Inspirational Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Inspirational Media Articles in Major Media
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"Who’s this black guy trying to make friends with the Ku Klux Klan?” A raised eyebrow, a shake of the head. Such were the sentiments of Scott Shepherd, a former Klan grand dragon, when he first saw Daryl Davis, a piano-playing bluesman who travels the nation attempting to dispel racism from those who hate him most. It doesn’t often work, but over the decades Davis, like a man on a quixotic pilgrimage, has collected more than two dozen Klan robes from those who have disavowed white supremacy. His unlikely story unfolds in “Accidental Courtesy,” a documentary by Matt Ornstein that follows Davis on an odd and lively quest to Confederate monuments, Klansmen houses, boogie joints, churches and a hot dog stand. “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?” Davis asks in the film, which opens in Los Angeles on Friday. “Throughout my life I have been looking for an answer to that.” The son of a foreign service officer, Davis spent part of his childhood overseas, far from the racism many African Americans learn early. His first encounter with bigotry came when he was a 10-year-old Cub Scout. Bottles and rocks were thrown at him as he marched in a parade. The bewildering incident was the seed of a mission that years later found him ... starting a conversation with Klan Imperial Wizard Roger Kelly. The two became close. When Kelly quit the Klan, he gave Davis his robe. Talking to Klansmen “has worked for me,” said Davis. “I don’t seek to convert them but if they spend time with me, they can’t hate me.”
Note: Watch an awesome video about this brave black man who all but ended the KKK in Maryland by making friends with their leaders. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Native Americans conducted a forgiveness ceremony with U.S. veterans at the Standing Rock casino, giving the veterans an opportunity to atone for military actions conducted against Natives throughout history. In celebration of Standing Rock protesters’ victory [towards] halting construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, Leonard Crow Dog formally forgave Wes Clark Jr., the son of retired U.S. Army general and former supreme commander at NATO, Wesley Clark Sr.. Salon published Clark’s apology to the Natives, which read as follows: "Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. When we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness." This was a historically symbolic gesture forgiving centuries of oppression against Natives and honoring their partnership in defending the land from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Chief Leonard Crow Dog offered forgiveness and urged for world peace, responding that “we do not own the land, the land owns us.”
Note: A beautiful, two-minute video shows these U.S. veterans apologizing to Native Americans for stealing and pillaging their land demonstrates how our times are changing. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
On a summer morning in 2013, Octavian Mihai entered a softly lit room. He swallowed a capsule of psilocybin, an ingredient found in hallucinogenic mushrooms. Then he put on an eye mask and headphones and lay down on a couch. Mr. Mihai, who had just finished treatment for Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was participating in a study looking at whether the drug can reduce anxiety and depression in cancer patients. Throughout that eight-hour session, a psychiatrist and a social worker ... stayed by his side. The results from that study, and a similar small, controlled trial, were striking. About 80 percent of cancer patients showed clinically significant reductions in both psychological disorders, a response sustained some seven months after the single dose. Side effects were minimal. In both trials, the intensity of the mystical experience described by patients correlated with the degree to which their depression and anxiety decreased. Although cancer patients will not have access to therapeutically administered psilocybin anytime soon, the findings add vigor to applications to expand research in a multicenter trial with hundreds of participants. Psilocybin trials are underway in the United States and Europe for alcoholism, tobacco addiction and treatment-resistant depression. Other hallucinogens are also being studied for clinical application. This week, the Food and Drug Administration approved a large-scale trial investigating MDMA, the illegal party drug better known as Ecstasy, for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Note: See another article in the UK's Independent showing remarkable results from these studies. Learn more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs now being explored by the scientific community.
On a recent Friday morning, a group of about 20 homeless guys warmed up in a parking lot across the street from three shelters in East Harlem. In a circle, they did jumping jacks, twisted their torsos and touched their toes. Fifteen minutes later, they huddled up, chanted the Serenity Prayer ... and took off running. Ryan ... began jogging with the group, known as Back on My Feet, seven months ago. Never a runner, he always wondered what the big deal about it was. Ask him today, however, and he’ll tell you it’s “so natural, almost spiritual.” Back on My Feet is a program that uses running to help the homeless get their lives back on track. In addition to connecting participants with housing and jobs, Back on My Feet is founded on the notion that running can change a person’s self-image. Early morning exercise, three days a week, provides an outlet for pent-up emotions and starts to change the way someone thinks about hard work. If the concept seems hokey or contrived, the program’s numbers show that’s not the case. Back on My Feet’s program has reached 5,200 homeless individuals. More than 1,900 have obtained employment, and 1,300 have moved into independent housing. Waking up so early every morning - whether the thermometer’s bubbling over or when it’s frozen solid - instills discipline and responsibility in the participants. They’re two valuable concepts, but both are hard to teach in the abstract. They need to be lived to be experienced.
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Mike Miles hadn’t had a stable job in years. This wasn’t due to a poor work ethic. Because Miles had a criminal record, he was always cut loose when it came time to let staff go. “It was like walking on eggshells. You just never knew when you’d be gone,” he recounted. After his release from prison in 2007, Miles struggled to find stability. It wasn’t until October 2015 ... that a cousin told Miles about Lancaster Food Company, a local business that ... focuses on hiring formerly incarcerated people. Miles submitted an application. He got an interview. And, soon after that, he began a new job, encompassing everything from food production to maintenance, not to mention a livable wage of $15 an hour. He says it’s the best job he’s ever had. Miles’ scenario is rare in Lancaster, where the poverty rate holds steady at 30 percent. This figure riled Charlie Crystle, Lancaster’s co-founder and CEO. He believes that food production is a key way to “meet people where they are,” referring to former offenders who may lack a high school or college degree. Lancaster produces products like bread and maple syrup, all of it USDA certified organic. Crystle says he wants to inspire other companies and entrepreneurs to rethink their current practices and ignite conversations around minimum wage and employment opportunities for everyone, including ex-offenders. Not one employee has quit. According to Mike Miles, having a steady job has given him new courage.
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Global poverty is in decline. Jim Pethokoukis writes, “Over the past 30 years, the share of our fellow humans living in extreme poverty has decreased to 21% from 52%. That’s a billion fewer people in extreme poverty. An extraordinary achievement.” People are living longer. The World Health Organization reports, “Global average life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960s. Those gains reverse declines during the 1990s. The 2000-2015 increase was greatest in the WHO African Region, where life expectancy increased by 9.4 years to 60 years.” Americans are extraordinarily charitable. The National Center for Charitable Statistics found, “Giving by individuals makes up the vast majority of contributions received by nonprofit organizations. Individual giving amounted to $258.51 billion in 2014, an increase of 7.1 percent in current dollars from 2013. This accounts for 72 percent of all contributions received in 2014.” We are becoming less violent. You’d never know it from listening to politicians or the media, but it is provably true. Psychologist Steven Pinker, author of “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” in an interview this year explained: “I looked at homicide, looked at war, looked at genocide, looked at terrorism. And in all cases, the long-term historical trend, though there are ups and downs ... is absolutely downward. The rate of violent crime in United States has fallen by more than half in just a decade. The rate of death in war fell by a factor of 100 over a span of 25 years.”
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A breathing-based meditation practice known as Sudarshan Kriya yoga helped alleviate severe depression in people who did not fully respond to antidepressant treatments, reports a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Researchers found significant improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety in medicated patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who participated in the breathing technique compared to medicated patients who did not partake. More than half of the 41 million Americans who take antidepressants do not fully respond. Add-on therapies are often prescribed to enhance the effects of the drugs in these patients, but they typically offer limited additional benefits and come with side effects that can [prolong] the depressive episode. The meditation technique ... includes a series of sequential, rhythm-specific breathing exercises that bring people into a deep, restful, and meditative state: slow and calm breaths alternated with fast and stimulating breaths. In past studies, the practice has demonstrated a positive response in patients with milder forms of depression, depression due to alcohol dependence, and in patients with MDD; however, there are no clinical studies investigating its use for depression in an outpatient setting. Past studies suggest that yoga and other controlled breathing techniques can potentially adjust the nervous system to reduce stress hormones.
On Saturday, a white-bearded man in a cowboy hat held a sign outside of a Texas mosque. His sign read "You belong. Stay strong. Be blessed. We are one America" and he - as well as his message - quickly went viral. America, meet Justin Normand. He reveals that he had the sign made in the sign shop he manages and stood outside of the [Irving, Texas] mosque as a practice of his own Presbyterian religion. "This was about binding up the wounded. About showing compassion and empathy for the hurting and fearful among us," Normand writes. "Or, in some Christian traditions, this was about washing my brother's feet." He continues to write, while citing scriptures from the Bible, about the human call to be generous and kind to our neighbors - no matter their background. "Lastly, it worked. I felt better for the impact it had on my neighbors. They genuinely needed this encouragement," Normand concludes [in a] Facebook post. "They need us. They need all of us. They need you. We ARE one America." Normand's actions come at a crucial time as hate crimes against Muslims have spiked in America by 67 percent from 2014 to 2015 and 6 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the New York Times. The Islamic Center of Irving is where a group of armed protesters gathered outside last year in order to "Stop the Islamization of America," according to the Dallas Morning News.
The Catholic Church in Rwanda has apologized for its members' role in the genocide that saw hundreds of thousands of Rwandans killed in 1994. Rwandan bishops asked for "forgiveness for sins of hatred and disagreement that happened in the country to the point of hating our own countrymen because of their origin," in a statement read after mass in parishes across the country Sunday. In 1994, Hutu extremists in Rwanda targeted minority ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in a three-month killing spree that left an estimated 800,000 people dead. Hutu attackers burned down churches with hundreds or thousands of Tutsis inside. Although the church states it did not send anyone to participate in the killings, it acknowledges that its members were active, apologizing for "Christian leaders who caused divisions among people and planted seeds of hate." Four Catholic priests were indicted by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for their role in the genocide in 2001. Among them was Rwandan Catholic Priest Athanse Seromba who was sentenced to ... life imprisonment for actively participating in the massacre of around 2,000 Tutsis who sought protection in his church. The United Nations has criticized the Catholic Church in the past for its failure to apologize for its complicity in the killings.
We’ve got to stop acting out hate. There is no less of it in the liberal media than there is in the right-wing media. It is just better disguised. We are entering a time of great uncertainty. Institutions so enduring as to seem identical to reality itself may lose their legitimacy and dissolve. For many, that process started on election night, when Trump’s victory provoked incredulity. At such moments, it is a normal response to find someone to blame, as if identifying fault could restore the lost normality, and to lash out in anger. Hate and blame are convenient ways of making meaning out of a bewildering situation. If you are appalled at the election outcome and feel the call of hate, perhaps try asking yourself, “What is it like to be a Trump supporter?” Ask it not with a patronizing condescension, but for real, looking underneath the caricature of misogynist and bigot to find the real person. Even if the person you face is a misogynist or bigot, ask, “Is this who they are, really?” Ask what confluence of circumstances, social, economic, and biographical, may have brought them there. You may still not know how to engage them, but at least you will not be on the warpath automatically. We hate what we fear, and we fear what we do not know. So let’s stop making our opponents invisible behind a caricature of evil. This does not mean to withdraw from political conversation, but to rewrite its vocabulary, [and] speak hard truths with love. It is to offer acute political analysis that doesn’t carry the implicit message of, “Aren’t those people horrible?”
Earlier this month we brought you the story of a New Hampshire boy who was targeted because of the color of his skin. On Thursday, some special people were rallying around the child, healing the hate with love, and some fun. Horns were honking and engines roaring as seven year old Eze headed for 20 bikers waiting outside his school. Even though he doesn’t know any of them, their kindness means everything. “The best part of today is riding a motorcycle,” Eze says. Police say Eze, who is biracial, was targeted by a series of hate crimes recently. First a racial slur was scratched on his mother’s car, and then another on a saw horse tossed into the yard, and the third when fried chicken and watermelon were thrown onto the car. One of their neighbors is in the Manchester Motorcycle Club. He was horrified when he heard what happened. “Nothing’s ever happened on our road like that and it’s just wrong, and I don’t like it,” says Steve Vachon. The club decided to let the family know they were not alone. So today they made Eze an honorary club member. “We just want to share something with the kid, that he has people who care about him,” Vachon says. They also gave him a helmet, a jacket of his own and the ride of a lifetime. “I think it means the world to him. He knows the town supports him and no one hates him, and that he can walk with pride and he doesn’t have to be scared,” says Jaci Stimson, Eze’s mother.
We were preparing to celebrate the historic election of the nation’s first female president. Despite the upset, one loss does not devalue another victory. Across the country, women of various backgrounds ... ran on platforms of equality and progressive reform. And they won. Kate Brown has been serving as Oregon’s governor since her [predecessor] resigned. Yesterday, she was elected by the state to serve the next two years of what would have been the rest of former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s term. Brown ... is the first openly LGBTQ candidate to win a gubernatorial election. Tammy Duckworth [was] elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, [and will soon serve as] the first female veteran, the first disabled woman, and the first Asian American woman to represent Illinois [as a senator]. In 2010, Kamala Harris made history as the first female, first Black, and first Asian American to be elected attorney general of California. Now, she will be the first Indian American and first biracial female senator. Soon representing Washington’s 7th congressional district, Pramila Jayapal is the first Indian American woman elected to U.S. Congress. Catherine Cortez Masto is both the first Latina and woman to enter the Senate from Nevada. She [previously] served two terms as attorney general, during which time she worked to provide financial aid for students and strengthen laws preventing sex trafficking. [Elected to the Minnesota state legislature], Ilhan Omar is the first Somali American woman to be elected to public office in the United States.
The Maine Clean Elections Act, originally passed in 1996 and strengthened in 2015, gives candidates the option to finance campaigns with taxpayer dollars. Candidates who choose to run a publicly financed campaign don’t need to spend time courting wealthy donors - in fact, they’re prohibited from raising private money. Instead, constituents show their support through $5 contributions to the Maine Clean Elections Fund made on behalf of a candidate. But that money doesn’t go to the candidate - instead, it shows support and helps fund the public-financing program. Once candidates have raised the required number of donations, they receive a flat fee from the state, which can vary depending on the office being sought. During [State representative Joyce] McCreight’s first campaign, in 2014, the state gave her nearly $5,000 once she’d collected 60 contributions. She won, and by the end of her first term, she’d helped to write a bill that makes it easy for low-income people without insurance to get reproductive health [services]. The bill passed, and McCreight expects it to save the state $2.5 million a year. McCreight’s story ... was made possible by a network of activists who came together in 1995 to draft and support the Maine Clean Elections Act. The Clean Elections system has given Maine the most economically diverse legislature in the nation. About 14 percent of Maine legislators are working class: waitresses, cashiers, machinists. Only 2 percent of the U.S. Congress comes from similar backgrounds.
Note: Why is the major media not reporting this important and inspiring news? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In many ways, there has never been a better time to be alive. Fewer among us are poor, fewer are hungry, fewer children are dying, and more men and women can read than ever before. How strange, then, to see such anger and great discontent in some of the world’s richest nations. Why? A small hint comes from interesting research about how people thrive. In one ... experiment, researchers found that senior citizens who didn’t feel useful to others were nearly three times as likely to die prematurely as those who did feel useful. This speaks to a broader human truth: We all need to be needed. Being “needed” does not entail selfish pride or unhealthy attachment to the worldly esteem of others. Rather, it consists of a natural human hunger to serve. As the 13th-century Buddhist sages taught, “If one lights a fire for others, it will also brighten one’s own way.” Americans who prioritize doing good for others are almost twice as likely to say they are very happy about their lives. In Germany, people who seek to serve society are five times likelier to say they are very happy than those who do not view service as important. Selflessness and joy are intertwined. Everyone has something valuable to share. We should start each day by consciously asking ourselves, “What can I do today to appreciate the gifts that others offer me?” We need to make sure that global brotherhood and oneness with others are not just abstract ideas that we profess, but personal commitments that we mindfully put into practice.
She could easily be mistaken for someone 30 years younger but this woman is actually turning 105 tomorrow. And she looks incredible. Eileen Ash, who lives in Norwich, spends her days doing yoga and driving around in her signature yellow Mini car. And there’s no sign of her slowing down anytime soon. Her secret? Eating healthy and two glasses of red wine a day she says. The 104-year-old, who once played Test cricket for England women, told BBC Norfolk: "I’d like to know when I’m going to be old. Do you think it will be when I’m 105?" Eileen made her debut for the ladies team at The Oval in London in 1937. She then went on to play for her country until 1949 and has previously said her proudest moment was scoring a century. When asked if she suffers from aches and pains, she cheekily answered: "Not yet, when I’m older, I will apparently, but what is old?" Age is clearly just a number, Eileen. Keep doing you.
Note: Watch a great, one-minute video of this inspiring woman on this BBC webpage.
For a long time, Daniel Au Valencia got the message that she was wrong, wrong, wrong. “There’s a lot of shame around autism,” she says. Last year Valencia heard about an unusual experimental study ... exploring a treatment specifically for social anxiety in autistic adults. Many traditional therapies don’t work for autistic people, says Nick Walker, [a] consultant on the new study, because they reinforce stigma around autism. He sees this new research as a uniquely “culturally appropriate” approach to addressing the “epidemic” of social anxiety in autistic adults. The treatment is MDMA, known more commonly as Ecstacy or Molly. Early studies ... show it can ease or erase symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In one study, 83 percent of study participants treated with MDMA and psychotherapy were cured of their PTSD. Psychologist Alicia Danforth [is] conducting the social anxiety study at UCLA’s Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, along with psychiatrist Charles Grob. Valencia is one of just 12 autistic adults participating in the pilot study. It’s impossible to draw a direct line between the treatment and how Valencia is doing right now, but she says she’s doing great. She’s got a steady full-time job, her own apartment, and she just got married. She says her biggest takeaway ... is more about emotions than social anxiety. She says she’s learned that there’s no such thing as good emotions or bad emotions. “All emotions deserve to exist,” she says.
Note: Learn more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs now being explored by the scientific community.
In this small barbershop in Ypsilanti, Michigan, kids pick out a book and head to the chair. It’s like clockwork. That’s because children 12 and under who visit The Fuller Cut can get a $2 discount on their $11 haircut for doing a simple task: reading to the barber. It’s a program owner Alexander Fuller and barber Ryan Griffin started more than a year ago. And parents can’t get enough of it. The pair can’t take credit for the idea. They just happened to hear about other shops around the country taking part in a “read to your barber program,” and they decided to get on board. Fuller and his wife started ordering some books and Griffin brought in a shelf. Customers even joined the cause by donating old and used books. Before the pair knew it, kids were grabbing books off the shelf and hopping into the chair to start reading. Roughly 90 percent of kids grab a book that’s already on the shelf, Fuller says, but occasionally kids bring in books from home or school as well. “It gives them confidence in reading and helps us understand their comprehension of reading,” Fuller said. “The kids love it. It’s one of the best things that has come along for them.” Another bonus, Fuller added, is that it helps kids socialize. Not only does it improve their reading skills, but their manners as well. Whether you can read well or can’t read well, the barbers will help you along the way, Fuller reminds his customers. “It’s been a great experience so far, Fuller said.”
The world’s biggest marine reserve, almost as large as Alaska, will be established in the Ross Sea in Antarctica under an agreement reached by representatives of 24 nations and the European Union. The policy makers and scientists agreed unanimously to create a zone that will encompass 600,000 square miles of ocean. Commercial fishing will be banned from the entire area, but 28 percent of it will be designated as research zones, where scientists can catch limited amounts of fish and krill, tiny invertebrates that provide food for whales, penguins, seals and other animals. The area, which is mostly contiguous and hugs the coast off the Ross Sea ice shelf, will come under protection on Dec. 1, 2017, and remain a reserve for 35 years. The agreement was reached in Hobart, Tasmania, at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Protecting the Ross Sea, in the Southern Ocean, had been on the commission’s agenda for around six years, and conservationists had been arguing for a no-fishing zone there for a decade, said Andrea Kavanagh, a director of the Southern Oceans Sanctuaries Campaign at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington. “This is a great result for quiet diplomacy and honest toil,” New Zealand’s foreign minister, Murray McCully, said from Auckland. “The fact that an agreement like this can be reached ... when there are so many difficulties, so many other political differences happening elsewhere ... is pleasing.”
Life's been full of uncertainties for Reuben Nsemoh lately. Ever since he suffered a concussion in a soccer game, the suburban Atlanta teen's worried about why it's so hard for him to concentrate. He's fretted over whether he'll ever get to play his favorite sport. But the biggest stumper of all: how is it that he's suddenly speaking fluent Spanish? Nsemoh, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, ended up in [a] coma last month after another player kicked him in the head during a game. When he woke up, he did something he'd never done before: speak Spanish like a native. His parents said he could already speak some Spanish, but he was never fluent in it until his concussion. Slowly, his English is coming back, and he's starting to lose his Spanish fluency. Foreign accent syndrome is an extremely rare condition in which brain injuries change a person's speech patterns, giving them a different accent. The first known case was reported in 1941. Since then there have been a few dozen reported cases. Three years ago, police found a Navy vet unconscious in a Southern California motel. When he woke up, he had no memory of his previous life, and spoke only Swedish. In Australia, a former bus driver got in a serious car crash that left her with a broken back and jaw. When she woke up, she was left with something completely unexpected: a French accent. And earlier this year, a Texas woman who had surgery on her jaw, has sported a British accent ever since.
A remote and largely pristine stretch of ocean off Antarctica received international protection on Friday, becoming the world's largest marine reserve as a broad coalition of countries came together to protect 598,000 square miles of water. The new marine protected area in the Ross Sea was created by a unanimous decision of the international body that oversees the waters around Antarctica - the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources - and was announced at the commission's annual meeting in Tasmania. The commission comprises 24 countries, including the United States, and the European Union. South of New Zealand and deep in the Southern (or Antarctic) Ocean, the 1.9 million square-mile Ross Sea is sometimes called the "Last Ocean" because it is largely untouched by humans. Its nutrient-rich waters are the most productive in the Antarctic, leading to huge plankton and krill blooms that support vast numbers of fish, seals, penguins, and whales.Some 16,000 species are thought to call the Ross Sea home, many of them uniquely adapted to the cold environment. A 2011 study in the journal Biological Conservation called the Ross Sea “the least altered marine ecosystem on Earth,” citing intact communities of emperor and Adelie penguins, crabeater seals, orcas, and minke whales. Environmental groups and several countries had pushed for protections for the Ross Sea for decades.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.