All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.
This quote is seen by everyone who walks into the HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS office. We chose to have this powerful statement printed on the back wall for all to see as they enter our building.
Today all of us at HFP pay tribute to Archbishop Tutu. He died peacefully on December 26, 2021, in a care center in Cape Town. He was 90. I was still a practicing journalist when he came under the limelight during the 1980s apartheid movement in South Africa. His bold stance on these matters of racism and his on-going battle for the rights of the oppressed brought him many accolades. He was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Sydney Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
What better way to honor this hero than to share his own words, uttered in his over four decades of public life?
Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.
When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
Do a little bit of good wherever you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.
A person is a person because s/he
recognizes others as persons.
Is it any wonder that we have this man’s quote on our wall? It represents the kind of thinking that helped us launch this work 20 years ago! It represents our philosophy today as we do our best to show all persons behind bars that they matter!
Today, may those of us who work among the incarcerated, and those of us who support our work, remember these profound words of this exemplary Christian:
I would like to share with you two simple truths: there is nothing that cannot be forgiven, and there is no one un-deserving of forgiveness.