“Our community is the world”

“Our community is not just Silver Spring, or Chevy Chase, or Bethesda. Our community is the United States. Our community is the world — as a trouble world at that. And we cannot run from that larger identity without sooner or later paying the price.”
Sargent Shriver | Washington, DC | February 24, 1966

Our Quote of the Week reminds us of the ties that bind our human family. To ignore the suffering of those we think of as “other,” particularly when they are far away, may seem like an easy thing to do, but in our interconnected world, the suffering of others will make its way back to us eventually.

Sargent Shriver spoke these words in 1966, while he was leading the War on Poverty. In the speech, he encouraged his audience to use their skills for the benefit of their community -- and he made the case that their “community” was the entire world. He challenged his audience to push themselves to be welcoming neighbors and engaged citizens, for the collective benefit of society.

Many things have changed since Sargent Shriver spoke these words in 1966, but a quick glance at the headlines of the day makes it clear that the examples of human suffering are as dramatic as they are pervasive. From poverty to violence to natural disasters, our human community is dealing with intolerable suffering--and much of it could be alleviated by the compassion and efforts of others. Each of us can play a role in creating a more nurturing, more peaceful world. Are we willing to take on that role for the benefit of our global community?

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Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.
Sargent Shriver
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