Whether it’s the glare from my neighbors’ overdone rooftop spectacle, the simple beauty of the menorah that graces my friend’s table or the glow of the Advent candles on mine, it seems to me this season is all about light. And especially this year, against the tragedy, terror and turmoil that regularly appear on my newsfeed, I’ve found precious measures of hope and solace in the season’s rituals and the promise of light that dispels darkness.
It’s this time of the year when the promise of peace and goodwill seems especially precious to me. Maybe even more so this year, which has unfolded against a backdrop of divisiveness, community unrest, a negative election cycle, and growing disparity. The images and messages affect all of us, including the youngest members of our society. A report by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that "teachers have noticed increased bullying, harassment and intimidation of students.”
Did you know that it was Abraham Lincoln who declared Thanksgiving a federal holiday? It seems especially fitting and worthy of note as we approach this year’s Thanksgiving Day. Because this week's holiday wasn't born from nostalgia about the "good ole days" at Plymouth Rock or because Lincoln’s ancestors were pilgrims. Rather, at America's darkest moment – when economic and ideological divides, and the brutality of war had pitted brothers, neighbors, friends against each other, Lincoln called for thanksgiving.
Just a week before the first presidential debate, Points of Light gathered a group together for our own version of an “ideas-that-matter conference” in Kennebunkport, Maine. Members of our Advisory Board, the Board of Directors and a few invited guests – corporate partners, foundation leaders, policy experts, artists and filmmakers – shared their insights and input on the future of our movement and how to enact the greatest amount of change possible, for as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.