On Monday, June 1, Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce Jenner) did the cover for Vanity Fair magazine to show her new appearance. The subject of her transformation has been a hot media topic for the past few months and recently hit a high point when the Vanity Fair cover hit the web. In that same day, ESPN announced that it would be honoring Caitlyn with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPY’s.
The announcement prompted an explosion on the Internet with many people and news publications saying there are more qualified individuals who are much more deserving of the award. The two people mainly being sponsored by the Internet are the late Lauren Hill and Noah Galloway.
Lauren Hill (not to be confused with the famous music icon) was a standout basketball player in her high school who had a dream of playing college ball for Mount St. Joseph’s women’s basketball team. Prior to going to college, she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer but never gave up. While continuing to fight for her dream, she inspired the nation by staying positive, raising awareness on her rare illness and by spreading the message,“Never give up!” Her non-profit raised over a million dollars. She died this past April at the age of 19.
“I never gave up for a second even when I got a terminal diagnosis; never thought about sitting back and not living life anymore.”
Mount Saint Joe’s basketball coach, Dan Benjamin, said, “She’s a special person. This girl is so strong, she’s dealing with death and all she’s thinking about is everyone else.Her team first her family first, and just to give her that one last wish would be incredible for our program and our players.”
Noah Galloway is a former United States Army soldier who lost his left arm above the elbow and his left leg above the knee when hit by an IED during his service in the Iraq War. Since his injury, he went from being very depressed to getting back into great physical and mental shape and became a motivational speaker with the motto, “No excuses,” as well as founding the No Excuses Charitable Fund. Galloway also finished in third place on Dancing with the Stars latest season and has been on several talk shows spreading his message.
Both of these model individuals seem to be great choices for the ESPY’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award, so why were neither chosen? This is the question seemingly wracking everybody’s minds.
ESPN gave a statement on Wednesday regarding Caitlyn Jenner’s honor: “The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is meant to honor individuals whose contributions transcend sports through courageous action. Sometimes that courage is demonstrated over the course of a lifetime and sometimes it is demonstrated in a single act that shines a light on an important contemporary issue. At all times, there are many worthy candidates. This year, we are proud to honor Caitlyn Jenner embracing her identity and doing so in a public way to help move forward a constructive dialogue about progress and acceptance.”
This back and forth between “the Internet” and ESPN doesn’t seem like it will be cooling down any time soon. Meanwhile, during all of this hoopla, music artist Akon is doing something amazing in Africa. While everybody is focused on Caitlyn Jenner and the various other online distractions, Akon (since February 2014) has been busy with the ambitious project called Akon Lighting Africa.
This project is actively working towards giving the 600 million Africans without electricity in the continent clean solar powered electricity. The project has already given electricity to 14 African countries. With the many installations of solar panels, they have created thousands of jobs for construction and maintenance.
Akon Lighting Africa is an amazing project that will quite literally change the world. By giving all of Africa electricity, they will be able to stop needing aid from outside governments and will be able to start building their country up to greater and greater heights from within.
Why is it that this is not everywhere? Why isn’t every news outlet picking this up? Africa is the second largest continent in the world after Asia and all we ever hear about it is what’s wrong with it. Finally, something of immense scope and magnitude comes out and nobody is talking about it. Is it because there is no controversy surrounding it? If so, that is very sad.
What are your thoughts? Find out MORE information about Akon and what he is doing for the people of Africa at: akonlightingafrica.com, photos used in this piece were produced from this source.
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