On a small scale, and in a perhaps unremarkable way, it may be strangely serendipitous that Family Weekend happened to fall on this particular weeked this year. This weekend, some cobbers are welcoming visiting relatives to campus to share a glimpse into what college life is like for them. Others, of course, do not have that opportunity. And in the wider world beyond the three-block limits of campus this week, the larger human family faced the same challenges.

Last Tuesday, the Pentagon ended its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Despite the opposition leading up to the policy’s repeal, as well as the opposition that is almost certain to continue, the United States military will now face a unique challenge: the official acceptance of an entire group of people that it didn’t recognize in the military before.

On the floor of the United Nations this week, Palestine argued for a similar right of recognition and acceptance, as they bid for statehood before the UN General Assembly.

In Japan, rescue workers demonstrated selflessness and compassion once again as they confronted yet another natural disaster. In the wake of this week’s typhoon, the world watched while the Japanese rushed to support those who lost homes, loved ones, or livelihood.

And, perhaps most importantly, Facebook changed its layout for the news feed once again. Devestation everywhere.

These challenges are not unlike those that we all face with our own families. In fact, these lessons are so time-tested that they look uncomfortably corny in litany form: We must learn to love each other despite our differences, we must strive to accept qualities we don’t like in others, we must help each other in times of need, we must comfort each other in times of loss…

But they bear repeating, corny or not, because all families must confront frustration, difficulty, or the distance that grows between us. Sometimes it’s nice to remember our similarities to all the other members of our human family.

As Cornel West reminded us at MSUM last week, we have some familial qualities in common by virtue of sharing in the human experience: “It’s so important to remember that at the core, we are all the same,” he said.

And despite the quirks, the differences, and the lasting hurt from old rivalries, the need for understanding and love – not unlike that of a family – is as urgent now as throughout all of history.

Happy Family Weekend.


Peace homes,

Mary Beenken, Editor-in-Chief


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