Photograph of a section of wall mural on Fillmore Street in San Francisco that depicts a dove in flight.

The Struggle for Human Rights

You won’t find perfection in the United States but you will find the freedoms and tools to work with your government to strive for it.

That’s our history.

People from every nation in the World built the United States.

Below are excerpts from a speech by Eleanor Roosevelt to the United Nations on the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

Her differences with the former Soviet Union are especially interesting
in light of Russia’s recent attack on the U.S. election.

“The Soviet amendment to article 20 is obviously a very restrictive statement of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It sets up standards which would enable any state practically to deny all freedom of opinion and expression without violating the article. It introduces the terms “democratic view,” “democratic systems,” “democratic state,” and “fascism,” which we know all too well from debates in this Assembly over the past two years on warmongering and related subjects are liable to the most flagrant abuse and diverse interpretations.”

“We in the United States have come to realize it means freedom to choose one’s job, to work or not to work as one desires … people have a right to demand that their government will not allow them to starve because as individuals they cannot find work … and this is a decision … which came as a result of the great depression in which many people were out of work, but we would not consider in the United States that we had gained any freedom if we were compelled to follow a dictatorial assignment to work where and when we were told.”

“The final expression of the opinion of the people with us is through free and honest elections, with valid choices on basic issues and candidates. The secret ballot is essential to free elections … I have heard my husband say many times that a people need never lose their freedom if they kept their right to a secret ballot … Basic decisions of our society are made through the expressed will of the people. That is why when we see these liberties threatened, instead of falling apart, our nation becomes unified and our democracies come together as a unified group in spite of our varied backgrounds and many racial strains.

In a recent speech in Canada, Gladstone Murray said:

The central fact is that man is fundamentally a moral being, that the light we have is imperfect does not matter so long as we are always trying to improve it … we are equal in sharing the moral freedom that distinguishes us as men. Man’s status makes each individual an end in himself. No man is by nature simply the servant of the state or of another man … the ideal and fact of freedom — and not technology — are the true distinguishing marks of our civilization.

This Declaration is based upon the spiritual fact that man must have freedom in which to develop his full stature and through common effort to raise the level of human dignity. We have much to do to fully achieve and to assure the rights set forth in this Declaration. But having them put before us with the moral backing of 58 nations will be a great step forward.”

Excerpts from, Eleanor Roosevelt, The Struggle for Human Rights – Sept. 28, 1948

Public domain photo of Eleanorr Roosevelt hoding a Spanish Language copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
This is how Eleanor Roosevelt fought bullies

 

The ‘Bird of Human Rights’ (c) Rob Goldstein All Rights Reserved

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