I'm writing a novel that has two sentient species: humans and dragons. Both are equally intelligent. The dragons do not think this way, but consider the humans to be beneath them. At one point during the novel, a human cries out to a dragon saying, "we're all people," thus indicating that they're the same, that they have the same intelligence, and that therefore neither is below the other. The obvious problem here, is that dragons are not people - a word which has come to be synonymous with human.
The word 'sentient' would work perfectly, except that it doesn't sound right. "We're all sentient," while conveying the point perfectly, is not something someone would say before being eaten by a dragon.
What word/phrase can I use to convey the meaning of 'equally sentient,' in this situation, and still make it sound natural? (A single word is preferred, but a short phrase will work if necessary.)