It’s Time to Stand Up!
“…part of the price of our own freedom is standing up for the freedom of others…” – President Barack Obama
What if you had some of the basic freedoms you enjoyed taken away, and that you were being discriminated against because you were different in your physical appearance or your choices? The objective of International Human Rights Day, observed each year on December 10, is to change all this by bringing attention to the challenges, and ultimately an end to all forms, of discrimination and inequality.
This year, International Human Rights Day calls on everyone to “stand up for someone’s rights today!” The principle is that it’s everyone’s responsibility to uphold human rights. We must never forget that it was the actions of individuals like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King, Jr. that resulted in the privileges we have today. Their determination to stand up secured our independence, the freedom of slaves, the right for women to vote and other civil rights.
The United States has strong constitutional protections for its citizens: it’s what makes us the pinnacle of freedom and democracy. At the same time, some racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, children, the poor, and prisoners across the country are still challenged by inequalities and instances where their human rights are breached. Laws by themselves cannot change perspectives on rights; it requires individual action to effect lasting change. This is where your participation is most needed.
Here are some ways in which you can take a stand:
• Spread the word about International Human Rights Day. Repost this blog and make someone else aware.
• Educate yourself. Read as much as you can so you can provide accurate information to reject harmful myths and stereotypes.
• Write – pen letters to your school or local newspaper.
• Participate in peaceful protests.
• Show respect for each other’s differences.
• Say no to bullying and personal attacks.
• Be mindful of your language; avoid stereotypical remarks and challenge those made by others.
• Volunteer with a human rights or advocacy group.
For more information on events and ways in which you can take a stand, visit: http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/