What Human Rights Day Means to Me

I’m about to board a flight back to the U.S. after spending two weeks delivering human rights lectures and musical performances to youth in Taiwan. Door to door, the travel time is about 25 hours. In other words, I’m about as far away as I could be from home while still being on planet earth.

Tourists launching a sky lantern in Taipei
Three women launch a sky lantern in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo by weniliou/Shutterstock.com)

I love to travel. I love hearing different languages, smelling different food, getting a sense of each new place and realizing that there are so many variations on a theme of “normal” life, each of which is unique and fascinating if you take the time to notice.

We are moving, as a culture, towards a future that acknowledges, values and protects these basic human rights for every man, woman and child on earth.

I’m also constantly reminded that the world is populated by an overwhelming majority of decent, hardworking, well-intentioned people who want to provide for their families, contribute to their communities and leave a positive mark on the world—big or small.

And so as I reflect on the common decency and humanity that binds us all, I’m happy that I spent the two weeks leading up to International Human Rights Day (December 10th) doing something I love: spreading the word about human rights and watching people’s faces light up with empathy and understanding for their fellow man.

As Eleanor Roosevelt famously and eloquently put it, “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.”

I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch the beautifully done ten-minute documentary “The Story of Human Rights,” as well as the Public Service Announcements that can be found at humanrights.com. They never fail to move me and make me hopeful that tomorrow will be better than today. Because, after all, reality is what we agree it is, and we are moving, as a culture, towards a future that acknowledges, values and protects these basic human rights for every man, woman and child on earth.

And that’s exactly as it should be.

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