The Lists

May’s Sparklers: Those Who Choose to Shine

Every month here at Dandelion Chandelier we like to celebrate the people, groups and institutions who have spread light in the world recently, even in the midst of great darkness. Every day around the world, people choose to shine in ways large and small. These moments of grace don’t always get reported on, and unfortunately they can be quickly forgotten. To inspire us all to keep reaching out, here are some Sparklers that caught our attention in recent weeks:

Creative Time is a public arts organization that this month debuted an installation focused on catharsis at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Visitors can write a secret on a slip of paper and leave it behind underground, hopefully also burying some heavy emotional burdens.

In the midst of terrible personal loss, Etienne Cardiles – the husband of Xavier Jugelé, the veteran police officer recently slain in Paris – delivered a eulogy at his funeral that was full of generosity and grace. Speaking to his lost husband, he said, among other things: “I don’t feel hatred [toward the perpetrator] because tolerance, dialogue and patience were your strongest weapons.”

Grounds for Change is a certified organic coffee roaster specializing in 100% organic, carbon-free, Fair Trade Coffee. While most of its sales are through wholesale distribution to independent cafes, their “coffee of the month” club membership makes a great gift.

Delton Walling, a 96-year old Pearl Harbor survivor, celebrated his birthday by sky-diving near his Lodi, California home. “Every time you do something like this, it makes you feel pretty good,” said Walling. His plans for the future include continuing to travel and giving motivational speeches. Shine on!

New Belgium Brewing Company, based in Colorado, is an employee-owned craft brewery committed to great products, sustainability and sound workforce practices. Next time you have a Fat Tire amber ale, you’ll know it came from a good place.

LA-based painter Mark Bradford is representing the US at the Venice Biennale, and receiving high marks for his work; what’s even more newsworthy is that for many years he has tied his work as an artist to his work with foster children and other at-risk communities through his non-profit organization Art + Practice. Brilliant.

A new Manhattan cocktail bar on Houston Street has made it a priority to celebrate women. Bar Moga (short for “modern girls”) serves female-produced wines and cocktails devised by Becky McFalls-Schwartz and Natasha Torres, veteran mixologists. A portion of sales from the bar’s signature cocktail, the Moga (Japanese whiskey, rum, and aged plum liquor) is donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the A.C.L.U. We’ll drink to that.

We honor the people of Manchester, England, who faced the worst and met it with courage, determination, compassion and selflessness: the neighbors who comforted victims, offered shelter, food and safety to those who had been in harm’s way, and in so doing, showed the best of their city in the most horrible of times. We stand with you, Manchester.

The Rooster Soup Company in Philadelphia is a luncheonette, launched with crowd-sourced funding, that directs 100% of its profits to neighbors in need via the Broad Street Ministry’s Hospitality Collaborative. Head there for lunch, early dinner or brunch, and you’ll find a warm welcome and down-home food that is satisfying to body and soul. #EatWellDoRight.

We honor Rick Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, who died, and Micah Fletcher, who was gravely injured, while trying to protect two girls being harassed for their religious faith on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon. Their families and friends, the other Good Samaritans at the scene, those who held vigils, those who donated money to the victims’ families, those who sent prayers and condolences — they are beacons of light; by their example, they give us all more courage to choose to shine.

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