“I am not a client, a customer, nor a service user…. I am not a shirker, a scrounger, a beggar, nor a thief…. I’m not a National Insurance Number or blip on a screen… I paid my dues, never a penny short, and proud to do so. I don’t tug the forelock but look my neighbor in the eye and help him if I can. I don’t accept or seek charity. My name is Daniel Blake. I am a man, not a dog. As such, I demand my rights. I demand you treat me with respect. I, Daniel Blake, am a citizen, nothing more and nothing less.” -<I, Daniel Blake (2016)>
These lines spoken in the film <I, Daniel Blake> pierced my heart. The film presents the life of Daniel Blake, a widowed carpenter, battling administrative red tape applying for welfare benefits. Though the movie hopes audiences recognize socially excluded people who rely on welfare, it also leaves viewers’ pondering the thought of why some people are treated humanely but others are viewed as worthless merely because of their financial, social, or academic status. People of certain statuses tend to keep closed circles and others are alienated, marginalized, least favored, or viewed with hostility. Because wealth is used to evaluate a person, I just need to look around myself to see how some people in society are being objectified and treated as being far less than human.
Throughout this year, as Editor-in-Chief of The Sookmyung Times, I witnessed many people, even Sookmyungians, demanding the right to be treated fairly as a human being and wanting just respect for both themselves and others. While investigating various news stories with fellow reporters, I came to understand the divide among people from those who nourish their rights to those fighting for basic human rights. Even though Korean society and the world have a long way to go, The Sookmyung Times spotlights the activities of those who go unnoticed because of what Sookmyungian have taught us. I am always thankful to Sookmyung and my fellow Sookmyungians for inspiring me and SMT with your actions and voices. You have taught me to see the world after critical evaluation and observation and how to demand and band together for the betterment of all. Even though this is my last letter as Editor-in-Chief, I, Sookmyungian will continue to raise a critical voice along with alumni reporters so that everyone righteously moves forward together because I, like you, am a Sookmyungian, nothing more and nothing less.