Drums beating, children chanting, feet marching; the celebration of Human Rights Day started off with a parade through a village near Visthar. Each year different human rights are focused on and this year awareness was raised about the rights of children. Along with celebrating Human Rights Day, Bandhavi Day is also celebrated on December 10th. Six years ago on this day, the Bandhavi program was started. The program was deliberately started on Human Rights Day to show the Bandhavi girls how important it is to know their rights and stand up for them. Before the day began, I thought that during the parade and festivities I would see how important it is to stand up and fight for your own rights, but I was also shown how important it is for all people living in this world to fight to make sure all humans have their human rights.
The Bandhavi girls and the VCC students lead the parade through the village holding signs, echoing chants, and passing out pamphlets to the people of the village in hopes of raising awareness of children’s rights. Along with other young students from surrounding schools, we also got to take part in the parade. The energy while we were marching through the town was incredible. As the villagers heard the drums beating, they would stop what they were doing and come watch the parade. We didn’t know exactly what the children were saying, but as they yelled out their messages, we could tell the children felt empowered. The response to their chants from the village people was just as powerful. All of the women were smiling and nodding their heads in agreement as they heard the messages from the children.
As the march through the streets continued, a young school girl grabbed my hand and didn’t let go until the very end of the parade. This simple but meaningful action touched my heart. She showed me how important it is that all people unite as one and fight to ensure that we all have our human rights. This little girl made me realize that I don’t need to know someone personally in order to stand up and speak out against injustice even if the injustice isn’t happening to me personally. We know each other because we are all human beings; that is our common thread; we don’t need any other commonalities to fight for all humans to have human rights. The value of a human life shouldn’t differ from one place to another. It shouldn’t differ if you are rich or you are poor. Human rights should be for all humans, but currently this isn’t the case. Currently, the human rights of a person in America aren’t infringed upon like they are in India, and a rich person has more rights than a poor person. This is unacceptable and must change. We must stand up and change this; we are all humans and therefore have the same human rights. Race, class, caste, age, gender, cannot play a role in who gets what human rights. Regardless of all of these things, humans are humans; therefore all humans must receive all of their human rights.
Today I not only saw children advocating for their own rights, I was again reminded that I too have a role in making sure all humans have their human rights. Though December 10th is the official Human Rights Day, we must work towards ensuring all people have human rights every day. Whether we are strangers or sisters, whether our own rights are being violated or not, we must unite on the level of humanity and make sure everyone receives their rights as a human.