Month: August 2018

DAY 19

Credit: Meredith Stern

On Day 19 remaining in our countdown to the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally, our focus is on Article 18 of the UDHR, which affirms that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Religious freedom has unfortunately been greatly encroached upon in many places around the globe, in ways that are sometimes deadly. Sunni and Shia Muslims have been bombed in their mosques in Iraq; Rohingya Muslims have been subject to nothing less than genocide in Myanmar; Christians have been killed in various locations throughout the Middle East and Africa; member of the Dahlit class and those who don’t conform to Hindu nationalism have been beaten by radicals in India. Here in the United States, anti-Jewish graffiti still appears, and we are one year away from an explicitly anti-Semitic rally in Charlottesville (encouragingly, the anniversary rally in D.C. was a dud.)

The list goes on. No matter what your religion or lack of one, or you worldview, somewhere in the world those who share your views are unsafe precisely because of those views. So now, as much as ever, we must reaffirm the right to freedom of belief, unbelief, worship, and lifestyle–even of those beliefs systems that one personally finds distasteful, as long as the others are not impinging on the rights of others and of public safety. It’s essential for every nation to enshrine the right of religious liberty and conscience and to take proactive steps to protect minority beliefs from encroachments even in civil society. As the New York Times recently editorialized (…/trump-pence-religious-freedom-eva…), this right is important, and it applied to everyone, not just to favored groups of the politicians currently in power.

Many religious communities, religious leaders, interfaith groups, and religious charities do tremendous work to advance human rights–not simply the right to religious freedom, but all human rights. That’s why religiously oriented organizations are becoming cosponsors of the StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally on September 8. See our list of cosponsors here (

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and repost with #StandUp4HumanRightsCT. We also hope to see you on September 8!

Day 20

Credit: Meredith Stern

On Day 20 of our countdown to the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally, our focus is on Article 12 of the UDHR, which ensures that everyone has the right to privacy and to the protection of the law against attacks on his or her family, home, correspondence, and reputation.

The right to privacy is indirectly referred to in the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (security against unreasonable searches and seizures). However, it does also mention that upon probable cause, one’s place may be searched and belongings may be taken for further inspection. In our social and interconnected world, everyone’s actions are constantly affecting the lives of others in some way, so it is almost impossible to maintain complete privacy and immunity. One’s privacy may be limited for the safety and/or freedom of others under specific conditions, provided that the interference is not arbitrary or unlawful.

In our increasingly technological age, the content we constantly put on the Internet such as photos, communications, purchases, and other intimate aspects of our lives are leaving a digital footprint that companies and governments can track. When these bodies have access to this information, our privacy, security, and equality suffer.

As for the less concrete aspects of the Article, one’s “honour and reputation” is at risk at the hands of degrading language, hurtful actions, or really any human rights transgression. Again, this all boils down to being introspective and respectful and treating each person as a human being.

Let’s can do our bests to respect the identity and freedom of others by respecting this human right!

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and repost with #StandUp4HumanRightsCT. We also hope to see on September 8!

Check out for the full blog post and more information on the event.

3 Weeks Until #StandUp4HumanRightsCT!!!

Credit: Meredith Stern

There are officially three weeks until the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally on September 8!
Day 21 of our countdown will be dedicated to Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees the protection from slavery of any kind.

The article reads: No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

Though this article may appear to be one of the most straightforward and obvious of them all, slavery and forced servitude continue to plague our global society today. Modern slavery and servitude take a multitude of forms, ranging from child labor to forced prostitution, and nearly every nation continues to be tainted by this egregious practice, either directly or indirectly.

One generally unsuspected perpetuator of forced child labor is the international chocolate industry, whose involvement in the human trafficking of West African children for the purposes of cocoa harvesting were highlighted in the 2010 documentary “The Dark Side of Chocolate.”   The documentary uncovers the hidden horrors of the $100 billion industry that converts cocoa harvested on farms in countries like the Ivory Coast and Ghana— these two nations alone produce a combined 60% of the total global cocoa supply— into the chocolate bars and candies that are unknowingly consumed by billions worldwide each year. It highlights the stories of West African children and adolescents that are forced to work on cocoa farms for ungodly amounts of time each day without pay, unable to attend school and regularly subjected to violent and tortuous behavior.

In 2010, media and governmental attention to human rights violations within the chocolate industry increased as a result of the documentary and similar muckraking publications around that time. In response, major chocolate manufacturers publicly vowed to make substantive efforts to reduce child labor in West African nations, working towards a 70% reduction by 2020. Despite this, as the demand for chocolate surges internationally, this multi-billion dollar industry continues to resort to the same inhumane methodologies, with more recent reports indicating that though progress is being made, it has been disappointingly slow.

West African children are still being trafficked to feed this global industry, and slavery and forced servitude are continually active forces around the world. What can we do to combat these systems? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Spread the word about the celebratory rally on September 8th!

You can follow the event countdown on both Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to repost using  #StandUp4HumanRightsCT

This will be a great venue for you to hear from local change-makers, network with other community members, and find out what you can personally do to affect change!

Artwork by Meredith Stern.

22 Days and Counting…

Credit: Artist Meredith Stern

Day 22’s post is dedicated to Article 17, which affirms everyone’s right to own property and to not be arbitrarily deprived of his or her property.

On any given night, over 550,000 individuals are experiencing homelessness in the United States alone ( and in a single year more than 2.7 million Americans face eviction (Forbes). Contrary to popular belief, losing one’s home doesn’t necessarily need to be the result of extreme circumstances–it can really be as simple as not paying one or two bills on time. On top of that, keeping one’s property is not exactly the most effortless task, as according to Time, Forbes, and CNBC, housing prices have jumped over 6.5% since mid-2017 and rental prices have increased so much that on average, Americans are spending over $17,000 per year on rent.

Whenever the rights to property and housing are violated, other human rights can be compromised as well, such as the right to food, privacy, work, and security of person. For example, state laws that ban lying down, sleeping, and sitting in public have increased, so now one can even be arrested, put in jail, and end up with a criminal record for a minor “offense.” This would add yet another obstacle to finding employment if one’s situation were to improve. This entire system essentially perpetuates the cycle of food, work, and housing insecurity. And to make it all worse, housing concerns are drowned out by other conversations when it comes to political discussions and any sort of concrete urban policy action.

Many public housing structures are also in squalid disarray and have rodents, flaking lead paint on the walls, and dozens of other housing code violations that can lead to injuries and even death. Yet very little is done to restore these areas  because either tenants and residents are afraid of being evicted, or because after they complain, landlords and real estate operators refuse to acknowledge and report these transgressions.

The housing situation in the U.S. is quite a complicated and contentious issue. We encourage everyone to parse out this multifaceted topic and brainstorm ideas as to what you can do on both a local and institutional level to aid those facing property violations and homelessness.


Spread the word about the celebratory rally on September 8th by following us on Facebook and Instagram and reposting with #StandUp4HumanRightsCT!

Check out for the full blog post and more information on the event.

DAY 23

Credit: Artist Meredith Stern

Welcome to Day 23 of our countdown to the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally on September 8!

Today’s post is about Article 5 of the UDHR, which states: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

This right is very clear and should be very simple enact, as merely requires governments and others NOT to do so something—something that ought to shock their conscience if they even considered it. Nonetheless, some governments throughout the ages and up to today have found it irresistible to try to break the will of people through torture and unjust punishment, so as to maintain their grip on power. It’s essential that people around the world speak out against torture and inhumane punishment wherever and whenever it occurs.

A particular shameful episode in recent American history was the condoning of waterboarding and other torturous interrogation methods during the Bush administration’s “war on terror.” It was right for conscientious politicians and people across the political spectrum to condemn their techniques and get the government to stop them. Americans must remain vigilant not to return to the rationalizations of the 2000’s.

Lastly, it’s worth thinking about the death penalty in light of this article. While the death penalty is not specifically condemned in the 1949 Declaration, almost every developed, democratic nation of the world considers the death penalty to be a violation of human rights. Last year, the UN Secretary General said it “has no place in the 21st century” and last week, Pope Francis said that the death penalty is unacceptable in all cases because it is an attack on human dignity. Do you think the U.S. should join the near-global consensus? Or stay with China, Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia as the top 5 countries for executions?


Be sure to spread the word about the celebration event on September 8th!

Follow the event countdown on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to repost with #StandUp4HumanRightsCT

This will be a great venue for you to hear from local activists, network with others, and find out what you can do in your own community to create change!

DAY 24

Credit: Artist Meredith Stern

“Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”

Today’s post is devoted to Article 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This article necessitates legal protection wherever you may be, no matter your race, gender, national origin, religion, or political affiliation.

A hierarchy of power may seem to be present in the judicial system, but know that you have the power and the right to a fair hearing by an impartial tribunal (Article 10 and 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution), be presumed innocent until proven guilty (Article 11), and decline to answer questions if you are worried about self-incrimination (5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution). You can also visit this link- – to know what your rights are in different circumstances, such as in prison or jail and during interrogations, stops, and arrests.

However, this idea of treating everyone as equal is not just limited to the legal sphere–the entire foundation of human rights is based upon our common, inalienable humanity. We should try our best to ALWAYS be conscious of how our words and actions are affecting others and ensure that we are not degrading someone’s identity.

We can show that we value other people as human beings through many different ways in our daily lives, such as being aware of how your background shapes you and not assuming “sameness”; attempting to understand and then disagreeing in discussions and dialogue; and viewing others not as enemies but as fellow humans and potential comrades.

Acknowledgement and recognition of all people is always the first step, and it’s something all of us CAN do! Let us all try our best to eliminate our biases and strive for equality. If we are not seen as equal human beings with equal rights before the law, and if we do not view others as human beings with unique ideas, thoughts and opinions, we will not be able to tackle any human rights issue no matter how hard we work.


Spread the word about the celebratory rally on September 8th by following us on Facebook and Instagram and re-posting with #StandUp4HumanRightsCT!

DAY 25


Credit: Meredith Stern

“Everyone has the right to take part in the government of their country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.”

The countdown to #StandUp4HumanRightsCT continues! Today we take time to celebrate one of the most overlooked rights of the UDHR, the Right to Democracy.

Voting is the cornerstone to any free and fair democratic system. Everyday people need to feel an investment and voice in their government. The ability to vote for representatives to voice one’s concerns, beliefs and ideas for the direction of a country, state, or locale  is something aspired to across the world, yet not always achieved. We know that free and fair elections do not always happen. We know that people are excluded based on race, identity, or other factors. We know that systems of influence exist, from voter intimidation, to gerrymandering, to one of the most extreme and dangerous threats to this right, interference by foreign governments.     Still, it is the duty of both governments and individuals to fight for the right to democracy, and ensure that everyone has access and ability to participate and elect representatives that will speak for the people’s interests.

Today is Primary Day in Connecticut!  Over the past weeks and months, we have seen an incredible groundswell of mobilization and activism to elect candidates from all parties. Today will decide the future of our great state, and push some candidates one step further to representing the people of Connecticut’s interest.

Here’s an explanation of all primaries happening today:

Primary Day in CT

Also, March For Our Lives just released a great set of resources to mobilize and register young voters before the midterm elections:

March For Our Lives-Young Voter Toolkit

We ask you today to not only look at this post and admire it, but live out it’s creed, and

GO OUT AND VOTE! Your voice and vote matters in making CT an incredible state and national leader.


Be sure to spread the word about the celebratory rally on September 8th!  Follow #StandUp4HumanRights on Facebook and Instagram

Day 26

Credit: Meredith Stern

On Day 26 of our countdown to the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally on September 8, we will be focusing on Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees that an individual will be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The article reads: (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Presumed innocence until proven culpability is one of the foundational principles in the United States justice system, primarily protected by the Sixth Amendment guarantee to a “speedy and public trial with an impartial jury” and Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Yet this fundamental notion is continually challenged by the modern money bail system. What began as a process to provide defendants with an incentive to return to court following release has evolved into an institution that disproportionately preys on the financially disadvantaged. Money bail neglects the doctrine of presumed innocence, instead prioritizing the ownership of capital and unjustly punishing and imprisoning those that personally lack it. 70% of jailed Americans are pretrial, which means that there are hundreds of thousands of citizens spending weeks, months, and at times, years in jailhouses— separated from their families and unable to work— despite still being considered innocent in the eyes of the law.

In its current form, the money bail system allows for the monetary exploitation of society’s most vulnerable and targeted populations, plummeting them into seemingly never-ending cycles of debt and dependency. The ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice reports that the national average for bail for a felony arrest is now $10,000, despite the Federal Reserve calculating that nearly half of Americans would be incapable of paying an unanticipated expense of $400 or higher. Statistics like this illustrate the desperation that many defendants face upon arrest, explaining why the private bail bond industry continues to thrive to this day.

In 2017, significant changes were made in Connecticut to rectify the harms of the money bail system. The Connecticut state legislature ended the practice of “cash only” bail, prohibited the assignment of money bail for misdemeanor charges, and decreased the time between first and second court appearance dates for misdemeanor charges by 16 days, making it one of the few states in the nation to make such advances.

Why does the presumption of innocence matter to you, and how do you think we can protect it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Be sure to spread the word about the celebratory rally on September 8th! This will be a great venue for you to hear from leaders in the local activist sphere, network with others, and find ways to personally affect community change!

The Countdown Continues…Day 27!

Credit: Artist Meredith Stern

Welcome to Day 27 of our countdown to the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally on September 8th!

Today’s post is dedicated to Article 15 of the UDHR, which states: (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his/her nationality nor denied the right to change his/her nationality.

Stateless human beings are one of the most vulnerable populations to human rights violations. In fact, the right to a nationality is often described as the “right to have rights,” as it implies both legal protection from the state as well as the ability to exercise one’s own rights and hold others accountable for any transgressions. Other notable international documents also express the importance of the right to a nationality, such as

Article 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (


Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (, exemplifying how the right to a nationality encompasses other human rights.

Many of you may understand the extremely challenging process of obtaining citizenship in the United States (though some other countries have more stringent immigration laws). First off, fees relating to applications, immigration lawyers, and the like can quickly end up in the thousands, making it virtually impossible for one to even begin the citizenship process. However, the true cost may not necessarily be quantifiable. Numerous procedural delays can have applicants waiting in a hopeless limbo for years. Additionally, many who speak limited English may have a difficult time understanding the questions when it comes time to the test. The entire process, instead of representing acceptance and opportunity, actually appears to have the objective of deterring immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens.

One can celebrate their heritage while being a citizen of a country. Numerous Americans have been ostracized and punished for celebrating their cultural identities, and racial discrimination and xenophobia have nearly become staples in American culture. We should know that appearance does not imply nationality and that a certain nationality does not lend itself to a specific appearance.

What does being a citizen mean to you? Write your answers in the comments!


Be sure to spread the word about the celebration event on September 8th!

Follow the event countdown on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to repost with #StandUp4HumanRightsCT

This will be a great venue for you to hear from local activists, network with others, and find out what you can do in your own community to create change!

Day 28


Credit: Meredith Sterns  @justseeds


“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”

Today we celebrate the PREAMBLE to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In the wake of WWII and the Holocaust, it was recognized that we as a human community have to work proactively to prevent such barbarism from occurring again. Of course, that is by no means easy to do. It was not easy for the drafting committee, representing many major nations and political philosophies of the globe, to come to agreement. The committee members, including Eleanor Roosevelt (US), Rene Cassin (France), Hansa Mehta (India), and Charles Malik (Lebanon), worked at listening to each other, compromising, agreeing to disagree at times, and keeping their eyes on the big picture. They even managed to keep a recalcitrant Soviet representative on board just enough not to upend the whole process. We need that kind of pragmatic civility in our politics today!

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said that universal human rights begin “in small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

And that’s why the Connecticut Human Rights Partnership and our growing list of cosponsors invites everyone to come celebrate with us on September 8 and renew your commitment to enacting human rights in places close to your own homes. The grassroots groups that will be rallying with us on September 8 are the ones who make the promise of human rights come alive.

Follow @cthumanrightspartnership on Facebook and Instagram

Don’t forget to repost these incredible artistic renderings, and use the hashtag #StandUp4HumanRightsCT