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.