may sparklers: those who choose to shine
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Sparklers is a monthly series that highlights people, groups and institutions who have recently spread light in the world. Everyday, people choose to shine in ways large and small. These moments of grace and generosity don’t always get reported on, and unfortunately they can be quickly forgotten. So we’re sharing some of their stories. Because sometimes good news and kindness are the sweetest luxuries of all.
This month’s sparklers were all about giving back – to the community, to the planet to the future generations. From something as simple as a flower to brighten a person’s day to daring feats of rescue, these are the stories this month that made us grateful:
1. If you are like us, you watched the royal wedding earlier this month and were moved by all of the love on display. Also on display, were beautiful white roses, beech, foxgloves, peonies, and hornbeam throughout St. George’s Chapel. Following the wedding, the newly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex donated their flowers to a few good causes including St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney who were said to be “thrilled” with the surprise delivery. Meghan’s bouquet, made of Princess Diana’s favorite forget-me-nots as well as sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, and astrantia, was also given away and driven about an hour east to London’s Westminster Abbey, where it was placed on the grave of the Unknown Warrior.
2. On the surface, For Days is pretty simple: It’s a T-shirt line built on a membership model. When you sign up, you can get 3, 6, or 10 new T-shirts, for $12, $24, or $36, respectively. As you probably are well aware, membership programs and subscription services are having a moment right now. These days you can subscribe to regular deliveries for almost anything, from razor blades to even an entire box of clothing. However, For Days is different. What’s truly amazing about the newly launched company is that once you’re done with one of your shirts (no matter how stained or hole-y yours get), you send it back to their headquarters where it’s sliced into pieces, broken down into pulp and upcycled into another shirt. Shortly after, you’ll receive a fresh new one and the process repeats itself. If that’s not enough, the T-shirts are made in LA using organic, grown in the USA cotton and a rainbow of responsible dyes. In these days of fast fashion, it’s wonderful to see a start up working to improve and change the way we consume fashion for the better.
3. In case you missed it, our favorite superhero, Chadwick Boseman (the man behind the Black Panther mask), gave a stirring graduation speech at Howard University earlier this month. During his speech, the Howard alumni, urged the students to pursue life with passion and to fight for justice and equality, something both he and the students are both familiar with. Earlier this year, students at the university protested a financial aid scandal and campaigned for more affordable tuition and campus housing while, Boseman himself was once fired from an early job after trying to question what he felt was stereotyping of a character. Boseman went on to say “The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose. Press on with pride and press on with purpose.” Boseman then ended his speech with the iconic “Wakanda Forever” salute.
4. A young boy in France is safe thanks to Mamoudou Gassama. Gassama, a Malian migrant, made a death defying four storey ascent of a Paris building to save a dangling child. Gassama had been living in France without papers struggling to get by and now thanks to his daring rescue has been fast tracked for French citizenship by President Emmanuel Macron. The hero, who had been without a home and unable to work legally, has also been offered a 10 month internship with the fire and rescue services and given a medal for his bravery and devotion. Gassama said he did not think of his legal status at all during the rescue, he just wanted to save someone who was in danger.
5. On May 24th, Comic Relief Inc. held their annual charity, Red Nose Day, dedicated to ending childhood poverty in the US and around the world. In the four years since the organization started in the US, they have raised more than $145 million with the help of the sales of red noses at Walgreens, Duane Reade and their annual televised evening on NBC. The money raised is used to provide medical supplies such as vaccines, safe places for children to stay during the summer,and textbooks in schools and since 2015, Red Nose Day has provided over 32.2 million meals to hungry children, has brought education services to 899,493 children and has served 61,527 homeless young people.
6. One of our favorite stories we came across is of a teacher at Keene Elementary School in North Texas and her Kindergarten classroom whose video of her classes morning ritual went viral earlier this month. Ashley Coston Taylor has been a teacher for 18 years, and every morning she has her students start their day the same way: with a handshake and a smile. Every day, one student from the class is selected to act as a “greeter” and stands at the classroom door. All the other kids line up to give the greeter a handshake and say good morning before walking into the classroom to take their seats. Taylor hopes this simple practice makes a powerful difference in her students’ development by teaching them compassion and the importance of being kind to one another. She also hopes this small act will be the foundation for good manners going forward in their futures.
While the last Monday in May is the unofficial start to summer with the opening of beaches and kickoff BBQs, Memorial Day actually a day for honoring those soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We remember them and thank them for their service to our country.