“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
Since 2010, Settlement Workers in Schools of TNO – The Neighbourhood Organization have played a key role in the organization of the agenda of the week every year. Thanks to the partnership with the Toronto District School Board – TDSB and the Toronto Catholic District School Board- TCDSB thousands of newcomer students and ESL learners have had the opportunity to participate in a variety of informative sessions, workshops, film screenings, assemblies, presentations, and art exhibits where we have had important conversations about racism and racial discrimination, violence against women, children rights and responsibilities, worker’s rights, immigrant and refugee rights, housing rights, LGBTQ rights, indigenous rights, and we have learnt together about the history and evolution of human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Ontario Human Rights Code and the work of international, national, provincial and municipal human rights organizations and institutions.
Settlement Workers working in partnership with Principals, Teachers, Students and community organizations are the main organizers of the agenda of the week every year. The Human Rights Week is an excellent opportunity to create awareness about the importance to know, respect and defend human rights as part of our Canadian identity.
Founder and Coordinator of the Human Rights Week