Human Rights: A Solvent for Hate Speech?

The deadly 2017 Unite the Right demonstration in Charlottesville and the attempted reconvening of the event this year in Washington, D.C., has inspired community groups to create activities that counter hate speech. Youth for Human Rights will hold Human Rights exhibit on September 21 in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with more events planned for the coming year to counter hate with human rights education and peaceful responses.
“Hate speech and hate marches cannot be responded to with more hate. Human Rights are the solvent that we promote to youth to keep them from joining hate movements. Instead they can help create a movement for peace,” Erica Rodgers, director of Youth for Human Rights National Office, Washington, DC, commented.
The U.N. Declaration is the basis for the Youth for Human Rights educational campaign featuring videos of the 30 human rights as well as a booklet aimed at youth, which clearly explain what human rights are. Surveys show that very few people know what their rights are under the Universal Declaration.
Earlier this year, The King Center – through its #Nonviolence365™ Youth Initiatives – provided elementary, middle and high school students an opportunity to learn first-hand from the King and Farris families about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Students heard personal and humorous stories about the life of Dr. and Mrs. King including the choices, decisions, and experiences that shaped their development as young people and led to them becoming global leaders.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change also hosts a summer youth camp, Camp NOW where participants — ages 13-18 — develop and enhance their leadership and conflict reconciliation skills based on Dr. King’s nonviolent philosophy and methodology, which we call Nonviolence 365.
Engaging the community in knowing, defending, and promoting their rights and encouraging youth to respect the rights of others, the event will feature a human rights education exhibit.


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