6 Things You Need To Know Right Now: Looking Towards The Light

skateboarding 6This week behaved as if it had something to prove. From the Boston Marathon bombings, to the Senate’s stunning refusal to endorse expanded background checks, to the plant explosion in West, Texas, these past seven days have seemed like, well, a marathon for the human spirit. Without begrudging the very worthy attention each of those events has received and will continue to attract, this week’s “6 Things” aims to provide some calm from the storm. Some of the items below were uncovered after a Google search for “happy news.” Seriously.

1. Johnny Depp. Really, do you need to know anything more than “Johnny Depp?” All right, fine. Depp is out promoting this summer’s movie The Lone Ranger. During a recent Q&A session, he stated that the dream role he has yet to play is that of…Carol Channing. Channing is the Tony Award-winning Broadway legend whose credits include Hello, Dolly! and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Depp claims that he dressed up as Channing when he was young. Now that he’s older, he’d like to dress up like her again, be paid for it, and probably earn an Oscar nomination doing it.

2. Millionaire Invests In Crime-Filled Neighborhood. Thanks to his seven hotels in Orlando, Florida, Harris Rosen is a very rich man. He grew up poor, though, and he has not forgotten his roots. Twenty years ago, he decided he was going to do something with all his money other than count it. He focused on Orlando’s Tangelo Park neighborhood, which was notorious for its high crime and low high school graduation rates. He started by paying every neighborhood parent’s day care bills, and then offered to pay the in-state college tuition of any of the 2500 residents. After his $9 million investment, Tangelo Park’s crime rate has been cut in half and its high school graduation rate is nearly 100%.

3. There’s Proof Women Are More Beautiful Than They Allow Themselves To Believe. In another taboo-busting ad campaign, Dove enlisted several women of different ages and backgrounds to be sketched by an FBI-trained forensic artist. The first sketches were drawn based on the women’s descriptions of themselves; the second sketches were drawn based on strangers’ descriptions of the women. Every time, the stranger’s depiction was more favorable than the woman’s. Rather than trying to shame women into buying products to fix their “flaws,” Dove is telling women to ease up on themselves. In fact, Dove is telling women that, not only are we good just the way we are, we’re actually even better.

4. Man Pens Resignation Letter on a Cake. A British man named Chris Holmes resigned from his post as an immigration officer at Stansted Airport. His resignation letter has gone viral. Why? Because it was presented on a sheet cake topped with white icing, overlaid with text presented with black piped frosting, that’s why. His message begins with the following: “Today is my 31st birthday, and having recently become a father I now realise how precious life is and how important it is to spend my time doing something that makes me, and other people, happy.” To that end, Holmes quit his day job to devote himself entirely to the side business he has spent the last few years working on in his spare time: a cake-baking business he calls Mr. Cake. Sounds delicious.

5. New Zealand Legalizes Gay Marriage. By a vote of 77-44, New Zealand’s parliament passed a bill legalizing gay marriage in the country. The bill passed with “little rancor” because “opponents . . . recognized they would likely be defeated and opted not to speak during the debate.” So this type of stuff actually happens in other countries. Huh.

6. Sexual Assault Victim Becomes Her Own Best Advocate. When Ruth Moore was 18 years old, she was a Navy enlistee stationed in the Azores. A superior officer raped her once, and then raped her again in “retaliation” after she reported the first rape. Moore struggled for decades with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts until she received treatment from a veterans’ hospital. She went public with her story last year, and quickly became the name and face associated with efforts to combat sexual assault in the military. She testified before Congressional subcommittees and was named in a piece of legislation called the Ruth Moore Act of 2013, which makes it easier for veterans and service members to qualify for disability benefits after a sexual assault. On Wednesday, she accepted a Voice for Change Award at a Service Women’s Action Network Truth and Justice Summit. Holding a compilation of the hundreds of letters she has received from across the country since sharing her story, she said she feels like she has “400 pounds off of [her] shoulders.”

Check back next Friday to see what “6 things” you need to know right now!

Image via Wikimedia Commons/CC License

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