Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Write a Letter, Make a Video, Embrace Diversity: December 10th is Human Rights Day

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood"--Article 1 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Thursday, December 10th is Human Rights Day. This year's theme is, "embrace diversity, end discrimination." Two creative ways you can celebrate are by writing a letter, and making a YouTube video.

1. Write for Rights with Amnesty International

Join Amnesty's Global Write-a-thon December 5-13, and write a letter to help a human rights defender, prisoner of conscience, or other victim of human rights abuse. You can write letters by yourself, or find an event near you. The Amnesty site has resources to help you write your letter and organize an event, as well as success stories for inspiration about people whose lives were changed because of letter-writing campaigns.

I've linked to information about the campaign from, but also has a Write for Rights site, and Amnesty branches in other countries may have information as well.

2. Create a YouTube video about a human rights organization

Each month, YouTube's Video Volunteers program asks folks to make videos about organizations working on a particular issue. This month's issue is human rights. To participate, make a promotional, less than 3-minute video about a human rights organization whose work you admire. Submit it by December 21st. The top 3 videos will appear on the YouTube homepage at the end of the month.

When we think about human rights, we often think of extremes circumstances like torture, wrongful imprisonment, or genocide, but really, you can help preserve human rights in your everyday life. I like this Eleanor Roosevelt quote on the Every Human Has Rights site:

"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."

I found the continuation of Roosevelt's quote on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 50th Anniversary site:

"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 concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world."

Related blog posts:
Red rights badges taken from Every Human Has Rights
Cross-posted from

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  1. Anonymous3:37 PM

    Grateful for this nudge Britt..truly..and I'll plan to write another for's something I jotted down a bit ago...questions that help me stay focused on what it means to me to defend rights for all....
    Thanks muchly for the nudge, the bounty of resources and keepin' us all about the bigger picture. :)


    Thanks for your blog post about Human Rights Day! I have included a link to your post at the blog

  3. Found the link to your blog on twitter. Wrote a blog article about the rights of 23 year old political prisoner Gilad Shalit in Gaza: Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Tre, Emiko and James - How awesome that you *all* posted about human rights day. Hooray!


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