I saw Loretta Ross speak at Brown University earlier this year and she spoke about how the organization SisterSong works on reproductive justice within the context of the human rights framework. She described the 8 categories of human rights that have developed and expanded since the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (written in 1948 post World War 2). She described these categories as:
Civil Rights – Non-Discrimination, Equality
Political Rights – Voting, Speech, Assembly
Economic Rights – Living Wage, Workers’ Rights
Social Rights – Health Care, Food, Shelter, Education
Cultural Rights – Religion, Language, Dress
Environmental Rights – Clean Air, Water, and Land. No Toxic Neighborhoods
Developmental Rights – Control Own Natural Resources
Sexual Rights – Right to Have or Not Have Children, Right to Marry & When, Same-Sex
Rights, Trans-gender Rights, Right to Birth Control and Abortion, Right to Sexual Pleasure and Define Families
This is an election year and we have a candidate that openly flaunts his intention to dismiss and violate the human rights of citizens across the globe; but it has been hundreds of years that our entire federal government continues to fail to acknowledge, apologize, or make reparations for the colonization, genocide, and slavery of indigenous communities of First Nation Tribes and people brought here from African countries. The United States continues to support and participate in war, genocide, environmental devastation, slavery, and other human rights violations in countries around the globe through our International policies, trade agreements, involvement in the IMF and World Bank, etc.
I felt compelled to make a series of prints of each of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to inform us of this international agreement which many of us are woefully ignorant of. We are not taught this document in most educational settings. It is activists and organizers such as Loretta Ross who teach and remind us about our rights and it is through grassroots organizing that we make institutions accountable to uphold these moral values. It is our responsibility as humans to hold ourselves, our neighbors, our nation, and our nations leaders accountable to a global standard of human decency to make sure that human rights are upheld at all levels. Educate, Agitate, Organize.