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December 10 is Human Rights Day

In 1950, The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December Human Rights Day as a way to “bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.”

Last year’s slogan was Human Rights 365, which encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.

The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights occurred on 10 December 2008, and the UN Secretary-General launched a year-long campaign leading up to this anniversary. Because the UDHR holds the world record as the most translated document (except for the Bible), organizations around the globe used the year to focus on helping people everywhere learn about their rights.

Human Rights Day is normally marked both by high-level political conferences and meetings and by cultural events and exhibitions dealing with human rights issues. In addition, it is typically when the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded. Many organizations active in the human rights field also schedule special events to commemorate the day.

The idea of human rights is something we often take for granted in the United States. Elsewhere, freedom and basic human rights are not a given.

You can participate in this day by learning more about human rights issues around the globe. Consider offering your time and money in support of a human rights issue that is important to you. Visit the United Nations’ website (un.org) for further information.

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December 1 is Giving Tuesday

#GivingTuesday, now in its fourth year, is observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Created by 92nd Street Y (92y.org), a cultural center in New York City, #GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

Here are some simple things you can do this Giving Tuesday:

Volunteer at the soup kitchen. While you and your family are enjoying your holiday meals, just think about others who don’t have the same luxury. Dedicate some time to volunteer at the soup kitchen or homeless shelter to help those in need. Invite family and friends to spread goodwill.

Host a food pantry drive. Ask your friends, family and holiday visitors to bring at least one food item when they come to your house. Then, you can donate those items to your local pantry.

Donate winter clothing and blankets. If you’ve got extra blankets or winter coats, don’t let them pile up in the closet. Take them to your local shelter or donation center.

For more information on Giving Tuesday, visit givingtuesday.org.