Happy Thanksgiving 

There has been a lot of bad, heavy news lately, and it feels like we're in for more. Everyone's Facebook etiquette has been abandoned—I'm as guilty as anyone—and you can almost feel the bitter Thanksgiving family fights brewing.

Hopefully, there's another way. Hopefully, we can take at least a few moments this week to reflect on civility and empathy, and consider how we can help each other out rather than shout each other down.

In this week's edition of Boise Weekly, we cover a few topics related to community, connection and compassion. First, BW News Editor George Prentice checks in with a handful of downtown Boise merchants who go the extra mile to build loyalty with customers and camaraderie with businesses that would otherwise be considered competitors. Staff writer Jessica Murri profiles a new partnership that benefits kids, prison inmates, the Boise Bicycle Project and Idaho Department of Correction. It's an example of the good that can be done when organizations look beyond their normal sources of support and focus on a common good. It's also a welcome move by IDOC, which is working hard to correct years of systemic mistakes and abuses that landed the department on the losing side of a federal court ruling and earned it barrels of ink in embarrassing headlines.

Later, Prentice interviews National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu and Idaho Commission on the Arts Executive Director Michael Faison, who describe how support for the arts not only brings people together but helps make communities more prosperous. Chu's background includes refugees working for a better life, making her story all the more timely and important.

No matter how angrily we disagree—and for a picture of those tensions, look no further than staff writer Harrison Berry's exquisite reporting on dueling refugee demonstrations—it's necessary for us to share stories of people helping each other, lest we forget we're social animals, and it's easier to be kind than not.

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