I Believe

A few years ago I got up in front of a group of human rights educators and belted out a rant on why I did what I did. I’d typed up my words in bullet points a couple of hours before speaking but only had a hard copy of what I said. The paper stayed in my pocket that night, I brought it home and had lost sight of it for all these years until today. Digging through boxes of old papers, I found it. Here is my rant:

  • I believe in human rights for all.
  • I believe that everyone, no matter who they are, has the right to human dignity.
  • I believe that I can educate people not only about their rights, but also how to ensure that their rights are fulfilled.
  • I believe in peace, not war.
  • I refuse to believe that women should be treated as second-class citizens on this planet.
  • I refuse to believe that millions of people should die of hunger and starvation every year on this planet.
  • I am disgusted by the fact that thousands of children are forced to fight wars created by their parents.
  • I am disgusted by corrupt governments which fail to redress gross human rights violations and who perpetrate these violations on the very people they are supposed to protect.
  • I am horrified at ethnic cleansing and genocide that has shattered the lives of millions of people.
  • I am disgusted at the fact that children lose their limbs because they step on land mines from wars that have passed.
  • I am disgusted at a president who can justify the use of military action to invade a country all in the name of freedom.
  • I am horrified at the deaths of innocent civilians.
  • I believe in a better world for my two children.
  • I believe I can empower those who do not have the ability to defend themselves.
  • I believe I can make a change for the better in the lives of the people I love and those who are oppressed.
  • I believe in all these things because I am a human rights educator.
  • I will educate people about their rights, I will advocate for their rights, I will get up and stand up for my rights and the rights of others because I can and I have the responsibility to do so.
  • I will draw upon the inspiration of leaders like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. to keep my spirits high in the face of despair.
  • I do all these things because I know I can make a change for the better in other people’s lives.
  • I know I can do all these things because I am a human rights educator, because I am Canadian.

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