Award #62: Hope Night


Mr. Rogers once said in an interview: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”

That idea of focusing on helpers and caring people is what inspired Andrea Wetherald to plan Hope Night—an interfaith, bipartisan, city-wide luminary lighting intended to bring people together during this particularly tumultuous political time to be reminded that there is light and hope in our city. These gatherings all across Pittsburgh on Inauguration Day will serve to bolster the morale of folks who are afraid and surround them with love.

Ms. Wetherald is passionate about bringing people together in the name of hope. She shared her vision by saying she wants to “bring together organizations that believe in celebrating diversity and actively trying to keep all people in our beautiful country safe, uplifted, and whole. If a group of people can agree that they believe in loving their neighbor and doing whatever they can to keep them safe, then I am encouraging them to light lanterns and luminaries together on Inauguration Day.” Hope Night will light up our awesome city with individual beacons of hope glowing to represent love and kindness from the helpers.

Awesome Pittsburgh Trustee, Lauri Fink, shared her enthusiasm for Hope Night:

I love the idea and vision of lanterns glowing all over Pittsburgh. There’s something magical about the city being full of light and hope.

While many participants will provide their own unique and personalized luminaries (something as simple as a candle in a glass jar or flame retardant paper lantern will work!), the grant from Awesome Pittsburgh will help provide funding for any small businesses, churches, or nonprofits that would like to provide luminaries and lanterns for spur-of-the-moment participants or those who might not be able to afford them, especially for those operating in underserved areas of Pittsburgh.

In addition to lighting up the city on January 20th, there’s also a movement to infuse social media with posts about the luminary lighting to help break up the negativity that will be in people’s social media feeds this Inauguration Day. All participants are encouraged to post on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram with the following hashtags: #HopeNight, #BeTheChange and #SafeZone to push the focus to hope, peace, and love.

If you’d like to register your group as a participant in Hope Night, visit the “Join Us” page on the website and complete the inquiry form.

Hope Night is about giving comfort to folks who are afraid and shining a light on peace and love. It’s an awesome reminder for anyone who needs it that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.