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My Human Rights Can't be Purchased
My human right can't be purchased this holiday season because they are priceless. As I shop at the mall this December, I’m being more consumer savvy and more careful with my buys due to the economy or so called ‘recession’. But I still can’t seem to buy that ‘hot item’ called human rights. It’s not on sale, no corporations sell it, I can’t even go to the thrift stores to buy the hand me downs.
It’s not everyday I recognize my human rights. Sometimes I feel like they may deserved or inhumane to have them not given to me. However, I must recognize and show my thanks to who those suffered on behalf of a cause, as well as recognize the individual advocates and organizations campaigning to make sure they are maintained.
I recognized my privilege to gain liberty in this country and my human rights being fought on my behalf in November. I was lucky enough to have my Pre-Service Orientation AmeriCorps training in old District of Philadelphia. The Liberty Bell Center was in walking distance of the hotel, so I took a tour. I actually went twice. I had the freedom to walk there. I got accepted in not based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I was given fair treatment and not judged nor humiliated by my fashion style or presentation. And I wasn’t forced to pay a fine or given bribery to enter, it was FREE for all.
The enriched timeline of the Liberty Bell’s creation, use, and purpose was brought to my attention. It’s over 2,081 pounds, casted of copper and tin, and has “the most famous crack in history.” William Penn issued it’s creation in 1701 and the work instructions written in1751`cited part of the verse in Leviticus reading "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof." I was encouraged to even touch a recreation of the inscription, and it provided me with a sense of liberation.
It was originally rung for resolution made in the Parliament, but it began being requested to be rung for inaugurations, Presidents birthdays, important deaths, ratification of the Constitution, etc. The anti-slavery movement quickly attached the bell as an important symbol and abolitionists published poems and declared their attachment to its sounds of freedom.
Soon everyone wanted to touch the Liberty Bell and every city, from Chicago to San Francisco requested it be sent to his or her city. So it traveled by train for the World’s Fair and other exhibitions. The bell traveled worthwhile miles, to show the accessibility of freedom and possibility hope the bell possessed. The women’s suffrage moment recreated its own liberty bell too. The bell later became a universal symbol of freedom and rights, ringing at the anniversary Berlin Wall and on D-Day.
Although I didn’t get to “hear freedom ring” or physically touch the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, I got feel its power and see liberty at my fingertips. Today, December 10, 2008 I will read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and articulate every word with gratitude, grace, and understanding. This statement is rich with history, struggle, and dignity .
So this Christmas, give the gift of human rights to your friends and family. Read them to the Universal Declaration or provide materials to them about organizations helping disadvantaged people around the globe understand and access their human rights.
Human rights won’t be the ‘must have’ gift this season, it won’t be advertised, and it wont is available for the day after Christmas sale…but read about it, feel it, embrace it.
It’s what’s humanly right this Christmas.