The concept of human rights is relatively simple. Despite the diversity of our identities and experiences, there are basic needs we share, basic comforts from which we benefit, and basic freedoms to which we should have access. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, lays out 30 such needs, comforts, and freedoms.
The policy and practice of human rights, though, can be a different story. We may agree that everyone deserves a good life (or at least a fair shot at one), but there are a lot of different opinions about what that means and how to make it happen. It can be hard to see past our own circumstances, but now more than ever, it’s important to try. If you’re interested in becoming an advocate for human rights, but you aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few tips to consider.
Take a step back…
We may each have our struggles, and many of us may have personally experienced injustice on some level, so it’s easy to fixate on what’s right in front of us. Perspective is important, though, and the first step toward a solution is seeing the whole problem. Even if you watch the news every day, it might be tough to process just how many people are affected by some form of oppression. From socioeconomic obstacles to religious persecution to political corruption to gender and sexuality discrimination to complete devastation, human beings around the globe endure some truly horrific things.
While a “big picture” view might be overwhelming, it may also allow you to make a more informed decision about where to focus your efforts. Maybe you feel called to support international outreach with a charitable donation, or maybe you feel called to volunteer your time at a local homeless shelter. There are many, many ways to be of service, and they all matter. Remember that if you add enough small changes together, really big changes may be possible.
…then step into someone else’s shoes
Many of us may wrestle with the issue of reconciling what’s right with what’s legal. Laws and ethics are both important and complicated, and it’s not our place to decide how they should be balanced. However, before you judge a situation—or more specifically, the individual(s) who are IN that situation—we encourage you to really think about what you would do if you were there yourself.
If you feel that any of the laws being followed may be contradicting basic human rights, consider taking the time to contact your elected representatives to express your concern and suggest changes to the current legislation.
Remember that violations aren’t always violent
While human rights violations in third-world countries and war-torn regions may be more extreme, there are many more subtle ways that people may be deprived of liberty and justice. Freedom of speech, access to information, and personal privacy are things we generally expect as Americans. We may feel a little “violated” when our social media accounts are hacked or even when we search for something online and are suddenly inundated with ads for similar products, despite the fact that we willingly (if not always knowingly) signed up for that to happen.
However, in China, which is hardly a developing nation with the largest population in the world and an economy that is second only to that of the United States, citizens are subject to extensive internet censorship. So here in the U.S., we might complain about Googling “Winnie the Pooh” and suddenly having our Facebook feed blow up with sponsored content from the Disney Store, but in China, we wouldn’t be able to use Google or Facebook in the first place, and bizarrely, Winnie-the-Pooh is banned, too.
There are so many ways to help other humans, and finding the ones that feel right to you can be a process. Here are a few ideas to help you get started!
For global impact:
International Rescue Committee: “Responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future.”
For local impact:
JustServe: “A website where the volunteer needs of organizations may be posted and volunteers may search for places to serve in [their] community.”
For people who are passionate about gender equality:
Equality Now: An organization whose mission is “to achieve legal and systemic change that addresses violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world.”
For those who prefer a grassroots effort (bonus points if you’re a babywearing fan):
Carry the Future: “An organization dedicated to providing a way for everyday people to have a direct and meaningful impact on the lives of parents and children in need. [Their] mission has truly touched the babywearing community and parents throughout the world.”
For people who love helping others, but also love wine (no judgement):
ONEHOPE: An online wine shop with a cause that has “made more than $3 million in donations, provided 46,000 people with global health care, 49,000 forever homes for shelter animals, 1.8 million meals for children, 163,000 life-saving vaccines and much more.”
At Our Life Covered℠, we know that protection of human rights begins with the humans you love the most. Life insurance may be an important part of helping to secure a brighter financial future for your family. Visit us to get a fast, easy, no-obligation quote today!
Want to learn more about life insurance and talk more about how to work toward a longer, healthier, more financially secure life? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, or send us a message directly to join the conversation.