Monday, June 20, 2011

Dignity: My Name is Not Those People

I can remember the first time someone called me the N-word to my face.

5th grade. I had gotten a pass to go to the bathroom(a.k.a walk the halls) . When I finally got there two boys were there. The older of the two was helping a 1st grader get 'set-up' . As I stepped into the restroom the 1st grader says, "John, look there goes a little N****er). I looked behind me to cover the hurt and maybe see if there was someone else by that name. After 30 seconds of staring at the wall the boy finally walked past with a look of disgust.

Dodging my body as he left the bathroom without washing his hands.

I never felt so ashamed.

I was lucky enough to have parents who taught the beauty of our culture, honored our history, and challenged stereotypes. Yet, the feeling that some part of who I am was "dirty or ugly" made me feel broken. We live in a world where struggling people can feel the same way. Where the inherent worth and value of a person is considered less than with a word.

We are made to feel empty. We are made to feel:

POOR
STUPID
UGLY

Aunt Bertha wants to recognize the complete humanity of each person we engage. Whether that person is at a low point in their life, a social worker, a volunteer, or someone who just needs a hand up. Helping someone doesn't mean that we get the right to judge. Actually, helping is our purpose and mission and we should be grateful to share whatever resource we have to give.

AB is launching in the next couple weeks and we are nervous. Most of the team has seen firsthand what helping can be and become in crisis situations. Especially if we are not careful and compassionate. The challenge is this: how do you help someone without judging who they are or where they come from? Diversity can be this obscure concept of "we love everyone the same" instead of truly honoring the culture and truth of whoever we encounter.

We have decided to make our community of people, friends.

Not customers, clients, or patients, but friends. People we can connect with on an intimate level. People we can trust. People we can share struggles and successes with. Aunt Bertha is our company name, but the hope is that people will see human connection and not an online service.

Service is our Mission.Human Connection the goal.

Here's a video advocating for people to receive services with dignity:

Mozart Guerrier, MSW, is the Community Manager at Aunt Bertha. He is a social worker, entrepenuer, and writer from Syracuse, NY. He is passionate about leadership, technology, and creativity. He is married to a woman from California(raised in Kentucky) and father to a clever little girl named, Ava. He creates a new bio for each post.


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