International Human Rights Day on December 10th was established in 1948 because once, a very long time ago, something horrific happened in the world. It was so shocking and so unjust that the world spoke in one collective voice: “This can never happen again”.
That event was the Holocaust. It was the German Nazi slaughter of an estimated six million Jews, as well as millions of others in Europe including Roma, homosexuals, and political opponents, because they were deemed undeserving of life itself. World War II revealed that horror and put an end to it.
And when the war was over, in a worldwide effort to never forget, International Human Rights Day was born. Today, we acknowledge that all individuals are born with inalienable rights. Regardless of race, color, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, and despite language, political opinions, national or social origin, property, birth or any other status, all people have the right to life and freedom to live that life. International Human Rights Day was the first global proclamation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations. And it is still important today – human rights are forever in danger of being taken from us.
Many things threaten a person’s inherent human rights. Discrimination, racism, political bias, homophobia, islamophobia, and inequality all work to make one person lesser than another. And in our personal lives we may do this without thinking. People have political, social, and religious (or non-religious) opinions that differ from other people. When this happens, what those other people say is often viewed as hate speech. But the answer is not shutting down speech – that only works to take away freedom.
The answer is always understanding and compassion. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to openly express our opinions. Taking that right from others makes us no better than fascist regimes all over the world. Especially now, for International Human Rights Day, make an effort to listen to others whose opinions differ from yours. Agreeing to disagree doesn’t take our own rights away. It makes us all better people. Becoming better is what L.A. CADA is all about, and we appreciate that you listen to our opinions. And we’d love to know yours. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.