The role of solidarity

Part of the Problem

Cathleen Kaveny’s column “Sick Minds” (March 11) about her sister’s work with the homeless and her thoughts on the Tucson tragedy reminded me of another part of the problem that I have not seen addressed. It has to do with us, the professionals.

When did we start living far away from the people we help? When did we stop eating meals together, going to church together, and caring for our children and communities together? When did we stop sharing a common life and instead start offering diagnosis and treatment?

We professionals are part of the problem. 

Jane Addams, who in the 1800s lived in Chicago with the people she wanted to help, knew that shared humanity had to be the foundation for any social change. She wrote: “That Christianity has to be revealed and embodied in the line of social progress is a corollary to the simple proposition that man’s action is found in his social relationships.”

Healing relationships must be, first and foremost, social relationships. Without that, our professional skills and knowledge are one more bullet in the gun.


To read the rest of this article please login or become a subscriber.