While human rights activists are seeing progress in countries such as Saudi Arabia, some causes remain stagnant. With little headway on the Trump administration’s hostility towards Mexico, an interracial couple decided to make a statement. Mexican bride Evelia Reyes married San Diego native Brian Houston at the steel border gate dividing both countries.
“It’s a statement that love has no borders,” [said] Houston… “Even though we are divided by a giant fence here, we can still love each other on both sides of the fence.”
Though Reyes has applied for a green card, the process could take over a year. For the ceremony, Border Patrol opened the gates, known as the “Door of Hope” for an hour. Relatives passed through for a mere three minutes to greet and embrace one another before shuttling back onto either side. Border Angels executive director Enrique Morones arranged the ritual.
“While some people want to build walls, we want to open doors,” Morones said.
Opened only for the 6th time sine 2013, the border is a symbol of hard times — but also a reminder than we can overcome them.
Meaningful gestures are what get people by in difficult times. Domestic abuse victim Kyleigha Scott found solace in her dentist, who repaired a broken tooth for free. For Las Vegas mourners, it was a healing garden that brought people on opposite sides of the spectrum together. For 5-year-old Sophia Chiappalone, it was best friend Hunter who eased the pain of her heart condition. The two “married” before Sophia’s fourth surgery.
“Just seeing Sophia’s smile, he didn’t complain once,” Hunter’s mother said of the photo shoot. “He was genuinely having a fun time. They were laughing together, tickling, swinging and on the slides. I think he really enjoyed it. I think it makes him happy to see her happy.”
Fortunately for Sophia, Hunter’s mother Tracy Laferriere’s own BFF was photographer Marisa Balletti-Lavoie. Wanting in on the charming surprise was Bliss Bridal, who provided a gown and veil. To say the photos are adorable is an understatement. However, reality is also bittersweet.
“I wish that she keeps her fighting spirit. And I hope she never loses her quality of life … no matter what the end result is.” [said Sophia’s mother Kristy.]
All the best, little Sophia!
Across the globe, the LGBT community is finally receiving the rights it deserves. In Canada, gender discrimination is outlawed. Taiwan became the first Asian country to recognize same-sex marriage. However, homosexuality remains a crime in many countries. In fact, some traditional marriages aren’t even tolerated due to religious factors. But President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia is shifting views, now allowing Tunisian women to marry non-Muslims.
Until now, a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Tunisian Muslim woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof.
Tunisia, which is 99% Muslim, is viewed as one of the most progressive Arab countries in terms of women’s rights.
Non-Muslim marriages were restricted in 1973. The president referred to it as an obstacle to one’s freedom of choice. Baffling was the fact that the law did not apply to men and included minority women who were Jewish or Christian.
Scrapping the decree may not do away with the cultural and traditional obstacles women face with their families in cases of inter-faith marriage, but it now offers Tunisian women greater freedom of choice from a legal perspective.
The battle for women’s rights may be a little worn out, but remains optimistic. A round of applause for Tunisia!
It’s startups like ChemoCars that ease everyday difficulties for struggling cancer patients. Though burdens have mitigated over the years, for some, there isn’t much of a light at the end of the tunnel. Still, women like Heather Mosher can make the best of a bleak situation. The 31-year-old married beau David Mosher only 18 hours before her passing.
“I saw her sick,” [said] Mosher… “I saw her in a lot of pain and she didn’t give up until she married me. It is so humbling that someone could love me like that.”
Mosher proposed to his wife over the holidays of 2016. Five days later, she was diagnosed with a quick-spreading cancer, which caused her health to deteriorate. Despite the verdicts, friends and family promised Heather joyous festivities.
“I was with her every single day at the hospital that week, and I wasn’t in the mood to celebrate,” [friend Christina] Karas said. “… I just had to get into wedding mode because my heart was in ‘losing my best friend’ mode. I just thought, ‘For Heather, I’m going to do this.”’
Despite a bittersweet end, Heather is proof that good things can come of the most tragic of circumstances.
Weddings are, more often than not, an expression of perpetual love between two people. Occasionally, love goes beyond just the couple. While two newlyweds were hosting a zero-waste reception, another two postponed their special day to help hurricane victims. Just last weekend, a Canadian groom — suit and all — rescued a little boy drowning in a nearby river.
“For several minutes these kids were following us, and I was just keeping an eye on them because they were standing close to the water,” [said groom Clayton Cook] “Then while Brittany was getting her solo shots taken I realized only two were standing on the rock ledge. I saw the boy in the water struggling to keep his head up. That’s when I jumped down.”
Way to be a well-dressed hero. The Cooks’ wedding photographer captured the valorous moment and the snapshot has, of course, gone viral.
“We’d like to think most people would probably make the same choice,” [said Brittany.]
“That’s Clay to me… It’s something he would just instinctively do.”
Perhaps Clayton’s quick thinking and selfless spirit is the reason Brittany is head-over-heels for her groom.
For the recent victims of Harvey and Irma, several knights in shining armor have come to the rescue. This includes big businesses like Houston Bike Share, that are making donations to families who have lost cars. They also include individuals such as this air force couple who postponed their wedding to rescue Florida citizens.
Michael Davis and Lauren Durham were supposed to get married in mid-September. But one week before the big day, the couple decided to skip their scheduled wedding in order to rescue strangers from Hurricane Irma.
Both are medical technicians, and while their hearts were with one another, they were also with the victims who needed them. Instead of wedding on Atlantic Beach, the two exchanged vows in a Florida hangar.
“The Air Force lives by the creed ‘service before self,’ ” Davis says. “So that’s what we’re here for, to put the citizens first.”
I guess, then, that it’s true. Love can move mountains. Or, in this case, move victims to safety.