The US and the world are divided to a greater extent these days than I can personally remember. It appears to be a split between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. The “haves” include those who we consider as possessing an over abundance of money and physical wealth. The “haves” can also be thought of as those who enjoy full civil rights and personal freedom. Conversely, the “have-nots” have historically been deprived of wealth and well being. There are other “have-nots” who are struggling to obtain full civil rights and the ability to enjoy personal freedom.
The way that “haves” and “have-nots” apply to individuals vary according to social class and nationality. That is some “haves” may not enjoy full civil rights and some “have-nots” enjoy full civil rights. However, the vast majority of “have-nots” are lacking in both wealth and civil protections. This means there is the problem of the lack of solidarity.
My Webster’s Dictionary defines solidarity as “a feeling of unity between people who have the same interests, goals, etc.” So, I look at society and see that there is solidarity among certain “haves”. There is a lacking of solidarity among the “have-nots”.
What might Human Solidarity mean? First and foremost it would mean that we see each other as human beings and affirm the bonds we share as members of the same species. Human solidarity expands the notion of solidarity to mean that human rights are nurtured for all human beings. Solidarity becomes the social environment in which basic human rights are accepted, respected, and realized across the board.
At its core, solidarity is freedom and justice coupled with a commitment to the most marginalized and vulnerable members of the human family. Solidarity is absent when vast numbers of us suffer in poverty, social alienation, discrimination, and oppression. So, the presence of solidarity means that everyone is able to be productive and creative members of the human race.
Solidarity cannot be politically forced but it must be strongly encouraged. This can happen through our present social institutions. As members of these institutions we can appropriately participate in fulfilling the obligations of justice for all people. We can actively help the most vulnerable people on the planet.
Naturally, our species exhibits various strengths, interests, and characteristics. We can make this diversity work for us because diversity can equal multifaceted strength and resiliance. When we understand that reciprical respect of people of differing backgrounds makes us all stronger and more free.
With these ideals in mind, the United Nations General Assembly has declared December 20th of each year as International Human Solidarity Day. This year, the stress is on the eradication of poverty. The culture of solidarity and sharing are seen as crucial to combating poverty. The idea is to empower those people most in need.