Liberty and Justice for All
By Cindy C. Roberts, Advocacy Committee Member
“Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.”
At least, that is what Article 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states.
The timing of the UDHR was monumental because of the fragile state that the world was in when leaders from different cultures and backgrounds came together to draft it. We were still recovering from the First World War when we found ourselves in another war, with millions of innocent people dying for their religious beliefs, sexual orientation or political affiliation. We as citizens of the world desperately needed an advocate. We needed to establish fundamental and inalienable rights regardless of social or economic class that we were born into. In a historically unprecedented move, countries all over the world came together in unity to formally establish human rights and to proclaim dignity and equality of each member of the human family.
As a citizen of the United States, I am tempted to believe that these articles were written for “other” countries. Countries that are vulnerable to rogue state actors, those oppressed by dictatorships and religious persecution. It is tempting to look past my own community and look abroad with a critical eye. However, when I wake up to the news and see that people in marginalized communities are shot while jogging, sitting in their apartment, playing video games or any other activity while exercising their rights identified in Article 24, I am forced to see the realities of the every day world that I live in and its hard to face.
When did I become “at risk” living in my own country? At least that is what statistics tell me.
It is imperative that we as global citizens continue to promote friendly relations within and across our borders and echo the founding principles of the UDHR. Becoming a member of an organization like UNA-NCA that takes us out of our comfort zone is the first step to bridging social gaps or even stopping to speak to a neighbor that we typically don’t take the time to connect with is another way to foster community. Whatever it is we do, let us not underestimate its power to inspire others.