December 12, 2011

Let us make human rights a human reality ♥

Hillary Clinton gave a powerful speech at the UN this week in celebration of the 63rd birthday of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. She boldly challenged the cultural, political and religious beliefs that some communities use to limit the human experience of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people.  

I grew up with this declaration pined to my wall (thanks momma!) so to hear this strong woman boldly claim these rights for the LGBT community was pretty special to listen to.

Please take the time to listen to the full speech above.  Ms Clinton urges everyone to support the Declaration of Human Rights as it relates to the LGBT community, that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Here are a few gems I have extracted from the full speech (you can read the text version here) that I think are particularly relevant to discussions that friends and I have been having recently:
"Laws have a teaching effect. Laws that discriminate validate other kinds of discrimination. Laws that require equal protections reinforce the moral imperative of equality. And practically speaking, it is often the case that laws must change before fears about change dissipate."

"Finally, progress comes from being willing to walk a mile in someone else's shoes. We need to ask ourselves, "How would it feel if it were a crime to love the person I love? How would it feel to be discriminated against for something about myself that I cannot change?" This challenge applies to all of us as we reflect upon deeply held beliefs, as we work to embrace tolerance and respect for the dignity of all persons, and as we engage humbly with those with whom we disagree in the hope of creating greater understanding."

"Acting alone, minorities can never achieve the majorities necessary for political change. So when any part of humanity is sidelined, the rest of us cannot sit on the sidelines. Every time a barrier to progress has fallen, it has taken a cooperative effort from those on both sides of the barrier. In the fight for women's rights, the support of men remains crucial. The fight for racial equality has relied on contributions from people of all races. Combating Islamaphobia or anti-Semitism is a task for people of all faiths. And the same is true with this struggle for equality."

"Leadership, by definition, means being out in front of your people when it is called for. It means standing up for the dignity of all your citizens and persuading your people to do the same. It also means ensuring that all citizens are treated as equals under your laws."