Human Rights Day …

Today is Human Rights Day, marking the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.  First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt played a key role as chairperson of the drafting committee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and I initially considered using her speech before the United Nations as the basis for this post.  However, the speech is long … over 4,000 words … and I decided instead to listen to some of the voices from the past, including Eleanor Roosevelt, speaking of human rights.


“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it—always.” – Mahatma Ghandi


“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.” – Eleanor Roosevelt


“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” – Nelson Mandela


“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King


“I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.” – Desmond Tutu


“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.” – Cesar Chavez

These are but a few of the thousands of people who have worked tirelessly to bring about equality and fairness for everyone, not just for a select few.  Let us hope that today and into the future, there are many more like them.

25 thoughts on “Human Rights Day …

  1. We are in a time of spiritual upheaval. Those who do not care about other living beings, human or not, are in the ascendent, and they are loud and they are obnoxious. They care only about themselves and what they believe. But this is only part of the problem.
    Never before has the planet we live on been on the brink of extinction of all life, and we humans are the ones threatening that very existence. Gandhi spoke in a world that was not dying, so his words were hopeful. What would he have said if he could see the end of life? Eleanor Roosevelt could not see a dying world either. She could see that responsibility was a key factor, and I don’t know much about her to say anything, but without respect responsibility is not enough. We have no respect for either life, or our home.
    We who see the possible extinction of life are devastated, because not all our leaders care about the future. The earth has always supported us, no matter how we treated it. Why shouldn’t that continue? Because we have no respect for it…
    And so it goes…

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are quite right, and as we have discussed before, I think that people are so vain, so shallow, so concerned with their own happiness that they will not likely wake up and smell the coffee until it is too late, until we have passed the point of no return. Does that mean we stop trying, though? I think we have to keep trying to wake them up, to do our part to make the world a better place, to convince people that we must take care of this planet, even if it means we make sacrifices. If we just give up and stop trying, then we have lost before we’re begun. Sigh. LuL


  2. Jill, thanks for highlighting this moment in time. Per Ken Burns’ documentary series on The Roosevelts, Eleanor’s role in getting this declaration was huge. A Republican adversary of her and her husband said after watching her in action “I take back every bad thing I ever said about Eleanor Roosevelt.”

    FDR relied on her to tell him the truth about what was going on. She was a formidable person. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s