The planning committee for the Tennessee celebration of International Human Rights Day is preparing for the 2015 event.
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 awardees in this category were Father Joseph Breen, formerly of St. Edward Church who is known widely for his work to strike down the 2009 “English Only” proposition in Nashville; and First Baptist Church Capitol Hill which has long served as a beacon for the civil rights movement.
“Rising Advocate” awards were given to individuals who are relatively new to the field of human rights and show great promise for the future. They went to Eben Cathey with the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition and Daynise Joseph, formerly with Organized Neighbors of Edgehill.
The Committee also revealed a new award: the Outstanding Service for Human Rights Award. Recipients of this honor included Yuri Cunza with the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Avi Poster who has championed immigrant rights for years.
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.