The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and My Birthday…

10 Dec
Me Age 6

Me Age 6

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.

Today, I am also sad at how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is just an abstract idea far removed from places like Uganda, where white, wealthy, heterosexual Americans fuel and finance hate. I find myself asking what can we do individually and collectively to make the world a better place.

My birthday wish is that all of humanity take some action, no matter how small a step, to STOP racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, ageism, classism, and all other forms of marginalization.  We must learn how to have courageous conversations and how to interrupt oppression.

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29 Responses to “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and My Birthday…”

  1. Jennifer Carey December 10, 2012 at 6:38 am #

    Happy Birthday Michael!!

  2. trueconfessionsofafemalemotorcyclist December 10, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    I think that’s a great birthday wish!@ Happy Birthday!

  3. Rich McIntyre December 10, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    Happy birthday, I hope you have a wonderful day and that this next year brings you joy and happiness.

  4. Will S. December 10, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    Happy birthday, Michael!

    That’s about as good-hearted a birthday wish as anyone’s ever made. And you are a damned fine example of starting with being the change you want to see in the world. Thanks for all you do, and I hope you have a happy birthday, and that you get your wish!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 10, 2012 at 7:24 am #

      Dear Will,
      Thank you for the birthday wish and thank you for being such a wonderful ally to those that are marginalized!

  5. Central Oregon Coast NOW December 10, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    My friend Nan Ward reminded me last night that we are having our first (after several years of dormancy) Central Oregon Coast NOW (Natl. Org. of Women) meeting on International Human Rights Day. Another quote from Eleanor Roosevelt regarding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “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 map of the world.” Let’s honor Michael’s birthday by doing our part, and taking “some action, no matter how small a step, to STOP racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, ageism, classism, and all other forms of marginalization.”

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 10, 2012 at 7:27 am #

      Nancy,
      What a beautiful comment here. Thank you for the additional quote from our Eleanor. Thank you also for all the work you do towards social justice. Love, Michael

  6. webwordwarrior December 10, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    Happy birthday, Michael. What a lovely birthday wish. Let all of us who celebrate you help to make it a reality.
    You chose an auspicious day to be born, not just because of the Declaration. You probably know this, but you share it with a number of pioneers:
    * Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron and arguably the first computer programmer
    * Nelly Sachs, Nobel winning writer and voice of Jewish suffering under the Nazis
    * Melvil Dewey, the Decimal master (nice connection to Robert there)
    Enjoy your day!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 10, 2012 at 7:54 am #

      Lex,
      Thank you for the birthday wish. Actually, I did not know I shared a birthday with Melvil Dewey–how cool. I do love sharing a birthday with Nelly Sachs and Harold Gould.

  7. Kathleen Saadat December 10, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    You and the way you live your life, breathe meaning into the otherwise abstract idea of Universal Human Rights. Thank you for the thinking, writing, working, doing that YOU are. Thank you for the support that you give. Thank you for the courage that you model for us. Happy Birthday Michael.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 10, 2012 at 7:59 am #

      Kathleen,
      I’m so very honored! Thank you. This means a great deal to me coming from a woman who has spent her life working for social justice and equality for all! I love you, Kathleen!

  8. Bruce Kestelman December 10, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    Happy Birthday Michael.

    Just reading these comments demonstrates the “tribe” you’ve created that stands with you and provides support around you for making the world a more inclusive and welcoming place. Words and strongly held beliefs can motivate and lead others to take action.

    It’s a better world because of you.

    Wishes for a year ahead of health, joy and peace. Take care.

    Bruce

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 10, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      Bruce,
      Thank you so much for such a lovely birthday wish. I am truly fortunate indeed! Thank you also for being such a strong LGBTQ ally and for using your voice for social justice!

  9. Well said and heart felt. Of course I agree. But for today, Michael, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

    Much much love, Sara

  10. Labyrinth-Living December 10, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    Well-played and Happy Birthday!

  11. James Queale December 10, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Happy Birthday, Michael!! 🙂

  12. nevercontrary December 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    Happy Birthday!

  13. madeline knox December 12, 2012 at 2:01 am #

    awww that picture is too cute. I mean the article is good and all but a kid in a sweater vest, it is killing me. : ) I love it!!!

  14. Christine Noble December 12, 2012 at 6:19 am #

    Happy belated birthday dear! I should have realized you were a fellow Saggi (opinionated pair that we are.)
    You are right, it is sad that we have so very far to go and that our own country, a country ostensibly founded on the recognition of human rights, is intent on leading the way… backwards.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt December 12, 2012 at 8:06 am #

      Thank you, Christine. Happy Birthday to you as well. I’m grateful to be in the company of so many that are dedicated to issues of social justice and equality.

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  1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and My Birthday… « Central Oregon Coast NOW - December 10, 2012

    […] The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and My Birthday…. […]

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