Friday, December 14, 2012

As We Understand our Human Rights

The Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Immigration working group held a second (in six months) convention in the county of Hidalgo. The participants, after a day of studying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, derived their own version, which is as follows (with gratitude to John Michael Torres for recording, editing, and
producing this document):

Declaration of Human Rights 
Convention Equal Voice for Human Rights
November 30, 2012
Community Center, Precinct #2
1429 S Tower Rd
Alamo, TX 78516

The power of human rights lies in the simple but profound idea that we all have basic rights solely by virtue of our humanity. Each individual, family and community should live in equality, dignity and freedom, with the power to participate and shape government policies and institutions that affect our lives.

Love is an emotional need that we all have. Love for thy neighbor and mutual aid leads us to the point that we all take responsibility to defend and take care of each other.

The right to have good jobs with fair wages is important because it is necessary to provide healthy food, decent housing and opportunities for the family.

It is very important to have immigration reform. We deserve to have our families united and that is why we reject separation of families. As part of reform, we should have equal access to the services we need for a dignified life, regardless of immigration status. For example, a driver’s license, an education for our children and our parents, health care and public services.

Education is important to develop intellectually, for both youth and adults. A good education opens the doors to opportunities we need to live a dignified life.

To live a dignified life, we have to live in decent housing. We need proper housing with adequate infrastructure to protect us from floods and other natural disasters.

As each and every one of us lives on this planet, the right to live in dignity also means that the environment has to be cared for. It is not fair that some enjoy a healthy natural environment when others lack this.

Health is very important because with good health, we are ready to serve our families and communities. This is why we need comprehensive medical care, of the body and mind.

Our faith guides us in our daily lives. And because we are different people with different beliefs, the right to religion should be protected in our community.

We have the right that our representatives respond to our requests and take actions to ensure our needs are met. Representatives should represent everyone, regardless of socioeconomic level, sex, gender, religion, race, or immigration status.

As an organized community in dialogue with our neighbors and loved ones, we recognize that many of our basic needs are not taken into account.

Therefore, although each and every one of us has dignity, the fact that our needs are not taken into account affects our ability to live a dignified life. We believe that a just society should ensure a decent life for every individual, family and community.

Therefore we declare:
We all have human rights because we are all human beings.
We strive for:
• Fair jobs with just wages,
• An immigration reform that will treat us like human beings,
• An education that recognizes our diverse needs to develop intellectually with access to technology,
• Adequate housing that will protect our families
• Protection to our communities so they can live in peace with space to play and exercise
• Adequate and affordable health care, regardless of immigration status or socioeconomic levels
To achieve this new society, we need to start by making our commitment to work for it. We recognize our rights because we need them. However, we are denied them. That is where our participation comes in, to demand that our human rights are respected. We commit ourselves to work to create a society that respects our rights. We are guided by these principles as we aspire to a better world – universality, equality, protection of public goods, participation, transparency and accountability.
In the same manner, we welcome other members of the community, representatives of our city, county, state, and nation, businessmen and women, leaders of faith, and each person with sincerity, to also take the opportunity to make their commitment to work for human rights.
Approved and ratified on November 30, 2012, by participants of the Equal Voice for Human Rights convention.