December Cause Awareness: Universal Human Rights Month

Human Services

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Every December is Universal Human Rights Month! A month dedicated to celebrating and promoting equality, Universal Human Rights Month is all about bringing people together. Learn more about this important awareness month and what you can do to celebrate it below. 

History of Universal Human Rights Month

united nations flags

Universal Human Rights Month, also known as Human Rights Awareness Month, began in 1948 when the United Nations created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With the input of representatives with a wide variety of legal and cultural backgrounds from all around the world, the United Nations created the document with the intention of setting a “common standard of achievements” and establishing fundamental rights for all human beings. It has been translated into over 500 languages, and its proclamation day of December 10 has been established as Human Rights Day. This year marks 75 years since the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

On December 9, 2001, President George W. Bush established the first Human Rights Week in the United States, and the celebration has been extended to a full month by many countries around the world to celebrate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

How to celebrate Universal Human Rights Month

diverse group of four women celebrating human rights month

Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

One of the best ways to observe Universal Human Rights Month is to read the document that started it all. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that there are inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being—regardless of race, religion, sex, language, political affiliations, national or social backgrounds, property, birth, or any other status. There are 30 articles in the document that establish inalienable rights for all human beings. Knowing your rights is the key to finding common ground with the people around you and protecting the basic foundation of equality all humans are entitled to. 

Participate in educational events

Knowledge is power, and finding opportunities to educate yourself on human rights and the world around you is a great way to celebrate. The UN’s Office of the High Commissioner runs a “Stand Up for Human Rights” campaign to empower everyone to take action in their daily lives to preserve and protect the rights of all human beings. You can check out their website to view all of their campaigns, read stories, and learn about ways you can personally promote and engage with human rights activism. 

Another way to educate yourself is to simply talk with people in your life who don’t share your background or do research on other cultures. While we’re all unique with different identities, we are all still people deserving of respect and dignity. The key to breaking down barriers is to take the time to learn about others’ backgrounds so we can all stand up together and fight for our rights and the rights of others. 

Donate to charities

If you want to do more to observe Universal Human Rights Month but aren’t sure where to start, consider donating to organizations that work to protect and spread awareness of human rights. There are many organizations that are involved in protecting human rights internationally, but you can also find organizations that are dedicated to doing that work right in your immediate community. If you’re looking for a few nonprofits to donate to, check our list out below. 

Nonprofits to support

woman holding up a "together we rise" sign

Global Impact 

Global Impact is an organization that works on charitable ventures and provides advisory and infrastructure services to nonprofits, the corporate and public sector, foundations, family philanthropies, and donor collaboratives. As a team of experts in philanthropy, they offer their support for purpose-driven projects big or small around the world. Founded in 1956 by four international charities, Global Impact was originally created to participate in federal workplace giving. Today, Global Impact and its partnership with Geneva Global has allowed the two organizations to raise and influence billions of dollars in philanthropic giving.

Donate to support their cause here. 

4 Humanity Project 

The 4 Humanity Project was created to provide sustainable humanitarian relief around the world through “agricultural sustenance and vocational training.” Founded by Edward and Janell Parker, the organization focuses on providing support for homeless, low income, and poverty-level households. They believe in enacting long-lasting positive change in communities by providing sustainable solutions catering specifically to the state, region, or country where the people they help live.

Donate to support their mission here. 

Center for Economic Inclusion 

The Center for Economic Inclusion was founded in 2017 to strengthen public- and private-sector civic infrastructures with the end goal of creating a more inclusive economy. The organization looks to achieve this goal by closing racial employment, income, and wealth gaps. In addition to running awareness campaigns, the Center for Economic Inclusion also offers organizational consulting services for employers and conducts research and collects data to build frameworks for community leaders so they can create data-informed programs, policies, and practices.

Donate to support the Center for Economic Inclusion here. 

Final thoughts 

Universal Human Rights Month is a powerful awareness month, designed to bring people together and remind us to stand up for our rights and the rights of our fellow humans. By taking the time to educate yourself and support organizations dedicated to protecting human rights, you can do your part in making the world a better and more equitable place. 

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