Background: Kitchen Table Activism (KTA) is a monthly activity by the Rural Organizing Project. The idea is that small actions can lead to powerful collective results when groups of people gather to complete the same action across the state of Oregon. ROP works to keep each KTA easily achievable so that groups with other projects or groups with limited immediate energy can still complete the KTA each month.
WHY THIS ACTIVITY?
Human dignity groups are a moral compass for the community in these troubled times and often being a person of conscience is a difficult and thankless job. Bestowing a Human Rights Award to a local community leader is a great way to build relationships and advance the conversation about our shared rural values and vision for the future!
It’s been nearly three years since the pandemic first rocked our worlds and forced us to drastically change the way we interact with one another. We are hearing from folks across the state that they are hungry to get back to gathering safely in person and that transitioning back feels challenging. The winter holiday season is a great time to come together with community members to enjoy good food and each other’s company, and to acknowledge all of the incredible organizing that folks have been up to this year!
Rural Oregonians across the state have achieved so much in the past year to advance human dignity and democracy in their communities. Just a few examples include:
- Community members in Curry, Crook, and Deschutes counties organized to protect their libraries and public schools against attempted book bans and attacks on inclusive curriculums.
- Folks from across the state shared positive stories about Outdoor School and inclusive spaces after Camp Tamarack came under attack from transphobic community members.
- Neighbors helped one another recover from a devastating hail storm in Wallowa.
- Organizers in Tillamook County passed resolutions in multiple towns to make sure residents received Voter Pamphlets with information about local candidates.
- People across the state rallied in support of gun safety as well as abortion rights and reproductive justice.
WHAT IS THE ACTIVITY?
This month’s Kitchen Table Activity is to award a certificate to a community member (or members!) whose work strengthens one or more of the thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). December 10th marks the 74th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is a great opportunity to remind folks of our shared values of democracy and human rights as we consider just what policies and practices a fair and democratic society should include. Over the years, this KTA has been repeated as a winter action because you tell us that this is a fun, easy, effective, and positive way to celebrate and raise awareness of human rights victories and struggles.
More on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): The UDHR can work as a framework to connect seemingly distinct issues. The five categories of human rights outlined in the UDHR are civil human rights, economic human rights, social human rights, cultural human rights, and political human rights. Civil Human Rights are those such as free speech, peaceful assembly, and freedom from discrimination. Economic Human Rights include the right to a living wage for your work, the right to be able to feed your family after work, and the right to be able to survive if you are not able to work. Social Human Rights speak to the needs each person has for housing, education, and health care. Cultural Human Rights include the right to practice your own culture, your religion of choice, and your language of choice. Political Human Rights include the right to free elections, the right to a nationality, and the right to free movement in and out of your country.
HOW TO COMPLETE THE ACTIVITY:
- Gather with your human dignity group to brainstorm ideas of people in your community that would be notable candidates for receiving a certificate of appreciation for their human rights work. Is there a leader in the immigrant community who deserves to be honored? Some suggestions include people who went the extra mile during the pandemic to eliminate barriers to accessing resources, school teachers or coaches, union leaders, ESL teachers, or student leaders.
- Plan a gathering where you will present and announce the award! Where and when will it be? Who will you invite? How will you get the word out? Is there an agenda other than presenting the award and enjoying spending time with one another? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com for support in planning your event!
- Download a certificate here or create your own using free tools like Canva.
- Adapt this letter to the editor or press release to announce this award to your community.
- Discuss how your group can use the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a framework. How does your work connect to human rights principles? How does your work fall under the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
- Let us know who was nominated! Reach out to your friendly ROP organizer or email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your candidate and the amazing work they did in your community.