Human Rights Day is a time for activists to come together to celebrate milestones and award heroes who have championed human rights. The gathering which takes place in Nashville, Tennessee, is always one which strives to educate the broader community on the importance of knowing one’s human rights as well as bringing together those who work on these issues.
The planning committee is chaired by Rev. Brian Fesler, pastor of the Nashville Church of Scientology. Fesler says, “There’s a core group of citizens who know the value of human rights and work on it daily. Our goal is to bring those people together, support their commitment, so in the end we can reach everyone else.”
The gathering celebrates the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations on Dec 10, originally signed in 1948. This year, the event will take place at the First Amendment Center in the John Seigenthaler Center.
“We are excited and proud to be going back to the John Seigenthaler Center,” says Fesler, “Mr. Seigenthaler stood for everything we are working to promote, so this makes it the perfect place to host Human Rights Day.”
The celebration centers around the Human Rights awards. Last year, awardees in the category for Lifetime Achievement 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. Outstanding Service awards were bestowed upon Yuri Cunza with the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Avi Poster who has championed immigrant rights, among others, for years.
To learn more about the event or how to get involved, visit www.nashvillehumanrights.org.