The committee planning Tennessee’s annual Human Rights Day celebration is pleased to reveal the official schedule of events for the day.
International Human Rights Day occurs every year to commemorate the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations on Dec 10, 1948. It occurs each year on December 10th in Tennessee, and this year the celebration will take place at the Howard Office Building in the Sonny West Conference Center.
The event will open with a musical selection by accomplished singer/songwriter Joie Scott, an international hit songwriter whose songs have been recorded by Shania Twain, Collin Raye, Lucie Diamond, Anne Murray and many more.
Following this, the Mayor’s Youth Council will make a special presentation for Human Rights Day and the youth will speak to what human rights means to them.
Mary Pat Silveira who served in the United Nations for thirty years will introduce the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and will discuss the articles to help those attending have a better understanding of the document on which the day is based.
There will be a panel discussion on “Human Rights Issues Today” with panelists Pat Shea of the YWCA of Middle Tennessee discussing domestic violence; Tasha French Lemley with the Contributor Newspaper discussing homelessness and hunger; and Dr. Forrest Harris of American Baptist College speaking about education.
Finally, awards will be bestowed for Human Rights Lifetime Achievement and Human Rights Rising Advocate. Awardees this year include the Rev. James "Tex" Thomas, pastor of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, who is often referred to as the "Mayor of Jefferson Street" for his work on issues that affect North Nashville; Elliot Ozment, the founder and managing attorney at Ozment Law who has been a longtime advocate for civil and immigrant rights in Tennessee; and Carrie Gentry, who was active during the civil rights movement in Nashville, helping students get to sit-ins and bailing them out of jail after they were arrested.
“Rising Advocate” awards will be given to Gatluak Thach with the Nashville International Center for Empowerment and Stephanie Teatro with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.
The committee organizing the event for Human Rights Day includes the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, Metro Human Relations Commission, United Nations Association, Amnesty International and the Church of Scientology.
The event is free and open to the public. Information booths open at 4pm and the program starts at 4:30pm. For more information, or to become involved with this year’s celebration, visit nashvillehumanrights.org.