By: Katie Sabunas
As we recover from a tumultuous year, we also find ways to improve our circumstances. We all have hope for 2021, and as is tradition with the arrival of a new year, we set new goals and aspirations for ourselves. One of Service Learning is teaching weekly leadership lessons in which Ms. Myrick presents a different topic related to leadership for us, her students, to learn about in-depth and to discuss. This week’s topic was common humanity, something I found extremely parallel to the recent transition of power that brought a wave of positive change into our political structure.
But first, to talk a little about what I gained from our lesson on common humanity. Though I’d heard the term before, I never actually took a moment to myself to consider its true meaning. When Ms. Myrick asked us to provide our own definitions of common humanity, our class came up with a variety of answers, all of which were correct in their own ways. The one COMMON idea we all seemed to include in our proposals, however, was the acknowledgment that we are all human. As humans, one of the foundations of our existence is that we face struggles in our lives. No matter the struggle, its very presence among us all is something that shows us we have more in common than we think. Another angle with which to view common humanity is from a demographics-perspective. The idea that despite our overall shared distinction of being humans, we each have separate distinctions of racial and religious background, gender, and more, that all deserve equal representation, just as with our humanity. It is my belief that the new administration has and will continue to grow these ideas into the American mindset, and in doing so hopefully will create a better future.
In Biden’s first address to our nation as its new president, Biden assured that he will serve all Americans, even those who did not vote for him. In doing this, Biden is making himself available to hear out and to hopefully help resolve ALL Americans’ problems and therefore has advanced the idea of common humanity. But this is not Biden’s only method. As we know, Biden’s stellar VP, Kamala Harris, is many firsts in the White House Administration -- first woman, first African-American, and first South-Asian American. Her diverse background allows for a multitude of demographics -- women, African-Americans, and South-Asian Americans -- to admire someone in government who is like them, and have an intermediary to help them accomplish their goals. Biden also appointed Deb Haaland, a former representative from New Mexico and now the first-ever Native American cabinet member, as our nation’s new Secretary of the Department of the Interior. Her position is charged with managing our country’s natural resources, which historically have been fought for by native populations defending their ancestral lands. Haaland’s role is increasing common humanity, not only by giving Native Americans the proud feeling of being represented in government (which treated them so poorly over so many years) but also by giving them a platform for their concerns regarding the environment to be heard and most likely addressed.
Overall, I am looking forward to seeing what this new administration has to offer for common humanity. It has already delivered much more than ever before, and I imagine will continue to do so as we progress. I would like to remind all readers that no matter who you or your family voted for or support, we at Service Learning are strong embracers of common humanity, and therefore welcome everyone.