I believe we are at a critical moment in the history of the United States. Earlier this year former US President Jimmy Carter spoke at the Human Rights Defender Forum. He called on world leaders to “restore and recommit ourselves and our governments to human rights and peace.” The truth of his statement resonates deeply with me. Politico has noted that Stormfront, one of the largest white supremacist websites in the US, has had an increase in traffic since Trump announced his candidacy. Within his speeches he advocates violating human rights in areas of national security and immigration policy. This year the United Nations convened to discuss how President Nixon’s War on Drugs have been a complete failure at ending the international drug trade and have disproportionately negatively affected people of color. In 2010 a US Federal jury found that the company Global Horizons brought Thai workers to the United States who were being held in forced labor. The North Carolina law HB2 violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against transgender people and endangering their lives. The Pluralism Project at Harvard University has documented rises in hate crimes against Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Jews since President Bush declared the War on Terror. These are just a few of the areas where human rights are being violated or are in danger in our country.
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.