KTA: Celebrate 75 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights!

WHY THIS ACTIVITY?

Human dignity groups are a moral compass for the community in these challenging times and being a person of conscience can often feel like a difficult and thankless job. Bestowing a Human Rights Award to a local community leader is a great way to recognize their hard work, build relationships, and advance the conversation about our shared rural values and vision for the future! 

Rural Oregonians have achieved so much in the past year to advance human dignity and democracy in their communities. Just a few examples include: 

KRFR 90.7 FM in Malheur County and KBZR 89.9 FM both got approval to build full-power community radio stations!

Tillamook Democracy Project hosted its Campaign School for the third time to identify, recruit, and work with pro-democracy community members to run for non-partisan local offices.

Rural Oregonians from Curry to Wallowa County organized Pride and Juneteenth events.

Human dignity groups have also done powerful organizing to respond to and address our communities’ biggest challenges. Nearly two months since Hamas’s horrific attacks and the devastatingly violent response of the Israeli government against occupied Gaza, rural Oregonians continue to call for peace. Winter is upon us again and Oregon still has the country’s highest percentage of homeless families that are living completely unsheltered – meaning they aren’t sleeping in a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing. Human dignity leaders are organizing for more affordable housing, increased mental health support and other resources, and an end to sweeps. 

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!

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 75th 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 include 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 people in your community who would be good candidates for receiving a certificate of appreciation for their human rights work. Some suggestions include people who went the extra mile to eliminate barriers to accessing housing or food resources, immigrant justice leaders, school teachers or coaches, union leaders, 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 sidra@rop.org 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 for your organizing. 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 sidra@rop.org and tell us about your candidate and the amazing work they do 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.

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