporations, law enforcement, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. One of the little-noticed dimensions of the conflict is that many U.S. veterans joined the effort to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline construction. In December, a group of veterans formally apologized for military violence against Native Americans. The statement read by Wes Clark Jr.—son of U.S. Army general and former supreme commander at NATO, Wesley Clark Sr. In the ceremony, Chief Leonard Crow Dog offered the veterans forgiveness.

Texas man stands up for Muslim neighbors
When armed anti-Muslim protesters gathered outside of the mosque in Irving, Texas. One man did what he could: Justin Normand made a simple sign that started, “You belong,” and stood alone outside of the mosque in a gesture of support. As he later wrote on Facebook:
This was about binding up the wounded. About showing compassion and empathy for the hurting and fearful among us.

Michigan students form circle to protect Muslim classmates
After November’s election, Muslim students at the University of Michigan received death threats. In response, hundreds of students, faculty, and staff formed a circle around Muslim classmates who gathered to perform one of Islam’s five daily prayers.

Opposing protesters come together for dialogue in Dallas
July 7 gave us one of the most awful moments of 2016, when Micah Xavier Johnson ambushed and killed five police officers in Dallas, Texas. A few days later, Black Lives Matter sponsored a small march in Dallas to protest police violence against unarmed black people. When they encountered counter-protesters waving American and Texas flags, a cop named Sgt. Jeff Hall successfully brought them together for a dialogue that ended in prayer. “

Champion kid soccer players console the losing team
At the Junior Soccer World Challenge in Tokyo, Barcelona’s under-12 team beat local favorites Omiya Ardija 1-0. In a show of good sportsmanship, the Spanish players sincerely and graciously consoled their distraught opponents.

Runners help each cross the finish line at the Olympics
In August, American runner Abbey D’Agostino and New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin got tangled up and fell during the 5,000-metre race at the Rio Olympics. Both injured, they helped each other to cross the finish line.

Volunteers fulfill India’s climate promise
At Paris Climate Conference in 2015, India agreed to reforest 12 percent of its land. On one day this summer, 800,000 volunteers took a solid step in the direction of fulfilling that promise, by planting 50 million trees throughout the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Floridians step up to help survivors of Orlando shooting
In June, a man motivated by hatred of gays and lesbians killed 50 people and wounded 53 more in an Orlando nightclub. It was the worst mass shooting in the history of a country where gun massacres are depressingly common. When blood for the survivors ran out, massive lines formed around banks across the city. According to BuzzFeed News, some areas were overloaded with donors.

Construction worker brightens the days of sick kids
Construction worker Jason Haney was helping to build a new section on the Memorial Children’s Hospital of South Bend, Indiana. One day, he noticed the children (who all suffer from debilitating and even terminal conditions) in the wing across the street watching their work. So, he created an eight-foot-tall wooden Waldo that he’d put in a different spot every few days on the construction site. Soon, the kids were racing to the windows to play “Where’s Waldo?”

Judge spends a night in jail with the veteran he sentenced
Green Beret Sgt. Joseph Serna did four combat tours in Afghanistan, where he was almost killed three times. On returning to the United States, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and he was arrested repeatedly on charges related to drugs and drinking, including drunk-driving. On the 25th time he came before North Carolina District Court Judge Lou Olivera, Olivera sentenced Serna to one day in jail—and personally drove him there. “When Joe first came to turn himself in, he was trembling,” Olivera told the Fayetteville Observer. “I decided that I’d spend the night serving with him.”

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