Three Cheers For These Real Americans

by Kevin Burton

   If you waved a flag yesterday, grilled up a feast, maybe watched a parade, that’s all good and I hope you enjoyed it.

   Given what has happened in the first six months of 2020 some of us are taking a sobering look this Independence Day weekend at what the country has become.

   I was on the brink of repeating some bile on this blog for the occasion, but changed my mind (Clumsy Blogger Trips Over Some Truth, July 3).

    Without ignoring the problems we face I switched to the tack of presenting some positive responses from Americans.

    I found these stories at”   I shared three Friday, five more today. The final story is about how some people in India attacked the virus. So it is not a story about Americans, but a lesson for Americans.

   Back to the stories.  

4.  Antonio Gwynn Jr., a high school senior from Buffalo, was so dismayed at the damage caused by riots in his community that he cleaned up the area on his own for ten hours, starting at 2 a.m.

   An organized cleanup crew arrived on Bailey Avenue the next morning, only to find that Gwynn had already done most of the work.

   The two-part “thank you” he got was breathtaking.

   Matt Block was so impressed with the teen’s effort, he donated a 2004 Mustang convertible to Gwynn. A local insurance agent will cover insurance costs for a year.

   Also Madaille College heard about what Gwynn did and offered him a full scholarship.

    Gwynn said when he heard about the scholarship, “I literally stopped, pulled over and started crying.

5.  Four years ago a Black father was shopping with his children in a Long Island grocery store, when a woman approached him. She commended him for “sticking around” and doing the right thing by his family.

   The encounter lead Sean Williams to launch “The Dad Gang,”  a group attempting to “set a new standard for what Black fatherhood looks like worldwide.”

   The group holds events like the one over Father’s Day weekend at the African American Museum of History and Culture, to dispel racial stereotypes.

6.   What started with a video on Instagram, has now raised millions of dollars for thousands of people. 

   The “Pandemic of Love” website is the brainchild of south Florida woman Shelly Tygielski. She was trying to connect those with financial needs to those able to help. Overnight, she got 400 requests for assistance and 500 offers to help.

    “I wanted to turn from this environment of fear to an opportunity for us to create connection, community and strengthen the bonds of love between us,” Tygielski told CNN.

   You can check it out at

7.  A tattoo parlor in Kentucky will erase, free of charge, any racist, hateful or gang-related tattoos. 

   The Gallery X Collective in Murray posted the offer on Facebook last week. Since then 30 people have taken them up on the offer.  

   Owners Jeremiah Swift and Ryun King were inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement to do their part to end discrimination and support those who want to leave a hateful past behind.

   “A lot of people when they were younger didn’t know any better and were left with mistakes on their bodies,” Swift told CNN.  “We just want to make sure everybody has a chance to change.”

8.  Dharavi (a suburb of Mumbai India) with one million residents, has registered just 2,000 cases of Coronavirus with 79 deaths.

   How did they limit the carnage?  First, 2,450 health workers went door-to-door doing testing. From those results, civic task forces identified the five areas in the region that were at highest risk. They used contact tracing to identify people most at risk. Some 47,500 people were tested.

   “When we went around Dharavi we also started educating people about it,” said Anil Pachanekar, head of a local physicians’ association.

   That is the kind of proactive problem solving that at one time was characteristic of the United States.

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