Is anyone else concerned about humanity? If not, have you turned on the news lately? Hate, war, bloodshed, tears, extremism, refugees and one unsettling story after another. It is difficult to check-in on the world around us and not walk away feeling helpless and depressed. Nevertheless, it is times like these where humanity and our world need you the most. It is times like these where it is all the more important for people who sew good to challenge themselves to stay engaged, to be informed global citizens, and to get involved in contributing to a better world.

Enter UMUM, a grass-roots vehicle through which anyone around the world can affect the positive change they desire at the local, national or international level, and be supported. It is through UNUM that I will share my story and my perspectives, in the hopes of inspiring or impacting others in some positive way along their own journey to contribute to the world around them.

My story began in central Canada, born in the Prairies to Lebanese-Canadian parents. Growing up as an Arab-Canadian in small town Manitoba, I was often looked at differently, sometimes even treated differently. At some point in my childhood, I came to the understanding that what was really happening to me was not my fault but was instead a natural by-product of looking differently in a rather homogeneous small town. On many occasions in my teenage years, people took issue with my non-white appearance, or maybe it was my Arab background; regardless of the reason, I was often the target of racism, verbal abuse and discrimination.

While my experiences in small-town Manitoba made me feel different, my travel made me feel human. When I was young, every few years, my parents and I would travel over the summer to Lebanon to see my grandparents and my extended family. On these trips, and the lay-overs in different parts of the world, I would often reflect on how humans on opposite sides of the world had so much in common. At a young age, I realized first hand that humans everywhere share far more in common than they are different. Wherever they are, humans yearn for freedom, dignity, and respect. They strive to have their basic needs met, to grow socially, intellectually, culturally and spiritually, or in some combination of the above. They have dreams, emotions, relationships, and intelligence (sometimes at varying levels). They enjoy time with family and friends, enjoy laughing, going out, having fun and living life in general. Even at a genetic level, the DNA of all humans is about 99.9% the same. Yet, instead of focusing on the myriad of similarities that we all share in common, not least of which is the fact that we are all human beings, I found that everywhere I went people would frequently want to speak of their differences.

Why do people always feel the need to differentiate from the other? Every state feels the need to differentiate from its neighbours. Every religion stresses its differences from all the rest. The people within each state, religion, ethnicity, race, class, profession, and so forth differentiate themselves from the others, always seeking to further differentiate. To our core, people want to feel like they belong to something special and they don’t want to be like everybody else – we’re better or superior than, different or distinct from. Why can’t we all belong to humanity? What are our societies, the media, and our education systems doing wrong so that people don’t feel like they belong to humanity, to the global community of human beings?

As a child, I always saw humanity as one, with all divisions and differences as secondary. We’ve all heard the example of babies from different backgrounds being put in one sand box. After a few adorable stares, the babies recognize the human being in the other and the rest is irrelevant – the babies play in the sandbox together, no other divisions or differences matter. As I grew older, I always felt like states, religions, races, ethnic groups, classes, and so forth all seemed to create division layered upon more division that often undermined the thinking of working in the best interests of humanity as a whole. Let me be clear, I am not advocating these distinctions or divisions be eliminated, nor that they are not valuable, nor that the interests of these different divisions or groups be ignored. Instead, I am arguing that there comes a time where the interests of individual states, subgroups or actors should be treated as secondary to the interests of humanity as a whole. When will we as human beings and our elected or non-elected representatives begin to pursue not only narrow self-interests of persons, groups or states, but the interests of humanity as a whole?

When will we as human beings and our elected or non-elected representatives begin to pursue not only narrow self-interests of persons, groups or states, but the interests of humanity as a whole?

Now, some of you may be asking yourself, “well humanity is such a big thing; what can I do, I’m just one person?” To that I can genuinely say that I am a believer in the power of one: one individual, one group, one family, one Community, one Peoples – it all starts with one. I am a believer in each and every human being as an individual because I’ve seen in my life the impact that one person alone can make every day, every minute, in his or her actions and interactions with others – creating ripple effects that span far beyond one’s sight, far beyond one’s wildest imagination. Take this enormous power of one, and magnify it by finding a team of like-minded committed individuals who seek to affect the same positive change – the possibilities become endless. I always like to remind myself of my favourite quote, by Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

As my good friend Joe Danis mentioned in one of his earlier posts, we must each reflect on our place in this world and acknowledge our responsibility to do our part to leave it just a little bit better than how we found it.

Nervous? Fearful? The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step – will you take it? UNUM & I are here to walk that journey with you.

Sid Rashid

Joe Danis

13 Comments on “Humanity

  1. Very timely message. I find myself reflecting more and more on what actions or words I can bring to some without causing offence and defensiveness. The reflections on the unum blog are focused on this issue ( among others) and it’s helpful.
    Thank you for your efforts and thoughts.

    • Thanks Liz. You and Blair are two people who have always role modeled what it means to be ethical and loving and to live in harmony with those around you. But sometimes we need to take a stand and say what needs to be said, regardless of the discomfort it may cause. Because, the discomfort one might feel is really a dissatisfaction with oneself when they know they are driven by hatred, insecurity, or ignorance. So, keep sharing the love…

  2. Like I mentioned to Joe earlier today…it’s people like you [guys] that make me fall in love with humanity all over again. Thank you Sid! Oxo ( and all the Unum family😘)

    • Thanks for your kind words Alison… there’s always more good than bad, more light than dark, and more love than hate… but sometimes we have to lead the charge to show others the way. So, keep believing in humanity… we need you!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Alison! I’m so glad that my words resonated with you. Thank you for your support, god bless!

  3. Outstanding!
    Thank you Sid for sharing your heart with us.
    I am so honored and satisfied to be One with all of you here at UNUM Society. We are One, without a doubt. We are that “small group of thoughtful, committed citizens that can and will change the world”, I believe so with all my heart. One step at the time, one person at the time.
    I hope you feel encouraged and inspired today with Sid’s post as I am, let us “do our part to leave this world just a little bit better than how we found it…” just a little bit better.
    Oneness is the key my friends.
    One Cause. One Community

    • One Cause, One Community me hermano Freddie. Thank you for being you and inspiring so many every day in your actions. Like you said, one step at a time, one person at a time brother!

  4. I felt ‘Weness’ with it. It’s like that you’ve articulated my feelings through your words. Thank you for the wonderful write up with deep thoughts.

  5. What a great, heartfelt article Sid! Human needs before power and money. We all need to return to the chuldhood sandbox, before adult/parental/societal influences taint and cloud our thinking! It is possible, providing we all choose to plant positive seeds, respecting the heart, soul, and dignity of each person we meet. We live in such a corrupted world, and articles like yours give me hope that humanity will survive, that individually and collectively we can make a positive different each and every day. Thank you.

    • Thank you for those lovely words Pam, I love that – “respecting the heart, soul and dignity of each person we meet.” Knowing people like you give me hope that humanity and love will prevail. Hope you & Wayne are doing fantastic!

  6. Indeed we share a lot of similarities worth highlighting, glad that you guys are working for that cause. Thank you Sid for sharing, your words really inspire and motivate. Good luck with Unum!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Nada, and for believing in our cause. UNUM is for people like you who are committed to working towards a better world. Would love to hear how you’re doing and what you’re up to these days – facebook me!

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