I Stand With Humanity.

Steve Villano
2 min readOct 12, 2023
( The haunting sculpture, “Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian,” communicates two powerful messages against hate and discrimination. The story of St. Sebastian is that he was shot with arrows after refusing to deny his faith. The “Tar Baby” sculpture, done in 1999, by Black artist Michael Richards, was a tribute to the all Black US Air Force unit of the Tuskegee Airmen, who endured decades of intolerance and unfairness because of the color of their skin, despite risking their lives to protect democracy. To add even more poignancy to this extraordinary work, Michael Richards, whose studio was in World Trade Center Tower #1, was killed there on 9/11, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in NYC. Richards was 38 years old.)

I Stand With Humanity.

Not jingoistic vanity.

I stand with self-determination,

Not a flag, nor song, nor any nation.

I stand with dignity, life and love,

Not some messianic fiction of superiority,

Obtained from above.

I stand with equality,

Either real or aspirational;

With the value of each life,

Being, by existence, inspirational.

I stand with Rabbi Hillel,

Who knew well, that, to be human,

When others were not,

Would point the way through hell.

I stand with the souls of Babi Yar,

Bucha, Hiroshima & Dachau;

And all the hostages of terror —

Jews, Ukrainians, and One Million

Children of Gaza, pleading,

“Where is humanity, if not now?”

I stand with lovers and mothers

Crushed by the death of babies, and others,

Who could not escape the wickedness of hate,

Nor be rescued by the safe room of their love.

I ask to be heard in the Shema,

Thinking always of Babi Yar, Babi Yar,

Never, never, very far;

Buried by the same earth

Which gives each of us birth.

I stand against terror and slaughter

Of your son, my daughter;

And of intentional starvation

Or any crime against the innocents of any nation

Born to a land they cannot leave,

In a world unable to grieve

The sheer magnitude of such a loss of life,

Or, of our own consciences.

I stand with the belief

That I am no different than you,

Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew,

And that shrapnel screaming down

From any sky, scalding flesh, gouging eyes,

Turns any prayers for one side, into lies.

I stand with those who are different,

And those who are despised;

I stand with the outcast,

And others vilified, as somehow, less than human —

As if animals would ever slaughter their own,

As maniacally, methodically as we do.

I stand with other humans,

Regardless of their faith,

Or color, or gender,

Or country of their birth.

I Stand For Humanity,

And a return to sanity,

Before a mass grave for

The one million children of Palestine,

Matches the memorial of yours, and mine,

With one million twinkling lights at Yad Vashem,

Reminding us of the ghastly eternal price of,

Us vs. them.

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