Miss Hall's students call for action through Human Rights Day essay contest

PITTSFIELD — Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on Dec. 10. It marks the United Nations General Assembly's proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on Dec. 10, 1948. In part, it declares that, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."

To mark this declaration's 70th anniversary, the U.N. has launched a year-long campaign, using the hashtag: #StandUp4HumanRights.

Here in Pittsfield, the city's Human Rights Commission and Miss Hall's School, with the sponsorship of The Berkshire Eagle, challenged students to write an essay with the title, "Why I Stand Up For Human Rights."

Commission Chair Drew Herzig said the essay contest, which will be held annually, is designed to give young people a platform for their voices to be heard, and "to raise public awareness of both the commission's existence, and of the centrality of human rights issues in the modern world, both in the USA and around the globe."

Kimberly Boland, Miss Hall's Horizons program teacher and the school's co-coordinator of diversity, equity and inclusion programs, helped solicit essays from the school. Next year, Herzig said, the commission wants to have participation from all city schools.

"From these essays, the readers can learn that young people in our community are fully aware of the centrality of human rights, both as they affect their personal lives, and in the broader context of social justice," said Herzig. "We should listen to what the young people have to share with us and be prepared to enter into the conversation."


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