Welcome to The Humanity Institute! We are grounded in the certainty that social change is necessary and requires recognition of the equity of human beings. It requires action, a belief system to live by, and not just words. To understand the work, it is important to understand that humanity is both a noun and a verb. We are all part of a common humanity, and as such, we are joined together in the collective experience of being human – we share the struggles, triumphs, pains, and joys that are unique to the human experience. More importantly, The Humanity Institute sees humanity as a conscious act – a commitment to making policy and practice decisions that consider not only bureaucratic, economic and political considerations, but also incorporates a humanistic spirit of empathy, compassion and understanding. Grounded in research-based solutions, narrative change, advocacy, and convening, we will make change.
So, I ask the question I began with, because it shouldn’t be so easy to foment the inhumanity we have witnessed in the past two years after over 200 years of fighting for equity… if we really mean it. The underlying sentiments of hatred, distrust, anger and fear must be there to begin with, to create factions so vehemently opposed. Suggestion brought on by creative narrative, that paints one group as more dangerous than another, or more inherently intelligent than another, or less capable than another, cannot so easily grow unless the seed is there. “But” does not belong in a sentence if you know, believe, and act the way you avow. “I’m not a racist, but…”, or “I don’t have a problem with homosexual people, but…”, these statements cannot be qualified. When you hire, admit, sell to, live next to, mentor, or work with people you must believe in their inherent worth. Checking the box, or writing the check, doesn’t help if you don’t live that decision.
Since before the civil war, separation of the races was used to divide and justify unequal treatment of groups, usually based on race, religion or gender. We now openly include division by sexuality, and against history, country of origin, to maintain the status quo. Instead of moving forward we continue to repeat behavior and policy with foreknowledge of the outcomes. The Humanity Institute believes that making a real commitment to crafting policy and practice decisions that consider not only economic and political considerations, but incorporate a humanistic spirit of empathy, compassion and data is essential to the process and practice of democracy. These concepts are not polar opposites if you believe in the value of each life to contribute. Therefore, we recognize that while marginalization of individuals within our society is rapidly increasing, that continued marginalization is ultimately destructive to our culture.
We believe that it is important to invest in education, communities, and people to make sure all resources are developed, included, accessible and people have a chance to succeed. We must not continue the same arguments as to why this isn’t possible, break the mold, be radical in thought and action, and move forward.
There is nothing new in the dialogue we hear today, every day, multiple times and via multiple outlets, with increasing frequency. It is the same plan used by plantation owners trying to hold on to black slavery. It is the same rhetoric, we listened to in justification of Jim Crow, voting rights and mass incarceration. Instead of embracing our diversity that is the DNA of our world, we are isolating and thereby losing valuable human participation, talent, and creativity. It is time to take the noise and confusion out of our information, put it to the side and concentrate on the serious problems we face as a city, a state and a country, collectively.
It is time for a change with the knowledge that the work is hard, but we can do it. It is time for us to examine the question, “Do we REALLY mean it?” and then get to work.