In a famous speech by one of my personal heroes, the late Dr. Maya Angelou calls us to experience the joy of forging connections with “someone who may not look like you, who may not call God the same name you call God, if they call God at all...who may not eat the same dishes prepared the way you do, who may not dance your dances, or speak your language.” In her speech, Dr. Angelou urges us to “be a blessing to somebody,” for when we connect with people who differ from us, the blessing is ours as well as theirs, and we see more clearly what is best in ourselves and others.
At Hewitt, we are on a journey to live ever more fully according to Dr. Angelou’s vision. We are not perfect; we don’t always stay on the path. And when we stumble, we resolve to ask questions, we learn about others’ beliefs and experiences and how they differ from our own, and we notice the ways in which, despite our different perspectives, our commonalities can surprise, delight, and enrich our lives and our communities. What a blessing it is to be on this journey together.
The Hewitt community is committed to the lifelong practice of preparing ourselves to connect meaningfully with others in order to make the world a better place. And when I see our community spread kindness, compassion, and empathy to others, when I see us engage in civil discourse around difficult topics, when I see us learn about each other’s cultures and traditions, I see Hewitt at its best. Thanks to each and every one of you for making this Thanksgiving celebration more like the world we hope to bring about–a world in which more of us treat one another with love, dignity, and respect.
This Thanksgiving, no matter how you choose to celebrate or acknowledge the holiday, let us all remember that one of the greatest gifts in life is to be a blessing to somebody. And know that each and every member of this community is a blessing to me.
Dr. Kinsey delivered these remarks at Hewitt's 2018 Thanksgiving assembly.