Posted 10.15.08 -
Sixty years later, we live in a world where these basic rights are still neither universally respected nor legally mandated in many countries. We still have hunger, slavery and persecution. The rights to education, work, voting and religion are still abused. In the U.S., we have lived through a reign of Presidential imperialism that supported torture and surveillance; where the richest country in the world ignored the education of its children and the health of its elderly; where economic growth trumped economic responsibility; and where a country turned its back on genocide and environmental destruction. On this anniversary, sadly, there is little sense of progress.
Still, we have hope for the United Nations. We have hope for a new American administration. We have hope for the Kyoto Protocol and the Millennium Development Goals. But, mostly, we have hope in citizen initiatives around the world, grassroot efforts to work in small communities, to affect change in small ways. We can only hope our governments will follow our lead with larger initiatives and systemic change.
Today should give us pause. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights deserves not only celebration, but our respect and our best efforts.
Working with Amnesty International, which uses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the foundation of its activities, Woody Pirtle designed a series of posters that spotlights 12 of the individual articles. The posters were distributed to schools as part of the group’s “Amnesty Educate” initiative in 2002. The design uses photography of common objects to visually summarize each article. Posters were printed in a kaleidoscopic range of colors that, when hung together, provide a lively classroom display. The intent was to make the UDHR into a “living” document relevant to students.