10 Amazing People — My Reply To Yesterday’s School Shootings

Like everyone I know, yesterday was filled with sadness, horror. 27 dead, 20 children.

The only article I read (of dozens) that meant anything to me was Fuck Everything. The Onion nailed it: Why bother? Words can’t describe the tragedy. Why even try?

I’m not going to lobby for gun control or defend gun rights. I don’t want to argue morality or mental disease. There are plenty of people doing those things already.

Late last night, I saw a tweet from my friend Jessica Jackley, one of Kiva’s co-founders:

I remember meeting her years ago and realizing, midway through lunch, that I was going to have to invent a new category of people for her: courageously kind. It’s a different kind of kindness — one that requires strength, one that requires courage, one that knows kindness is often taken advantage of but is kind anyways.

And that’s what I want to talk about instead. Yes, there is evil in the world. Yes, there is death — unfair, untimely death. There is apathy, there is greed, there is awfulness. But, there is also goodness in this world. Real goodness.

Yesterday, someone tried to steal that from us.

Well, fuck that. I refuse. There is goodness, I know this. There is kindness, I know this too. There is courage, genuineness, raw messy inner human beauty — all of this I know.

I know this because, over the past five years of building Vittana, I’ve had the genuine honor (pleasure!) of getting to know some of the most amazing people in the world. I don’t think of them as amazing — they’re just my friends. But, they are amazing.

On a day where some guy tried to steal our goodness from us, I’d like you to meet some of them.

Why? Maybe they’ll do for you what they did for me — remind me that there is real goodness in this world.

  • Jessica Jackley — She inspired the definition of courageously kind. Her TED talk was one of the most courageous talks I have ever seen — you can literally see the love and soul she put into building Kiva. Enough said.
  • Jose Antonio Vargas — He’s one of the bravest men I know. A Pullitzer Prize-winning journalist, he outed himself as an undocumented immigrant last year so he could fight for immigrants’ rights.
  • Jim Fruchterman — I love Jim. He’s one of the dorkiest, happiest, smartest people I know. A rocket scientist turned social entrepreneur, he invented OCR good enough to read all printed text in 1982 and then built reading machines for the blind with it. Oh, and he’s also a certified genius.
  • Rand Fishkin — I want to be Rand when I grow up. Like all founders, he’s gone through heaven and hell, but he’s talked about everything openly — the good, the bad, the awful. He lives and breathes TAGFEE. He’s one of the most genuine, open, courageous tech founders you’ll ever meet.
  • Charles Best — Spend 15 minutes with Charles and you’ll walk away happier, grounded, energized. A teacher in the Bronx, he founded DonorsChoose in 2000 to help his fellow teachers afford school supplies. And because he didn’t know that many donors back then, he secretly funded the first dozen projects… on a teacher’s salary.
  • Alexis Ohanian — He might have founded reddit, hipmunk and breadpig, he might be writing a book that’ll rock your world or be going to the White House Christmas party, and he might also only be 29… but you’d never know that by talking to him — he’s one of the nicest, most genuine, humble guys you’ll ever meet.
  • Eric Stowe — Eric founded Splash in 2006, working to get kids around the world access to clean water. They’re serving 250,000+ kids a day — it’s truly incredible to see them scale.
  • Nancy Lublin — Nancy runs DoSomething.org. In less than 12 hours, they found a way to help the victims of yesterday’s shooting.

    Text HOPE to 38383 to send a prayer to the families affected by yesterday’s shooting. They will be hand-delivered on Monday.

  • Kristina Anderson — Here’s the thing: Yesterday was the second-worst school shooting in American history. Virginia Tech was the worst.

    Kristina is a survivor of Virginia Tech. She was shot multiple times, survived, made it through physical therapy, and has now dedicated her life to fighting for safe schools.

  • A music teacher, a custodian, a principal — A music teacher who saved 15 kids by hiding them in a closet; a custodian <a href="running in the halls, yelling “Guys! Get down! Hide!”; a principal who gave her life trying to save her students.

What more can I say? They’re our heroes and angels today.

Who do you know that reminds you there’s still goodness in this world? In the middle of everything else, take a moment to reflect on the goodness, courage and humanity that still exists all around us.

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