TWAICB Director Sandy Sohcot writes:
Ten years ago, the desire to bring to life the concept of human rights as a connector of many worthy endeavors to improve people’s lives launched The World As It Could Be Program (TWAICB). One big inspiration was the Grateful Dead song “Uncle John’s Band“: “Come hear Uncle John’s Band by the riverside…Got some things to talk about here beside the rising tide.” To me, this phrase suggests the idea of human rights, like the rising tide, being a way to “float all boats.”
Our own experiences, as well as the input of human rights education practitioners, have made it increasingly clear that knowing our human rights, as laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), helps unify efforts to advance equality, justice and human dignity. Even more, it also inspires positive individual and collective action, fostering inclusion, a sense of our common humanity, and connection of the local to the global.
We are excited by recent examples of the meaning of human rights as seen by youth involved in TWAICB:
- Check out reflections on the December 8 Balboa High School UDHR Assembly, marking the 10th year since our first original production The World As It Could Be – A Declaration of Human Rights. Also, read about Balboa Principal Susan Ritter’s special initiative to produce a series of silk-screened renditions of the UDHR Articles, with translations of the Articles to a wide range of languages, including Spanish, Urdu, and Farsi.
- In mid December, we met the 16 Arroyo High School students who will initiate our pilot of The World As It Could Be Is Within REACH Rite of Passage Program as part of a school district offering. Here’s more about the significance of this initiative, as well as inspiring thought from the youth.
- On December 19, we held a reunion of our first two Rite of Passage classes. We’re thrilled to know the youth are advancing well and continue to value their experience.On Tuesday, the students of the Arroyo Future Leaders of Social Change Learning Community, presented their 8th Town Hall on the UDHR, reflecting on the importance of the UDHR today.
Sixty-eight years ago, the adoption of the UDHR offered a vision of the world where every person is valued as a human being worthy of respect and dignity, so as to have peace and justice for all. In the spirit of hope for the approaching holiday season and new year, we wish you and yours the best.
We also encourage you to follow the lead of our participating youth: Consider how the UDHR vision for the world, and the magnitude of effort that went into creating this aspirational guide, can be a way to unite seemingly polarized factions, and how our individual and collective actions can move us toward The World As It Could Be.
Thank you for being part of our endeavors. As you consider your year-end charitable contributions, we appreciate your generous support. We look forward to our continuing connection in 2017 and for many years to come.