On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration outlines the basic rights that every person should be entitled to, and was created as a response to the horrific acts committed during World War II. Since then, December has been observed as Universal Human Rights Month. This month, while you’re busy in the frays of the holiday season, consider setting aside a few moments to help those who are struggling to obtain even the basic human rights that many in developed, free nations take for granted.
How to Take Action During Universal Human Rights Month
1. Educate Yourself. Educating yourself about the plight of others is the first step in helping them. Read the newspaper, visit sites that cover human rights issues, or watch an international news program. Learn about human rights throughout history and see what others have done to enact change. Education is a very powerful tool in promoting any cause.
2. Spread the word. If you read or hear a story about a human rights issue, don’t keep it to yourself. Spread the word to your friends, family, and even your social media network. Share links to news stories that catch your attention. One person can enact change, but it’s a lot easier if many voices come together.
3. Volunteer. December is a busy month for everyone, but if you can carve out even just a few hours throughout the month to volunteer at an organization that promotes human rights, you could help thousands of people. You don’t have to volunteer for an international organization either; basic human rights include food and shelter. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a program that brings meals to those who cannot provide for themselves.
4. Donate to a human rights cause. Organizations that promote human rights need donations to continue their work. While the larger international organizations typically aim their efforts at larger and more widespread injustices, many smaller groups and even individuals are working hard to help promote human rights on an individual level. Even if your donation helps just one person, it matters.
5. Teach the next generation about kindness and compassion. Teaching children about human rights is important because it sets the framework for a better future for all. Children who are taught kindness, compassion, and empathy for others at an early age typically exhibit those characteristics when they grow up. Remember, the children of today are tomorrow’s future leaders. Make sure they know how to be good leaders.
Human rights violations aren’t just a problem in countries with unscrupulous leaders- they happen just about everywhere on some level. If you see an injustice happening close to home, speak up. Your voice is your most powerful tool in promoting change.