After our arrival on Monday afternoon followed by a delicious dinner at a Ramen bar near our hotel, we engaged in a thoughtful conversation about many different aspects of the concept of human rights. We began by reflecting upon the following prompt: “Think about a moment from your own childhood when you first came into awareness of a human rights or humanitarian crisis. From where/whom did you receive this information? What were the people closest to you saying about it? Did you know of any organizations that were working to aid those most impacted by the crisis?” After some time journaling about this question, our group had a thoughtful conversation in which many different topics came up such as: public health, disaster relief, displacement, famine, drought, domestic violence, housing, militarization, unfair labor conditions, unfair imprisonment, and many more. This conversation led to an examination of the 30 articles from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights drafted in 1948. Throughout this week in our explorations of organizations, museums, and memorials, we will be thinking about this declaration and the ways it has influenced human rights advocacy work.
Tuesday was a packed day with visits to three organizations: Global Giving, The Environmental Protection Agency Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights, and the White House Office Environmental Justice Council. More details to come soon about the specific learning that took place during those visits!