There are many days on the calendar designated to observe a wide variety of things, from National Candy Day (November 4th) to National Animal Crackers Day (April 18th). However, some days are designated for more serious reasons than candy or animal crackers, and a more significant day of observance is on the horizon. Human Rights Day is December 10th. As attorneys and judges in child welfare, juvenile justice, and family law, we advocate for our client’s rights every day. On December 10th, perhaps we can do something outside of our usual role to stand up for someone else’s rights.
Human Rights Day commemorates the day that the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This 30-article document was a commitment by the international community to “the universal recognition that basic rights and fundamental freedoms are inherent to all human beings, inalienable and equally applicable to everyone, and that every one of us is born free and equal in dignity and rights.” The declaration is not a treaty or a law, and it is not magic. By itself it cannot make the world a better place, but it has inspired many human rights conventions, bills, and treaties. Human rights violations were not eradicated by the declaration unfortunately, but Human Rights Day can remind each of us that what we do is not just another job; what we do is also a commitment to the protection of another person’s rights.
Whether it is through legal advocacy, writing an article or a blog post, supporting an organization, or in another way, when you stand up for someone’s rights, you not only lend your voice to that individual, you also become an example to others to do the same. So, in this season of thanksgiving and celebration, please remember this important day of observation and encourage others to participate as well. Perhaps you will stand up for the rights of a client. You might also stand up for the rights of a friend, family member, colleague, student, or even a stranger. Be an advocate, a voice, a champion, a role model, and on December 10th, please remember Human Rights Day and stand up for someone’s rights.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NACC.
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About Candi M. Mayes
JD, MJM, CWLS Candi Mayes is a regular blog contributor, NACC board member, and the CEO and Executive Director of Dependency Legal Group of San Diego (DLG). DLG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation representing indigent families involved in child welfare cases in San Diego county.