Basic Human Rights - Don't Take Them For Granted
When I read the topic for this week's HubMob, so many things ran through my head, I wasn't sure I could pick just one topic. Many of us could each probably write a dozen different articles on rights - human rights, civil rights, animal rights.
Those of us who have basic human rights should consider ourselves lucky, because there are countless people all over the world who do not share our good fortune. Many people don't think about the basic rights we have, but stop and think about some of them now - freedom of speech, the right to vote, go to school, have a job, just to name a few. People take all of these things for granted, and if that's how you've always lived, and you've known nothing different, you may be unaware of the many injustices that other people suffer all over the world.
The right to seek employment - a cause that's close to my heart
Everyone has the right to seek employment. Many people choose not to, for whatever reason, and there are others who can't work for various reasons. Then there are those people who want to work and won't get hired because of a disability. One of these people is my brother. His disability is one that many people would consider small and overlook - he is deaf. He communicates through sign language, has limited speech, and with the use of hearing aids can even hear a small amount of one-on-one conversation. But it is almost impossible for him to find a job because people don't want to be bothered with a deaf person.
It's pricey to hire an interpreter, and for many employers, it might not be a reality to have someone on the job who knows sign language. Because of this, my brother, who is a hard worker, wants to work, and is constantly sending out resumes, cannot get a job. Living in a community with one of the few deaf schools in the province, and having grown up around deaf people, I know this is the case for many of my brother's friends and peers.
My brother never gives up hope though. He continues to seek employment, and hope that someday things won't be so hard for the deaf community.
Celebrities who advocate for human rights
There are many celebrities these days who consider themselves activists, and speak out about human rights. Some people support this, some are against it, but I say anything that brings attention and awareness to a cause can't be a bad thing. My favorite example is U2's Bono - an activist, humanitarian and philanthropist who uses his platform as a celebrity to bring awareness to issues that many people wouldn't otherwise know about. His success lies partly in his ability to enlist and unite powerful members of government and religious institutions, philanthropic organizations, and people from the media and business world to bring attention to important issues, such as debt, AIDS, fair trade, and education, just to name a few.
So many people are content in their ignorance is bliss state of mind that they don't want to acknowledge or address the problems of others, or they feel there's nothing they can do, so why should it matter? It does matter, and there is always something we can do. Some people believe that because they can't donate money to certain charities, there's nothing they can do. Many celebrities have non-profit charities or organizations (such as Bono's ONE Campaign, Product RED, DATA and EDUN) that you can join and you never have to donate a cent. By spreading the word and being an advocate for people who are less fortunate than you and don't share the same basic human rights, you're helping to spread awareness and it's only a matter of time before it reaches people who can actually do something about it.
Bono often talks about and quotes the great Martin Luther King Jr. He takes King's "I have a dream" message and expands on it, saying that the dream isn't just about racial equality, but rights for everyone the world over.
Do what you can to make the world a better place
Even if you can't help fight injustices throughout the world, you can work to make your own world a better place. Treating people with kindness and respect seems to be something that is falling by the wayside these days. Whatever happened to the simple concept of just being nice? If we all treated people with kindness, respect, love, and eliminated hate from our lives, think how much better the world would be. I know that may sound over-simplified, but it is simple. People make it harder than it has to be. Everyone has the right to be loved, so do your part to spread that love.
You could also find a cause that's close to your heart and do what you
can in your community. If you have a roof over your head and meals each
day, and you find it hard to come to terms with the fact that not
everybody has those same things, volunteer at a shelter, soup kitchen or
food bank. Do your part to see that people are being fed, clothed and
sheltered, and when you volunteer, it doesn't cost you anything but a
little time. You might also consider volunteering in a nursing home -
you'd be surprised how many elderly people have been abandoned by their
families, especially if their minds are starting to go. You might also
look into volunteering at a local hospice, where their mission is to
provide a home-like setting for people who are seriously ill and dying,
because everyone should have the right to die a dignified death. Or, if
you consider yourself an animal rights activist, volunteer at a local
There is always something you can do to make other people's lives better. Small things add up. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "be the change you want to see in the world" - you might be surprised at what you can do to make a difference.
Further reading - some great books to check out
Thanks for reading!
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