On June 26th, 20 community participants attended the Dorothy Cotton Institute’s Human Rights Workshop to gain a common understanding of the international human rights framework and how it can be applied to local social justice issues efforts they care about.
Workshop participants are working on accessible, affordable and sustainable transportation, access to affordable healthcare, human rights education for parents and caregivers, advocacy for the rights of incarcerated people, diversity and inclusion on the college campuses, the rights of immigrants, the rights and voices veterans, the rights to healthy affordable food, fair housing, and the right to live free of drones.
Margo Hittleman and Kirby Edmonds led the half-day workshop, asking people to draw on their personal experiences of injustice and the challenges of speaking up or intervening on your own or others’ behalf.
At one point, participants lined up on a scale of 0-100 to illustrate and discuss how well they think the rights articulated in the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, (CERD). are being upheld and fully expressed in our community. Their assessment: sharing their perspectives and examples of discrimination and disparate impact based on race and ethnicity, it seems we have a long way to go toward compliance and protection of CERD. In some ways, our society has been moving backwards by allowing the erosion of protections against racial discrimination.
One important action to consider: examine what our local anti-discrimination ordinance actually covers, and what kind of discrimination is left out!
Another action to consider: get into the practice of re-framing the social issues we are working so hard to transform, by
- using the language and lens of our universal human rights, to recognize and describe social justice and ecological needs and standards,
- advocating to meet our national and local obligations to bring our laws and practices into compliance with human rights treaties, and by
- fulfilling our mutual responsibilities to respect and protect the dignity of all.
Welcome to the Human Rights Movement!
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DCI is a project of the Center for Transformative Action