A Note From the Editor: As we’re inundated with news headlines with every passing day, hour and tweet it seems, we thought it would be helpful to begin curating select news stories here for you that bear particular importance about the world we live in and the people who shape it. It’s easy to consume; it’s a lot harder to stop, process, and think critically about what’s going on around us.
We hope this series opens the door for conversations to develop and for voices to be heard. We encourage you to share your own thoughts on the stories shared and suggest new ones for us to feature in the comment section below.
Train Derailment in Pennsylvania
The facts: En route to New York City, on the night of Tuesday, May 12 Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 derailed as it approached a left turn in Philadelphia. Eight passengers were killed and over 200 were injured as a result of the crash, the cause of which is still being investigated.
Our response: When accidents happen, grief sets in — and usually with a great deal of anger, fear and questions seeking answers. Many of the questions surrounding this accident will hopefully lead to stricter safety measures in the future, but that can do little to soothe the sting of eight lives abruptly cut short. There is no right way to process a tragedy like this when it happens; we can only choose to press into more of the good that we see and crave, not fearing the unknown, but ensuring that we never take a phone call or interaction with a loved one — no matter how routine — for granted.
For updated information on this story: CNN
Ireland Vote on Same-Sex Marriage
The facts: As citizens cast their vote on Friday, May 22nd, Ireland is poised to become the first European country to introduce same-sex marriage through a ballot.
Our response: In what continues to be an extremely polarizing issue, it’s important that we first listen to what others with a different perspective might have to say. Usually, conflict arises out of a misunderstanding of where someone else is coming from, accelerated by personal feelings, private conviction and a deep sense of justice. These emotions exist on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate, so at a time when it’s being heavily discussed in the media, we should seek out healthy and respectful discussions about it in our communities, especially with those with whom we might disagree.
For updated information on this story: BBC
“Little Miss Mozart”
The facts: Alma Deutscher wrote her first piano sonata at age six, and recently completed her first full-length opera, based on Cinderella, at age ten. Hailed as a child prodigy and currently living in England, she writes music for the piano, violin, viola, and the cello.
Our response: It seems like we’re quick to catapult just about anyone into fame these days, yet, we’re still hungry for those with a talent that makes us simply sit in awe. We applaud Alma, not just for sharing her talent with the world, but for having the dedication to deeply develop it and not seeing her age (or her gender) as a barrier to her dream of becoming a composer. She’s a good reminder for us all that it’s OK to be great at something, excel even, and that when we recognize someone truly deserves fame, to celebrate them all the more for it.
Watch an interview with Alma (where she’ll completely steal your heart), here.
Orangutan Court Case in Argentina
The facts: Sandra is a 29-year-old orangutan who, last December, was legally recognized as a ”non-human person.” Her current court case surrounds a decision as to whether she should be released from the Buenos Aires zoo and allowed to live in the wild.
Our response: This story hits on an interesting dilemma: What is more important, freedom or safety? As a hybrid of both Borneo and Sumatra orangutans, Sandra’s presence in the wild could negatively impact her species overall. Since she’s never lived in the wild before, she wouldn’t know how to find food, defend against predators, or build her own habitat. Conversely, is being confined to a zoo giving her such a reduced quality of life, that it would still be better to release her and let nature take its course?
For updated information on this story: Reuters
Image via Henry El’Day