Events in Charlottesville and hateful vandalism at our own Anne Frank Memorial are glaring reminders of the work that must continue.
But, the immeasurable kindness that fills our communities is Idaho’s bedrock. We do not have to look far to see the depth of compassion among Idahoans. It is far too large to quantify, but these are some examples of the types of acts of kindness seen regularly in our communities and the examples being set by Idahoans who contribute to Idaho’s exceptionalism:
- We live in a state abounding with the seemingly endless service of Idaho veterans who have returned home after having already given so much of themselves, often injured and shaped by foreign wars, in service to our nation and continue to serve other veterans and Idahoans. They are frequently the first ones to welcome home veterans and ensure veterans are respectfully honored. They are there with listening ears, open hearts and helping hands.
- We live in a state where vandalism of the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise has been countered with resources poured in to repair and enhance the Memorial, and Idahoans move forward with a positive spirit of renewal and inclusiveness.
- We live in a state that consistently ranks high in measures of community service. In its annual Volunteering and Civic Life in America, the Corporation for Community and National Service further confirmed the prevalent service in Idaho communities concluding that Idaho ranks fifth in the nation for volunteer service.
- We live in a state where Idahoans have come together and gone above and beyond to help neighbors rebuild after a devastating wildfire.
- We live in a state where a fellow Idahoan saw a need and created a center to assist senior citizens with everything from errands to heating their homes.
- We live in a state where efforts are underway to provide for the Marilyn Shuler Classroom for Human Rights expansion at the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights to broaden educational opportunities to negate bullying and abusive behavior.
- We live in a state where a teenager led local efforts to provide homeless Idahoans with lunch, haircuts, coats, sleeping bags and other essentials.
- We live in a state where a gentleman has helped refurbish wheelchairs for disabled veterans and has passed the sense of serving others well onto his children, and another Idahoan has spent countless hours over the past approximately twenty years helping to calm the nerves of veterans awaiting health services.
These are just a very small tip of the iceberg of the unquantifiable sense of service and giving that pervades Idaho.
Hateful acts have left scars on our great state and nation and we have much still to do to ensure that cruelty has no home here in Idaho, or anywhere in our nation. I am deeply proud of the people of Idaho who are daily examples of kindness and encouragement. Thank you to all of you who are making our state “too great for hate.”