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Found on GoodTherapy.org. Maya Angelou.

These are strange times we live in. People often remark that they don’t want to be responsible for anybody else. Some call others, who need help, “moochers.” So many unkind things are being said about those in need. I feel angry when this happens. It is  people judging other people without knowing much about them.

Somewhere inside us all, is a little bit of knowledge that tells us: factors enter in on whether people need help or not in the real world. The social class we are born into, the money we have in our family, the intelligence we have, the resources available for us to use, and the support of people who encourage us. Some families are abusive and abandon their children. Others are addicted to alcohol or drugs. There are many other variables that enter in.

Since time began, it has always been true that people want and need each other. It is also true that a group is more likely to survive than someone who is alone. People band together for protection, for food, for companionship. We come together to procreate, to solve problems, to raise children, and to share out of our bounty. Successful civilizations are those which take care of the young, the old, the disabled, and the poor. They take responsibility for their people because they know with just one blink of an eye, they could be the one in need.

If we are stripped of our skin, we are alike. We all feel hunger, want love and attention, need clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. We all want to keep our sense of dignity, to be treated with respect, and we want people to understand that every one deserves a chance to pursuit happiness.

I have never forgotten what it was like to live in poverty with alcoholic parents. I have never forgotten what real hunger feels like. I will always remember the school that gave me a warm meal for the day, for I had no money to buy it. Later, I was given shelter, food to eat every day, clean clothes to wear, and a safe place to live in a Children’s Home. These are things I did not have without people helping me. Scholarships were available for me to go to college. I would not have been able to go otherwise.

I earned professional degrees, and I was able to find good jobs. None of it would have happened without help from others. In the end, I was able to help others in need. I never forgot that each of us are more alike than we can possibly imagine. Each of us deserves respect when we do reach out for help. If our civilization survives, it will be because people take responsibility for those in need.