Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.)

Copy of RT2.tif“One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.” — Nelson Mandela

My experiences have shown me that in the process of working for social justice outwardly, it is also important for me to continue to critically examine myself; shedding attitudes/behaviors that are oppressive, to make room for those that are more inclusive and humanitarian.

I seek to live a life that is fruitful in working toward improving the human condition…to intentionally live in a manner that shows respect for all human beings by fostering caring, mutually respectful relationships. This can only be achieved by having a commitment to continuous learning.

This Blog will include quotes, personal accounts and reflections, news stories, or other artifacts that I feel have an impact on my development as I work to become a better human.

I truly believe that we are all teachers and learners.

Through Truth-Telling: the honest sharing of my own experiences, I hope to teach you a little about myself, hopefully enabling you to be able to learn a little about yourself through my stories. If you comment on my posts, it will allow me as well as other readers unique opportunities to be able to be able to learn from you as well.

Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.) will also be a platform for some of my writings on issues of equity and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about  social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

Readers can  expect to engage in critical thinking around our social identities, and how we fit into the complicated web of power, privilege, & oppression as parts of our identities can place us in positions of privilege, while others can leave us vulnerable to discrimination.

Although I may address some difficult topics in my writing (definitely for myself, possibly for you as well), know that my work isn’t about playing the victim, causing white guilt, class guilt, hetero guilt, or any other kind of guilt. It’s about the ongoing pursuit to become more humane to those around me. It’s about systemic accountability and social equity. It’s about increasing self and other awareness.

Ultimately, it’s about coalition building. If we all can see that we play a role in how conditions are either improved or perpetuated, the hope is that it will help us to be able to want to work together.

N.A.H. on Facebook, Twitter

I would love it if you’d join my Community Page on Facebook.

You can connect with me on twitter @Relando_TJ, and can follow Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.) @N_A_H_Blog

I hope to publish new Notes at least twice monthly, but I also leave a lot of room for posting out of spontaneous inspiration and/or special projects. Be sure to check back every now and then for new posts. You can also subscribe to the blog to receive notifications of new Notes via email.

UPDATE April 2014:

I created an ongoing list of my favorite Notes, that can be found here.

UPDATE October 2020

You can find Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian wherever you get your podcasts.

I am an Aspiring Humanitarian, with an emphasis on the term “Aspiring”. I accept the fact that my personal growth will be a lifelong process.

Learn with me..

Join the Conversations..


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins



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Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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13 Responses

  1. As you reflect with this post that initiated your blog three years ago, what is different today about you as a result of this blog? What is different about the blog that you had not anticipated? Are your goals and aims more intact? Just curious about your experience thus far and how this has shaped you.

    • Hi Cory!

      Thanks for reading, and for sharing your questions. These are all great, and definitely have given me a reason to pause and reflect on what’s happened since I started sharing my thoughts here. Although I definitely plan on answering these questions in more detail in a future post, allow me to attempt to briefly answer them for you here.

      “What’s different today about you?”

      I can say that I have definitely grown personally and professionally since starting N.A.H. I often tell others that my notes are a reflection of my limitations, but they also a reflection of my attempts to break free of the misinformation I’ve been taught throughout my life. That’s why I continue to emphasize “Aspiring” in Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian. As each year passes, I feel as if I’m becoming more and more of myself.

      “What’s different about the blog that you had not participated?”

      While I feel as if I have a decent understanding of this now, I did not know how much work went into maintaining a blog before I started. I always heard that most people give up in the first year for a variety of reasons, but I’ve found that sharing my thoughts has offered me opportunities to connect with people who I would not have had the opportunity to otherwise, which has led to experiences and rewards online and offline that I had not previously anticipated.

      “Are your goals and aims more intact?”

      Absolutely. My purpose remains the same, but as time progresses, I am inspired to find ways to expand and refine it.

      Each year on the anniversary of this blog’s creation, I also write a reflection of where I’ve been vs. where I am. So if you’re interested in learning more, I also encourage you to check out my Yearly Address category.

  2. I must say I just found myself here but it looks like it was destiny’s decision because I find a blog that has many things I like. Congratulations on great work. I’ll do the best I can to support your blog.

  3. rootedinbeing says:

    Throughout the years (and my many blog changes, disappearances and reappearances) your blog (and you!) continues to be a solid foundation I come back to. Cheers to you, friend! I hope you are doing well.

    • Thank you! I’m doing well. I’m happy to hear that this space and my sharing has been a resource for you. Yes, your blog has gone through many changes, disappearances and reappearances. I am happy to see that you’re back at it!

  4. tunisiajolyn84 says:

    Hey Relando. I just wanted to let you know I nominated you for a Blogger Award which basically means you won an award from me to you my friend! You can read all about it here And if you’ve already won or you don’t feel like doing the whole thing, that’s fine by me. ?

  5. Sparkyjen says:

    I feel blessed to have been raised as a human being. My beloved foster mother wanted me to know that I belong in the universal picture. She didn’t expect me to wear blinders, but she did expect that I would love as I was (and still am) being loved. This I carry all the days of my life so far, and feel confident I will continue to be all that I am with purpose and integrity. I have also been fortunate to do a lot of volunteer work in various communities. I know many of the issues. It’s my path to inspire and motivate others to look up, not down at themselves first, then see all sides of their fellow human beings. I can’t say the impact my example sets, but I can say that it makes me feel like I am an integral part of the changes I seek.

    • That is so wonderful to hear! It’s true, we can’t always know exactly what kind of an impact we’re making, but we never fully know who’s watching us, and is inspired by the examples we set. I am always inspired when I hear that I’ve impacted someone in a positive way, and feel fortunate that the feedback from whom ever shares it with me always seems to come at those moments of self-doubt; exactly when I need it.

      Thank you for sharing your comment and stay encouraged on the path of being the change you wish to see.

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