by Kalena Coleman
As economies continue to expand throughout the world it is easy to forget about the citizens who are making these economic changes possible. Human Rights Day was established to remind every nation of the basic liberties each individual citizen deserves. New this year to the University of Northwestern – St. Paul, Global Engagement will be facilitating conversations pertaining to these human rights early next week.
“Global Engagement’s goal is to educate, inspire and raise awareness to the various pillars of human rights,” said Victoria Downey, Global Engagement assistant. “We are asking student clubs, ministries and organizations to host a table talking about a specific human rights issue.” The expo is being held Dec. 11 from 9 to 2 in the Billy Graham Commons.
Student organizations such as FORCE, Writing in the Sand, Global Immersion Project and Global Engagement will be hosting informational tables during the expo. Each table will address a human right topic. Writing in the Sand will be touching on sex trafficking in the United States and specifically within the Twin Cities.
Writing in the Sand’s literature states “We exist to gain knowledge and understanding of sex trafficking in our world today and to let God work through us by our words and actions while servicing in the community.”
Tiffany Waller will be hosting Writing in the Sand’s table. Waller’s goal is to express to fellow students the importance of getting involved and how sex trafficking is violating the most basic human right, that of one’s body.
“Each table will showcase how the human right pillars apply today and what exactly human rights are,” said Rebekka Schoell, Global Engagement assistant.
As Global Engagement continues through a new year on campus, the organization hopes to host events on global focus days established by the United Nations. This is what has inspired the Human Rights Day expo.
On Dec. 10, 1948 the United Nations established the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was inspired by the occurrences the world faced during World War II. In attempts to educate citizens throughout several nations, the United Nations pushed this movement. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Human Rights Day.
The Declaration of Human Rights was originally drafted by Eleanor Roosevelt. She once said, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. …Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
Even though the declaration was crafted 70 years ago, the pillars are applicable in society today. The pillars include equality, freedom, peace, hope, dignity, rule of law, prosperity and justice. All 29 human rights are based on these eight pillars.
“The Human Rights Day on Northwestern’s campus will celebrate the declaration and talks about how globally we are living up to the document and what needs to still be changed,” said Downey.
More information pertaining to Human Rights Day expo can be found by emailing .