Good People Doing Good Things — Kat, Chris, and Jahkil

I had some help with this, my first Good People post of the new year, 2018.  About once a month, I receive an email from President Obama with news of what Barack, Michelle and the girls have been doing, etc.  This month, his letter was about optimism, good things that are happening in the world, and specifically three good people doing good things.  One of the three good people, Chris Long, I highlighted in a good people post back in October, but the other two were new to me.  I liked President Obama’s letter, its positive, hopeful and upbeat tone, and I adored the three good people he highlighted, so I thought … what better way to start the new year than with this message of optimism and three good people who give us reason for hope?  Without further prattle from me, here is President Obama’s letter:

I’ve always liked counting down to the new year. We get to reflect on what we’ve been through, and prepare for what’s ahead. There’s something inherently optimistic about that.

I know optimism isn’t always fashionable. Certainly not when we’re fed a steady stream of cynicism on television and through social media. We face some extraordinary challenges, but consider the long view. If you think about it, by almost every measure, America and the world are better than they were fifty, twenty, even ten years ago.

I was born at a time when women and people of color were systematically, routinely excluded from huge portions of American life. Today, women and minorities are rising up in the ranks of business, politics, and everywhere else. That’s just one of the significant shifts we’ve seen. And when you measure it against the scope of human history — it happened in an instant.

Around the world, we live in a time when fewer people are dying young and more people are living not only longer, but better. More girls are in school. More adults can read. More children get the vaccines they need.

These are good things. And none of them are lucky accidents. They happened because countless people, toiling for many years, fought to make this progress.

More than anything, that’s what’s needed now – the engagement of everyone who wants to see a better future for our children. The kind of collective action that has always driven human progress. And even in the face of cynicism and division, it’s those kinds of stories from 2017 that I’ll remember.

Kat CreechWhen Kat Creech, a wedding planner in Houston, Texas, saw a rapidly strengthening hurricane approaching her state, she and a couple whose Labor Day wedding she was planning decided to postpone. At Kat’s suggestion, that couple instead invited their wedding party, family, and friends to join together and volunteer to support those affected by the flood. Inspired, Kat kept going. She started a Facebook group to help connect and coordinate with fellow residents who wanted to volunteer. That became Recovery Houston, hundreds of volunteers strong. They helped clear more than 120 homes in a single week. Asked what she hopes others will learn from her story, Kat said, “You can move mountains and really make a difference in someone’s life.”

That’s a story from 2017.

Chris-LongIn the wake of this summer’s violence in Virginia, Chris Long, a defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles, gave his first six paychecks of the season to fund scholarships at the high school he attended in his hometown of Charlottesville. But, like Kat in Texas, he wanted to do more. He decided to give away the rest of his paychecks for the season as well. An entire season’s salary. “Be that contagious light that spreads energy to other people,” Chris told a group of high school students this year. “Be contagious in your energy.”

That’s something else that happened in 2017.

jahkil-jacksonAt just five years old, Jahkil Jackson had witnessed the struggles of Chicago’s homeless families when his aunt took him to Lower Wacker Drive to hand out food to those camped there. He found himself restless, wanting to do more. With a spark of inspiration and the help of his family, Jahkil created “Blessing Bags” — kits full of socks, toiletries and snacks that he could offer to those in need. Now, as a 10 year old, through his organization Project I Am, Jahkil has enlisted the help of his school and community to pursue his goal of handing out 5,000 Blessing Bags, all because he wanted a simple way to help his neighbors. Just yesterday, with the support of his friends, Jahkil reached his goal.

A 2017 story.

Kate, Chris, and Jahkil were all living in the same country, during the same time, as you and me. They chose not to be daunted by challenges, but to stand up and make their world better.

I saw that spirit all across America in people who chose to get involved, get engaged, and stand up not only to defend their rights, but more importantly, the rights of others. People who rejected cynicism and pessimism and pushed forward with a relentless, infectious optimism. Not a blind optimism that ignores the scale and scope of our challenges, but rather a hard-earned optimism rooted in the stories of real progress.

It’s a belief that each of us can make a difference, and all of us ought to try.

You only need one person speaking with conviction, speaking with courage, and yes, with optimism, and you’re going to change some minds.

Those folks won’t just be convinced — they’ll be motivated to go out and spread the message that swayed them. They’ll be its best ambassadors.

And on it goes, one conversation at a time, until you’ve got yourself a movement. A movement that can change the world.

I’ll believe that as long as I live. So go keep changing the world in 2018.

– Barack

13 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Kat, Chris, and Jahkil

  1. Remember back when Franklin Roosevelt was allowed to stay president for more than 8 years? It was because of the war, I know, but still it should have set a precedent. Few Americans seemed to know this, then, but after seeing what Trump has made of the presidency, the difference is glaring. The rest of the world knew how great of a President Obama was, even if he was not appreciated by a large number of those he was leading. It is things like this story, Jill, that I can only hope will make Obama go down as one of the greatest presidents in US history. Barack, you are welcome to bring your ideas and actions to Canada anytime you like. Here we have no ridiculous rule on how long a great leader can continue to lead. (Unfortunately, the corollary of that is also true, there is no limit on how long a bad leader can stay in power too, but that is a whole different ball of worms.)
    Great job, Jill.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, while Obama wasn’t perfect and made some mistakes … he was, after all, human … I firmly believe that everything he did, he did with the best interest of the nation and its people in mind, whereas Bozo has only his own best interest in mind. I would have happily kept Obama for another 4 years. He could have done so much more if he had not faced such opposition, much of which I believe came from underlying bigotry/racism. On the Canadian side, while granted I don’t know as much as I would like about Canadian politics, Trudeau seems to be cut from the same cloth as Obama.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He still has to prove himself, and taking a family vacation in the Bahamas at public expense did not help his cause any, but at least he is standing up (or at least sitting on his hands) when it comes to BozoDT. But whoever he is as a man, he is still a politician, and that is not in anyone’s favour. Time, however, will paint the true picture. Is he going to be half the man his father was? Or, oh, fuddle duddle, will he be a greater man than his father? I’m hoping for the latter, obvioiusly, but will probably have to settle for the former. As great as his father may have wanted to be, he was a politician before he was his own man, and he never lived up to his campaign promise (read expectation, not things he said he would do, lol).

        Like

  2. Dear Jill,
    What a difference a president makes. While one tears peoples apart with thoughts of despair the other works to unite peoples and to lift them up with hope.

    Republicans had to rely on falsehoods to tear down President Obama.

    “We the People” have ample facts to discredit President Trump’s year in the White House to where the Rs are hard at work to negate the truth, the press bound by ethical reporting, our insitutions like the FBI, CIA, IC community, etc.

    It is a sad state of affairs.

    Thanks for this post!

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks!!! Yes, the contrast between the two is amazing, isn’t it? One cannot even speak English in whole sentences and never commends anyone but himself, which he does multiple times every day. Sigh … I would so love to wake up one morning, find that this was all just a really bad dream, and that Obama was still in the White House.

      Liked by 1 person

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