In December, we celebrate Universal Human Rights Month, a time to honor the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One of the first objectives of the United Nations was to ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’ and ‘to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights.’ The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the first step toward that goal. Adopted 70 years ago on December 10, 1948, this declaration consists of 30 articles stating an individual’s basic rights and freedoms such as the right to equality, freedom from discrimination, freedom of thought, and more. The UDHR was the foundation for what would become the International Bill of Human Rights, which was completed in 1966.
How can you honor Human Rights Month? Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and think about what this set of freedoms does for you. Find common ground with people around you and take time to learn about a culture that’s different from yours. We have some book recommendations to get you started.
We Are All Born Free from Amnesty International
A wonderfully illustrated introduction for children to the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
Encouraged by her father, Malala Yousafzai pursued an education in Pakistan and was shot by the Taliban while riding a bus home from school. This is the story of her journey from a schoolgirl in Pakistan to becoming a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
We all want to think that our judicial system is fair and impartial, but as Just Mercy shows, that is often not the case. Just Mercy examines how racial bias and widespread injustice affect the judicial system in the United States .
“A Problem from Hell”: American and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power
When we hear the term “genocide,” most of us think of the Holocaust but genocides have continued to happen all over the world since then. This book is an overview of genocide in the twentieth century and the reluctance of America and the international community to get involved.
What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Hope, and Resistance in an American City by Hanna Mona-Attisha
We all know about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan; this is the story of how bad policies and the indifference of the government led to their water crisis and the fight to ensure that the residents of Flint have access to clean, safe water.