New Years Resolution: Keep Fighting For Universal Human Rights
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As we embark on 2021 and a new year of new possibilities, we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on how we can strive to protect and ensure human rights in the new year and ever after.
December was Universal Human Rights Month, a time to consciously come together and stand up for equality, justice, and dignity for all humans.
Because these are important values to live by and defend, we choose to honor the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights year round. This international document states each of the basic rights and fundamental freedoms that all human beings are entitled to, including freedom from discrimination and the right to equality and innocence until proven guilty.
Article I of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
No matter where, when, or in what form a person is born, we all inherit the birthrights of human dignity and equality. Whatever physicality you’re born with, whatever culture, religion, or economic status you’re born into, your life is worth just as much as the person next to you and the person across the globe.
The hard part is making sure no one violates that worth.
Who Do We Need To Advocate For?
Unfortunately, the list of those whose human rights are currently being violated is extensive. We will highlight a few demographics to represent the breadth and severity of human rights violations.
- An estimated 40 million children worldwide below the age of 15 suffer from abuse and neglect.
- Roughly 27 million people are currently enslaved in the global human trafficking trade.
- Millions of people flee regions where ethnic cleansing and violent conflict continues.
- 246 million children worldwide are forced into child labor.
- Even today, governments, institutions, and individuals deny women the knowledge, means, and freedom to act in the best interest of themselves and their children. Statistics courtesy of dosomething.org
This does not exclude the United States. In fact, in the United States alone:
- All 50 states prosecute children in adult criminal courts.
- Children of color are disproportionately represented in juvenile justice systems nationwide.
- An estimated 40 million people live in poverty.
- Federal and state governments continue attempts to restrict sexual and reproductive rights.
- Sexual assaulters disproportionately attack indigenous women.
- Federal and state governments attempt to dismantle protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation (in education, employment, and the military).
- Hate crimes based on sexual orientation and/or gender continue to increase, especially against trans women of color. Statistics courtesy of hrw.org and amnesty.org
Whether you’re looking abroad or right next door, the sad truth is that human rights are continually being violated or denied all around our world.
How Can Endeavors Help?
“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. […] 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.”Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt reminds us that small actions can not only lead to big change but are necessary “for progress in the larger world.” At Endeavors, we develop innovative ways to solve complex community issues and unify families and communities torn apart by poverty, unemployment, or neglect.
From helping a family rebuild after a hurricane to providing high-quality mental health care to a Veteran living with PTSD, everything we do is about recognizing the humanity in people and doing social good. Clients aren’t cases: they’re neighbors. We recognize that vulnerable people in crisis are going through some of the most challenging times of their lives, and we prioritize caring and compassionate service every day.
Our Endeavors family takes a very boots-on-the-ground approach to doing social good. Because, in order to help people, you have to strive to put yourself in their shoes. From participating in the annual Point-In-Time Count to collect data on homelessness in San Antonio to delivering PPC supplies to women’s shelters in Puerto Rico during the Covid-19 pandemic, we strive to build deeply rooted ties with every community we serve. We do this so that when those communities are in crisis, we can be there for them.
Here are a few specific ways Endeavors works to ensure human rights!
- Addressing healthcare inequities at our Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics in El Paso, Killeen, and San Antonio
- Providing job training and employment opportunities through Endeavors Unlimited for people with disabilities
- Offering asylum to women (and their children) living with disabilities, mental health illness, or addiction, and women fleeing abusive situations at our Fairweather Family Lodge in San Antonio, and our Reveille Retreat in North Carolina
- Life and job skills training, and supportive housing for Veterans experiencing homelessness at our Enfield House in North Carolina
- Resources and referrals for hurricane survivors in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico
Our dream is to help as many people as possible to restore their lives and dignity and build safe, stable, self-sufficient futures. Sometimes the best way to do that is by joining forces with partner nonprofits and community organizations like the Bob Woodruff Foundation, American Red Cross, or the King Foundation. Just like we recently teamed up with SARAH — the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless — on our Youth Resilient Project, which provides supportive housing for Bexar County young adults ages 18-24 experiencing homelessness.
How You Can Observe Universal Human Rights Month
Here are just a few ways to observe Universal Human Rights Month every month!
- Treat everyone with respect, kindness, and equality, and set an example in your home, classroom, or workplace.
- Read a book about a different culture’s history.
- Work to find common ground with people who seem “different” than you. Instead of focusing on differences, what common ground or shared experience do you have?
- Speak up for those whose voices are being suppressed. You can write to your representatives about your concerns and give to an organization that fights for universal human rights.
- If you’re spreading the word about Universal Human Rights on social media, use hashtags like #UniversalHumanRights and #HumanRights!
Endeavors is a longstanding national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.