One Humanity

It has been my desire to write regularly and build a community of interest in my writing and in March of Dimes Canada. I don’t mind admitting that this is harder than I thought. Not because writing is hard for me, but because narrowing down a topic to what I consider of universal interest is challenging, and because it is tempting to just write about all the wonderful things that March of Dimes does, in providing services to people, in advocacy, in communication about  the needs and aspirations of people with disabilities. I write when I am moved by something that to me is big, like the Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) we set for our organization. “BHAG” is a concept from the book, Built to Last by James Collins and Jerry Porras, which served as an inspiration to March of Dimes’ management a decade ago. Now we, senior management, are reading Collins’ latest, Great by Choice, in anticipation of preparing our next five year strategic plan. We benefit a great deal from reading management studies and from looking at the environment around us, the research on consumers and on business innovation,  as well as in the not for profit sector and from our personal experience. In a future blog I will talk about various aspects of the development of our Strategic Plan.

What is “big” for me now and which I think must find its way into our multifaceted five year plan are both evidence-based practice and love of humanity. I think both drive this organization forward, and since most readers might not want to read research data in a blog, I am going to focus on the latter here and share a link to  a BBC video circulating on youtube  that came to me from an 80 year old friend. This must be shared.  I am pasting it here  and inviting all readers to view it and share  your comments, and pass this link on to your friends, family, and associates.

While there are many excellent, National Geographic-like photo perfect moments that are on youtube if you have not seen this video I hope that seeing it now will move you,  or  if you have another favourite that also expresses our shared humanity, please also share it.  I provide this one because we so need to remember that all of humanity belongs to one family! Whether of different races, religions, biological genders or gender orientations, whether able-bodied or physically challenged, whether on this continent or another, the word “human” applies to all of us. How then do people make war, threaten each other, bully on school grounds, intimidate with words, discriminate with actions? It should be incomprehensible to all of us that  people in far away lands are battling for their right of free expression, or to vote, or the right to live a safe and secure life. It should be unfathomable that people live without pure water, that people with mental illness on this continent are living on the streets, and that in Northern Canada that there are people without sufficient affordable and safe housing. All of these unmentionables contribute to disability, to soul destroying limitations on life.

So, look at this video and imagine that  though humans struggle to survive in many regions of the world, the struggle is all of ours. We can be enriched by the actions of others and we can contribute to the fabric of humanity by our own creative, loving action. Imagine a more perfect world, where every human interaction is one of  kindness, where learning and love are abundant, where war abates and peace surrounds us. Imagine a world where there is more than sustenance for some and plenty for others. Imagine a world where life is valued by every culture and creed. Imagine that we can each “repair the world” with our deeds today, and ensure the future for your kids and mine tomorrow.

If I sound like a child of the 60s, it is because I am, but as a non profit “corporate” executive today, my feelings remain true to that era which is described in the statement below, and I hope that some of that idealism is  yet achievable, grounded as I am now in pragmatism after six decades of experience. Here is who we were in the 60’s according to one essayist on the web (author unknown):

“Teenagers were living dangerously and breaking away from the ideals that their parents held. In the process they created their own society (Burns 1990). They were young and had the nerve to believe that they could change the world. Their leaders had lofty goals as well. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had dreams of a truly equal America. John F. Kennedy dreamed of a young vigorous nation that would put a man on the moon. The youth wanted to live in a state of love, peace, and freedom (Gitlin 1987).”

We can still dream of change, of equality, of love, peace and freedom. We need only do nothing and the world will remain the same.