GSSA is pleased to recognize and join other organizations throughout the world in promoting December as National Human Rights Month and December 10th as Human Rights Day. This time period was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 when they adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights document, which outlined the vital and absolute rights and liberties that all humans should possess. These rights, which include freedom from discrimination, the right to equality, and the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty, are meant to empower, protect and promote connection and solidarity among all people in the world.
As Americans, we take a lot of these rights for granted, but we have to remember that there are people in our country and around the world who still experience bias and differential treatment as a result of their race, color, religion, gender, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
During the month of December and every day, we encourage GSS Agents and others to come together to embrace and demonstrate the principles of equality, justice, and the dignity of all humans. We believe that there is only one race, “the human” race! We may all have different physical characteristics on the outside, but we are all equal and all deserve the same right to freedom, justice, and human dignity.
According to Eleanor Roosevelt, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
GSS Agents, Eleanor’s words provide us with an achievable call to action! Conducting small secret missions/acts of kindness this week and throughout the year, will help to demonstrate our support and active participation and contribution to creating a more just society.
Here are 10 small things that you can do to help promote Human Rights principles this month and/or throughout the year:
Speak up to when someone makes an offensive ethnic or racial joke when no one from the affected group is present.
Foster trust among another group by befriending or having lunch with someone who is different from you; ask about and listen to their story and share yours.
Spread kindness by secretly doing something kind and respectful for someone of a different race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.
Share this blog post and spread the word about Human Rights Month/Day on social media
Model kindness and dignity for others by using inclusive and respectful words.
Read a book on The Human Rights Watch that explore human rights, including The Courage of Strangers (Jeri Laber); The Evolution of International Human Rights (Paul Gordon Lauren); and A Problem from Hell (Samantha Power); Secretly donate one of the books on the list to a family, friend or acquaintance.
Visit a local cultural museum and/or secretly donate to help support their cause.
Buy and hand out t-shirts or other gear featuring slogans related to human rights (like some in the GSSA Mission Gear Shop) and secretly share/send them with friends and relatives.
Volunteer and/or secretly donate needed items to a community cultural center for refugees, Native American, or other ethnic or religious group.
Volunteer or support an organization like KIVA, that provides financial support to help people, especially women, all over the world improve their economic conditions and lives.
Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.