Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10 to mark the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly. This document proclaimed the undisputable rights every human should be entitled to regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, birth, or other legal status. To celebrate this milestone there is a theme each year that focuses on some issue related to the rights of all people.
This year's theme: Recover Better - Stand Up for Human Rights
As 2020 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on this theme as it seems to be an undercurrent for this year. We have had so many things happen this year with COVID-19, social justice protests, impeachment, elections, Supreme Court appointment, and death looming in the shadows like a thief in the night taking away not only people we love but the mere fear of its spectral hand keeping us away from each other. It has all seemed like too much at times.
Yet COVID-19 has laid bare some truths that we, not only as a nation but as a global community, must look at. We have seen how quickly some have slipped into poverty, we have seen the inequalities in our education systems, medical systems, legal systems, how weak our government safety nets are, how deeply rooted discrimination is, and how many of the things we have always depended on aren't as sustainable or solid as we believed. These issues were always there, but we never took time to expose them or look at them until now.
What we have is an opportunity to decide who we want to be as individuals, a community, and a larger global society. It's time to let go of the things we have let divide us as a people and to forge the better future that has rested solely in the dreams of those who have dedicated their lives, freedoms, and futures to the cause of bettering mankind.
I challenge you to start examining who you want to be in 2021? What kind of world do we want to leave behind for those who will come after us? To fight for those who have had their voices silenced and to lead all your interactions with compassion and empathy. 2020 has shown how fragile our systems are and how delicate our social contract with one another is. While on face this is a frightening concept, it is time to face fear, be better, and do better.
I don't know what 2021 will look like or what ripple effect this year will have on the future, but what I do know is this an opportunity we should not waste.
Be safe and Be well.