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Humanitarianism is not a Trend

By Melissa Heron
On April 19, 2012


What do you think of when you hear the term human rights activist or human rights advocate? Do you visualize someone marching with a placard or someone urging you to sign a petition? While, these activities are part of the process for some, they are not who these people are, they are simply the way some choose to affect change.

Whether they are referred to as human rights activists or advocates the one title that resonates who these people are is "humanitarian."

Becoming a humanitarian is not a decision that can be made on a whim, and it is certainly not a trend. It is a life choice.

Being a humanitarian is a lifestyle and as with other lifestyle choices there are people whose interest will wane. Does this mean that they are imposters? Maybe, maybe not. When someone decides to become or try to become a vegetarian only to end up realizing that the commitment is more than they bargained for we don't call them imposters.

Humanitarianism is not a trend. It can start with joining or taking up someone else's cause but, ultimately it is about finding a cause that you connect with and working toward spreading awareness and trying to make a positive difference for that issue.

So, regardless of how or why someone's interest in the fight for humanity started what matters, is that it started. The how and why does not and should never take away from the humanitarian issues which need support.

The goal of the humanitarian is to create a society, which recognizes that humanity and equality are not predicated on race, gender, sexual orientation or any other ascribed statuses.

Unfortunately, the state of humanity in our society is bleak.

Instead of supporting and helping to inform those who want to stand up and say, equality for all needs to become a fact and not a premise. Some choose to the path of judgment. Why? To what end?

The fact that a person's interest wanes or that they're unable to give a complete and factual dissertation regarding a subject matter does not make them an imposter or a joke, it makes them human. They don't deserve to be ridiculed.

Some of the humblest and most down to earth people I know are humanitarians. They understand and recognize the importance of human connections. Being exposed to the atrocities many endure here and across the globe causes them to act. They gather weekly to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to feed the homeless. They raise money to empower women and children who live in societies that deny them readily available access to education and many other necessary and worthwhile causes.

The next time one of them asks you to sign a petition or tries to talk to you about their cause ask them why the issue is important to them, find out what drew them to the cause. Then ask yourself, how and why did you start losing hope in the humanity of others. Could it be because you seldom recognize it in yourself?

The act of listening will help to remove negative assumptions, which do not align with the concept that the act of advancing towards a greater humanity is alive.

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