Kitchen Table Activity: Honoring Human Rights Heroes

What is the Activity?

This month’s Kitchen Table Activity is to award a certificate to one or more community members whose work strengthens one or more of the thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). On the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, let’s take the opportunity to remind our communities 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 an annual 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.

Why this Activity?

We live in a time when the movements for human dignity and human rights are experiencing intense backlash that is intended to marginalize us, minimize our work, and silence our visions for our communities. In the face of backlash, rural Oregonians are bravely and courageously naming their values and visions in public.

Just a few examples include youth in Josephine County are organizing for LGBTQ2SIA+ students’ rights despite physical attacks and arrestsfolks across Newberg showing up to demonstrate for LGBTQ2SIA+ rights and Black Lives Matter after the school district banned pride flags and Black Lives Matter signsJackson County youth hosted antiracism workshops and painted a beautiful, big mural celebrating the powerful leaders of color from the community in the wake of the murder of a young Black man, and faith leaders in Curry County are continuing to feed their neighbors despite getting fined and ordered to stop

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!

More on the UDHR

Much like ROP’s Democracy Grid, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) can work as a structural 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 working, 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 rights 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:

1. 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 service providers 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.

2. Download a certificate here or create your own using free tools like Canva.

3. Adapt this letter to the editor or press release to announce this award to your community.

4. 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?

5. Let us know who was nominated! Reach out to your friendly ROP organizer or email and tell us about your candidate and the amazing work they did in your community!

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.

ROP is turning 30 Give a special gift today

ROP is turning 30 years old in 2022 and we hope you will join us in celebrating! Please consider a special gift today in honor of this anniversary and for the next 30 years of powerful rural organizing. Thank you!

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