Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu term that loosely translates to “humanness.” It is the idea that what you do to another you are doing to yourself. Every day we at Project Homeless Connect strive to impart this philosophy in our practice and service.
Why Ubuntu? It troubles me as a human being, and an experienced social worker, to see our most vulnerable residents subject to violence on the streets. There are many challenges of homelessness, and the presentation of good will toward people experiencing such hardships is a welcome relief and demonstration of compassion.
As of late, the harsh treatment of some of our city’s homeless residents has taken a turn for the worst. San Franciscans should have the right to go about their day unmolested, and to present their more expressive side safely in public, but we are seeing something different. All too often our participants come to us having experienced great violence on the streets of our community.
At Project Homeless Connect we are often one of the first points of contact following one participant’s roust with another, whom most likely is unfamiliar with the practice of Ubuntu. Our team strives to create a safe environment for every participant in need, and works to provide the valuable services needed to move forward with their lives.
You can help us expand the practice of Ubuntu in our work. You can be a part of the solution. Please join us in not only serving people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco, but also in treating every person with the dignity and respect we all deserve. Beyond rallying behind Project Homeless Connect and its mission to connect homeless San Franciscans with the care they need to move forward, I encourage you to show your good will to our homeless neighbors.
If you encounter a homeless resident who appears to have experienced violence, please encourage this person to file a police report or to visit the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. This simple act of good will demonstrates your compassion for any person who has been subject to this sort of wrong. Compassion is a key part of humanness, and sits right in line with the philosophy and practice of Ubuntu.
Victor L. Nelson, M.S.W