I write now aware that there are many stories in the world. Over six billion people live in the world and each has their own story. Their own hopes, their own fears, their own dreams. Too often we go about our lives unaware or unwilling to consider others. Perhaps it because our guilt would be to great when we consider our lives and privilege in the context of the pain it causes others, the factory worker in china who commits suicide because of the working conditions, the Haitians (whom we said we wouldn’t forget) who continue to die and suffer, or the homeless man on the street corner who you walk by while enjoying your sandwich, or the children who do not get educated in our (American) public school systems.

The OTHER isn’t in fact an other but US. We are all HUMAN. In our world economy we are all connected. Your desire for a cheap IPAD is inherently connected to the death of the Foxcomm workers who choose to DIE  instead of continuing to work in disgusting conditions, their humanity ignored, dreams crushed, hopes over.

The other is this beautiful young man growing up in Brazil. He attends a school where the beauty of his blackness is cherished in a country where his race is not. Nearly every major religion promotes the idea we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Not to just love the one next to you whom you can most identify with, but also not to forget the others, the far, the downtrodden, the HUMANS who live all over our planet.

For their stories our just as important as ours. As I look out into the world I realize more and more my own biases. The story my mind constructs when I look at this picture is very different from ones I construct when I look at the pictures of the Haitian girls from earlier. The difference arises from my own personal biases ingrained from years of indoctrination in the western world. This brazilian girl, sitting in a classroom that reminds me of my elementary school speaks to me because I believe we share something, some similar understanding of the world because her worlds looks like mine. It leaves me a bit distressed that I feel more connected with a Brazilian children because of the layout of their classroom then Haitian children who share my same history.

As I stated before my root and foundation is my grandmother. She sits here months before her death after having already cheated death. If she was an animal I’d have to say she was a cat who used her nine lives plus some. She survived the death of her father and mother to raise  her younger siblings at the age of 10. She survived the Duvalier’s. The death of her husband. The death of her second son the family breadwinner. She was the diamond in the rough. The unbreakable. The TRUTH, my TRUTH if there ever was one is that I shouldn’t, couldn’t, and wouldn’t be here without her. Not only wouldn’t I have turned into the person that I am today with out her love and support, I along with countless other humans wouldn’t be where we are today without the selflessness she displayed throughout her life. Despite losing her husband at an early age she chose to forgo finding another man and instead as always to support her community.

In October of 2009 the affected gathered twice in two weeks for funerals. Once to celebrate the life of my grandmother and again to mourn the early loss of my Aunt. The combined event left me staggered. Witnessing the power of two people to inspire and support others left me breathless. Haitian men and women gathered from far and wide, many having not seen each other for more than a decade, to pray tribute to an 86-year-old Haitian woman. For most of the world her death meant nothing, just another old black woman who had died of natural causes. For those of us who were there though we were witnessing the passing of a legend. A role model who we strive endlessly to mirror.

As I spent time in Haiti I was forced to recognize the similarity between my grandmother and her brother and these children. Whose roots could these children be? The family trees for whom they will serve as roots, for surely they will be the roots of something, deserve the chance to blossom just as the Julien/Borgelin’s have. My grandmother left this earth having created a bright future for hundreds of lives but why is it that we needed literally the strongest seed to have a chance at a “good” life. These children and their progeny, all humans in fact, deserve a chance at a promising future.