Tuesday, 19 August 2014

August 19th - World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day
“More than ever before people need help”

August 19th is World Humanitarian Day and around the globe people are taking time to recognize those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. The day was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq.   This bombing is noted as the worst attack on the UN in its history – people died, people were injured and out of the pain and rubble World Humanitarian day was created.

In very basic terms a humanitarian is someone who works to make people’s lives better; someone involved in improving lives and reducing suffering.   So this is also a day to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the globe.

The “shout out“ for World Humanitarian day is The world needs more…   It is a call to stand up and speak out and make a difference.  We want to raise awareness about the tremendous work of individuals and to offer a different perspective in acknowledging the day.  We asked people attending our 15th community barbecue in the inner city on Saturday August 16th what the world needs more of and the majority told us:

      Love
   Peace
   Kindness
   Hope
   Food
   Safe, clean, affordable place to live

These comments are about here and now; from people you may see every day but choose to ignore. It is not only countries and places abroad that require humanitarian involvement; it is also needed in the very backyards here – the cities, towns and rural spaces that are all around.  And we know this because 46% of the food bank users in Hamilton are children. There is a 21 year difference in the life expectancy between the poorest neighbourhood and the wealthiest neighbourhood in Hamilton.  Just over 50% of all the hate crimes were motivated by hatred toward a race and Hamilton is one of three cities in Canada with the highest rates of hate crime per capital.  And some 30,000 people in Hamilton work every day and still live in poverty. This is our local context.  This tells us that there is still much work to be done;that better, bolder strategies are needed and that more than ever before people need help. 

Let’s talk about the humanitarian effort at home.  Let’s hear about your local context.  And then let’s work on better, bolder strategies to make people’s lives better; create change that improves lives and reduces suffering; actually work on a plan to achieve equity.  On this World Humanitarian Day that’s what I think the world needs more of!   So let’s have this conversation and let us know what you think.







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