Happy Human Rights Day!

Manya Menapace, 81, of Pennsylvania, has already started writing letters for the Global Write-a-thon

Manya Menapace, 81, of Pennsylvania, has already started writing letters for the Global Write-a-thon.

Today is a day when I feel especially grateful for all my rights–that I can write this blog entry, that I am free, that I am not in prison just for expressing my beliefs, that I can choose my religion, that I am able to make my own choices about marriage and family, that I have an education, that I can work, that I can rest, and that I can get care when I’m sick.

Human Rights Day is not a happy day for everyone, though. Right this minute, there are prisoners of conscience languishing in cells, people on death row waiting for the end to come, and human rights defenders looking over their shoulders wondering if today is the day the death threats will be carried out. What can I, who am so rich in rights (though no less rich than anyone should be) do to help these individuals?

I can write. I can put pen to paper and tell the authorities why I’m concerned, and push them to do what needs to be done. Thousands of people around the world are doing just that today, and all this week. Today, don’t just raise your glass and toast to human rights–pick up a pen and act!

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