A Declaration To The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

My Declaration To The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights–These Rights Are Still Being Violated

It's 2019 and the majority of these rights are still being violated all over the world.


I remember learning about what it meant to be a bystander in elementary school. I remember adults telling me that if I saw someone being bullied, I needed to take action. I needed to stand up for the person being bullied and not be a bystander. This same lesson should be applied to cases where human rights are violated.

In 1948, the United Nations met in Paris to determine the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," essentially a list of rights that all humans should be entitled to have. This document was created by nations from all over the world and has been translated into over 500 languages, which makes it the most translated document in the world. It is supposed to serve as a way to create international law and order and ensure that people's rights aren't being violated.

While reading this, I was surprised that some of the articles were in the document because I could think of many violations currently going on in the US and abroad. I'm sure that you're going to be surprised with some of these as well.

"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

You'd think that this would be a given, but even the United States is violating this basic right with everything that is going on at the US-Mexico border. There have been over around 8,000 families separated, children hit with tear gas, people unable to get proper medical attention, and cases where people have died.

"Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution."

I think that this should speak for itself, yet there are millions of refugees all around the world who can't find a safe place to go. One of the more prominent problems is the Syrian refugee crisis, where over 13 million people have been displaced. Meanwhile, our President Trump doesn't even want to help these people, claiming that "they could be ISIS."

"Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work."

The wage gap in the United States is real. The Institute for Women's Policy Research reported that "In 2017, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent."

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Free and equal. This declaration came out in 1948, but let's not forget about the segregation and Jim Crow laws that occurred in the United States during the mid-1900s. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his "I have a dream" speech in 1963, which was 15 years after this declaration came out!

"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion"

There are still many countries around the world that try to limit and censor the information disseminated to their citizens and are against a certain religion. In China and Iran, there have been multiple cases where Christians have been detained or arrested. There are also plenty of authoritarian regimes, like North Korea, where people aren't allowed to express negative thoughts about the government.

I suggest you read the full list of rights and contemplate how they are being violated in your community or around the world. There is no time to be a bystander when there are millions of people around the world who don't have these basic rights.

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Flash Fiction On Odyssey: If I Was White

Written by a woman of color in a predominately white university.

If I was white, when I went to parties, boys would’ve talked to me as well, not just to the white girls at my side. They wouldn’t see through me like I was invisible, and I would’ve actually been a girl to them, an option, a choice. If I was white I wouldn’t be the last choice, I might have even been the first choice every once in a while. If I was white people would’ve wanted to be my friend. Why would you be friends with a middle-eastern girl if you could be friends with a white girl?

If I was white I wouldn’t cry myself to sleep at night knowing that yet another best friend tossed me to the side because she found a better, whiter girl to replace me. If I was white maybe people would’ve smiled at me like they did the white girl next to me. If I was white, I wouldn’t sit alone. If I was white, I wouldn’t know that always, no matter what, I would always be everyone’s last choice.

If I was white, when I was six years old, Kiarra wouldn’t have told me that she didn’t like me simply because I had darker skin. If I was white, I wouldn’t have the thick middle-eastern body hair that boys would laugh at, smirk at, and I wouldn’t have been called a “wolf”, “hairy-mammoth”, or worst of all, receive the constant remark of “its hard to believe she is even a girl, with that kind of hair”. If I was white I wouldn’t have spent eight years of pain and tears getting rid of that hair. If I was white I wouldn’t have worn long sleeves at twelve years old in the hottest weather in the world, simply because I was too embarrassed to have my arm hairs showing, along with my dark skin that was scorned.

If I was white, the years of bullying and abuse wouldn’t have caused me at 16 to develop body dysmorphic disorder, which makes me to this day at 20 years old terrified to even leave my room in the morning. I wouldn’t hate myself, and secretly, in the depths of my heart, wish my parents chose to never have had me.

But strangely, absurdly, and somehow beautifully so, I like the soul that I am. I like the heart that I have, the compassion that I have, the creativity, the passion, and the kindness that I have. I like my unwavering loyalty and my bravery.

If I was white, would I still be me? I would be someone else, someone with a different life. I would still be good, and kind, but I wouldn’t be me.

My appearance is a part of who I am. Part of the whole package of Tara. I can’t have the soul without the body.

So, what do you choose to do, Tara and the few who kindly chose to read this piece?Do you choose to love yourself, for all of what you are, or do you choose to hate what you cannot control for eternity?

I’m still deciding that myself. But I find that each night I go to sleep, I hate my appearance a little bit less and respect my soul a little bit more than the last.

Because if I was white, I wouldn’t be me.

Though sometimes I truly hate to admit it, to myself most of all, I truly like myself just the way I am.

Cover Image Credit: Everypixel

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Dear Beautiful Black Girl, Never Forget Your Worth

An ode to all the beautiful black girls.


We live in a society where societal standards greatly define the way we view ourselves. Although in 2019 these standards are not clear cut, some things are not easy to change. Not to play the race card, but this is true for women of color, especially black girls.

As much as I'd like to address this to all women, I want to hit on something that I'm more familiar with: being a black girl. Black females have a whole package to deal with when it comes to beauty standards. The past suppression and oppression our ancestors went through years ago can still be felt in our views of beauty. It is rare to see young black girls be taught that their afros and nappy hair are beautiful. Instead, we are put under flat irons and dangerous chemicals that change our hair texture as soon as our hair becomes too "complicated" to deal with. The girls with darker skin are not praised, but rather lowered in comparison to their peers with fairer skin. A lot of the conditioning happens at a young age — at the age of 8, already you can feel like you're in the wrong skin.

As we grow up, there are more expectations that come here and there, a lot of very stereotypical and diminishing. "You're a black girl, you should know how to dance," "black girls don't have flat butts," "black girls know how to cook," "you must have an attitude since you're black" — I'm sure you get the idea. Let me say this: "black girls," as they all like to say, are not manufactured with presets. Stop looking for the same things in all of us. Black girls come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and talents. I understand that a lot of these come from cultural backgrounds, but you cannot bash a black girl because she does not fit the "ideal" description.

And there is more.

The guys that say, "I don't do black girls, they too ratchet/they got an attitude" — excuse me? Have you been with/spoken to all the black girls on this planet? Is this a category that you throw all ill-mouthed girls? Why such prejudice, especially coming from black men? Or they will chant that they interact with girls that are light-skinned, that is their conditioned self-speaking. The fact that these men have dark-skinned sisters and mothers and yet don't want to associate with girls that look the same confuses me. And who even asked you? There are 100 other ethnicities and races in the world, and we are the one you decide to spit on? Did we do something to you?

Black girls already have society looking at them sideways. First, for being a woman, and second, for being black, and black males add to this by rejecting and disrespecting us.

But we still we rise above it all.

Black girls of our generation are starting to realize the power that we hold, especially as we work hand in hand. Women like Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong'o, Chinua Achebe, Michelle Obama — the list is too long — are changing the narrative of the "black girl" the world knows. The angry black woman has been replaced with the beautiful, educated, and successful melanin-filled woman.

Girls, embrace your hair, body, and skin tone, and don't let boys or society dictate what is acceptable or beautiful. The black girl magic is real, and it's coming at them strong.

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