Opportunities Abound

I am reading a book entitled “The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice From the Civil Rights Movement To Today.”  Amazon.com describes the book as follows: “The Beloved Community lays out an exuberant new vision for progressive Christianity and reclaims the centrality of faith in the quest for social justice and authentic community.” There is so much that I would like to say, but will save that for later. But for now, and I hope this doesn’t sound trite, as I read about the early days of the Civil Rights movement as Martin Luther King Jr. I am convinced that all of us want a good life, a better life than before.
This better life is expressed in many ways. The social change movement fighting for the rights of the disenfranchised. The woman fighting for the abolition of sexual trafficking. People standing up for the unborn. Social Entrepreneurs who are using the principles of capitalism to raise the standard of living for the poor throughout the world. Pretty exciting stuff.
This better way of living is currently being fought for within the Arab world. People are tired of being oppressed by dictatorial leaders who take advantage of their people while living in opulence. The current Syrian leadership is demonstrating its true colors. Attacking people in the city of Homs is a travesty, and should be acknowledged as evil by the world. However, I am really curious how Russia and China can stand back and vote against action of any kind. It will be interesting to see what happens now that a Russian dignitary is in Syria. The Arab spring is happening, but I don’t think the type of government that emerges from this protest will be what we had hoped for. Maybe the women of Saudi Arabia, who are suing for the right to drive, will help.
As silly as my next point will seem it light of the previous events, it is in line with the social movements that discussed above. Zappos founder Tony Tsieh is spending $350 million of his own money to transform downtown Las Vegas, not the strip, “into a dense urban neighborhood teeming with artists, entrepreneurs, and Internet workers.” This will not be a social business because Tsieh plans on taking a piece of the equity from each business he funds, but he wants to make a difference in the city of Las Vegas.
Tsieh is spending $100 million buying up empty lots, etc. Maybe not as extreme as Detroit, Las Vegas has a lot of empty lots in the downtown area. Tsieh is buying the property, and then investing an additional $100 million to develop the land and high-density apartment buildings. Another $50 million will be used to finance start up tech companies. After settling in on this new endeavor, Tsieh will then divide an additional $100 million between various schools and small businesses to “lay down roots in the neighborhood.”
Don’t worry about Tony he can afford this. He sold Zappos.com in 2009 to Amazon.com for $850 million. You can read what he had to say about that is his book “Delivering Happiness.” Why is he doing this? He is an entrepreneur, but he also likes people. He is trying to make a difference and make lives better.
And that is my thought for the day!

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