Each year on December 10, people all around the world celebrate Human Rights Day. The date was chosen to honor the United NationsGeneral Assembly‘s adoption on 10 December 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global statement of international human rights principles. The UDHR was the first international document that spelled out the “basic civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all human beings should enjoy.” The UDHR has been translated into more than 500 languages and dialects, making it one of the most translated documents in the world.
The theme for 2021 is EQUALITY – Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights. The official slogan is “All Human, All Equal”.
“This year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to ‘Equality’ and Article 1 of the UDHR – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
The principles of equality and non-discrimination are at the heart of human rights. Equality is aligned with the 2030 Agenda and with the UN approach set out in the document Shared Framework on Leaving No One Behind: Equality and Non-Discrimination at the Heart of Sustainable Development. This includes addressing and finding solutions for deep-rooted forms of discrimination that have affected the most vulnerable people in societies, including women and girls, indigenous peoples, people of African descent, LGBTI people, migrants and people with disabilities, among others.”
Below are some ideas for simple yet meaningful ways that families can celebrate Human Rights Day by learning about the rights and responsibilities that we all share as human beings. For more ideas, check out our previous posts:
“We’ve combed through the episodes to make sure they’re free of profanity, graphic references and other adult content. (Although talking about race and racism is always complicated, so parents, use your judgment here.) Our episodes never have all the answers, and we’re hoping these will open up space for some good old-fashioned dinner-table discussions.”
“Developed in collaboration with United Nations agencies, civil society and other organizations, YUNGA Challenge Badges aim to raise your awareness, educate and motivate you to change your behaviour and become an active agent of change in your local community.”
9. Make your own human rights meme!
Use this year’s Human Rights Day theme and brainstorm with your kids to come up with a meme. Use any free online meme generator to create your own meme. For inspiration, check out these take action memes.
10. Talk to your kids about how important they are to making the future better for all of us!
Jennifer Prestholdt is a lawyer and the Deputy Director of The Advocates for Human Rights, a volunteer-based human rights organization that works locally, nationally and internationally. Her work in human rights takes her around the world, but she spends most of her time in Minneapolis, MN, where she lives with her children (two sons and one daughter), her husband, an elderly cat and a dwarf hamster.
As Jennifer’s kids are now all in school (1st, 4th and 6th grades), she is finally finding more time to do the things that she used to love to do, especially running, writing and knitting. Jennifer loves to travel and has had the dubious distinction of having been accidentally locked in a bathroom on five continents so far. Australia and Antarctica await!
In January 2011, Jennifer made a New Year’s Resolution to start writing about her experiences in order to share with her children the lessons learned from 15 years of work in human rights. The result is her personal blog, The Human Rights Warrior. The name comes from her son Simon, who was extremely disappointed to learn that his mother is a lawyer, not a warrior.
World Moms were out in force on Saturday, January 21st, 2017 at Women’s Marches all around the world. Here are a few of the pictures of a day of global solidarity. The connection of women at these marches are what we try to do on a virtual level here at World Moms Network every day!
Where we were:
Managing editor, Elizabeth Atalay, and contributor, Jennifer Iachovelli were in Washington, DC.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Social Media Editor, Nicole Morgan, was at a march with her mother and daughters in Florida.
St. Louis, Missouri
“My dream is to capture this energy of the moment and transform it into action. If we can launch an unprecedented movement of citizen advocacy and hard work to elect candidates who believe in these values, we will truly have succeeded today.” – Editor, Cindy Levin
Thank you for marching with a #WorldMoms sign, Cindy!
New York City
“My aunt and mom (right). My mom said she marched before I was born and can’t believe she had to do it again.” – Social Media Editor, Sarah Hughes
“Nasty Women Arise! I am marching for my daughter and countless girls and women globally who don’t have the freedom to exercise their rights!” — Contributor, Tes Silverman #worldmoms #womensmarchnyc
Our editor, Tara Wambugu, marched in Wangari Mathai’s Karura Forest.
We also proudly share this interview with former World Moms Network contributor, Sophie Walker, from Saturday. Sophie is now the head of the Women’s Equality party in England and marched in London. We’re so proud of you, Sophie, for sticking up for women!
Check in tomorrow on the blog for a detailed account of the Washington DC march! To see more photos from Women’s Marches around the world check out this New York Times article! There is no doubt, we are stronger together.
World Moms Network is an award winning website whose mission statement is "Connecting mothers; empowering women around the globe." With over 70 contributors who write from over 30 countries, the site covered the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good.
Most recently, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan was awarded "Best Reporting on the UN" form the UNCA. The site has also been named a "Top Website for Women" by FORBES Woman and recommended by the NY Times Motherlode and the Times of India. Follow our hashtags: #worldmom and #worldmoms
The UN recently sent a delegation of human rights experts to the US to report on this country’s overall treatment of women. The result? This is how the preliminary report concluded:
“The United States, which is a leading state in formulating international human rights standards, is allowing its women to lag behind international human rights standards. Although there is a wide diversity in state law and practice, which makes it impossible to give a comprehensive report, we could discern an overall picture of women’s missing rights. While all women are the victims of these missing rights, women who are poor, belong to Native American, Afro-American and Hispanic ethnic minorities, migrant women, LBTQ women, women with disabilities and older women are disparately vulnerable.”
The report touches on these “missing rights” in the realms of reproductive health, wages, politics, and violence- particularly gun violence- against women.
One of the delegates, Frances Raday, told reporters “The lack of accommodation in the workplace to women’s pregnancy, birth and post-natal needs is shocking. Unthinkable in any society, and certainly one of the richest societies in the world.”
As I read their conclusions, which will be further developed in a more comprehensive report in 2016, I felt a familiar sick feeling overcome my being. It’s the same sick feeling I’ve gotten used to since moving back to the US, every time there is yet another mass or accidental shooting. The two questions that come with this feeling are when and why? When will enough be enough? Why not yet?
As a woman and a mother – both to a male child and a female child – the urgency of full and true equality for women and girls is plain as day, not just for me and my daughter, but for the well-being of my son and all boys and men. Everyone is harmed by inequality, and I agree with Ms. Raday, that it is unthinkable in the context of this nation.
After I sit with when and why, I have to move to what. What can be done? What can I do, each and every day in my life, to make a difference? I’ll admit to feeling totally overwhelmed by that question at times, but I’ve found that it can all be boiled down to two things: stand up and speak out. Stand up for what is just and speak out about what needs to change. Or, as Susan B. Anthony said: Organize, agitate, educate.
At times I’ve let my fear of being perceived by others as a downer keep me from standing up and speaking out, but at this point in my life, the stakes are too high to be afraid. The stakes are too high for me and my family and for the millions of families who are affected by the situation of women in this country. So instead I choose to organize (build community) agitate (speak out) and educate (stand up).
I imagine my grandmother at the time of my birth thinking about what a different world I was being born into than the one she had known, and yet she never lived to witness true equality. The dream of full equality has been shared by several generations of women now. Do I dare hope that it will be achieved by the time my daughter comes of age? Will I meet my granddaughter and welcome her into a world where she has no “missing rights”?
Were you surprised to hear the findings of this delegation?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Ms. V.
Image Credit: “We Can Do It!” by J. Howard Miller, artist employed by Westinghouse, poster used by the War Production Co-ordinating Committee – From scan of copy belonging to the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, retrieved from the website of the Virginia Historical Society.. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons
Ms. V returned from a 3-year stint in Seoul, South Korea and is now living in the US in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her partner, their two kids, three ferocious felines, and a dog named Avon Barksdale. She grew up all over the US, mostly along the east coast, but lived in New York City longer than anywhere else, so considers NYC “home.” Her love of travel has taken her all over the world and to all but four of the 50 states.
Ms. V is contemplative and sacred activist, exploring the intersection of yoga, new monasticism, feminism and social change. She is the co-director and co-founder of Samdhana-Karana Yoga: A Healing Arts Center, a non-profit yoga studio and the spiritual director for Hab Community. While not marveling at her beautiful children, she enjoys reading, cooking, and has dreams of one day sleeping again.
On June 17th, 2015, nine lives were suddenly lost in Charleston, South Carolina in the USA, when a man joined a prayer group in a church and opened fire. Today, on the blog, we carry the passionate words of a mother from South Carolina, Yolanda M. McCloud of “Lesser Known Feats of Awesomeness“, to tell the story…
There are no words that can describe the sorrow and despair that has been felt around my state and this nation in the past several weeks. June 17th will forever be emblazoned on our brains as the day when one man, one gun, one mission, walked into a church, not just any church, Mother Emanuel AME, one of the South’s most historically black churches, and changed nine families forever. One man, one failed mission, one gun, nine people.
As I reflect on this, I have said in the weeks following that this type of act just does not happen in South Carolina, let alone in a church. What type of monster walks into a church, sits through Bible study, and then shoots the people he has sat around with for an hour? Who does that to anyone? As we embark on the months ahead, I am saddened by the display of hatred that has taken place following the dreadful day.
Charleston has shown the world how to weep for the lost, but the rest of our State and country has become unraveled at the seams embattled in the same argument, over a flag.
A flag, the center of the unrest at this moment, not the nine lives that were doing God’s work by worshipping and learning his word and the principles for which Jesus died for. No, a scrap of cloth that was created out of hate. That is what society has made the central conversation. And now, it feels more like we are back in the 1960’s with the burning of black churches, too.
The flag issue seems to be the core of the unrest and the destruction of houses of worship around the South. The creator of this flag, William T. Thompson called this flag the “White Man’s Flag” and said that “As a people we are fighting to maintain the heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematic of our cause…As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race, and a higher civilization contending against ignorance, infidelity, and barbarism.” Supremacy, white man, and colored race…heritage.
The debate over heritage and the cause of a war long by gone, a war that was fought so that men and women in the South could keep their slaves, human beings that they owned like cattle, should not be happening today.
A scrap of cloth that now the governor of South Carolina and the governing body has found the courage to say, “enough is enough,” and remove it in honor of the Emanuel 9. I am honored that I was able to see it come down on July 10th, 2015 and pray that it never graces its perch again.
Now this scrap of cloth has long been used as a tool of hate and is being revered by many as a large part of their heritage, citing that the Civil War was fought over state’s rights. In 1962, Senator Strom Thurmond stood in front of Congress to ask for more money for schools to stay segregated and the flag was hoisted to the State House dome and stayed there as rebellion against the civil rights movement. It is being seen to many as a national treasure.
As I sit and watch friends and others debate the cause of the Civil War and the creation of this flag, they talk about how their heritage is wrapped up and tied in a scrap of cloth.
And I begin to wonder, what if instead of black people, slaves bore the shade of skin like those supporting the confederate flag? Would there still be the debate over heritage?
I was born and raised in the South. I grew up knowing that people with my complexion were viewed as “lesser than” because we are darker than my lighter complexioned brothers and sisters.
I grew up knowing that there used to be bathrooms, water fountains, entrances for blacks and they weren’t allowed to use property or doors marked “whites only.” That blacks and whites went to separate schools and the words “separate but equal” were often used when things were anything but. We are aware more than ever that this flag is used as a weapon of supremacy over my race and the race of many others.
We are living in dangerous times. Where is the respect that so many people of color protested, marched, sat-in and risked their lives to achieve in our country’s history? How and why do we find ourselves unsafe again through such a hateful act just because of the color of our skin?
We are living in times where people do not seem to care for life and respect each other after all the civil rights progress that has been made since the 1960s. People are hurling hurtful, unintelligent statements about race on social media for many to see. I see it.
We are living in times where church is no longer sacred. When I see the images of black churches being burned to the ground, it saddens me further because those churches, they are all of our churches no matter our denomination, no matter our race, no matter our gender. They are all God’s House, and we are all welcome. To see them go up in flames is sad because once again, God’s House is not sacred. Our country was founded on the principles of freedom of religion.
If a person is different, meaning if they are not equal to a person in ethnicity, finances, or educational background, then they are less. This extends far beyond “white privilege”. This is the message I am receiving. The message I, and so many others, are feeling.
Churches can be rebuilt, flags can be removed, but life cannot be restored. And as people weigh in on both sides of this debate, I think what gets lost is that children lost their parents, families lost their aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Nine lives lost, one of those lives I knew and applauded and appreciated.
I ask, How many more lives do we have to lose to violence because my skin doesn’t look like yours?”
I weep for the Charleston 9, I weep for Charleston the City, and I weep for the world that thinks that it’s okay to threaten, demean, and belittle those that do not believe in the same thing that others believe in.
I hope that my home state, the great State of South Carolina, will remember this day and the removal of the flag and continue to send a message that hate is no longer allowed.
I hope that the people who are burning churches are caught and publicly known as the hate filled monsters they are. If no other place on this earth is sacred and safe, a church should be sacred and safe. Mother Emanuel and every place of worship should be sacred and safe.
It shouldn’t be about culture, heritage, or being white or black. It should be about people. I ask you to empathize. It’s about the fact that Mother Emanuel could have been the Catholic Church up the street, could have been Temple, and could have been any mosque around the corner. It could have happened in North Carolina, Georgia, New York, or Maine. Your church, my church, from Greeleyville, South Carolina to the State of Tennessee and beyond, the rubble that once was a house of worship could have been made anywhere. The hate must stop.
We lift their families up in prayer, and we remind the world that greatness was lost because of one man, one gun, one failed mission, and nine families and a nation are forever changed.
This is an original guest post to World Moms Blog by Yolanda M. Gordon of South Carolina, USA. You can find her on her blog, “Lesser Known Feats of Awesomeness.”
World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children.
World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.
The 2015 deadline for the eight Millennium Development goals is upon us. As of December 31st 2015 not all of the goals will have been met, but huge progress has been, and continues to be made. If anything the past 15 years showed what is truly possible with concerted effort and proper funding. The MDGs were set in the year 2000 by 189 nations, and the Millennium Goal Declaration was put in place as a step to alleviate extreme poverty around the globe. Negotiations of the Post 2015 development agenda are due to take place early this month, and will build on the progress made thus far through the 8 MDGs.
The next set of 17 sustainable development goals, which have 169 associated targets, are being referred to as the SDGs. The proposed goals are to end poverty, end hunger, achieve healthy lives for all, provide quality education, attain gender equality, empower women, and girls the world over. To ensure clean and sustainable water, sanitation, and sustainable energy for all. Goals include economic growth, resilient infrastructures, reduction of inequality between countries, to make cities safe, create resilient consumption and production cycles, urgently combat climate change, conserve our oceans, protect our ecosystems, create peaceful, inclusive and just societies, and strengthen global partnerships towards sustainable development.
The first element is dignity: an essential element for human development, encompassing the fight against poverty and inequality.
Second is people: Millions of people, especially women and children, remain excluded from full participation in society. We must finish the work of the Millennium Development Goals.
Third, prosperity: We must develop a strong, inclusive and transformative global economy.
4. OUR PLANET
Fourth, our planet: We have an urgent duty to address climate changes and protect our ecosystems, for ourselves and our children.
Fifth, justice: to build safe and peaceful societies, and strong institutions.
And finally, partnership: because this agenda will be built on a foundation of global cooperation and solidarity.
These six broad categories provide a much more digestible approach to the 17 goals that will be finalized at the General Assembly in September of 2015. As #WorldMoms it will be our children, the next generation, who will carry through many of these goals, and be the ones help to innovate, execute, and hopefully see the end goal of eradicating extreme poverty by the year 2030.
What do you think of this new proposed set of SDGs?
This is an original post written by Elizabeth Atalay for World Moms Blog. She also writes at documama.org.
Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.