Happy Birthday to Me: Reflections on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

10 Dec

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights document, drafted by Eleanor Roosevelt.  Here is just a bit of it to treasure.

We stand today at the threshold of a great event both in the life of the United Nations and in the life of mankind. This declaration may well become the international Magna Carta for all men everywhere. We hope its proclamation by the General Assembly will be an event comparable to the proclamation in 1789 [the French Declaration of the Rights of Citizens], the adoption of the Bill of Rights by the people of the US, and the adoption of comparable declarations at different times in other countries.

I have felt very connected to both Eleanor Roosevelt and to the Universal Declaration of Human rights, maybe because it was on my birthday, or maybe just because I have spent most of my life working for basic human rights for all people.

My 45 years here have been both excruciatingly painful and at times filled with great delight.  The past six years have been some of the most difficult and some of the most rewarding.  I have a husband whom I love dearly and he loves me.  I am in school with such a tremendously wonderful group of people as my cohort works to get our MSWs to change systems and make the world a better place.  I believe Eleanor Roosevelt would be very proud.

As I write this post, I reflect that it is with a mixture of bitter acrimony and delight.  This past week, my husband and I have had to witness first hand the unethical abuse of power from certain white heterosexual men that I would easily qualify as sociopaths.  Rather than reflect on these white abusive men, I shall try to be optimistic and grateful for a loving husband and loving friends.

Call to action: My birthday wish is for all that read TSM to look to find ways to stop oppression on every level–to inject ourselves wherever and whenever we witness abuse of power, and oppression.  I shall continue to work to eradicate racism, misogyny, homophobia, and all oppression.  Let us hope my next birthday looks much better than this one.

7 Responses to “Happy Birthday to Me: Reflections on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”

  1. Jennifer Lockett December 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Michael, I believe that this article has a typo. It says that you’re turning 45. That was supposed to be 25 correct?

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 10, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

      You are so my favorite!

      • Jennifer Lockett December 10, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

        I knew you would appreciate my proof reading skills.
        I know that you are a stickler for accuracy at all times.

        Miss you my friend.

  2. Michelle December 10, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    As Ghandi stated, let us be the change we wish to see in the world. Thanks today and everyday for the inspiration, Michael! Happy birthday! xo

  3. Jay December 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    Sounds like you were in a Fizbo situation: he eats cracker sociopaths for breakfast. Sorry your b-day week was marred, but am pleased that you have the wisdom for a measure of gratitude.

    Reminds me of a philosophy of life stated in the movie Annie Hall: the human condition is either horrible (the blind, the crippled, burn victims) or is miserable (everyone else). So be grateful that you’re miserable.

    A bit overstated, for comic purposes, but there’s a nugget of truth in there: whatever your situation, it (very likely) could be worse. Happy Holidays.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 11, 2011 at 8:53 am #

      Thanks, Jay. I suspect there will be some follow up to my rantings on white heterosexual privilege and abuse of power.

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