” In a world warped by materialism and declining respect for human life, the Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all principles of our social teaching.”
The last couple of days that have transcended this last week have been quite the learning experience. As I am trying to learn my colleagues’ names and about advocacy and public policy strategies in order to tackle my assignment for this summer, I often forget to just breathe. One of the fundamental concepts that I have to implement for my assignment this summer is this quote taken from the Key Principles of Catholic Social Teaching regarding the Catholic Church’s philosophy of human dignity. My only question is, what is human dignity? It seems that our modern day society has forgotten what human dignity is. Actually, I don’t think human dignity has ever been properly defined by our society- the global society. Generations of injustices-racism,prejudices, etc, are tactics used to degrade human dignity. The universal concept of human dignity is not just a religious connotation used by the Church. It’s a practice or rather an idea that is abstract, since there seems to be a lack of sufficient awareness and reflection of one’s actions in society. What people fail to recognize is that West Oakland for instance has been through some of the most culturally and prejudice transitions that I heard of.
When Luke took us around West Oakland this last Sunday, he told us that one of my favorite authors Jack London was born and raised in West Oakland working in some of the warehouse factories as a child, before child labor laws existed. Even though, he detested his childhood home, he was inspired to go to Alaska and inevitably became a renowned author for his generation. Gertrude Stein, an author that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway to produce some of their most famous and best works of their literary careers, came out of Old Oakland, which is just one mile from where were are, only three blocks from where I am interning at CCEB. These two authors left Oakland in order to pursue better life for themselves, in order to respect their human dignity. The same could be said of Huey Newton. The reason he co-founded the Black Panther Party was to protect the human dignity, rights for the citizens of West Oakland. He lost sight of his original drive for social change and became invested with the violence and corruption present in his society at the time. Some people succeed in progressing social change, while others do not. Some people try to protect their human dignity and rights but fail to do so. Yes, humans are erroneous, but we are more progressive once we learn from our mistakes and follies in this world. We are not perfect, but once everyone realizes at the end of the day that everyone has the same faculties as everyone else, humans are crucial and sacred beings. Everyone should respect one another and be selfless while trying to pursue happiness in this world. That’s all I want, but that within itself seems to be a difficult task at hand for all of us.