Each year, Tennesseans gather to celebrate the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations on Dec 10, originally signed in 1948.
“Human Rights Day means acknowledging the leaders of the past while encouraging others to take up the torch for the future,” says planning committee chair Rev. Brian Fesler, pastor of the Church of Scientology.
The celebration centers around the Human Rights Lifetime Achievement awards and the Rising Advocate Award. Last year three lifetime advocates received awards for their work, including the Rev. James "Tex" Thomas, pastor of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church; Elliot Ozment, the founder and managing attorney at Ozment Law; and Carrie Gentry, who was active during the civil rights movement in Nashville. Rising Advocate awards were given to Gatluak Thach with the Nashville International Center for Empowerment and Stephanie Teatro with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.
The committee plans to feature many different human rights organizations, especially the Tennessee governmental and non-profit agencies that have commitments to the thirty rights as laid out in the UDHR. Organizations who wish to participate in the planning may contact the organizer through www.nashvillehumanrights.org.