In the wake of the recent Presidential elections in the U.S., many are legitimately fearful about the future of the rights and protections that are no longer guaranteed protection by federal authorities. This makes it even more important that we work to strengthen the role of local and state governments in defending against discrimination and other human rights violations.
Our growing member-led and organized National Human Rights City Network is working to strengthen local initiatives for human rights with ideas for building local movements, models for local policies and actions, and by supporting a diverse network of human rights defenders around the country and world. These efforts are even more vital now, as political theorist Benjamin Barber has suggested - cities are where we can counter the nationalist and exclusionary policies and rhetoric of the Trump administration.
We encourage you to mark this year’s International Human Rights Day (December 10, 2016) by taking action in your community as part of the National Human Rights City Network’s national days of action. Now more than ever, it is critical that we all step up our efforts to protect human rights, dignity, and justice in our communities. Here are some ideas and resources to support this vital work:
Join the movement: Help us demonstrate our collective power and show that there is a national constituency in the United States for human rights! Add your Human Rights Day event to our list & please use the hashtag #HRDaysOfAction on your social media posts!
- Human Rights Day December 10, 2016 Events Across the United States - bit.ly/USHRNHumanRightsDay16DayofActionEvents
Become a Sanctuary City: Encourage your local officials to make your community an official Sanctuary City. If your city already has this designation, encourage public officials to re-affirm their commitment to protecting immigrants and actively resisting discrimination while upholding all human rights, as Eugene, OR and Washington, DC recently did.
Recommit to being a Human Rights City: If you live in a Human Rights City, ask your local officials to reaffirm their commitments to implementing human rights in local government (see this proposed Resolution language from Washington, DC and Eugene Oregon's Inclusive Community Resolution). If your community is not a designated Human Rights City yet, you can work to make it one - see the National Human Rights City Network page for resources.
Study & share USHRN’s 2016 report card: The US Human Rights Network will issue its annual Advancing Human Rights Report Card on Human Rights Day. The report card will highlight key issues that show the intersections across our movements & struggles. Locally, groups might highlight the Report Card during Human Rights Day events and via social media. Groups may also use it as a basis for discussion and strategizing.
Promote a culture of human rights: Help defend and promote a culture of human rights at this urgent time, check out some resources for youth and adult education from the Human Rights Educators USA network.
Evaluate your city’s human rights record: Work with local activists to evaluate your community’s human rights record. Be creative in finding ways to make this record visible to both public officials and the larger community. For instance, DC youth produced this “State of Human Rights in a Human Rights City” media project. While in New York City, City Council officials have been given a “Human Rights Report Card.”
Speak out against gender-based violence: UN Women has called for 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, between November 25th—International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and International Human Rights Day (December 10). Download the Action Kit or join the Twitter Teachin #GBVTeachin #16Days
Connect with people across the world: Human Rights Day is celebrated around the world! On this Human Rights Day the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has a campaign calling for everyone to: Stand up for Someone’s Rights Today. This is a great way to get involved and to activate people of all ages. Use the UN hashtags: #standup4humanrights #humanrightsday
Learn about what is happening internationally to defend human rights and prevent the Trump administration from violating or rescinding global human rights principles. UN officials have indicated that “if the U.N. doesn't call out its most powerful member for straying from universally accepted human rights norms, the rest of the world will be emboldened to ditch them.” The US Human Rights Network helps link human rights defenders in the US with international monitoring procedures, and we’ll keep you informed about opportunities for action.