By Dylan Lee,
National Human Rights Day was Thursday, Dec. 10. The event was created by the United Nations with the intention of commemorating the day that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed in 1948. Two years later, it was officially recognized by the government, which extended an invitation to each of the 50 states to observe it.
The day is also in effect to promote and commemorate the creation of the Bill of Human Rights, a combination of multiple covenants and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Certain Davis High students are are truly passionate about the issue. Senior Matthew Rowen has been outside of the United States on multiple occasions, one of which was to travel to Nicaragua as part of the Global Glimpse program. Rowen had an interest in human rights and their role around the world prior to his trip, but it grew into a topic of even greater interest for him.
“Going to Nicaragua and building a personal relationship with some of the kids there was huge for me this past summer,” he said. “I got to actually talk to people who were suffering and not being given their basic human rights, and that was difficult.”
This experience has led Rowen to become much more understanding of the people around him in his everyday life and he is grateful for the opportunity.
“I wasn’t aware that Human Rights Day was happening, but it is something that I definitely am interested in participating in and raising awareness for in the future,” he said.
Race and Social Justice teacher Kevin Williams is always trying to raise awareness for humans rights issues around the world to create a student body that is well-educated on important current issues.
“I try to talk about important human rights issues in class,” he said. “In-class discussions reveal that students here have a pretty decent understanding of what is going on, though a lot of what is known is due to media coverage.”
As Williams says, much of what people know at DHS is what is portrayed by the major media outlets like social media, television and newspapers. Williams says that many issues that have long since been forgotten by the general public still rage on in other parts of the world.
“For example, the Darfur situation is still very much ongoing, but it is hardly discussed at all today,” he said.
For those who have a burgeoning passion for human rights or feel the need to get involved with the cause, the fifth annual Human Rights Symposium takes place at UC Davis in May.