Editor’s Note: This blog was written by Vision 2020 Tennessee Delegate Patricia Pierce for International Human Rights Day.
December 10th is International Human Rights Day. It has occurred each year since 1950 to commemorate the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. This day presents an occasion to celebrate human rights, highlight human rights issues, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere. In Tennessee, we celebrate the day to “reflect and look at lessons learned and battles won, while various human rights groups join forces and commit to creating an ever better future.” I will be serving on a panel to discuss building a culture of human rights. I will focus on part of Article 23 of the Declaration, which states “Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work” and will draw attention to Vision 2020’s national goal to “achieve pay equity, so that equal pay for equal work will be the norm in America.”
Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the committee that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She made the following statement in a booklet on human rights in 1958. “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home, so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” Her words hold true today. International Human Rights Day is an important event. It provides an opportunity to make our voices heard about the rights and freedom we are all entitled to and the need for the elimination of discrimination.