By Thomas Hill, Regional Disaster Officer/American Red Cross Los Angeles

Today, August 19, is World Humanitarian Day.

A humanitarian is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as “a person who is involved in or connected with improving people’s lives and reducing suffering.” At the American Red Cross, we are driven by our mission to help prevent and alleviate human suffering, and each of you contributes in an important way to the success of this mission. You are therefore the very definition of a humanitarian.

I am proud to work for an organization that provides humanitarian assistance to our local communities, and it is an immense privilege to engage in such efforts in Los Angeles with such an incredibly talented and dedicated team.

Our work and efforts impact people across the state, the country and the globe. In just the first few days of this week we have seen our work directly connecting with efforts to alleviate suffering caused by conflict far away in another hemisphere, after earthquake in neighboring lands, at historic wildfires in the north of our own state and at the households of our neighbors here in Los Angeles.

In extreme situations and in response to shocking events, it can be hard to maintain our principles, but it is exactly in these time that they matter most. Inclusively placing those suffering the most in humanity first; maintaining our neutrality in the face of fear; holding on to our impartiality, independence and our belief in the power of voluntary service despite challenges; holding belief in the unity and universality of our mission – this is essential and it is what defines us as humanitarians.

It is what makes us different and it is what ensures our work contributes to protecting human life and ensuring that those who most need our help can find it.

Take a moment to reflect on our values as humanitarians, and allow yourself a moment to have goosebumps when you think about how cool they are. Appreciate yourselves and your efforts, I definitely appreciate you.

Happy World Humanitarian Day!


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