Take Action on Human Rights

   If you have...10 Minutes
  • Get the Facts. Learn about what human rights are connected to your problem. Download a copy of the UDHR at www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ and choose the human rights most relevant to your issue.
  • Stay Informed. Sign up to receive updates and action alerts from a human rights organization. Or take some time to read a national or international newspaper to increase awareness about current events.  Check out www.bbc.co.uk or www.nytimes.com.
  • Donate.  Make a donation to a local or national organization working to protect human rights.  For ideas, check out our list of human rights organizations.
  • Send an EmailSend a pre-written e-mail to your elected official expressing your views on current legislation. There are many human rights organizations that provide pre-written messages on various pressing domestic policy issues.
  • Follow a Bill. Track a piece of legislation that addresses a domestic human rights policy issue. The government has many sites that give you immediate updates on the progress of legislation including www.thomas.loc.gov.
  • Make a Statement. Get a bumper sticker or button that promotes human rights and put it on your car/bike/skateboard/notebook to show your support.  Check out northernsun.com/n/s/home/bumperstickers.html.
  • Tweet. Connect wtih others and use Twitter as a tool for organizing, connecting and creating change.  To learn more on how you can tweet for change, click here.
   If you have...a Few Hours
  • Write a letter.  Research and write a personal letter to the editor of your local newspaper or to your elected official on a human rights issue. For writing tips, click here.
  • Vote. Exercise your right to vote and support local, state, and national legislators who advocate for human rights. Learn about candidate positions at the non-partisan Project Vote Smart.
  • Watch a Film.  Watch a film that addresses a human rights issue. Invite friends and neighbors and facilitate a discussion following the film. Some examples include The Visitor, Milk, The Kite Runner, Born Into Brothels, or Invisible Children.
  • Educate. Ask a local human rights organization to give a presentation at your school, church, or community organization to raise awareness and encourage more people to get involved. You could also give your own presentation.  Download free toolkits, lesson plans, and more on human rights from the Discover Human Rights website. 
  • Take Part in a Human Rights Day Event. Attend a Human Rights Day event, celebrated every year on December 10th.  Volunteer for your local celebration.  Can’t find any? Collaborate with several organizations and plan an event in your community. Fore more information check out the United Nations Human Rights Day website.
  • Join a Group. Become a fan or join a Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking group that addresses a human rights issue or check out this list of human rights organizations
   If you have...a Month
  • Inform Others.  Create an educational mural, poster or flyer with statistics, stories, and other attention grabbing information on a human rights issue.  Distribute it in your city, school, or workplace.
  • Start a Petition Drive. Petitions are a good way to raise awareness about an issue, a piece of legislation, or a specific organization.  For tips on beginning a petition-based campaign, click here
  • Start a Campaign. Encourage your representatives to back rights-based legislation.  Organize a letter writing campaign.  Gather friends, family, and other members of your personal network to write letters and make phone calls.  Find your representatives at here.  For writing tips, click here
  • Host a Film Festival on Human Rights. Download a planning guide on setting up a human rights film festival from One World International. 
  • Hold a Fundraiser. Raise money and awareness for an organization that is addressing an important human rights issue. Ideas include a bake sale, music concert, photo exhibit, car wash, pancake breakfast, silent auction, walkathon, art show, bingo night, or anything that sounds fun for you and your community.
   If you have...a Year or More
  • Start a Book Club. Focus on a different human rights issue each month. For example, focus on the death penalty and read A Lesson Before Dying or Dead Man Walking, or focus on poverty and economic justice and read Nickel and Dimed or Growing Up Empty.
  • Run for Office. Help build the human rights movement in the U.S. by making policies that protect our rights.  Learn more at www.runforoffice.org/ or at www.thewhitehouseproject.org.
  • Get a Resolution Passed. Raise awareness about a human rights issue and send a powerful message to your legislators.  For more information on passing community resolutions, visit citiesforprogress.org/.
  • Write a Blog. Highlight different human rights issues, current events, and breaking news.  For tips on best practices for online writing and how you can use social media to change the world, click here
  • Document.  Monitor and gather stories about a human rights abuse in your community. Document what you find in a film or report.  Upload your film to the Human Rights Channel. A central hub for citizen footage of human rights issues. From the Arab Spring to the repression of a Russian punk band the Human Rights Channel amplifies the videos that document human rights violations and struggles for justice.
  • Volunteer.  Search around your community for local food shelves, women’s/children’s/homeless shelters, homes for the elderly, your local Habitat for Humanity, and other organizations that work to promote human rights for all.  Find opportunities at www.volunteermatch.org.