Keith Fraser

Is the vision of togetherness lost or is it even necessary? Does the fact that we recognise difference lead to an inevitable parting and division of communities and people? Why is it that now despite many in society being passionate about our individuality, I’m just as passionate about how we can achieve togetherness?

I strongly believe that we should strive to promote our individuality, whilst using our uniqueness to bind us together. The reason why I so strongly believe that communities and individuals should support each other; is because by recognising each other, we recognise and respect the individual, while simultaneously experiencing the strengths, the genuine happiness and feeling of contentment this can bring.

There is a but:

The labels, the components, the measures of an individual are the things that divide us, but they are also the things that bring us together, that excite us and that enable us to achieve. Our individuality and our difference are the bedrock of a being human. How can it be that our difference can simultaneously enhance our position in the world and at the same time reduce or challenge our place in the world.

The complexity of difference and togetherness are all about context. As Professor Kirby et al. said a label can represent a short hand descriptor to a club we want to join or alternatively a group we don’t want to belong to.

The challenge with these labels is that people are messy and often don’t conform to what we think are the norms of that label. I would argue that labels are a natural part of being human, we should all acknowledge this and not be scared of it, but we must challenge the labels that we place on each other. If we challenge the labels, we break down the barriers that often prevent or hinder us being together and ultimately respecting each other.

I champion togetherness; because together we succeed, together we are content and together we respect the individual. Without togetherness we create labels which are barriers rather than labels with porous borders, which allow for the individuality of us all. I have a little motto which I use in my day-to-day life which is: I want to listen, I want to understand, I want to involve and finally I want to act. How often do we act without understanding, without involving and without listening; even though our motives are laudable, the outcomes are likely to be unsuccessful. A lack of togetherness enables arms of the state to label individuals as hard to reach. What does hard to reach mean? Despite being well-intentioned, hard to reach is a term which depicts the dominance of the labeller over the person or community that is hard to reach. I want to promote togetherness where we recognise the messiness of the individual, where are our own personal norms do not dictate what we think of the personal norms of others. Just think about the things that turn your head in the street and that will give you a simple indication of something or someone that could be outside of your personal norm.

We need to challenge the term hard to reach, we need to work hard for togetherness.

Together we achieve more!

Together we respect difference!

Together life is exciting!

Together barriers are flattened!

Together there is less ignorance!

Together drives a desire to know more!

Together builds a passion for fairness!

Together promotes the individual!

Keith Fraser
24th of September 2021