Consider This: Human Rights Locally Ripple Globally

TWAICB Director Sandy Sohcot writes:

It feels as if we’re being battered by a Category 5 hurricane of shifting, conflicting visions of American values and priorities. Adding to the turmoil: major challenges in accessing truthful, accurate information. We’ve compiled some resources for evaluating information, particularly from online sources, as well as how to effectively communicate your concerns to local, regional and national representatives. We hope you find these resources helpful in this stormy period.

As I wrote in my blog post about the Butterfly Effect, it can feel like a ridiculous challenge to talk  about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and its human rights principles amid such high winds. Yet the Butterfly Effect concept teaches that a small action can have a large impact.

The following examples suggest ways in which applying the UDHR in our immediate circles can have a major positive impact, even through these hurricane winds.

We recently posted the video of the December 2014 Town Hall on the UDHR, presented by the Developmental Psychology of Adolescents (DPA) class at Arroyo High School. The theme of this presentation is related to UDHR Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

The presentation starts with a scene in a detention hall, followed by scenes dramatizing the back story of each student, and ends with the vital message that we must not form quick judgments or stereotype others based on appearances, but instead see each other as human beings with life stories.

On our Relevance of the UDHR Today page, as you scroll down, you’ll see video excerpts of youth perspectives on ways to apply UDHR principles so as to make a positive difference.

Also, take inspiration from the ideas about minute actions described in The World As It Could Be – Where There’s A Will There’s A Way, to consider how even the most local efforts can ripple out for greater impact.

The UDHR is ours to fulfill through our individual and collective efforts. Let’s act on Eleanor Roosevelt’s compelling words spoken on the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the UDHR, and generate ripples globally!

Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.

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