This article is authored by Christa Preston and is reposted with her permission.
Why you need to celebrate today
December 20 is International Human Solidarity Day. If you’ve never heard of it, or if you have, here is some background on why you need to celebrate it today and how you can do it.
HOW TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY DAY:
International Human Solidarity Day was sanctioned by the United Nations to be celebrated every December 20. If you’ve never heard of it or are wondering exactly what it is let me start you with a few definitions:
1) Human: a member of the species Homo sapiens; of, relating to, or affecting people
2) Solidarity: a group coming together for a common cause
So what does it mean? Well we are all human, so like it or not, we are all united. This day is the celebration of that fundamental link. Not a day for one cause, but a day we celebrate our common link and for a fleeting moment stand together.
I live two lives, one working in Uganda with children with developmental disabilities, one fundraising in the United States. This year I watched the election of two presidents followed by two waves of protest, calls for “democracy.”
Today, let me remind you, democracy is not a human right. It is a right we have fought for, yes. But not a human right. Human rights are much more foundational. Human rights are not dependent on political ideals. Human rights, instead are universal. Human rights provide the black and white contrast our definitions of “right” and “wrong.”
If you’re still confused, world leaders came together to help us define 30 specific rights we, as humans, have. I put an appendix at the end of this because I know you’l all stop reading if I list 30 things here. Go find it and read it.
SO HOW CAN YOU CELEBRATE THIS DAY?
Start by thinking about it. Read the damn appendix.
Basic human rights are being denied around the world. But today isn’t about grabbing one banner and waving. It isn’t about your cause or your passion. It’s about grabbing the same damn banner as everyone else. It is about being united for one day and celebrating the fact that we are all fundamentally linked.
But before your grab this banner look at yourself. Have you denied someone their basic rights? Odds are, you have, or at least wanted to. Shocker! I know. We aren’t all the good people we thought we were. When you read the appendix, before you shout hoo-rah and start listing those denying human rights to others, think about how you yourself are doing it.
Ever judged someone’s religious or political beliefs? Blocked them on Facebook because of who they voted for? Human rights doesn’t mean we can’t argue. But it does mean we all get an opinion. Today, think deeply about someone you hate, someone you judge, fear or dismiss and consider how you might be denying them these fundamental rights.
If you read through the 30 rights and say “except” or “unless” to any of them, you are wrong.
Of course this is they day the lyrics of Lenon echo. Imagine there’s no heaven….Imagine there’s no countries….no religion…no possessions but instead a brotherhood of man.
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you
That “you” at the end there is important. Let’s start by addressing ourselves. Admitting our own faults. Removing our own bias. Then we can grab our flags and for just one damn day wave them together.
The 30 Human Rights as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Article 1: Right to Equality
Article 2: Freedom from Discrimination
Article 3: Right to Life, Liberty, Personal Security
Article 4: Freedom from Slavery
Article 5: Freedom from Torture and Degrading Treatment
Article 6: Right to Recognition as a Person before the Law
Article 7: Right to Equality before the Law
Article 8: Right to Remedy by Competent Tribunal
Article 9: Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest and Exile
Article 10: Right to Fair Public Hearing
Article 11: Right to be Considered Innocent until Proven Guilty
Article 12: Freedom from Interference with Privacy, Family, Home and Correspondence
Article 13: Right to Free Movement in and out of the Country
Article 14: Right to Asylum in other Countries from Persecution
Article 15: Right to a Nationality and the Freedom to Change It
Article 16: Right to Marriage and Family
Article 17: Right to Own Property
Article 18: Freedom of Belief and Religion
Article 19: Freedom of Opinion and Information
Article 20: Right of Peaceful Assembly and Association
Article 21: Right to Participate in Government and in Free Elections
Article 22: Right to Social Security
Article 23: Right to Desirable Work and to Join Trade Unions
Article 24: Right to Rest and Leisure
Article 25: Right to Adequate Living Standard
Article 26: Right to Education
Article 27: Right to Participate in the Cultural Life of Community
Article 28: Right to a Social Order that Articulates this Document
Article 29: Community Duties Essential to Free and Full Development
Article 30: Freedom from State or Personal Interference in the above Rights