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December 31, 2013

Peace to our Family

As my family gathered together for the holidays this year, I was mindful as perhaps never before of the inextricable role we play in each other’s lives.  I suppose this is a common feeling this time of year and true of members of any family.  This year, however, I am thinking more globally about my role as a member of the human family.  Christmas day was my six month anniversary at Humanity United, an organization founded on the belief that we are all united together in the challenges and opportunities we face.

It has been a busy six months, and every day I feel grateful to work for an organization and with colleagues so dedicated to a vision of the world, as our website says, “free of conflict and injustice.”  Of course this vision is a tall order, so we work with partners, coalitions and organizations that share our focus and values. Whether it is our atrocities prevention work, our peace building efforts in places like Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or our work to combat modern day slavery around the world, I am increasingly humbled by the enormity of the tasks we undertake.  And while I am proud to be working alongside our partners on these issues, I mostly feel that we have so much to do.

Over the last two weeks, we have been working intensively on the deteriorating situation in South Sudan, a new country with so much promise and whose people deserve a peaceful homeland supported by a democratic state.  Instead, today too many South Sudanese are living in chaos and terror, and in fear for their lives and the lives of their friends and family.  Humanity United has worked and invested in Sudan and South Sudan since 2005.  We joined other non-governmental organizations and governments in calling on the country’s leaders to show restraint.  We are also working on relief efforts and with diaspora leaders to make sure their voices are heard in-country and around the world.

As my family sat down for Christmas lunch and for Chinese take-out food later that night, we talked about South Sudan and what we could do to help.  We were all heartened by the news that the United Nations is deploying a larger than expected peace-keeping force this week.  I know there are a number of relief organizations that would appreciate assistance and support during this time, and we could all contact our elected representatives to make sure the federal government is engaged.  At this point, we want to do anything to raise awareness of the situation and hopefully, somehow stop the violence.

Across the country and around the world, families like mine are together this week reflecting on the past year and hoping for a brighter 2014.  Perhaps it is the time of year, or the situation in South Sudan, or maybe my work over the last six months – whatever the cause, I am mindful as never before not only of my role, but also the responsibility I have to our human family.  As the year comes to a close, I am grateful for the opportunity Humanity United has given me to work for this family.  And as 2014 dawns, my hope is for a more peaceful home for us all.

Happy New Year, and may 2014 bring peace to our family.


Follow Tim on Twitter: @tisgitt

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